I love it when one new discovery leads to another new discovery. First, let me say that I love books. I have stacks and stacks and stacks of them. Many I ™ve never read [and maybe never will]. But I love the look of them, the smell of them, and the ideas that are inside of them. The perfect date night with my husband is dinner out and a trip to the book store.
Now I ™m a big fan of Barnes and Noble, especially in Denton. They have everything I could ever want when it comes to books. And the people? Well, let me just say that Thom Anderson is the nicest Community Relations Manager I ™ve ever met. [Love B&N in Highland Village, too!]
But I also love smaller bookstores and when I discovered The Book Carriage in Roanoke, I was thrilled. It's quaint. It's charming. It's small. Which means they don't have everything that I might want, but it also means I am more easily exposed to new things that I might never have found in a big box store.
I happened into The Book Carriage last week and saw a book I ™d heard about on NPR [love NPR–great way to absorb information!]. Here's that story:
What happens when a Muslim, a Jew, and a Christian get together to write a picture book about faith? [No, this is not a joke!]
The answer is that the women find that their intention–to show the commonalities between their faiths–is quickly overshadowed by their misperceptions, prejudices, stereotyped views of each other and their religions.
The picture book project was abandoned. In it's place was born a ˜Faith Club ™. The women met weekly to try to understand each other and their beliefs. A tall order considering the inflammatory nature of differences in religious beliefs.
The women taped their conversations and journaled about them. From the meetings, the tapes, and the writings came The Faith Club [Ballentine, 2006].
I heard these women speak on the radio and was immediately drawn in by their openness. They discussed the difficult subject matter in an honest way. Now, I am new to Texas [11 months now], and one of the first things I noticed was the very dominant Christian view, and the very overt way faith is expressed here. To be honest, it intimidated me. I came from Northern California where views and beliefs are far more diverse and they are expressed much less overtly as a whole. It has taken a while to adjust to that part of life here in North Texas.
The different beliefs represented by the Faith Club women– Rayna Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner–and their desire to seek understanding and see how we are all the same instead of how we are all different was really appealing to me and reinforced the values my husband and I work to instill in our kids [ages 6-16]. We want them to have a global view. We want them not to be tolerant of others ™ views, but to respect them and seek their own understanding from what they are exposed to. The Faith Club, to me, is an opportunity to expand our knowledge and understanding of our fellow humans.
So, besides the simple fact that The Book Carriage is an awesome, new indy bookstore, it is also a place to discover new books which can lead to new conversations and understanding of our world and the people in it.
Misa Ramirez, a former middle and high school teacher, is the author of the Lola Cruz mystery series: Living the Vida Lola (January ™09) and Hasta la Vista, Lola! (2010) from St. Martin's Press Minotaur. Her writing has been in Woman's World Magazine and Romance Writers Report, and she has a children's book published. Visit her web sites: http://misaramirez.com ; http://chasingheroes.com ; http://parentadvocatesforargyleschools.edublogs.org/