Does your life influence what books you read? Or do the books you read influence your life? I believe both are true!

For 38 years now I’ve kept a reading list and it illustrates the correlations between those books and the timeline of my life. I started my book list when I started my adult life. I had my first job, first apartment, and first bills topay. Fresh from college, I managed a small gallery in downtown Houston. There wasn’t much to do except dust, clean fingerprints off glass, and make welcome the occasional browser. Reading kept me sane and so in 1980 I became a regular at the public library, grabbing piles of books to occupy my weekdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Since those days, I have lived in ten different homes, had at least 13 jobs plus my own art business. I've lived alone, had boyfriends, got fired, got married, had twins, lived overseas, drove seven cars until their wheels fell off, and have loved and lost 8+ furry pets. The books I read each year varied with the pace of my life. The genres came and went, reflecting the phases I passed through as I continued to “grow up.”Did my book selections influence my life decisions? Or did I pick a certain book because it reinforced what I was all about at the time? How about you? Have fictional characters or memorable scenes shaped your image of yourself? Perhaps there is a book or a character you identified with during a particular point in your life.

We’ve discussed starting a WiVLA book club to give our members a chance to gather outside of our monthly meetings to discuss a common read. Or, instead of all reading one book, we could each share our favorite book on a theme. I welcome your ideas on creating a WiVLA book club and what form it might take. Email me your thoughts on when, where, how often, and how. With summer coming, maybe we can organize a series of dates and times to meet over coffee and talk about books we’ve already read, each date with a different theme. There would be no hurry to finish a book and no guilt or stress --more of a relaxing show and share. I know how the books I’ve read have helped to shape my life.

Reflect this month on the books you’ve chosen to read and how they’ve added dimension to your life. Then start a list!

Lee Steiner

"An ekphrastic poem is like a jolt of electricity surging through a work of art."
- Patricia Smith, ARTLines2

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