Conversing with History
Every year at this time our nation is gripped by a drive to improve itself. We habitually set lofty goals for ourselves without the requisite determination or fortitude for success.
And, while it would be easy throw proverbial stones at others, I am well aware of the crystal castle I call home. I frequently have made goals more ambitious than the inherent inertia that dominates both my life and Newton’s First Law of Thermodynamics.
This year, in addition to my typical plans for a healthier diet and exercise outside of walking from the couch to the fridge for a snack, I want to be a better-read person. It is so easy to pick up a paperback or download a novel to my Kindle. I have discovered over the years that it is less natural to find myself in the pages of a nonfiction text that provides a contemporary retelling some historical figure or event.
To be fair, I have my favorite historians, like H.W. Brands or David McCullough, and I read a great deal of news and analytical pieces for my night job as a government teacher. This year, however, I have decided incorporate more nonfiction into my “fun” reading time.
Right now, I am in the middle of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Not only is Dietrich Bonhoeffer a fascinating character study in the idea of speaking truth to power, but the way Eric Metaxas combines narration and letters from Bonhoeffer makes it feel like I am having a real conversation with one of the few 20th century pastors willing to stand up to the evils of Nazism. I have been reminded that good story does not necessarily need to come in the guise of the latest thriller from my favorite author.
So, if you’re an avid reader like I am, maybe it’s time to weave into your Goodreads list a biography about someone who fascinates you or a story about an intriguing event in history.
As I have come to learn, a good conversation with history is well worth the time.
I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.