The Nook Project

Adventures in Book Clubbing

A Cake and Coffee Break

March 7, 2024

I really hate wintertime. Not Christmas—that’s the highlight of winter. But once Christmas ends, it can move right on to spring. But where I live, it doesn’t. There’s this long, drawn-out torture season after Christmas, before it starts getting warm. This is when winter becomes unbearable.

This year, to get me and my family through the long, drawn-out torture season, I wanted to try embracing a version of hygge—the Scandinavian tradition of coziness. I was all about the lit candles, tea, and reading a collection of Nordic tales. From the beginning, I wanted my hygge to be about bringing others in, not merely hunker down alone in my house, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to do this. It was on my quest to embrace hygge that I discovered fika (pronounced fai-kuh).

Fika is a Swedish tradition of daily cake and coffee break. Apparently, it’s done every day, whether at home or at work. It sounded delightful. After we learned how to pronounce it properly, I began to do this tradition with my daughter. 

Our first fika was after school one day over a slice of banana chocolate chip cake. Then, I saw that the Rabbit Room’s Northwind Manor hosted a weekly fika where people could come, gather, meet, talk. Survival wasn’t just about hunkering down, it was about bringing others in. And one of my next thoughts was, could I do that? I have a living room. I have a basement for kids to play, or rest. I have an electric kettle (gifted from my Nook ladies at the end of last year), and I have time.


Or maybe, no one would come, and my daughter and I 

would have an entire cake just for us


I was extremely nervous at first, to send out that invite text to the Nook ladies. I wondered if I was doing the right thing, if anyone would even come. But once the idea became lodged in my brain, it grew and grew and would not relent. So, I sent that text and opened my doors to everyone. Anyone in book club who needed somewhere to go, anyone who might be lonely and needed someone to listen.

Or maybe, no one would come, and my daughter and I would have an entire cake just for us (my husband would not have minded that in the slightest). The point was that the women knew they could come. That they were welcome and wanted. That we could survive the rest of winter together. And truth be told, it was as much for me as it was for them.

And so, fika began. Tuesdays at 1pm I would have the kettle hot, a candle lit, a sweet treat laid out, and the door open. Different women came each week, some weeks, no one came, and there were never more than two ladies on any given week. But when no one came, before I moved on and began working on my laptop, I said a prayer for the women in Nook.


 We can’t do everything for everyone, 

but we can do something for someone.


And when women did come, I may have been the one to do the inviting, but I was the one who was blessed by the company. Those ladies helped make the long season before spring enjoyable. It gave me something to look forward to, a sense of community and belonging. And it allowed us to talk outside of book club, to share what’s going on in our lives in a more intimate setting.

We’ve each been given different gifts, different passions, different resources. That’s what makes it so fun. We can’t do everything for everyone, but we can do something for someone. Now that fika season is over and spring is finally upon us, I need to pray about what I can do next with what I have on hand, to figure out my next fika.

What will your fika be?

Mrs. Bennet's Beeswax

January 10, 2024

To use one of Jane Austen’s phrases, it is fairly safe to say that the character of Mrs. Bennet is barely tolerable. She openly brags about her good fortune to others, endlessly complains about her bad fortune to anyone within shouting distance, and shamelessly discusses the advantages of her daughters marrying rich. She’s a social disaster, and I’m embarrassed for her daughter Lizzie every time they share a scene together.

This week at Nook, we were in awe of Jane Austen’s use of wit and hyperbole, in the form of Mrs. Bennet’s social ineptitude, to show us how utterly wrong it is to say horrible things in front of others. In particular, we were outraged on behalf of Mrs. Bennet’s spinster neighbor, Charlotte Lucas:

 

“Did Mrs. Bennet really call Charlotte plain?”

“While Charlotte was standing right there?”

“No one does this! It’s so wrong!”  

 

But Mrs. Bennet is not the only character who lacks decorum and respect for others. Lady Catherine, for example, has no trouble telling Lizzie exactly what she thinks of her ‘lowly’ family, and she does it in the most condescending of ways (best and worst Lady Catherine line: “Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?”)


Ironically, if anyone had a right to meddle, 

it was Mr. Bennet.

