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carissagreen50

Carissa Green Reads

I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.

Currently reading

The Selected Poems of Donald Hall
Donald Hall
The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
Walter Kaufmann, Friedrich Nietzsche
A Kierkegaard Anthology
Robert W. Bretall
The Guns of August
Barbara W. Tuchman

Reading Tragedy in Real Life

The Sweet Hereafter - Russell Banks

Tonight, there was a terrible accident about a half-hour from where I live involving a rural school bus and a train. Some are dead. Some are badly wounded. Many, many more lives are permanently changed than just those on the bus. 

 

Posts about it are burning up my Facebook page, although most probably are connected to the story only through their geographic proximity and sense of human compassion. I feel sick and in a kind of mourning myself. Actually, I'm feeling similar emotions to those I had when I read Russell Banks' novel, "The Sweet Hereafter," which is a story about a terrible school bus accident and how residents of the small town live in the aftermath. 

 

I know the difference between news and fiction, but when the stories are so similar, and I am involved only tangentially with the "real life" narrative, I don't think it's surprising that my emotional reaction is similar. I understand the world through narrative, and I want to shout to all who read my FB page, "READ THIS BOOK." But I know that I'll be chastised for insensitivity to the real victims, when actually I see it as just the opposite. Understanding the story is a deep act of sensitivity and compassion. 

 

I usually cross-list my posts on my FB page; I'll avoid it this time, although some of my friends may eventually see this on the blog itself. I expect I'll be flamed, too, but I think readers need to be honest, and that's what I'm trying to do here. I read, I interpret, I understand the best way I can, which may be inadequate indeed. 

 

Peace to you, suffering ones. There are many difficult pages in the Book of Life. 

 

-cg