I love reading. I was one of those early reading geeks that really thought the world revolved around Lucy Maud & The Bobbsey Twins. In 30+ years, I'm not sure how many books I've read, I wouldn't even know how to generate a reasonable estimation. I generally have a few different books going at any given time, representing different genres so that I can pick up whatever my mood may reflect.
I've recently moved to a larger city with quite a fantastic library system. I find myself there at minimum once a week. I stock up myself and my oldest son, whom I am proud to say is also a bit of a worm, and I'm good for the week.
It was on one of these library jaunts that I saw "A Thousand Sisters". It was on a rack of new books and I happened to walk by and it happened to catch my eye. The cover is very unassuming, yet drew me to pick it up and glance at the back. I don't even precisely recall what was said there, but I thought "Hmmm, humanitarian" and, expecting some sort of feel good la la, plant a tree story, I checked it out to read if I got to it in my week.
Well, I got to it. And then it got to me. The writing is from the first person perspective of a lady whose life was changed after watching an episode of Oprah (I'm sure many of us can say that to some degree!). The episode (which I unfortunately did not see) described the issues going on in the Congo and told about the horrors facing the innocent civilians caught up in the midst of this conflict. The unspeakable sadness as the greatest victims of this war are women & children and the appalling fact that one of the main weapons of this war is rape.
The author of this book felt inspired to do something. In fact, perhaps it is more accurate to say she felt she could not NOT do something. The book describes the rocky start of a new vision for helping the women & children who are suffering due to war crimes in the DRC. As time passes through the telling of her experiences, the author travels to the Congo and the book continues with her describing her time there, the people she met and many of their stories. I cannot do it justice to describe the book fully here, but I do recommend you pick it up.
Many books, both fictitious & non have influenced me. However this book cannot sit in the same category as the other influential reads. Those other books caused me to look inward and reflect upon my inner character and allow me to silently pick & choose things I might need to tweak here & there. This book however has made me look outward to the world. What I choose to do about it is up to me, but this issue goes way beyond me. I'm not entirely certain what this process will look like.