 

Other characters say equally horrible things about others when they are not in the room. Caroline Bingley and her sister tease Lizzie the moment she steps away, everything from her family to her dress to her walking habits. And almost no one in the book, including Lizzie, actually minds their own beeswax. Ironically, if anyone had a right to meddle, it was Mr. Bennet. This is one of the comments that stuck out to me most from book club. Mr. Bennet never stands up to his wife, or his empty-headed youngest daughters. Instead, he mocks their antics and uses them for his own personal entertainment. I believe J.K. Rowling said it best: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Bravery that, unfortunately, Mr. Bennet did not possess.

Throughout the story of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen shows us just how important it is to be aware of our own prejudices and to form our own opinions of others. Often, prejudices come from having the wrong information about someone or a group of someones. Sometimes it’s just ignorance—choosing to not seek out correct information. Other times though, we acquire our prejudices from other people, people who speak out of turn about others.
         

Prejudices are often difficult to break once formed, so it’s easiest to guard ourselves from forming them in the first place. It’s not possible to guard against every prejudice, but we can start by walking firmly in the opposite direction when the Lady Catherines, Caroline Bingleys, and Mrs. Bennets of life come to call.

 

Or better yet, we can stand up to the Mrs. Bennets of the world. It might not work—they may always be a Mrs. Bennet—but I spent the entire book wishing that someone—anyone—would stand up to her.

 

Be the hero—tell Mrs. Bennet to mind her own beeswax.

Framing the Novel

November 21, 2023

This month, I experienced the joy that can come with letting go of control (I may or may not have left some claw marks behind…ask me no questions; I’ll tell you no lies).

We are in our third year of Nook. It’s taken a while to get it right, but my co-leader and I have the duties pretty well divided between us. Each month, she brings our opening discussion question, and I frame our novel. I was a history education major, so usually, my framing of the novel involves some kind of history, either setting the scene for the novel’s plot, or providing background information on the author, or a little of both. I keep the framing of the novel to five minutes, maximum.

I enjoy framing the novel. It’s a way for me to use some of my passions and acquired skills that I don’t normally get to use as a stay-at-home mom.

Our group has grown quite a bit from when it first began. In its first year, we had about five to seven women who came consistently. Now, it’s grown to fifteen, give or take a few. That’s fifteen book worms who are just as passionate about books, just as eager to engage with them as myself. At the end of last year, we took suggestions from everyone on books for the following year. One suggestion caught me off guard: that we open up a month or two for guest leaders to select a book and facilitate the discussion.

When I first heard this suggestion, my heart skipped a beat. Relinquish control over the book selection? 

But…
What if…
What if they chose some horrid, overly girly, boring, poorly-written book?
I like being in control over the books we select. That’s my job.
Queue mental crisis.

That is, until my co-leader gently reminded me that, as leaders, it is our job to help cultivate leadership in others.

I used to be a classroom teacher, yet how quickly I forgot this truth! How quickly did I get wrapped up in my passion, my skill set, my control!

So, we decided to open up two of our months to guest leaders. And since we made that decision, I couldn’t have been happier. It was like a giant weight had lifted from my shoulders. It was quite the dramatic turn around. I don’t have to do it all. I don’t have to be in control. There are other women with brilliant ideas, just itching to stretch their wings and fly.

But last month, I took it a step further: I asked another woman to frame the novel. She was the one who had suggested the book at the end of last year, and it was one of her favorites.

And do you know what? She rocked it. I learned so much from her, and I was grateful for her enthusiasm and hard work.

And do you know what else? In the weeks leading up to our meeting, I didn’t have to prepare a thing. I could sit back, read the book, and come ready to discuss, just like everyone else for once. It was the most liberating feeling I’ve had in a long, long while.

And do you know what else? (Come in close for this one, I’d like to whisper my newfound secret): 


I don’t always have to be the one in control.


I think I’ll take a step back from next month as well for our Pride and Prejudice discussion, ask another Jane Austen fan to frame the novel.

The Man Who Was Thursday Takes Off His Mask

October 10, 2023

Gabriel Syme had worn his mask well.

He had the anarchists convinced he was one of them—ready to do whatever was necessary to promote their cause. He had infiltrated their ranks and was off to meet the Big Boss—a man named Sunday. But in reality, Gabriel Syme was an undercover policeman secretly working to dismantle them.

