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Books that inspire other reading

brisingamen reminded me this morning about how much I love Cavafy, and of course his famous poem "Ithaka." I first encountered that poem in, believe it or not, a children's book, or perhaps "young adult" would be a better term: Jill Paton Walsh's Unleaving, which if you haven't read, seek out, because it's a pure and perfect wonderful novel about life, death, love, philosophy and above all literature. Reading that book also led me to Gerard Manley Hopkins (of course), although "Spring and Fall" is not now one of my favourites of his (I'm not sure what is... "Duns Scotus' Oxford" "Kingfishers Catch Fire" "Windhover"?). The main character of the book also quotes Yeats' "Byzantium," which is another of my all-time faves. And the novel features - please don't let me get this wrong - Godreavy (?) Light - transplanted in Woolf's To The Lighthouse. I love it when a book you love sends you down literary paths of discovery to find other things you will love for ever.

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