Polly Moreland takes readers on a journey exploring bravery. She calls us Timid Souls, and we are welcome with her as she travels England and the US and other parts of the world interviewing and discussing bravery with brave people. She did not try stunts--like doing brave things herself (thank you!). Instead she examined courage and bravery from many many angles: approaching death, facing war, facing animals, acting courageously in sudden spontaneous life threatening situations, leaving war, and even criminality. And the ultimate in bravery--taking stands on moral issues. Civil rights leaders? Non-violent protesters?
She writes the book from the prospective of a non-brave person trying to understand what it means to be courageous. Some of the interesting questions she considers are: Can you be brave if you have no fear? Can the 9/11 hijackers be considered brave? What about animals? Can our pets be brave? Performers? She interviews dying men, men who ran away from war, people who stand up to criminals, matadors, the parents of a women who died fighting a fire, and a man who marched with Martin Luther King.
Her discussion of the subject was compelling, fun to read, and it had a small light hearted touch which hinged on the whole idea of a timid soul society. We all are rather timid souls, in search of lessons on how to be brave as the group that gave the book its title were called. Some classical musicians around 1942 formed a society for timid souls whose sole mission was to overcome stage fright. So we, like they, are part of this quest. We go along and investagte this phenomenmon with her.
It was slow going at times, but thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of stories to ponder and ideas about courage. If the topic interests you, it is worth having a look at. Due out this summer. I have this early erview copy if you want to borrow it.
Just a few words about this celebrity memoir written by spiritual guru and actor Shirley MacLaine. It is part of my summer long reading list involving books by pilgrims who have taken the famed Santiago de Compostela--the pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James that I blogged about a few weeks back.
I think about a third of the book was dedicated to how she dodged reporters and paparazzi once they discovered who she was and what she was doing. Another third was dedicated to the mechanics and rigors of the trail and the remaining third was a detailed account of an on-going and recurring vision she had at various points on the trail. Some guy from a prior life kept appearing to her.
It all seemed a little crazy and whacked out to me. The most interesting part was how she avoided the media and the fact that she did it at age 60+, so I felt like there was some hope of me getting it done someday.