Syme’s work was dangerous. The only proof of his true allegiance came in the form of a blue police card he carried in his pocket, proof that he was indeed not an anarchist. This Anarchist Mask kept him safe and allowed him to do great work. But there came a moment in the story when it was time for Gabriel Syme to take off his Anarchist Mask and reveal who he really was.

If the old man who had been following him, who was now sitting across from him in the tavern was a police officer too, they could work together, and it would no longer be just one man against the world. But if the old man sitting across from him was indeed an anarchist, all hope would be lost. Gabriel Syme would surely die, and his cause would go to ruin.

GK Chesterton’s classic tale got our book club talking about our own masks, the ones we wear to pretend that we’re someone else. Do we ever take off our masks? When is it safe to do so? For whom is it safe to do so? And why is it important?

By the end of our discussion, I came to the conclusion that I wear my masks well.

I wear the Normal Person Mask. 

The one that tells others I’m just like them. But I own a Pemberley sweatshirt and an Evenstar necklace. I’ve named my succulents after Gamora, MJ, Bucky, and Steve Rogers. I prefer to read classic literature over *most* modern books. I’m a dork, and a nerd. But I can pass myself off as a Normal Person most of the time.

I wear the Confidence Mask.

The Baltimore Aquarium has moon jellyfish that they let you touch in their interactive exhibit. My daughter and I had the best time petting these jellies, poking them, watching them float through the water—upside down, right-side up, sideways. Those jellies didn’t have a clue. And most of the time, neither do I. I second guess the right thing to say, how to be a good writer, how to be there for others, how to be a good friend, wife, and mother. Bobbing about life, doing my best, trying to figure it out as I float upside down in the water.

I wear the Put-Together Unbroken I’m Okay Mask.

The one that engages in pleasantries with acquaintances when in reality, I’m dying on the inside. The one that says I don’t need help, I’m independent, thank you very much, when sometimes, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

This particular mask can’t come off around just anybody. It has to be the right person. Someone who’s proven that they care. Someone who will take off theirs too, and we can walk through this life together. But in the end, it has to come off. Truth be told, we’re all a little bit broken. There are just some things in life that we don’t recover from, or we work very hard to recover from, or we’ve healed from but there’s a scar, and we know that we’ll never quite be the same. Perhaps we don’t take off every mask with every person that we meet, but if we never take off our masks, we will never find those people who are on our side.

Find that one person who you can be yourself around and take off the mask. It will give them permission to take off their mask as well. Then, you can be two taking on the world together instead of one. Two is always stronger than one.

At the very least, if one of you flips upside in the jellyfish exhibit, the other can turn you right-side up again.

Dark Stories

May 2, 2023

They’re passed from father to daughter, grandmother to grandson, philosopher to student. From the bard and the troubadour to the tomes and the hieroglyphics, since the Beginning, humanity has sought to preserve the Stories. Sometimes their own stories, sometimes their ancestors’. Because gravestones may record names and dates, but they don’t tell stories, and after enough time has passed, they don’t even record names or dates. 

But is there such a thing as stories that are too dark to share? Too perilous, too painful, too horrific?

As a mother, I often wonder when my four-year-old daughter can handle the dark stories. She’s heard about man’s first steps on the moon, the very first Christmas, and how she had to be taken out of mommy’s tummy by a very skilled surgeon. But my husband and I are planning a trip to Washington DC with her this summer. We want to take her to see breathtaking art, planes and spacecrafts, and the dinosaur display. And I want her to see the monuments carved out for brave men and women.


As a mother, I often wonder when my four-year-old daughter can handle the dark stories.


But when do we tell her why those statues are there? Statues for Martin Luther King, Jr? Or Abraham Lincoln? The Vietnam War? Or, the Holocaust? Because I can’t handle the room of shoes in the Holocaust Museum myself. When do I tell her how dark this world can be?

The truth is: some stories are dark. Not all of them. Some are beautiful. But some are full of humanity’s evil. Of blackness. Of a hell here on earth. And my daughter is safe in our home because of the brave men and women who fight the darkness. Who hold off hell. She’s at the kitchen table coloring butterflies and playing with playdough, with access to clean water and a library full of books. She’s free. She’s unaware how lucky she is.

But I am. I am aware.

