Tag Archives: gregory white

A book review changed his life

A few years ago, when the Washington Post eviscerated Book World, its standalone Sunday books section, and merged it with the Outlook section, I felt (can you guess?) really upset. Book World was the only section I really loved. Even when I didn’t have time to read books, I could read the book reviews and still feel in touch with the book world.

Yeah, there’s plenty of book blogs and Amazon reviews and Goodreads updates and The Morning News’ annual Tournament of Books and other place to read about books. Even so, I miss Book World.

An essay last month* in, HA, the Post, reminded me of the power of the book review. Inmate Gregory White read a review of a book called “Black Jacks,” then he read the book, then he contacted the author, then he eventually became a merchant mariner, living a life on the seas, just as he’d always wanted to.

Since reading White’s essay, I’ve been thinking about whether I can point to a book that changed my life or made me pursue a dream. For me, that book was “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within,” which I read as a high school student, at the recommendation of a friend who’d read it in a college creative writing course. I already knew I wanted to be a writer, but Natalie Goldberg’s book came to me at a time when I didn’t have writing mentors or teachers to encourage and push me and make me shut up and go write.

How about you? What book helped you follow a dream? And how did you learn about it?

*Yeah, forgive me for blogging about a month-old article. I’m slowly emerging from hibernation, y’all …