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August 17, 2011

I recently received a new book in the mail, a late birthday gift from my mom–not late because she forgot my birthday, but late because she sent it to my school address, where I just returned for the beginning of the fall semester.  The book is a hardback commemorative edition of Cien Anos de Soledad (100 Years of Solitude), written in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s native Spanish.  I haven’t had time to start the book yet, but I find myself picking it up and paging through it every so often, reading and rereading the first few pages.  I’ve been carrying it with me to work each day, not because I plan on reading it during the workday, but simply so that I can glance at it and admire it’s beautiful cover and anticipate reading the infamous story it contains within its pages.

I am not nearly the bookworm I used to be, having read only a handful of books in the past year–yet I still love the smell and feel of a new book in my hands.  I love stories and the insight they lend into another person’s (the author’s) mind and the way in which that person perceives and understands the world around him or her.  We all experience the world in such unique ways that there are as many views of the world and of what it means to live in it as there are people who populate this planet.  As we learn, grow, and experience life, we each create our own impressions of reality that differ even from people who grew up in the same town or family as we did.

At the same time, I often find through stories that for as different as each of us perceives the world, our motivations and desires as human beings seem to be very much the same:  to be loved, to be accepted, and to feel as if our lives matter.  The ways in which we pursue and act out these desires may be very different on the surface, but deep down we all seem to be tied together by these very basic desires.  Conservative or liberal, black or white, American or Mexican–we really aren’t as radically different as we think.


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