Biographies! Just Biographies.
What is human resilience? The term keeps coming up in different contexts - mental health, climate change, social welfare. In fact Toronto has its own resilience office. It isn't always easy to predict the qualities that guarantee resilience. How do you build it into a human being, a city, a society? The elements that make resilience are elusive, but if I were to guess, I think I'd include flexibility or adaptability, a strong sense of identity, purpose, connection to others . . .
But I still marvel at the way some people and some social systems seem to have resilience and staying power despite little evidence of good grounding in these qualities, so maybe my guesses are bad - or at least inadequate.
There is a book about an Olympic runner and World War 2 flyer, Louis Zamperini, whose life doesn't seem to start well. Laura Hillenbrand, the author of the book Unbroken, tells us that Zamperini was in trouble from the time he was a small boy. But with support from his family, some hard work to try to be good at something (maybe these things are more important?) he becomes a world-class runner. When World War 2 breaks out, Zamperini enlists in the air force. The biography is about the extraordinary series of events, the extraordinary suffering and privation that Zamperini was able to endure and triumph over.
A group of biography fans will be gathering on December 13, in the afternoon, to discuss the book and maybe see if we can make some sense of this:
Dec. 13, 2019, 2-3:30 pm
Discussion Room, 3rd Floor
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St.
For some other reading on resilience ...