James Rebanks describes reading a book which changed ‘everything’. Can you name a book which did the same for you? Let me know, I’d love to hear.
One night I took an old paperback with me, scrunched into my pocket, and read with my back to an old oak tree … That book, under that tree, changed everything for me.
For my part, I can’t think of one which changed ‘everything’, but I can think of several which helped me at key inflection points, either encouraging me to pursue things I believed in, giving me the strength to do so, or inspiring me to develop an idea. In these terms I would include:
- Lee Siegel – Laughing Matters: The Comic Tradition in India, which reassured me that my approach to writing a scholarly book was legitimate
- Elizabeth Goudge – The Little White Horse, which fortified me at a time my compass needle was wobbly
- Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden, for the same reason
- Barry Lopez – Arctic Dreams, where I learned the word ‘nuannaarpoq’ which led to the project of the same name
See also our celebration of Rebanks’ earlier tribute to farming as he believes it can and should be done. It’s a beautiful read.
And the book which changed everything for Rebanks? Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
Source: James Rebanks, English Pastoral: An inheritance (London: Penguin, 2021), p. 150
Photo credit: Lilly Rum at unsplash