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So there is bibliotherapy of the kind which is supposed to fix your problems and then there is bibliotherapy of the sort that gives you comfort and makes you think hard about things.

Last week Jenny at Reading the End posted about Nonfiction November and I commented that I wanted to read Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark but it was checked out at the library and there was the start of a holds queue for it. Then, in a wonderful turn of events, Jenny later tweeted me that Haymarket Books had made digital copies of Solnit’s book available for free for a limited time.

Oh Jenny and Haymarket, I love you both!

I downloaded the book and started reading it today and promptly got all teary-eyed on the train as I read because so many feelings. I want to quote things at you but I will just give you this one passage to tease you and encourage you and get you thinking and maybe read the book too:

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.

And as if to prove her point, someone I know who has never been especially interested in climate change was suddenly despairing about global warming and the future of the planet for her young children. She asked me what she could do and we had a fantastic conversation about it. We also talked about hope. Just yesterday I never would have imagined this. It made my little flame of hope burn just a bit brighter.

Hope in the Dark is no longer free, but if you need some bibliotherapy, I highly recommend Solint’s book. You’ll hear more about it when I am finished unless I can’t help myself and throw another quote at you. Or two or three or…

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