Random Books Surprise with Unexpected Message

random books

Diverse titles and books can serendipitously bring together unexpectedly connected information. Andy Andrews, author of the New York Times best seller The Traveler's Gift wrote: "Forty-six-year-old David Ponder feels like a total failure. Once a high-flying executive in a Fortune 500 company, he now works a part-time, minimum wage job...."

The author, beginning what appears to be a predictable tale, takes an unexpected leap: "But an extraordinary experience awaits David Ponder. He finds himself traveling back in time, meeting leaders and heroes at crucial moments in their lives...."

Andrews presents an interesting question. "Just who would you turn to for advice if you could ask anyone throughout history?"

Maybe Eleanor Roosevelt? Yet, maybe her advice is tainted. She was as much a pawn as anyone and had her own battles to wage. She couldn't stand up to her mother-in-law, her disabled husband cheated on her with his secretary, and her venture into real estate was termed a folly.

The author chose Harry Truman. Nothing truer was ever written or spoken than: "The Buck Stops Here." Andrews wrote: "From this moment forward, I will accept responsibility for my past. I understand that the beginning of wisdom is to accept the responsibility for my own problems and that by accepting responsibility for my past, I free myself to move into a bigger, brighter future of my own choosing."

It sounds a bit Pollyannaish. But there's merit and reason and most of all, there is hope in this statement. Hope can be in short supply when you live like a victim. Of course it is also a good way to live if you don't like to take responsibility for your own actions.

Juxtapose Andrew’s book with a book of poems for children: Water Music by Jane Yolen. In her poem, s "Reflections" she writes only eight lines, beginning with "Water is a magic mirror...." and ending with "What is up is down, what is far is near; A truth so fragile Only Eyes can hear."

Andrew’s character, David Ponder’s travels reflect Yolen’s poem in a human introspective way.

The third portion of this truth trilogy can be found in Donna Tartt's novel "The Secret History."

After a beautifully written page and a half, the narrator comments:
"I was consumed by a more general sense of dread, of imprisonment within the dreary round of school and home: circumstances which, to me at least, presented sound empirical argument for gloom.... I felt things would doubtless continue in this depressing vein as far as I could foresee. In short: I felt my existence was tainted, in some subtle but essential way."

This fits with the first book, that sense of helplessness, victimization, being caught in a web that holds a person stuck in place and won't allow escape.
Perhaps the most fun of this exercise is discovering that random books brought together can present you with a new perspective, surprise you with unexpected revelations or at the least, introduce you to new authors.

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