the books that bring us together

Thanks for the comments last week, all. It was yet another reminder that literature is a great unifier. The shared experience is so important for me as a way to connect that my reading list is, in part, cued and re-cued as people talk to me about favorite writers and books–novels, histories, biographies. (Sadly, however, I will likely be left out of Tolkien and Rowling discussions forever. It may be the best of fantasy fiction, but it ain’t for me. If you knew you didn’t like peanut butter and mayo sandwiches without ever tasting one, would you change your mind if it was all-natural peanut butter and homemade mayo?)

I received several hearty endorsements after last week’s post. Though I have confidence in my ability to write–and have been grilled and had my writing dissected more than a few times in the writing workshops of grad school–, on my shoulder sits the constant nagging of Doubt. So against that little devil, the backing from readers is a great fortitude.

Some people also reminded me of books I liked in my youth that I neglected to mention. What about Hatchet? How about My Side of the Mountain? Or the Narnia books? (I only read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe but as an undergrad studied C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces; it, and Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces, were key in helping me understand the universality of mythic themes in literature from everywhere on Earth).

Joseph Campbell

A fellow stepchild of the DeKalb, IL corn (Erin Sherrill) told me that she filled her journals with drawings instead of writing and got her grade docked. I think that’s a damned travesty, especially if it still engaged her reactions to reading and/or the world around her.

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