One of my knitting groups has started a book club and it’s been a very good thing for me. First of all, it’s getting me to read. Since I spend my whole day writing and reading insurance technology documents, by the end of the day I sometimes get lazy and find it easier to simply watch TV, even though I’ve never been much of a TV person.
It’s also causing me to stretch my genres, to read things that would normally be out of character for me, and making me think about topics I might otherwise avoid.
This month, we are reading Children of Men by P.D. James. She’s one of my favorite authors but I’ve always been afraid of reading this book because I had heard it was very dark. I promise not to include any spoilers here but will give you a bit of the plot so you can follow my point. In Children of Men, the human race has stopped reproducing. No one really knows why, despite lots of medical science being devoted to the topic. At the time that the book begins, the last generation of babies ever born in the world are now young adults and society is poised for the end of humans on earth.
It’s an interesting thought, the end of humans on the earth. Despite mankind’s infertility, other animals are reproducing just fine, so as society declines, the animals will take back the earth and wilderness will again prevail. But the other topic this book explores is what happens in a society where there is no future.
If you think about it, so much of our daily thought process and the workings of our society are centered around the legacy that we will leave. We assume that there will be people coming after us, and to some extent, the awareness of our impact on history governs our behavior. (Of course, there have been some notable exceptions, like Nazi Germany, the subject of our book club selection last month).
It makes me wonder how I would personally behave if put to the test in this way. I like to think that I’d continue to do the right thing, continue to try to be eco-friendly and minimize my impact on the earth, and that I’d continue to be kind and thoughtful to the people around me. But not having been in this situation, I’ll probably never know.
It’s always a good thing, I’d suggest, to take a look not only at our behavior but also our motivations. I found this book interesting in that way, less about what it has to say than about what it makes me think about. And, of course, I’m only halfway through with the book so my conclusions might be much different at the end.
I hope you’re reading something interesting too. If so, please let me know in the comments what it is so I can read it too.