Thursday, May 21, 2009

Revelatory reads...

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What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?


It was between three for me, The Gold Bug Variations, For Kings and Planets and My Name Is Asher Lev. The third won out because the reading experience was so formative and the book has become so much a part of my own narrative. Chaim Potok's story is of a young Hassidic boy growing up post-World War II in New York and who displays not only a precocious talent for drawing and painting, but they seem to permit him to relate to his experience of himself and others and to give that some expression, in short they permit him to live. His insular culture does not offer education and practical training in what it takes to be an artist and so making that choice requires breaking away from his community. I'm neither Hassidic nor a painter, but I did feel very much an outsider while growing up and found permission to be myself through being an actor and director. Reading this book for the first time was a revelation that other people met the same incomprehension, had the same discussions with themselves, had the same types of struggles, that I did and that there were ways to live a satisfying life out of that experience. What an experience to find in a book; no wonder I like to read.

Now back to studying for finals.

6 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

Yet to My Name is Asher Lev. Adding it to my TBR pile right now!


BTT: Second a first
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Bluestocking said...

I haven't heard of any of these.

Here is A Second First Time

mattviews said...

Oh...Chaim Potok! I need to read him. :)

Books that have surprise ending or a twist would be refreshing to me. I also read my favorite books, like Name of the Rose and The Master and Margarita.

Mary said...

I've been reminding myself (and forgetting) to read My Name is Asher Lev since the 70s. Thanks for another reminder. I'm actually writing it down as soon as I leave my comment!!!

C. B. James said...

I was looking at this book on the shelf in a nearby 2nd hand book store, wondering if I should buy it. Next time I'm there, I will.

Ted said...

Thanks you all for commenting - sorry for a short reply - exams! CB - I think this book would appeal especially to some of the kids the age of your students.