One simple and painless way for me to practice curiosity is to read a new book, especially when that book is on a topic I know next to nothing about. In this case, I bought J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy for travel reading and to try to understand more about life in the U.S.A. That is, I feel quite in touch with my little corner of New England, but it’s a biiiiig country. In some ways I found it an easy read because it was simply so interesting, a detailed and personal look at a world I could not have imagined. In other ways it was a test. Parts of it are very painful to someone like me had a very sheltered early life. All part of the curiosity quest, though.
For those of you who haven’t heard of the book, it is J.D. Vance’s memoirs of growing up in the Rust Belt in what he himself calls a hillbilly family, surviving a mother who is a drug addict and serial monogamist (at the end of the book he is helping her through divorce #6), where family members typically take law enforcement into their own hands, and where, but for the enduring support of his grandparents and a few others, he could have been lost. Instead he is a Yale Law School graduate, happily married man, human to two dogs he loves, and a principal at a investment firm.