YOU TURN ME ON, I'M A RADIO
October 30, 2009
This from my latest, now-and-then Blog:
Recently I was invited for an interview on the Carrboro Book Beat, on WCOM-FM 103.5 LP FM - the Community Radio of Carrboro.
Hosts Audrey and Paul made me welcome. We had an enjoyable hour discussing writing, Where the Lake Becomes the River, publishing, the creative process, and immortality.
Of the questions that were asked,
the toughest, for me, was: what three books would you recommend that people read in their lifetimes?
For any serious reader, that's quite a challenge, to narrow decades of reading down to such a small number. I said that since reading choices are so personal, I really couldn't advise people they needed to read certain books, but that the question made me think of what books I had most enjoyed in my lifetime. I realized that the two I'd carried around with me through all the years and locations I'd lived in, were the Bible (New English translation, bought for a college class)--especially the first four books of the New Testament, and Revelation--and the Gia Fu Feng and Jane English translation of the Tao Te Ching, with lovely black and white photographs accompanying the verses.
These two beloved books are dog-eared, battered; their pages are falling out from being opened on tables, desks, washing machines--any level surface-- to act as gentle reminders of a larger spere, when daily life got confusing or overwhelming.
I used to open them at random, to see what would come up. Once an old friend was visiting, and we'd been chatting for hours. I went into the kitchen for a new batch of tea, and opened the Tao at random to read: "High winds do not last all morning...To talk so much is not natural!" Good advice, and made me laugh.
Though from different spiritual traditions, the two books have much in common in their messages of loving kindness, cherishing creation, returning good for evil, learning to trust in divine guidance, and depending on God/the Great Mother for all things.
So I chose these two volumes as personal favorites, but, to answer the question as it was probably intended, began adding some favorite novels, starting with M.M. Kaye's The Far Pavilions, and Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time. The latter novel drew us into an interesting metaphysical discussion, so I was relieved of the duty of adding more "recommended" titles.
Try the question for yourself, and see what books you come up with. It's an interesting exercise--and your answers may surprise you.
For the Carrboro Book Beat interview, download the Podcast on at http://www.carrborobookbeat.com/podcasts/programnotes/090615bettertonriver.htm. (Title quote, above, is from a Joni Mitchell tune.)