December 30, 2014
Writing Prompt: Seven Books which have most influenced me
Make a list of the seven books that have had the greatest influence on your life-not necessarily your favorites or those with the most beautiful language-but rather, seven books that came along at a time when their message had a significant influence on your life. Write a line or two about each book, explaining why it had such a profound effect on you. Often this is more a matter of when you are exposed to a particular work than the work itself. It’s okay if a number of the books on your list come from one particular period of your life. And it’s fine if the books you choose are not as significant to you today as they were in the past. Feel free to include fiction, nonfiction, self-help, poetry, or inspirational books.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl. In the concentration camp, having lost his family, his life as a teacher and scholar, his outer dignity, Frankl kept his mind active writing a book about a new type of talk therapy. After his release, he set out to publish the book and to help many others to find health. His point was that if you had something to live for, you had a better chance at survival even in the camps.
Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Estes. I loved the application of the archetypes of women in her fantastic anthropologic exploration of the many aspects of a woman.
Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, The poet writes to a young soldier who must keep his vocation as a poet secret. Advice of Rilke is gorgeous.
Courage to Heal, Laura Davis, Ellen Bass. This book caused me to believe in myself, in hope, in healing…. Yes, it took years to work through, but it is a treasure.
11/22/63, Stephen King. The classic author of our time writes another book. I wondered what his edge would be and it is time travel. What would happen if you went back and changes history enough to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Exciting; a bit predictable. However, it builds hope that somehow that terrible event that scarred us as young people could be erased from history.
The Incredible Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloop. When Henrietta, a poor black woman, finally saw the doctor she was determined to have cervical cancer. The treatment was rough back in the 1950s; she did not survive very long. The reason I love the story is that it tells the truth. Henrietta’s cancer cells miraculously multiplied and therefore were used to develop vaccines that helped millions. She, however, as a black woman, a victim of illiteracy and discrimination, was not told about this discovery, nor was her family remunerated in any way. The twist is that Henrietta was not afraid of the pain of cancer but of the possibility of not being able to have more children. The doctors never told her she was no longer able to have children.
The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox. Highlights the abuses of power in the R.C. Church through the silencing of teachers, writers, priests, nuns by a Pope who used to be the 10th century equivalent of the Inquisitor. Sad, tragic, tale of the silence of voices in conversation, acquiescence to totally male hierarchy, lack of women in authority, dismantling of women’s groups. Over 100 authorized theologians, writers are silenced, including the author.
The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen. This is about caregivers, healers, such as ministers, nuns, etc. The point is that in order to help others we need to take care of our self, bind and attend to our own wounded-ness, in order to help others. Read this many times …. This is a mantra with my friends…. Take care of yourself!