Books That Changed Me: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
As any academic researcher and reader will tell you, too many books have inspired my thinking. There are the authors that voice the illusive thread I’ve been searching for, like when trying to understand the relationship between feminist theology and literature at the start of my PhD, I came across Heather Walton’s work, or how Lynne Pearce and Janice Radway helped me develop a feminist approach to religious reading practices. There are authors I’m fortunate to have as friends and colleagues, who weave theory with lived experiences, and I’m grateful for the way scholars like Nicola Slee, Anna Strhan, Anna Fisk, Sonya Sharma, and Marta Trzebiatowska tell stories that bring religious worlds to life. Then there are the authors that have left me slightly disjointed and set me apart from the things I thought I knew and understood. The books where my notes, scribbles, underlining and highlighting record my responses, confusions, and questions (in some, you can barely make out the original text because my annotations and scrawls scratch over the print). The books that felt risky to read because I wasn’t quite the same as I was before I had opened up the pages.