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Between the Shelves: Oct. 12, 2018

Bay Stephens




My worlds are colliding a little this week. In school, the students are learning about nonverbal communication and I am reminded of a professor that I once worked with who spoke of intercultural communication and how nonverbal gestures that might be acceptable in America might not be appropriate in other places. The professor told a story about meeting with a friend of his in the Middle East and sitting with his foot across his knee while they were speaking. Finally the professor’s friend asked him why he was so upset. The professor was confused until his friend told him that it was an insult in his country to show the sole of one’s foot and the only reason one would do so if he or she were upset.

In the library, October is National Diversity Awareness Month. There are so many different people, cultures, languages and perspectives that we can be exposed to through books. We can learn about the experience of South African apartheid through Trevor Noah’s book, “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.” We can read about one woman’s struggle with her identity and the religious beliefs of her family, her experience as a refugee, and her new home in “Infidel: My Life” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. We can gain perspective in a novel about a Chilean woman moving to California during the Gold Rush in Isabel Allende’s “Daughter of Fortune.” The library is full of books that provide new perspectives and experiences for every kind of reader.

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