My reading has been very eclectic lately (big surprise, huh?) and not all of the books have been great reads. But there does seem to be a larger plan at work here and I saw it come together while reading Mary Doria Russell's CHILDREN OF GOD (CoG) for this month's read-a-long ...
- In CoG there is a character named Joseba who is from the Basque region of Spain. His background is in terrorism and his family had a history of being involved in ETA. Also, he is fluent in Euskara. All this would have meant very little to me had I not recently listened to THE BASQUE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. I didn't particularly enjoy that book but I did learn a great deal from it. That knowledge definitely came in useful here and it helped me to appreciate this character and his unique perspective.
- Another character in CoG is Danny Iron Horse, descendant of the Lakota Sioux tribe and also of Swedish immigrants. Having just finished listening to the amazingness that is BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE and also the highly educational INDIAN CHIEFTAINS AND GREAT HEROES, I understood a great deal about Danny's background and the perspective and prejudices that he brought to the book. The decisions he made near the end of CoG made a stronger impact on me than they had during my previous reading of this book because I now understand more of where he's coming from.
- This last point isn't meaningful as the previous ones, but ... At one point a characters describes someone else's viewpoint as definitely not Panglossian and having recently read Candide I understood that reference. Pangloss was a character to looked on the world with unfailing optimism, always believing that things will work out "for the best, in this best of all possible worlds."