Just by coincidence, a friend sent me a link this morning to an article by the actor John Cusack, from of all sources Oprah.com, wherein he talks about books that made a big impact on him.
One of the books he names is Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mockingbird, and in describing the impact the book had on him, he touches on the themes I just covered in my last post.
I really don’t know what I could say about this book that hasn’t already been said. I read it in high school English class, and it was the first time I went to school and was interested in what anyone had to say. The story leaped off the page; it made me confront my own fears and prejudices. I went home and started reading and didn’t stop until the next morning. I’d never had that experience. I’d never been moved that way, felt that sort of pathos or compassion. That moment—the first time you fall in love with art—it has a huge impact on you. In a sense, you’re always looking for those moments.
I had a similar, all-nighter experience, with J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, my life, at least internally, was immeasurably changed by it, and I have, indeed, been looking for those moments, finding them occasionally, ever since.