Monday, July 16, 2012

Sometimes all it takes is a new perspective…

The library is filled with a variety of biographies, autobiographies and true stories. Reading the stories of others’ lives helps us to learn new things, gain a new perspective, understand a time period or just lose ourselves in someone else’s life for a few minutes. There’s a whole world open to you through the magic of reading!

In Andy Andrews’ book, The Noticer, Mr. Jones asks him if he reads. Andy replies that he reads mostly magazines and stuff. Mr. Jones hands him a book on Winston Churchill, on Will Rogers, and on George Washington Carver. When Andy asks why he would want to read history books, Mr. Jones assures him that they are not history books but adventure stories. Biographies represent stories of success, failure, romance, intrigue, tragedy and triumph, and it is all true! Getting away from a situation and looking at it with fresh eyes can often help you get your life straight, help you learn new things and improve your situation, according to Mr. Jones. The author tells other stories of people who encountered Mr. Jones and changed their perspective and then their lives. Biographies give you a chance to see the world through another pair of eyes.

Cheryl Strayed was in a bad place in her life. Her mother had died suddenly; her marriage had dissolved; her family scattered. She decided to regroup by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail- alone. In her book, Wild – from Lost to Foundon the Pacific Crest Trail, she describes the 1100-mile hike across some of the most treacherous landscape, both physically and mentally. For Cheryl, the hike helped her gain perspective, work through her grief and bad life choices, and allow her to heal. You will laugh; you will cry; your feet will cry out in sympathetic pain as she hikes hundreds of miles in shoes that are one size too small. The people she meets, the places she sees, and the adventure can be enjoyed from your armchair. There are also bears, rattlesnakes, and tiny black frogs she meets along the way. You will laugh when the bear runs - but in the same direction she is going. You will cry as she remembers the final days with her mother. The book has been chosen as the first book on Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 where you can find a reading guide and lots of other extras about the book.

Seal of God is a young man’s coming of age story but so much more. Chad Williams was that boy that had to be the best at everything- the ace at t-ball, the skateboarder in the Hollywood commercials. He had to excel at each new thing until he got bored and moved on to the next big thing. He decides he wants to be a Navy Seal. His parents contact Scott Helvenson, a former Seal. Chad details the grueling training Scott put him through to prepare him for boot camp. Scott returned to security duty in Iraq. Nineteen days before Chad entered Navy Boot Camp, Scott Helvenson was brutally killed in action in Iraq. For Chad, this made it personal; he wanted to train to be the best Seal he could be. And he did, but it all changed one night at a revival meeting at his parent’s church. Chad details the intense training to become a Seal, the hazing, the persecution among his peers, and the events that led him to the life he lives today.

Even closer to home, Jenny Smith of Adairsville shares her struggle to understand today’s hard times in conjunction with a life of faith in Seriously God?: I’m Doing Everything I Know to Do and It’s Not
Working,  Facing foreclosure, tightened budgets and family crisis; Jenny uses her story and biblical scripture to show how she met God in her daily life in this devotional study. It is an inspirational look at a family facing the challenges many of us are facing in today’s failing economy with courage and fortitude. It is about gaining a new perspective on life.

Some other recommended biographies and true stories:
Girl on the Rocks by Katie Brown
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
A Captain’s Duty by Richard Phillips
Seal Target Geronimo by Chuck Pfarrer

Or the DVDs:
Act of Valor
Men of Honor
Eat, Pray, Love
Into the Wild
The Wildest Dream: Conquering Everest


  1. It's good to be reminded of the pleasures of my favorite genre! Having recently taken a break from biographies, you've whet my appetite; so one of these books is already on hold for me. It's also great to become aware of books available by a local author. Looking forward to checking into that one also.
    One of my favorites autobiographies is Choosing to SEE by Mary Bath Chapman (wife of recording artist Stephen Curtis Chapman)
    **Twila Williamson**

  2. I was fortunate to get a copy of Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman as well before I started these others. It was wonderful! I often forget how exciting it is to read and learn from non-fiction offerings. I happy you enjoyed getting to know some of the new offerings!