Friday, April 6, 2007

Books That Changed A Life

Photographic art © 2005 by Julius Lester

The first contribution to the list of books that changed some one's life comes from GraceAnne Andreassi DeCandido, Ladyhawk, who writes that she "lives in the Bronx, near Woodlawn Cemetery, at the northeast edge of New York City, in a house built in 1911. Coming to you live from The Toybook, her tiny laptop."

"Some time just after college in the early 1970s I read Mary Daly's Beyond God the Father. It completely rearranged all my molecules. I was in the process then of separating myself from the Catholicism of my youth, but it was painful and lonely. It was astonishing to me to find a way to think of God as female, as Mother, as nurturing, as generative.

"Sometimes I think every book I read changes my life in some way. But the only other title that came close to the kind of power Mary Daly's book did was a novel, Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale . It made my city, New York, the heart and center of a magical fantasy; it infused some of that magic into Grand Central Terminal. I go in and out of there often, and I always think of Peter Lake among the stars of its ceiling. It reminds me always that magic is in the very dust of our lives, in our own spaces."


“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” Andre Gide


Eudaemonism (noun) A system of ethics that bases moral value on the likelihood that good actions will produce happiness.


"Alone Herself #3" This is part of a series. I've posted this one before but it seems appropriate for the these reflections on books. The woman is my wife, and the photograph on which the digital art is based was taken outside the Clark Museum in Williamstown, Mass.


You will notice a new link to the right. I gave the afternoon keynote speech at the recent conference on children's literature at the University of Massachusetts. That speech will take you to "Olio", a new website I've started for the occasional speech or essay too long to "publish" here.