5.19.2012

Warning: Nerd Post.

I  just finished a great book called Sarah's Key. So sad, but also very thought provoking. It talked a lot about the Vel d'Hiv that happened in Paris back in July 1942. Honestly, I had never heard of it before. I can't believe I hadn't heard about something so devastating... but it got me thinking about how much I love two things.

The first thing being history. I love learning all about the past. It's fascinating and haunting all at the same time. I feel like things that happened in history can still be extremely relevant to the present. William Faulkner said that "the past is never dead. It's not even past." I feel the same way. Stories and events which happened so long ago still feel linked to what occurs right now. Think of all the people who have lived on Earth since the beginning of time and how each individual person has a story to tell. Also, the amount genius that's been on this planet is amazing. It's interesting to think that by studying history we can tap into all of that thought and wisdom that's been stored up for thousands of years. There is so much to be learned from the very finest of human achievement. Like incredible scientific and mathematical discoveries. The architectural feats. The brilliant literature and essays. The political advancements. Thriving economic systems. Astounding technological improvements. There have been so many neat things that humans have done and studying them gives us clues how to be better people and how to accomplish even greater things. The opposite is also true. By examining the darkest things the world has gone through sheds a very interesting light on human nature. Times like the Holocaust. The Gulags. The Cultural Revolution. The Great Leap Forward. Civil wars. Slavery. Brutal occupations. World wars. Atomic bombs.... the human race has endured through both glorious and horrifying events. By studying history I feel like  I understand my place in this world a bit better.

The second thing I love is literature. I spend money on books like celebrities do on Jimmy Choo shoes. Alright, maybe not THAT much, but you get the point. Reading good books- especially classics- teach you truths about so many different facets in life. Much of what I have learned in life so far has come by reading books. I've learned personal integrity, moral values, the inevitable triumph of good over evil from the novels I've loved and by my very favorite characters. I learned logic from Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I saw the value of friendship when I went with Frodo and Sam to Mordor in Lord of the Rings. I learned Courage from the Scarlet Pimpernel, Robin Hood, and the Knights of the Round Table. Ambition from D'Artagnan in the Three Musketeers. I went on adventures with The Count of Monte Cristo. Cried my eyes out for the motherly sacrifices of Fantine in Les Miserables. Learned the value of service and charity from Jean Val Jean.  Appreciated the beauty of words from Shakespeare... I could seriously take volumes to write about all of the books that have changed my life. If you allow it to, a book has the power to change how you see the world.

I think one of the most powerful ways to study history is through literature.  Clarence Day said it the best, "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out, and after an era new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the heart of men centuries dead." History isn't just a collection of dates. It's a story. And what better way to tell a story than through literature?

I have this quote in my room and I just love it! Probably because I was always that girl with her nose in a book...

"I've traveled the world twice over, 
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
poets and artists, kings and queens,
old stars and hopeful beginners. 
I've been where no one's been before,
learned secrets from writers and cooks.
All with one library ticket 
To the wonderful world of books." 

1 comment:

  1. I love this post :) it's so true, literature has the power to change lives, first and foremost our own. I'm so glad you share this love of reading with me! Love you!

    ReplyDelete

I adore hearing your thoughts...