The Books That Me Made: 8 Writers on Literary Inspiration


When I was in third and fourth grade, my family lived in the Cherry Grove apartment complex in Jackson, Tennie, over a woman whom I used to call Miss Mary. Most weekends, when the weather was warm, I would take out and read a book for a man-made lake in the middle of the field. Miss Mary must have seen me doing this a hundred times or more, so when her daughter went out, leaving behind several boxes of her childhood books, Miss Mary presented them to me.

I was a library kid, unused to the decadence of books you could read or read at your leisure without a two-week clock, so the gesture was accidentally meaningful. The boxes included the Sweet Valley High Series, which I liked, The Baby-Sears Club Series, Which I loved, and the Anne of Green Gables series, to borrow from Anne herself, became a kind of boss friend.

I read them again and again, and, to my surprise, never exhausted them. In fact, each reading gave me a little more enjoyment, helping me see the characters a little more clearly. There was Diana, who was gentle and easy to love, and Gilbert who was smart, but frankly, a little dull in her devotion to Anne, and herself was Anne, defiant and outspoken and loyal, a young woman who inscribed her name. Used to be spelled with an “E”, as she knew she deserved a little merit in her life. I wonder how many young girls learned to claim space for themselves, value their intelligence, and respect their wishes because of LM Montgomery’s books.

When I was hardly thinking about craft lessons when I chucked books, I can now see their impact only in the fact that I chose this career despite much resistance. Anne taught me to emphasize “E”.

Yaya Gypsy’s newest novel “Past master.



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