Michelle spoke about an acclaimed book called Educated by Tara Westover. The book is a memoir detailing Westover’s Mormon upbringing in Idaho. Her father is a fundamentalist and does not trust schools or anything imposed by the government. Her mother is a local healer. Her brother brutalizes her. It’s not a pretty story. In spite of all this, Westover understands that her family’s ideals do not correspond to her own. She finds solace in education, something that had been denied to her but which she later actively pursued, ending up as a Ph.D. holder from Cambridge. Her story talks about a US that is denied education and is okay with it.
“When I read the book, it hit me how much upbringing counts as it influences the very choices we make,” Michelle said.
“Choices, numberless as grains of sand, had layered and compressed, coalescing into sediment, then into rock, until all was set in stone.”
“I was also inspired to start journaling to make sense of things. Tara doubted herself but it was her journals that showed her that she was not to be blamed. Something was wrong with the world she was made to grow up in. Some more quotes that Michelle read out:
“There’s a world out there, Tara,” he said. “And it will look a lot different once Dad is no longer whispering his view of it in your ear.”
“I could trust myself: That there was something in me, something like what was in the prophets, and that it was not male or female, not old or young; a kind of worth that was inherent and unshakable.”
Watch this conversation between Bill Gates and Tara Westover (recipient of the Gates Scholarship): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7Y6Udf_Nzo.
Sticking to the non-fiction theme, Shanina from the Netherlands spoke about the books that she liked- Atomic Habits, The Alchemist, The Power of Now and others. The book she wanted to share, however, was none of these. It was a light book she had read a year ago by the inspiring Shonda Rimes, an American television producer, television and film writer, and author best known as creator of the television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal.
Shanina chose to talk about Rhime’s very personal book called Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person.
It’s hard to believe that Shonda Rhimes is an introvert who would say no to everything but that was why she took up the challenge of starting to yes, even when she was scared. She worked hard to pull herself out of her comfort zone.
“I love the way she writes, as though she is talking to me,” Shanina said. “It inspires you to say yes to a lot of things you weren’t brave enough to say yes to before.”
Watch Rhimes’ Ted Talk on saying yes.
More books in Part 4.