Admittedly, I read a lot of lightweight, escapist novels when I wasn't watching old musicals.
I think I saw every Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly movie ever produced and know the words to every song in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "The Sound of Music".
I also read several books on Buddhism and Taoism, and anything that promised to provide some inner peace, some sense that life would be even better when I got to the other side. They helped. I read a lot! Therefore, when I recently created a home for the books that have mattered the most to me over the years, I was surprised to see that only one book from that period made the cut.
Most days that summer is a bittersweet memory, popping up again only when I have my bloodwork or hear of a friend or acquaintance waging the same war. But I wondered as I put the book among its neighbors if I would find it as moving, as impactful as I did 10 years ago. I wondered why, this book, of the many I read that summer, was so important.
So, I've started to reread I Will Not Die an Unlived Life, by Dawna Markova. Although the title seems most appropriate for someone with a life-threatening disease and Markova was dealing with leukemia at the time, it is the larger theme of the book that should speak to more people, that speaks to me again at this time in my life - recovering passion and purpose. I'm fascinated by the questions she asks of herself and her reader, wrestling with them in my journal. And moved by her honesty, her compassion and her eloquence. Beside being insightful and courageous in recounting her own journey, she is a beautiful writer. Her metaphors are magical, her stories engrossing.
It is a fine book that can remain relevant 10 years later, that can have meaning during the hard times and the good. When I am done with it, it will be returned to that special shelf.