Nonfiction November Week 4: Worldview Changers

The joy I feel when Nonfiction November has a bonus week cannot be overstated! This week we are exploring books that have changed out worldviews.


THE PROMPT

Week 4: (November 21-25) – Worldview Changers: One of the greatest things about reading nonfiction is learning all kinds of things about our world which you never would have known without it. There’s the intriguing, the beautiful, the appalling, and the profound. What nonfiction book or books has impacted the way you see the world in a powerful way? Do you think there is one book that everyone needs to read for a better understanding of the world we live in? Whatever your level of participation, check out all the posts hosted by Rebekah @ She Seeks Nonfiction.

I have chosen to highlight the books I read in my 2022 Nonfiction Year that have changed my worldview. Whenever I feel like my place in the world, society, or history is settled, I read and discover my growing is no where near finished. I have listed these book in the order I read them, not the depth that they changed my life.


Book: The Day The World Came to Town; 911 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim Defede.

Worldview Impact: A reminder that there is goodness possible in the world.

This book. Deep breaths. This book came to me at a time when I felt like no one cared about anyone else. This was fall, 2021. We were sandwiched between the Delta strain and the Omicron here in the US and everyone was starting to be ridiculous. Mask mandates came and went or were ignored, infection rates soared, and people prioritized their own personal needs over the health and welfare of so many.

And then I read this book and I remembered that there are good people all over the world just ready to catch you when you fall. I started noticing the things people were doing to help the world instead of fixating on those things that I felt were selfish. The book didn’t so much change my worldview as reset it to looking for the helpers – they are all around us.


Book: Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind by Judson Brewer, MD, PhD

Worldview Impact: My world changed from one that scared me to one rich to possibilities.

This book quite literally asked me to change my worldview by re-training my brain. It took my love of habits and asked me to practice not being anxious. And it worked. I didn’t realize how stressed my adrenal system was until someone dropped a soft mitten in the Target and it made me jump. I hated that everything signaled fear somewhere deep in my brain. I didn’t even know that I had taught my brain to be scared. I had to work at it but, eventually, the world opened up again.


Book: We Do This ‘ Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice by Mariame Kaba

Worldview Impact: The book forced me to examine why America has such an extensive prison system and whether there was anything we could do to change the current state of our penal system. It also sparked learning about the history that brought us to this moment.

My first job as an attorney was as an Assistance State’s Attorney. I asked the court to sentence people to jail. I was part of that system. I work with domestic violence victims now. They breath easier when their abusers are incarcerated. So, I was floored by the notion that there are people working, actively working, to abolish the prison system. Not the school-to-prison pipeline, not the inherent racism of prison system, the actual prisons.

To say that this book changed my worldview is an understatement. This book did not convince me to abolish the prison system; the author states plainly that she has no replacement plan. This I cannot embrace. If you want to dismantle a system I want to hear your ideas to replace it. I am pro-choice and I made the same argument against Dobbs – anti-abortionists have never provided me their plan for when abortion access was lost and look at where we are now. But, I see the prison issue far differently than I did before. And, it forced me to ask myself how systems all around me came to exist and whether they deserve to continue in their current form.


Books: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz.

Worldview Impact: The American History of my childhood is an often-repeated white myth.

After reading We Do This ‘Til We Free Us and Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, I knew I needed to resist my understanding of US history. I have a degree in American History and, let me say that I really thought I had a better grasp on history than the average American. It turns out, I do not. I am determined to change this.

There are five books in the Revisioning History book. In addition to these books I am working through a recently published United States History Book intended for high school students. This textbook is very similar to the history I learned when I was in high school and the Spice Girls were brand new. I chose to start with these books to match the timeline of people identified by the textbook as being oppressed or enslaved by white settlers. I plan to continue with the whole series before I review them all.

I have been annotating the books as I read through them and I am going to have to go through them all again. These books are like learning from 23 and Me that you aren’t actually European.


Tell me, please! What nonfiction books have changed your worldview this year?


9 thoughts on “Nonfiction November Week 4: Worldview Changers

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  1. Unwinding Anxiety was also really helpful for me. I thought if I wasn’t having panic attacks I wasn’t really experiencing anxiety. This book allowed me to understand what anxiety is and gave me really helpful strategies to cope with it. Thanks for sharing these book recommendations.

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