Often times bookmakers: authors, illustrators, artists, publishers, librarians, booksellers are on the side of goodness. Their world is a world that is working towards sharing voices that are frequently unheard and diminished.
I’ve been lucky to work as a pretend librarian for the past five years. I loved being a pretend librarian. There are so many actual librarians who I’ve met and worked with who I admire, whose libraries offer safe places to people of any and all socioeconomic backgrounds, race, gender. The book and information world is my favorite place to be. It is my home. And as my heartbreaks, this is where I go for comfort but also hope. Because books get to be subversive. Books get to break down barriers. Books get to tell stories that people have forgotten to listen to. Books create empathy in their readers, and America needs empathy now more than ever.
In the book world we like to talk about windows and mirrors. Windows into a world beyond your own. Mirrors so you get to see yourself reflected in stories. Representation is important. It’s part of what brought so much hope to the Obama administration, and part of the heart break in watching Hillary Clinton lose the 2016 Presidential Election.
I’m including politics in this initial post so you know where I’m coming from. I never claimed to be neutral. I hope people find this book club along all party lines. Because empathy is a virtue that everyone can benefit from. And something we obviously need right now more than ever.
A book has a magical way to bring new ideas to readers no matter where they live or who they voted for. A book is an opportunity to create empathy.
And that, more than ever, is what we need.
So I’m starting the empathy bookclub. Welcome.