I am a nomad. I’ve lived on nearly every continent and visited more countries than I can count. Living abroad for nearly a decade now, I desperately wanted to know the people around me. I wanted to tunnel my way into their mentalities, cultures, and most privately held beliefs.
I soon realized that a region’s literature can say a lot about a region’s identity. Books can challenge the status quo, whisper secret shames of a society, sing the songs of a place and its past. I started making a point of reading celebrated authors from the country or region. You can learn a lot about a society by the books they value.
In the fast-paced world of innovation, technology, and globalization, it can be easy to get swept up in the bustle of life. People are both more connected than in any other time in history, and yet feeling more isolated than ever before. We often turn to Tik Tok, packaged vacation tours, and easy swipes on dating apps in hopes of finding deep connection.
But developing deep connection takes time, patience, and understanding– three things our world seems to currently be lacking.
Reading returns us to a slower pace and offers us a more intimate glimpse into people’s lives. Literature looks at people for who they really are, all the raw and rough bits, not just the shiny and perfectly constructed photos on social media. Reading helps us understand different identities, experiences, and world views.
Literature, for me, isn’t just reading. It’s a lifestyle and a true love.
The Bookshelf Abroad is an overview of literary love affairs, challenging questions, and cultural insights in one place.
(Plus, a lot of photos of coffees, cookies, and croissants. Because all that reading makes me hungry.)