I love reading. I find reading engaging and thought provoking and I want to push my reading repertoire beyond my usual go-tos. This year I want to read more and share more of what I'm reading.
This week (in 2 days) I started and finished The Priority List by David Menasche.
David is a high school English teacher. David is one of those rare people who is doing something he is completely passionate about. Teaching is not a job for him it's a passion and a privilege. When, at 34 he is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer he continues teaching. In fact he doesn't miss a day of teaching even during chemo and radiation treatment.
Finally he collapses and loses 80% of his sight. At this point he is faced with the devastation of losing his ability to teach - the very thing that gives him reason to live. So, he embarks on a journey to become the learner. Crossing the states he catches up with students he has taught to see if what he has done has had impact.
The book is much more than a memoir it's a legacy of how one person doing what the love can inspire and encourage others to do the same. I feel like this book was a really timely read for me. In the book he talks about some of the important lessons he taught and modelled in his classroom. One of these was about being truthful, "over the years, I'd witnessed the benefits of openness in the classroom and how it gave the students a sense of liberation they couldn't have if they were living inauthentic lives" p.20. I love this statement the power of shame keeps us so trapped from our potential. This kind of real authenticity and honesty is something I want for myself.
Another part of the book that struck a real chord with me was the idea of actually finding your passion and pursuing it. "Why hope that money would bring my kids happiness, when it was feasible for their happiness to earn them money instead?" p.158. That whole concept of asking yourself if you had no reason to work, i.e financially you had no needs, what would you do with your time? is such a wonderful challenge. As I enter a phase of having more time and opportunity to pursue things I am holding this treasure and asking myself frequently what I would do.
I found this book very readable it runs like a conversation and holds some beautiful moments where people truly connect and impact each other as well as some life truths that are challenging as well.
This isn't a book about cancer and cancer treatment. It's a book about life, finding your passion and sucking the life out of every day you are given. It's David's story, and there are decisions he makes and advice he gives that might not be everyone's style but they are his and I think that is the message I loved so much. Be bold, live your journey. It's positive and beautiful. It came out in January but you can find it for sale at your usual online choices or if you're not so financial how about recommending your library get a copy?
Want more info?
PUBLISHED: 29th January 2014
IMPRINT: Allen & Unwin
CATEGORY: Memoir Extent: PB 240pp RRP: $27.99 (AUS) EBOOK: Yes
I am grateful to Allen & Unwin for sending me this great book to review.
love you more than a good read and couch time xxx