I love reading, as I mentioned in my last post. I currently have 3 novels I’m reading, plus another 2 for reference for a project I’m going to embark on in November. I usually choose fiction because, like movies, fiction books take the reader away to a different time, different place, and puts the reader into someone else’s life. I love it!

However, there are a few (non-fiction) books that I’ve read that have drastically changed the way I view the world around me. I have two that I’ll tell you about:

I worked at Barnes and Noble right after I graduated from college and they have a bunch of books that sat in our break-room that are pre-released so there can be hype built up about them or people can send their opinions to the publishers about them. I have a handful of those books in my bookshelf right now (coincidentally, they’re all terrible… save for one). The one I actually really liked was called “Jezebel” by Lesley Hazelton. I grabbed it without even looking at the subtext “The Untold Story of the Bible’s Harlot Queen.” I thought it was going to be a novel about her, based on the idea of her, etc. I’ve had an interest in her for a few years ever since I was told that her name was used as an insult to women who think/act outside the box (at least in religious circles). I wanted to know more about this woman who was so notorious, even thousands of years after her death.

The book was not a novel, but an exploration into the reality of Jezebel’s existence. It talked about the inconsistencies in the Biblical telling of her story, the misconceptions about her based on the telling of her story, and even made the point that Jezebel is completely misunderstood and cast in an unfairly-negative light.

The thing this book did for me was to start to open my eyes to the inconsistencies in the telling of Biblical stories. I’m not trying to start a debate about this, but it started my exploration into the telling of people’s stories found in the Bible. There are time-line errors, cultural biases, and mistranslated parts of the story. This simple, under the radar book started a whole shift in the way I viewed the Bible, the religion of Christianity, and religion in general. I still haven’t settled on a decision of what I think of everything, but it definitely opened a door that I can no longer shut (nor do I necessarily want to).

Because of the shift in my thinking about the world, I was then pointed in the direction of the book, “Laws of Attraction” by Michael J. Losier. It’s not anti-religion, but more pro-attitude, if that makes any sense. People have good and bad things happen to them, and this book argues that our attitude and thoughts can actually affect what happens in our lives and in those around us. It helped give reason to think positively, no matter what. I tend to be an optimist, but I realized how much any sort of pessimism can completely alter my day, or even my life. If we are in tune with our thoughts and the “vibes” we are putting out, the more we can enjoy life and reap the benefits of having positive energy around us. This sounds so hookey when I type this out, but it’s a simple change in the deliberate thoughts you have that can completely alter your reality.

These books are part of a further exploration into what makes up this world, the energy around us, and the reality of religion in the world. Books and education are incredibly important. It’s amazing how much of a relief it can be when you read something that completely jives with what you’ve been thinking/feeling– exploring an idea can be alienating and it is such a relief to find books that, in so many words, can tell you, “you’re not alone in exploring this or wondering about this.” So I will continue to learn and explore.