Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Words: Real World Fears in Fiction

While I'm sure that there's plenty of book news to be shared, the bombings that took place Monday at the Boston Marathon are still fresh in my mind. It's shocking, disturbing, and sad, and of course my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragedy.

This comes on the heels of a recent institute day in my school district. Students had the day off and all school staff members were required to take part in a simulated school shooting scenario. We've been running drills since my own school days (I was in 1st grade for the Oklahoma City Bombing, 6th grade for Columbine, 8th grade for 9/11), but in light of continued tragedies like Sandy Hook, there's no such thing as preparing too much. It's the world we live in.

What does any of this have to do with books? I guess that I find people's reading choices and what's trending interesting. We read dystopian novels, full of evil governments and where killing is common because it's necessary for survival. But what about the situations like those we face now, the ones that take over the news headlines far too often?

Books can help us escape to a better time, but they can also be a tool to help us look at the world we live in and how we can try to change things. They help us examine that not all is black and white and that tragedies like the bombings and shootings affect us all differently. There are lots of books out there that examine these issues:

  • This Is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell - A gunman takes two teens and the class of kindergardeners they're tutoring hostage.
  • Shooter by Walter Dean Myers - Written in the style of interviews, a story unfolds of a bullied young man who kills a classmate, then himself.
  • Hate List by Jennifer Brown - After her boyfriend opened fire in her school cafeteria last year, a girl faces her senior year and the guilt she feels for her role in his actions.
May we hopefully someday live in a world where these horrors are only found in the fiction section. Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading.

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