Monday, May 5, 2014


It happens sometimes that the perfect book follows the last perfect  book you read and the next perfect book after that.
What do I read next?
Sometimes you make just the right choice--not knowing at the time the wisdom and the magic of the sequence or pairing.

It happened when I read Lois Lowry's  Messenger followed by Ursula LeGuin's Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore).

 How do we use the gifts we have been given? When is it acceptable to not use our gifts?
 Both books address these important questions.

It happened when I read Wonder followed  by My Name Is Mina followed by Out of My Mind

What does it feel like to be different?
How do I respond to those who are different?
How do I respond to others who mistreat those who are different?
How do I react when I am the one who is different?

It happened as I read the new collection of James Baldwin's poetry in partnership with that of Yehuda Amichai.

How do I tell my story? Translate my world?   Transcend the pain and truth of being me, of being us, of living yesterday and today-- and hopefully celebrate tomorrow--yours and mine?

Some books are just divinely linked, and reading them in succession or alongside each other amplifies the reading experience of each, extending contained themes,  as we trip over  connecting thoughts-- reworked and re-imagined-- affirmed or revised-- as each new book is added to the related chain.

I have delighted in my latest accidental chain: The Magician, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, and finally, Boy, Snow, Bird..


 They are all connected by a magnificently magical thread, starting with a grown up Hogwarts-like school, weaving through  favorite tales of the Snow Queen and Snow White, and  yet when the tapestry is turned to the reverse side, we see knots, ripples and ridges of threads, looping back on the possibilities of the tales, the maybes in the plot, and the what-if''s pushing us forward through entirely new stories.

When that happens, we can't help but wonder what next read will further enhance this story--these stories-- push us even farther into the cracks and crevices of the motifs, sending us on a search for origins, and deeper, tighter weavings of the tale with our lives, and  richer seasonings on this new serving of our world.

Woven into each of these most recent stories were all the things I love about imagined stories re-imagined.

There is the growth of characters, sometimes at the expense of others.  There are magic scavenger hunts and incantations.  There are faint echoes of the tale we heard as a child, now grown-up, and  more disturbing than we remember.

How will the author re-imagine and rework this scene, this setting, that character, this object?  How will the connection rethread itself to a satisfying ending?

There are transformations of all involved and connected with the story-- including ourselves.

 Book chains.

They feed forward our reading appetites and minds, sending us looking for the next related, connected, perfect book to follow the one we have just closed.

 Today's Deeper Writing Possibilities

Which books have you read in sequence or perhaps, even at the same time, that  proved to be perfect and divinely complementary of each other?

Write a personal narrative about how you came to select these particular books.

Write an essay about the connections of the two ( or more ) books.

Write a poem linking the characters, motifs, settings or some other element of each book.

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