I’ve perused my fair share of required texts in my lifetime: an English major in college (and later English teacher in life), and then a theology major in grad school, let’s just say I never lacked for want of a book to read. And now that school isn’t a part of my everyday, when I pick up a book, I don’t necessarily want my brain to hurt. I want my eyes to relax in wonder at the words before them, and I want to give my imagination time and space to soar.
So, for the most part, I delight in the fancies of fiction; I become enveloped in the stories of that delightful Anne of Green Gables, and I wonder bemusedly at the lives of Sue Monk Kidd’s created characters in The Invention of Wings. My fingers leap over the pages of various memoir writers, and I take note at the strength of their storytelling skills: yes, yes, do this, mirror this, echo this in your own writing, Cara. And the journey in Feel-Good reading continues, and really, I don’t feel that bad about my choice- but then I wonder, is there more to read?
It’s then that a book like The Locust Effect crosses my path.
It all starts with a feeling of intrigue: we’re intrigued by world-changer Gary Haugen, and we believe in the organization he founded, IJM. We’ve been to their banquets, and we’ve written checks in support of the work – because we too have seen and experienced injustice, and deep within our souls, we’ve felt and believed and cried out for someone to make right that which has gone so fearfully wrong. We’ve seen child trafficking on the streets of Bangkok, and we’ve smelled overrun sewage waste stream freely through the slums of Tijuana. But it’s through the stories, in the forever-images that don’t dare leave our minds, we realize we’ve been changed.
And once we’ve been ushered into this change, we can’t go back.
We shouldn’t go back.
We won’t go back.
The Locust Effect is not for the faint of heart – but it is for the hopeful of heart. The stories Haugen (with co-author Victor Boutros) tell are haunting, to say the least, because while great strides have been made in the fight against poverty, violence still exists and pervades and infects the world’s poor. And “…if we do not decisively address the plague of everyday violence that swarms over the common poor in the developing world, the poor will not be able to thrive and achieve their dreams – ever” (98).
Because if we’re ignoring the blatant, underlying problem of violence in the 3rd world, then we’re making a mockery of our brothers and sisters, of our family in the developing world. Let us become educated so we might help alleviate the shame, the wrong-doing, and the injustice that exists for the men, women and children, for the widows and orphans, whose value exceeds a monetary value, even if they’re by all means and definitions, poverty-stricken.
So, will you join me?
Will you join me in reading a book that I don’t always want to read, but that I need to read?
Here are some options for you:
1. Buy the book – through Saturday, for every book purchased, a generous donor will give $20 per book (now up to $80,000!) towards the fight against violence in the third world.
2. Watch this three-minute video. Be changed.
3. If you’re in the Bay Area, join me at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park next Monday, February 17th to hear the author do a reading and present his thoughts. Yes, yes!
4. Finally, I’m giving away ONE copy of The Locust Effect – to win a hardbound edition of the book, simply leave a comment below. Contest runs until Monday, February 10th, 6 pm (PST).
Let’s be world-changers, together.
PICKED BY THE HANDS OF CANCAN HIMSELF, THE WINNER IS…
(Ash, email me your address – thanks!)