Carrying crates of books down three flights of stairs in Chicago humidity was rough. I told myself, "Be tough and keep going... Brad carried these UP the stairs, and you can't let your little brother beat you." Brad, you are still with me! I'll continue to compete with you in my head, and will always want to make you proud of being my brother.
I HAD to dig into his books to learn more about him. I was very interested in knowing what Brad felt was worth reading, and I thought others might also be interested. To distract myself from grieving, to help myself and others understand Brad better, and to simply be productive, I tackled the chore of creating a list of the books in Brad's collection.
He had about 300, mostly about Asian culture and Asian history. If there were any other, smaller themes, they would be about religion and about making the world a better place. Only about 10% of the books were fiction.
I checked each book for notes and bookmarks as I listed them, and came across one book that had a receipt in it. I had found a book that Brad bought the day he died. The receipt was actually for two books, one of which I had already listed. Brad's love for reading and learning is shown through this. Our mom had just given him $50.00 to buy a lamp that he really liked. The cash tendered for the books was $50.00. Brad, you first must have light to read!
Click here for the list, and I will be writing reviews for all the books I read from his collection. I hope to spark some blogs about the books on Brad's website, as some of the books certainly should be talked about. If anyone has an interest in reading something from the list, please ask and we will try to get the book to you.
The book reviews are my take on the books, not what I think Brad would have had to say about them. It burns a layer off my stomach lining every time I realize I won’t be able to discuss these books with Brad. Most people reading these reviews will be friends of Brad’s, and Brad didn’t suffer a fool. I hope that I will get to discuss these books with all of you, as your point of view will at least be one that Brad would have listened to.
Some of these books will fire me up. I don’t want anyone to think that my ramblings will be the limit of what I have to say... it would be so much better to talk about the subjects in person! My main desire is to get others interested in reading these books, either by offending or getting them interested.
I took a college writing course that had a theme of “critical thinking.” One thing I noticed was people had a tendency to stop reading if something offended them. Rather than reading on to understand if there was some justification for what offended them, they just stopped. If it is so offensive, wouldn’t it make sense to know the full story so you could be armed with knowledge to combat it? This is assuming you have already decided you didn’t want to find out if there was just cause for the offense.
The other thing I noticed is that people were very willing to not believe anything a person has to offer if they don’t like something the person says. Good information, useful information, helpful information can come from bad people! You cheat yourself when you ignore or discount everything someone has to say. You have the ability to decide what is valid, so don’t just shut down. Along these same lines, people would decide that something horrible was an exageration or untruth, but they would have no basis for believing that. Instead of finding out if this horrible thing is true, they just discount it, even when it is possible to find out.
My point is, if you don’t like what I say, don’t walk away... find out for yourself. Learn. Put yourself in other’s shoes. Ask. Discuss. Understand, or at least try. That seems like the spirit of Brad.