30 Days, 30 Books That Shaped My Life – Day 16 NaNoWriMo

It’s interesting how authors categorize their books. Of course, we have memoir that is actually fiction, but it’s rather different when a writer attempts to relate something truthful or profound. At that point is the work fictional? What if parts of it are imagination but the rest based on reality?

I’ve already mentioned Milan Kundera, whose works bridge the chasm between fiction and non-fiction. Another author who is a master at this is Richard Bach. Many of us read Jonathan Livingston Seagull when we were in school (that lovely mandatory reading!), which was categorized as non-fiction. For those who haven’t read the book, it is told from the perspective of a seagull! This implausibly non-fiction tale also dabbles in metaphysics and the spiritual realm. It is philosophy as allegory, and whether or not you buy the notion that Mr. Bach is telling a true story is beside the point.

While I never really cared for JLS, the Bach book that did move me was Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. This story asks more questions than it answers, but it tries to lay out enlightenment in a jaded world. I found parallels to The Little Prince along with any random self-help tome. However the prose flies high above the potential pedantic message. And the instruction that any book can be opened to what one needs to know is brilliant in its simplicity; I have often asked a question only to open a novel and read a form of answer. I would never have considered words as tarot card before reading this incredible book.

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