The darkness is closer than I even like to admit to myself. Everything good that we’ve built is in this world is so fragile: peace, safety, freedom. It dangles by a thread, and the smallest tug can snap it.


How can my daughter slay the dragons if she grows up thinking dragons are a myth? 


We discussed a quote at Nook this month from Bryan Davis: Never be sorry for raising dragon slayers in a time when there are actual dragons. How can my daughter slay the dragons if she grows up thinking dragons are a myth? And how can she be a light in this world if she knows nothing of the darkness?

So, this morning she and I curled up on the couch in our pj’s and read a book from the library about the Lincoln Memorial. It had pictures and maps. It explained who Lincoln was, and it explained that there was a time in our country’s history when men and women were held captive, forced to work without pay. And it explained that President Lincoln helped to end the despicable practice of slavery. But we still have such a long way to go as a country, and as humanity. A battle that was fought 150 years ago is still being fought today. And how can my daughter be a light in this world, if she knows nothing of the darkness?

That’s why the dark stories must be told. Because they are still relevant. And there is still dragon slaying to be done.


Bombs and Books

April 10, 2023

From the sheltered twilight of my twenty-first century living room, I descended into the depths of a 1939 London underground shelter. Bombs were pelting the surface high above us in a world that was no longer sane. The walls shook; plaster fell into our midst. We coughed in the dust and stifled our sobs, almost choking on the fear of our elusive thoughts: would our homes still be standing in the morning? And, most unbearably, would we still be standing in the morning? One well-placed bomb is all it would take…


But it was there where I met Grace Bennett. She was young. All that she had was a book. All that she gave us were the words, her soft voice delivering them like salvation, taking back the night.

For some context, I’m referring to The Last Bookshop in London, a historical fiction novel by Madeline Martin which happened to be last month’s selection for our Nook book club. A young woman comes to London, chasing her dream of working in a department store at the most inopportune time: just as the city is about to be bombed for eight months by the Nazis. Though I read the last two hundred pages in essentially one sitting, on my sofa by a big window as the room grew dim around me, I’m not here for a book review; I’m here for book club.


During Nook, one of the ladies brought up a compelling passage: when Miss Bennett, who serves the people of London multiple nights a week as an air raid warden by putting out incendiary bomb fires and pulling civilians from the rubble of collapsed buildings, takes a single night off to go dancing with a friend. And whilst dancing below ground with the officers home on leave, the street above is bombed. And Grace is blissfully unaware of it until morning, unable to assist with clean up or the search and rescue because she was dancing the night away. And during Nook, the question was this: when is it okay to dance the night away, and when is it time to get to work?



But what kind of world could this be 

if our first thought was of others?



On the surface, this question didn’t seem difficult at all. Our immediate, collective response was, decisions should be made with balance (as all things should be, to misquote Thanos). Simple, really. When you spend three nights a week working hard and taking care of others, you’re allowed a night of relaxation, escape, and fun. Honestly, how could we even be entertaining such a ridiculous question?


But even on her nights off, Grace Bennet never partied. There was, after all, a war going on.


Grace Bennett spent her nights off in the underground shelter. Not just huddled in the corner with her valuables praying to survive until morning but reading a book to the men and women huddled there with her. Providing hope. A distraction. An escape. Yes, she deserved a break. More than one. Many. But Grace Bennett’s mindset wasn’t on herself; it was on others. And to Grace Bennett, the bombs weren’t necessarily the ones being dropped by the Nazis. There were bombs going off much closer to home: in the minds and hearts of the lonely, desperate, terrified souls around her. And the bombs of anxiety, fear, and depression can do irreparable damage, damage that requires a whole lot of clean up.



Why do we wait for wartime to come together as a community? To sacrificially love one another? 

Because there is a war raging, right now. Abroad, in our own communities, in our homes, and in our minds.



This isn’t to say we don’t need respites. We do. Certainly. Enough of them to keep us functioning. Speaking as both an introvert and a mother to a toddler, I understand the necessity of rest just about as well as anyone. But I would argue that there comes a time when the balance tips: when our first thought is of ourselves. But what kind of world could this be if our first thought was of others?


