I've been reading a lot of Middle East-centric stuff lately, trying to understand more of the world we're in. I think we've talked before about how strange it is that we read so much, like, Japanese lit in IB, but never did anything that would help us understand the issues that were shaping our lives. Like maybe they stuck to choices made sometime around the founding of the program--and the Cold War--and didn't adapt post-2001.
My roommate gave me Mary Doria Russell's Dreamers of the Day for my birthday last year. I've read it once and listened to the audiobook. It's set in 1921, told from the perspective of an American woman who takes a trip to Egypt and ends up making friends with the figureheads engaged in the discussions that would shape the Middle East--Churchill, Lawrence. There were themes in it that would have ignited discussions in Theory of Knowledge, history, world lit... And there we were reading Life of Pi and Thousand Cranes, like it mattered if the tiger existed or what the birthmark symbolized in the face of the world we actually lived in.
But maybe that wasn't the point, exactly. I know I didn't feel mature enough to understand a lot of what we read then. Maybe it just matters that we read a variety of things, so that when we were older we'd still seek out the variety--that we'd engage with current events when we were actually able to affect them?
I just think I might have understood more, been more engaged, with books that made sense in the contemporary global context rather than in a post-1984 world that still thought 1984 was possible.