Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stirring the Writer

I read emily's post yesterday and it made me think about my own list. What books have impacted me the most in my life and writing? It's a risk putting it out there. A friend of mine just had his list of life affirming songs maligned by a reader, so I recognize the danger in this. 

For good or ill, my 10 would look like this (today): 

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
:: first published in 1975, Godden tells the story of a business woman who gives it all up for the cloistered life. It gave me a picture of religious life from the outside looking in, and made me appreciate a concept that had been scorned in my childhood.

The Poison Wood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
:: although not a missionary's child, I found my family in this book. My father is a minister and interestingly my older sister and I both read this book at different times, and both told our father he had to read it. 

Anna's Book by Ruth Rendell
:: I love a good mystery and this one is so wonderfully convoluted and filled with familial angst and passion that I've read it numerous times.

John Chancellor Makes Me Cry by Anne Rivers Siddon
:: Siddon is a Southern novelist, but this collection of essays made me realize how much I like the genre. Her collection of memoirs from her life made me realize how the ordinary is extraordinary.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
:: I don't recall reading this as a child. I read it for a college class on children's literature and was found in the line "When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

Keeping House by Margaret Peterson
:: spirituality and housekeeping -- a blending I had been looking for my entire life.

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor
:: the struggle we all have in blending corporate religion and our own personal relationship with God. It was a revelation to find I was not only not alone, but rather part of a large contingency of Christians.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
:: fiction that I had to read with a pen in hand. So much underlined and starred! I was so intrigued and caught up in the story, that I never saw the truth until it was forced upon me.

Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman
:: the first (and maybe only) book to help me make sense of my PTSD/abuse issues. Perhaps it is the incredibly readable yet totally intellectual writing that pulled me in and gave me comfort.

The Feast by Joshua Graves
:: "To imagine what it would be like for things on earth to be as they are in heaven". Maybe it's radical Christianity, maybe it's just Christianity, but it was such a relief to see it in writing and allow myself to be challenged.

For good or ill, there they are -- with the realization that the list could be altered tomorrow. These are the books that have stirred my longing to write.

How about you?

1 comment:

  1. One of the pivotal influences for me is Madeleine L'Engle who writes about being a writer. The insights she shared about her life encouraged the acceptance of my dreams, desires and hopes. Away I went... (I have not published a book, but I certainly write just because I cannot NOT write!)

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