i think i was programed from birth to adore reading. With both of my grandmothers being librarians, there was never a lack of literature in my home. As I got older and began to develop my own personal appreciation of art, I found certain novels that pushed through me, and changed who I was as a person. Although I am always searching for a new bound copy of my dreams, it seems like I always go back to the same stories. These are the books that have changed who I am. These are the stories that diagram my life, these are the novels that i can recite every word from every page, the books that are like sex and drugs and raw emotion and life.
1. THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES- RAY BRADBURY
1. THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES- RAY BRADBURY
I remember being assigned this as "Summer Reading" in the 7th grade. I spent that summer on the Eastern Shore with my father, eating oysters and roaming the desolate streets of that island. This story of man's exploration and cultivation became the basis behind the way I perceive the world. This tale of want and need, and imperialism the pain, agony and defeat that comes with starting life, and ending other. The Naming of Names.... There will Come Soft Rains... House if Usher II..... Ray Bradbury and his dark portrayal of the destructive nature of man. This book changed my life.
2. FINNEGAN'S WAKE- JAMES JOYCE
where do i begin. James Joyce, James Joyce. stream of consciousness. this book which has found its way to my bedside many of nights, always leaves me differently. there are times when the utter beauty of dreams and language, and not having to format that to prose overwhelms me. And then there are times where i anger myself at not being born int the 1920 and writing this first. Joyce has truly helped me form my style as a writer, as a dreamer as a nocturnal being. This book has changed my life.
3. CASTING STONES- HELEN CHASIN
I found this book hidden in a poetry section of my high school library. The slip in the back said it hadnt been checked out since 1992. This small, dirty book, with frayed edges and stained paper contains words that i speak everyday. The second book of poetry from this unknown women written in the 1970s, was full of rage and hate, sex and lust and fear, and complete admiration and passion and magic. She sits on the back cover, smoking in her long hair. Inside she breathes life into her strange poetry, written with no form but her own. Poems like "News" and "Perception" felt like they came directly from my heart, through my hands, and onto these pages. To this day I have yet to find another copy, mine worn and beaten from constant love and affection... I love this book. I carry this book in my purse. This book has changed my life.
4. ALICE IN WONDERLAND- CHARLES LUDWIG DODGSON
How naive we are to think that just because there's rabbits, and little girls and a tea parties, that its a children s book. Even as I read this in my youth, I absorbed the underlying currants that this tale of a little girl and her fantasy world had to offer. And then Jefferson Airplane summed it up. This book is actually kind of scary, filled with dark illusions to life in Britain circa 1800s. Charles and his all to demented mind, makes Alice a pawn in his opium induced dreams. One pill makes you bigger, and one pill makes you small.... feed you head. This book changed my life.
5. REST AREA- CLAY MCLEOD CHAPMAN
If you are from Virginia, then im sure you know of this man. I have been in love with Clay since I was in the 10th grade and i sat Indian style in front of his feet and listen to him read aloud his tales of demented love and loss. This man, dressed in a white shirt, khakis and a beard found his way into my heart through my ears. Still after watching him on various stages, set to music, close quarters, face to face, the magic and fear of his words only grows stronger. These short stories ranging in style and texture, all came together over a common good. Shock, mystery and amazement. He twist his tales and bends the lines between what is acceptable fiction and what is deranged reality. Being from Richmond, I feel like everything he writes could, will and has happened in this city. He made me change the way i look at things around me. These streets are filled with the dead and their tales. And Clay just happened to write about it. This book has changed my life.
So many others....so many others....so many others....
these books are changing my life.