I have been reading through “My Ideal Bookshelf,” a collection of essays by a hundred cultural leaders about the books that have helped them to realize their dreams and define themselves. One of my favorites is by Roseanne Cash, musician and writer. Roseanne writes, “I think books find their way to you when you need them. Whenever I feel like I’m not going to live to read all the books I want to read, I remind myself that the important ones find their way to me.”
Whether by electronics or paper, a book can ask you questions without your even realizing it at the time. A character you read about may remind you of a part of yourself that you might not have been ready to understand and accept. We all have those shadow parts of self that we relegate to the basements of our psyches and keep down there as much as possible. But the truth is that in those parts of self that we find unacceptable, we also can find our capacity to overcome and transform; a character in a book, fictional or non-fictional can help us to start that process.
What books were there for you when you needed them? If there is no book to address what you are wrestling with right now, what is the title of a book you might need to write for yourself?