By the end of Nook, I was asking myself, what am I doing with my time? With my resources? And why do we wait for wartime to come together as a community? To sacrificially love one another? Because there is a war raging, right now. Abroad, in our own communities, in our homes, and in our minds. Men, women, and children need refuge from danger, a safe place to lay their heads. There are children going to bed tonight without enough food in their bellies; some of them are our neighbors. The number of people turning to narcotics to numb the pain is growing at a staggering rate, people who think no one cares. Who are believing the lies inside that tell them they’re not good enough, that they don’t belong here, and that no one would miss them if they were to disappear. These are bombs. And their damage is unmeasurable. Sometimes, irreparable.


When the bombs were going off, all Grace Bennett had was a book in her hand. And that book made all the difference.


What are the bombs going off around you? 

And what is your book?

Little Women, Revisited

March 13, 2023

For a while, I was haunted by Beth.


Not because she was young and kind, and died. Not because her scarlet fever was contracted in service to destitute neighbors, and it should have been Meg’s turn to serve. Not because old Mr. Laurence had found again, in this dear little soul who loved the piano, the daughter he’d once lost. But because once upon a time, I had book club with three good friends, had christened one of them ‘Beth’ and then, she was gone.


Skip ahead a few chapters to the present. While musing over book selections for the upcoming season of Nook, my co-leader suggested we read Little Women. I knew it was a brilliant suggestion, first and foremost because its opening chapters are set at Christmastime, allowing us to be the thematic nerds that we are by also reading the book at Christmastime. But it would mean a Revisiting. And all I could think about was my last book club, and my friend, Beth. I hadn’t revisited the book since. And I wasn’t sure that I could.


I sincerely worried that I would forever only see BETH in each page of Louisa May Alcott’s great work.


Beth was ever before me. Her face, her name, her ghost (which, would probably please her to a certain degree, as she was quite fond of ghosts). Little Women was Beth’s book. Our book. We’d finished it together, over Zoom in the cold, lonely days of a socially distanced December. And as the appointed time for the Revisiting drew nearer, there seemed to be no remedy. It was as if Beth was there with me, every time I stared at my bookshelf, knowing I would be taking our book down soon. I sincerely worried that I would forever only see BETH in each page of Louisa May Alcott’s great work.


December did arrive, and down the book came. In the end, my worries proved to be unfounded, for along with the Revisiting came something I had not fully taken into account: new memories. A figgy pudding glowing in the light of blazing brandy, exquisite macarons dressed in their Christmas best, a cup of cranberry tea, and a cozy hearth surrounded by friendly faces. Laughing about Jo and Amy’s feud. Weeping over Marmee’s honesty. Lamenting poor Beth. One comment in particular struck me that night: Of course, Beth is going to die, she was too perfect. She had no flaws. And of course, they were right. Beth was perfect. Written by an author who was mourning her own beloved sister. The eyes of the soul cannot see clearly in the midst of grief. Grief lives in absolutes. Either perfection or inadequacy, demonized or memorialized. Never both. Never balanced. Never truth.


If we allow ourselves to bring Life to the revisiting, something new to hold onto, then it is in the revisiting that we can banish the ghost of yesterday and gain a hope for tomorrow.


My old memories of Little Women are still there underneath, just a bit cloudier. Murkier. Not as raw and vivid. Time doesn’t necessarily do the healing, as the adage implies, or even banish the ghost entirely. But over time, you come to find that healing comes. That the ghost haunts less and less. When you refuse to build a home in the quagmire of the past, revisiting a time of pain again and again without bringing anything new to the revisiting. But, if we allow ourselves to bring Life to the revisiting, something new to hold onto, then it is in the revisiting that we can banish the ghost of yesterday and gain a hope for tomorrow.


I am grateful that Jo’s story didn’t end with Beth’s. Their stories were intertwined for a time, but Jo allowed herself to make new memories while never forgetting to honor the old ones. This year, I sing the words of Robert Burns with a full heart: “we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne,” thanking Beth for all that was, and thanking all my Nook sisters who made Little Women, revisited, a remedy.

Enter into the Nook

January 20, 2023

I first started Nook as a way to survive.

Where I used to teach, we had a special week once a year called M-term. Every spring, all the teachers would put aside their usual curriculum and offer an enrichment course, usually tapping into some hidden talent or hobby of theirs. For example, one offered sewing. Another, filmmaking. The students really seemed to enjoy it. But I began to panic as I spun my wheels, wondering what I was going to offer the students for M-term. What was my special, sharable hobby? I couldn’t take them kayaking, or steam figgy pudding with them in the cafeteria, or traipse around Gettysburg battlefields for a week. So, instead we created a simple book club and called it Nook.

