Best-selling books can transform lives, but they also plant seeds across the country like Johnny Appleseed. These author insights can grow into dawning awareness, transformed beliefs, and inspiration to action. A good novel, one that catches the attention of many, can challenge tradition and change the direction of our culture.
The fiction I was reading in the 1960’s had that power.
With Hawaii, James Michener made the world smaller. He brought history out of the bowels of dates, wars, and leaders and showed us life defined by the people. In Caravans, he took us to Afghanistan. The Source took us on a journey to Israel. In a country that was staying close to home after the Great War, this author pulled us out of our chairs to remind us we were connected across the globe
Mary McCarthy’s,The Group, grabbed each reader for a ride into the world of white, affluent, educated women… those who had it all. Except we discovered their lives were still defined by marriage. Through her characters, she planted a question that became a seed for change a decade later.
Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain, made our connection to outer space real. The Godfather by Mario Puzo pointed out a culture buried under a “Leave It To Beaver” television world while Jacqueline Susann’s, Valley of the Dolls, dared to show us the underbelly of the rich and famous. Fun, interesting, and exciting, these popular novels were changing readers. They were opening doors and shaping our society.
Today, I can walk into any book store and find novels that celebrate personal spirit or explore new possibilities for health and well-being. I know self-empowerment and medicine will never be the same. It makes me wonder what other best-selling books are shaping my future.
Notes along the way... Jeanne McElvaney
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