By Christopher DiRaddo
Given the state of the world today, it’s important to look to the future. To look for guidance. To ask ourselves how we got here and how we can make the world a better place.
Ever so often, I look at the titles on my bookshelf for inspiration. I don’t place my books in any order on purpose. I prefer to randomly scan the shelves to see what jumps out at me, and for this assignment three titles did – three non-fiction books by queer Canadian writers who all reflect upon the world we live in and how it radically needs to change.
All books are available in e-book format.
I Hope We Choose Love by Kai Cheng Thom
It’s hard not to think of Kai Cheng Thom as an oracle while reading the introduction to this book published only last year, but the author of this collection of personal essays and poetry could see the danger on the horizon. She knew how fragile the structures were that we had come to build our society and lives on. Thom calls herself a “Priestess of the Old Religion,” and in her work I do see the writings of a spiritual leader. These essays are brave and honest in their critique of the contemporary world, questioning why we as queer people can sometimes be our own enemy. With great clarity and personal wit, Thom identifies the barriers to togetherness that she has witnessed in her time as both a social worker and trans rights activist. And throughout, she asks us to have hope, and choose love above all.
Age of Union by Dax Dasilva
Many of you might recognize Dax Dasilva’s face from the business section. He is the founder and CEO of Lightspeed, a Canadian tech unicorn which has seen enormous growth and success in the last few years. In 2015, when his ship began to rise, he brought his community up with him, founding Never Apart, a non-profit organization determined to bring about social change and spiritual awareness through cultural programming. Dasilva and Never Apart have been very generous to me over the years, providing me with a space to present literary events and promote reading. It was no surprise to me then, when Dasilva published his own book last year. Age of Union is a rallying cry to ignite the changemaker within. He does this by identifying what he calls the “pillars of unseparation” and sharing his own personal experiences as both the founder of an extremely successful global company and an important and beloved cultural centre. The book is an engaging and inspiring call for leadership, spirituality, togetherness and environmental guardianship in today’s divisive world.
Dax Dasilva has recently made his book free for download for those looking for ways to make the world a better place. You can get your own copy at ageofunion.com.
Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris
Although this book questions our obsessive need for virtual connections (which have proven to be essential of late), Harris’s book does allow us to appreciate the value of being alone. Since the invention of the internet, our brains have become hardwired to depend on the stimulus we get from being constantly connected. In Solitude, Harris invites us to consider at the art of being alone. It’s only when we are truly by ourselves, sitting with our own thoughts, that we truly discover who we are. Harris is also the author of The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection, and between these two books we are presented with the radical idea of creating a new world where we no longer fear, but celebrate and enjoy, our time alone.