Students from all secondary grade levels, who loved books just as much as me, gathered in a circle on the floor in my classroom, brought their favorite book and a pillow, some snacks, and we read together. We survived M-term doing the thing we loved most. The thing that made us feel safe. And for that week, we were a family.

Cue 2020. I was no longer a teacher but rather a stay-at-home mom to a 15-month-old. Lockdowns. Shortages. Zoom calls. New, strange words like socially distanced and community spread. No organic connections. No hugs from friends. Again, we needed to survive. So, we started a book club, me and my three good friends. We socially distanced around a fire, took turns picking the book, and all brought questions to discuss. We even had formal club rules like no pre-book club discussions and no reading ahead. And we had snacks. Lots of snacks. Bonus points if they related to the book somehow.           

As the pandemic evolved, the meaning of book club in my life has continued to deepen. Early last year, my friend and I began our own book club together, just she and I. Mint chocolate chip ice cream eventually became our unofficial third member. Then in the fall, we started a book club, together. It meets in various living rooms with ten or so other book-loving sisters, and we called it Nook.


We socially distanced around a fire, took turns picking the book, and all brought questions to discuss. 


What is Nook?

First, what Nook is not.

Nook isn’t cute. It’s not for gimmicks. It’s not to have somewhere to go, or to sip tea, or to pretend that your opinion has any relevance over the words that someone else has chiseled into the page with their own lifeblood.

Nook is not a chance to talk and talk and talk and talk about yourself, then go home and realize you haven’t learned anything new about the world, or your fellow woman. Learning comes from closing your mouth, and from listening.

Nook is where sisterhoods form. Secrets, scars, promises, fears, ghosts, all made and unmade.

Nook is unbreakable bonds. That even when you step out from your Nook and say farewell, you’ve signed your names onto each other’s hearts. You see the characters you’ve met along the way as part of the sisterhood as well, and every time you revisit them in their book, you see your sisters’ faces, too.

Nook is freedom. Truth is spoken. Chains are broken. When you open up, when you let go, when you realize that we’re all the same inside. When you understand that all of humanity cries in the same tears. There is no room for fear.

Nook is so much more than the book you decide to read, or where you meet, or what you eat. It’s more about what you bring to the table and what you leave behind. Bring yourself. Bring all of you. Everything. Even the parts you’re ashamed of. Especially those. Bring the things you’re too afraid for anyone to see. If you won’t bring them, then you’ll never experience the freedom that comes from opening their cages. When you can lay your head down on your pillow at night and know that you are known, and loved, for who you really are. Not what you let them see. And you love others the same way.

       

 Bring yourself. Bring all of you. Everything. Even the parts you’re ashamed of. Especially those. Bring the things you’re too afraid for anyone to see.

       

Each of my Nooks have been different from the last, each one priceless. And each one will forever leave its own indelible signature on my heart. Nook is where I confessed the prison of my eating disorder, entrusting it to my sisters’ care. It is where I admitted the trauma of my emergency c-section and that trauma’s ripple effect on the future growth of my family. It is where I learned to listen, the kind of listening that grows eyes, x-ray vision eyes that see into a person’s soul. It is where I learned that every person is haunted by some part of their past, and that healing comes, slowly. It is where I learned that all have sinned, that my sin is no prettier than another’s, and where I asked myself if I really, truly believed it.

Books have always been magic, their own self-contained, all-encompassing Nook. Any kid hiding under her sheets with a flashlight, telling herself, just one more page. Any lonely soul on a crowded bus. Anyone who can go on an adventure to anywhere from their mind without money, ticket, or passport. They’ll all testify.

There was a time when I thought that reading a book was a solitary activity. I have been escaping into the books my entire life, on my own personal quest for survival. Reading may be solitary, but books, if we let them, can create a fellowship, a community, that help us do much, much more than simply survive. 

If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, then grab a few friends. Or strangers. A book. Bring questions. Bring compassion. Bring an open mind. Bring an ear that is ready to listen to another side, another culture, another perspective. And enter into the Nook.

You may not recognize yourself when you leave it.