Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mini Challenge #1: Thankfully Reading Weekend

Mini-Challenge #1  Jenn from Jenn's Bookshelves asks what book I am most thankful for and why?  I'm having a difficult time trying to choose just one!  I can think of several books that have had an influence, each for different reasons. They include, Mrs. Dalloway, Tropic of Cancer and The Crimson Petal and the White for starters.

However, my prize book is the Complete Works of Flannery O'Connor. She introduced me to great story telling. My two favorite stories are Wise Blood and A Good Man Is Hard to Find. I rarely read a book twice, but I will re-read this treasure over and over. Up until I discovered Flannery O'Connor, I avoided any story or author known to include religious themes. Little did I realize, that if I had been looking closely at most of what I was reading, religion always played a role. Ah, but I was young and blind.  I feel so silly for missing it!  I admit I had preconceived ideas and made terrible assumptions about what I'd find written. I figured any book with a religious tone or theme would certainly be preachy dribble and its sole purpose was to convince or convert me.  Then, I was introduced to Flannery O'Connor.  Frankly, she blew my mind. Thankfully, she also opened it and now much of my own writing addresses religion and society in some way.

About Flannery O'Connor:  She was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1925, the only child of Catholic parents. In 1945 she enrolled at the Georgia State College for Women. After earning her degree she continued her studies on the University of Iowa's writing program, and her first published story, 'The Geranium', was written while she was still a student. Her writing is best-known for its explorations of religious themes and southern racial issues, and for combining the comic with the tragic. After university, she moved to New York where she continued to write. In 1952 she learned that she was dying of lupus, a disease which had afflicted her father. For the rest of her life, she and her mother lived on the family dairy farm, Andalusia, outside Millidgeville, Georgia. For pleasure she raised peacocks, pheasants, swans, geese, chickens and Muscovy ducks. She was a good amateur painter. She died in the summer of 1964.

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