Books are bridges to disparate worlds, whether they’re fantastical worlds teeming with magical beings or the hidden but very real worlds in our own backyards. It only takes one story to change your entire outlook about a person or place in history. We asked you on Facebook and Instagram about the books that changed your worldview. You came up with novels and memoirs set in different parts of the world and taking place in different moments in time, demonstrating how powerful reading can be.
8 Enlightening Books that Will Change Your Worldview
Two half-sisters are separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. HOMEGOING traces the descendants who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indelibly drawn.
Two half-sisters are separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. HOMEGOING traces the descendants who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and 300 years of history, each life indelibly drawn.
In Lisa See’s latest novel, ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN, female divers take center stage. Mi-ja and Young-sook are best friends growing up on the Korean island of Jeju. In a story taking place over many decades, we get to see these young girls grow into brave women divers, leading lives of excitement and danger.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A mesmerizing new historical novel” (O, The Oprah Magazine) from Lisa See, the bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and devastating family secrets on a small Korean island.
Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility—but also danger.
Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook find it impossible to ignore their differences. The Island of Sea Women takes place over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.
“This vivid…thoughtful and empathetic” novel (The New York Times Book Review) illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge and the men take care of the children. “A wonderful ode to a truly singular group of women” (Publishers Weekly), The Island of Sea Women is a “beautiful story…about the endurance of friendship when it’s pushed to its limits, and you…will love it” (Cosmopolitan).
A must-read classic, THE STRANGER tells of an ordinary many who murders a Arab man on an Algerian beach. When the man is tried for murder, he soon realizes his murderous act was the least of his offences.
Tara Westover’s EDUCATED is a remarkable memoir of a young woman raised in a survivalist family in Idaho who strives for education while still showing great understanding and love for the world she leaves behind.
A coming-of-age story and a heart-wrenching portrait of the Cambodian killings under the Khmer Rouge regime, IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN tells the story of seven-year-old Raami and her family who are swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced to leave their home.
Told from the tender perspective of a young girl who comes of age amid the Cambodian killing fields, this searing novel is also an extraordinary celebration of strength, survival, and the transcendent power of imagination.
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose stubborn nonconformity was both their curse and their salvation. In this astonishing memoir, Walls recounts how her family’s dysfunction left her and her siblings to fend for themselves, weather their parents’ betrayals, and finally find the resources and will to leave home.
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose stubborn nonconformity was both their curse and their salvation. In this astonishing memoir—the basis of the forthcoming film starring Brie Larson—Walls recounts how her family’s dysfunction left her and her siblings to fend for themselves, weather their parents’ betrayals, and finally find the resources and will to leave home.
Read a review of THE GLASS CASTLE here.
A midcentury classic on race, BLACK LIKE ME is the true account of the author’s six-week experience traveling on Greyhound buses (occasionally hitchhiking) throughout the racially segregated states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, passing as a black man. He trudged Southern streets, searching for a place where he could eat or rest, looking vainly for a job other than menial labor, feeling the “hate stare.”
A mid-century classic on race, Black Like Me is the true account of the authors' six-week experience travelling on Greyhound buses (occasionally hitchhiking) throughout the racially segregated states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia passing as a black man. He trudged southern streets searching for a place where he could eat or rest, looking vainly for a job other than menial labor, feeling the "hate stare". Black Like Me is a groundbreaking and controversial book.
When his home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, charming Italian teenager Pino joins an underground railroad to help Jews escape. After a enlisting as a German soldier to escape combat and getting injured, Pino is somehow recruited to be the personal driver of a Nazi general. A spy on the inside, Pino secretly fights against the most powerful commanders of the Third Reich.