Understanding Others

I am a white, heterosexual woman. As a young girl, I realized that my life was just a tiny glimpse of the full picture of what life as a human being is like. I set out to understand others by learning French, Spanish, and Japanese. While I was a Language Studies major in college, I also spent a good deal of time taking American Studies classes, wanting to understand more perspectives on the diverse experiences of lives that were so different from mine in the US, and hoping to do more than learn about them in a book.

In college, I spent 6 weeks in the Yucatan Peninsula living with families and becoming part of their lives for one week at a time. I gained an appreciation for both the struggles and the beauty of the lives of people in a place where resources were more scarce.

Literature has been one of my mainstays of learning about the experience of others in the world, and I think it is a key way for us to open our hearts and minds. Some of these books will make you uncomfortable. Good. They should. They have changed me deeply.

This list is compiled from books I have read over many many years. They only represent most of what I have read. I have many books to go, and more importantly, more conversations and real life relationships to build.

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