The Literature of Self-Discovery

I have, once again, gone on a serious reading binge. Not only have I read five books in the last week, but I have at least four more on the shelf waiting to be read. As I typed up my thoughts about each of these books, I noticed that they all have a common theme: self-discovery. I don't think this is purely coincidence, since I have spent the last year trying to rediscover myself. I am very interested in learning other people's stories of their own self-discovery. So, here they are:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society // Mary Ann Shaffer

The only fiction on this list, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was a fun and interesting read. This is a novel about self-discovery, a love of literature, and overcoming incredible hardship. It is set in England & Guernsey just after World War II has ended. Juliet is an author looking for an idea for her next book when she comes across an inspiring group of people living on the island of Guernsey, which was under German occupation for several years during the war. As Juliet researches for her book, she discovers what she really wants in her life… and even better, she gets what she really wants in the end.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir // Jeannette Walls

I decided to start reading memoirs because I think that someday I might like to write my own. This one was a bestseller, so I decided to give it a whirl. I can understand why people like it so much. It does have a little bit of bad language and a tiny bit of sexual content, but overall was simply fascinating. But it's fascinating in the same morbid way that makes people want to see the results of a car accident. That being said, if you would like some validation on your parenting abilities, your breadwinning abilities, your housekeeping abilities, etc., then read this book. You'll be amazed at the resilience of the human spirit.

Three Cups of Tea // Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

Based on my own arbitrary blogging rules, I probably shouldn't write about this book because I haven't finished it yet. But here I go anyway.

I grew up in a rock climbing family, so this book interested me at first because it is about a mountain climber who discovers his life's work after a failed attempt to summit K2. Oh yeah, and it is also about self-discovery, which is what I'm all about these days. While I have enjoyed reading it, this isn't a book that can hold my interest for long periods at a time, so I keep getting distracted. I'm not quite done with it, but I have been very impressed by the cultural awareness and insight it gives as an American perspective of Pakistan before 9/11. But that isn't what it's really about. It's really about a man who promises to build a school in a remote village in Pakistan and then works to keep that promise. This book really helped me appreciate the enormous impact a small service can have.
The bridge strengthened the village's maternal ties, and made the women feel a whole lot happier and less isolated. Who knew that something as simple as a bridge could empower women?

Reaching for Hope: An LDS Perspective on Recovering from Depression // Meghan Decker & Betsy Chatlin

If you or someone you love suffers from depression and also happens to be LDS, read this book and thank me later.

As I have been working through depression over the past year, I have learned a lot of things. One thing this book helped me see is that for a depressed person, positive emotion is dulled. I experienced this without understanding it. Now I know that the depression is responsible for all that I have been lacking. This book was different from other depression books I have read and helpful in one very important way: it comes from the same spiritual culture that I do. It addressed the affect depression can have on a person spiritually and how to overcome that. It was enlightening enough that I didn't return it to the library because I hope to find time to read it again.

Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story // Sue Monk Kidd & Ann Kidd Taylor

This book resonated with me on several different levels. Mothers and daughters. Self discovery. World travel. Depression. Writing. This book is right up my alley.

The mother and daughter take turns writing about a defining period of both of their lives, which included their travels in Greece and France. If nothing else, this book made me want to see Greece. But it also helped me understand the need to trust a higher power to help me discover myself and my path.
I realize I hide my real self because I'm afraid of being rejected. Lately, I've tried to confront the fear by asking myself: so what if I am rejected? … when Mom and I were on the ship and everything spilled out. All my self-hatred and fear. And I hear her gently say, 'You deserve to love yourself.'


Hali said...

The first book you mention is one that I tried to read. I had a hard time following the letters and establish characters. My mom loved it and was the one that recommended it to me. Glad to see that you enjoyed it, maybe I will have to give it another try.

Krissy said...

It is hard at first to figure out who everyone is in that book. And if it helps, Dawsey is a man. I was really confused by that at first.