Maybe every writer can describe the single book that changed his or her life. In my case, the book was not a literary experience but rather a transformational alteration of my mind. The book is Talks and Dialogues by J. Krishnamurti.
John King, who teaches composition at Central Florida University, asked me to contribute my personal experience with the Krishnamurti book for a show that he describes thusly: “The Drunken Odyssey: A Podcast About the Writing Life is a weekly program featuring interviews with new and established writers, as well as essays about books that changed writers’ lives. It is like a slightly disreputable version of NPR.”
In Episode 60, which was available the first week in August, John begins his show talking about his own writing and the expansion of his podcast, and then he moves on to a long interview with non-fiction Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King (no relation) who talks about his book Devil in the Grove. Gilbert King’s novelistic style account of a famous rape trial in the Jim Crow South is a fascinating history lesson that I recommend to you.
My pre-recorded essay for the final segment of the show, “The Book That Changed My Life,” is as confessional as anything I have ever published. The “before Krishnamurti” Monty was a very different person from the one who emerged after the reading.
Included on The Drunken Odyssey website is the cover of the book with extensive text as an introduction to J. Krishnamurti. Here’s the link to access Episode 60 of The Drunken Odyssey and to hear my recorded essay.