During “I read YA” week, notable YA authors are being asked about their favorite books. Today, our guest blogger, Curtis L. Crisler, discusses which book inspired him the most as a young adult, and how that experience informs his own writing to this day. His bestselling Dreamist: a mixed genre novel, is geared towards today’s youth, a unique genre-bending narrative of the life of one remarkable young man, Charles Malik Jacobs.
I would probably have to say that To Kill a Mockingbird inspired me the most. I love how Harper Lee responded to the question, “Why have you never written another book?” Lee reportedly “said all she had to say” in that book, according to the Selma Times-Journal:
The novel is many stories on many different levels: The tale of a 6-year-old girl as she tried to keep up with her brother and recover from her mother’s death; the tale of an attorney who puts his belief in equality under the law to work in a courtroom filled with bias and hatred for his black client; a tale of a small town that could have been anywhere in the South prior to the civil rights struggle; and a story about all of us and our growing up with values given us by our parents.
I am always learning more about this book as time goes by. Each time I go back to it, I wish I could write a book like this. I feel there is so much to voice for the voiceless. I am still connecting and writing for them, as well as for myself.
Curtis L. Crisler is the author of Tough Boy Sonatas (winner of the Eric Hoffer Award) and two other books, Pulling Scabs and WONDERKIND, a poetry collection on the musical genius of Stevie Wonder. A Cave Canem Fellow and Pushcart Prize nominee, Crisler is an assistant professor of English at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne.