In an otherwise chaotic life, my wailing wall, my soaking pool, my home has always been a book. There is never a true theme or style that I prefer and I start three times as many books as I finish. My bed is peppered with half read, dog eared books. But as much as any one person or moment has molded who I am, literature as a whole has been my mother, father, and extended family.
I apologize that I have been lazy in writing this part of my blog. I took a much needed journey back home. While I was traveling I read from cover to cover the most lovely book. Divisedero by Micheal Ondjaate. The way this man crafts a symphony of lives, with so much tenderness and reverence, it broke my heart. Every sentence like a declaration of love to the written word. And like so many moments in my life, this book came just when I needed what it had to teach. A reinforcement of the truth.
To honor that experience, I am making a list (incomplete of course) of the books that have effected my world strongly.
*Grapes of Wrath: This is the first book I remember reading. I was in 4th grade and way out of my league. I think I just read the words without stringing them together. I reread it years later and am relieved that I didn’t comprehend it on the first go round.
*Delta of Venus and Fire-Unexpurgated Diaries of Anais Nin : My first forays into erotica. That’s all. Read either of them if you want to get a proper boner.
*Everything by Ayn Rand: This woman changed my view of the world. I don’t know that I would suggest this type of reading to a teenage girl with a growing mind. Things got a little strange for a while.
*Even Cow Girls Get The Blue by Tom Robbins: I still go back and read anything by Robbins whenever life gets heavy. He is a true pagan spirit with a heart of gold. His deft defiance of the rules rocks my world.
*Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller: The story of my meeting this woman is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened, ever, to anybody. More on that later.
*The Cinnamon Shops by Bruno Shultz: A Jew in Hitler’s Germany, he crafted an odd, safe world, where loved ones never quite died, they just changed shape. Beautiful stuff.
*Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie Mcdonald: This one exposed me to the glory of the southern noir. This book is so fleshed out and surprising that I still go back to it and am shocked.
*History of Love by Nicole Krauss: Perfection. I have never seen a woman write in the voice of an old man so damn well. It broke my heart.
*Geek Love by Katherine Dunn: I have no words.
*Disgrace by J.M Coetzee: One of the most spare, quietly disturbing novels I have encountered. His ability to create a world with so few words is unbelievably powerful.
*Three Delays by Charlie Smith: He wrote the most honest book about love that I have ever read. Every sentence stands alone as pure poetry. Pure drunken, insane, poetry.
Speaking of Poetry….
“What matters most is how well you walk through fire.”
“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”
I will add to this as things come back to me. There have been so many books.
“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.
I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography – to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.”