Is there a book or author that changed your world view?
So, I have grown up in a mostly post-Cold War era... I mean, the Cold War was still going on when I was in school, but Gorbachev had already come to power by the time I was in the 5th grade and politically things were moving towards a better peace between the US and the USSR.
By the time I was in the 7th grade, Hussein had invaded Kuwait and we had a new enemy... the Middle East. Not just Hussein, the crazed dictator... the entire Middle East and all of its desert dwelling Muslims. Yep... that's the culture of fear I grew up under.
Whenever I thought of the Middle East (and Afghanistan and Pakistan which are, technically, part of Asia)... I thought of people in turbans with machine guns living in nomadic dwellings in a desert wasteland that was covered with sand and dust and rocks... and nothing else... I'm ashamed to admit that this impression of that "other" part of the world lasted all the way through college!!!
It wasn't like I had never been to the Middle East. I visited Israel with my parents when I was in high school (and again later, after the world view change, thankfully). I ate the fruit and looked at the archaeological sites. And somehow my brain always reset to deserts and machine guns and turbans (there were quite a few machine guns present wherever I happened to look in Israel, granted...).
After college, I moved to LA from my little hometown in Georgia. That move in and of itself began to change my world view. So many cultures directly impacting each other! LA is a place like no other for learning about and experiencing the World right in your own back yard. I miss it...
One friend that I made while I was in LA shared my love of reading, and would exchange books with me frequently. She pulled me out of my world of Arthur and the classics and into the world of best sellers. I can't say I was entirely happy about this, but I was willing to give the books she recommended a try.
One of those books was "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. An amazing story of the friendship of two boys... so poignant and moving and... hold on... Afghanistan has loquat trees???
That book opened my eyes to the beauty and vibrancy of a region that it had never occurred to me to think of as beautiful or vibrant... and it opened my eyes to the horror that war can wreak on a landscape or a culture... and it reminded me that this world is bigger than my perception of it... I can only hope that those ideas are reflected in the way I interact with the world now and in the future.