Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Far Seems Shangri-La Now?

Being an author is something I've wanted to do since I was in junior high school. I spent more time in the bookmobile than on the sports field. One rainy Sunday in April, I began reading James Hilton's Lost Horizon and I was hooked. It wasn't a huge novel, and I read it in one day. But it was full of wonderful ideas and strange places to an eighth grader from Dearborn Heights, Michigan.

The novel touched the Shangri-La of my heart and soul. It wasn't until I was older, an English teacher as a matter of fact, that I discovered that this simple novel, which spoke to me on a personal level at age thirteen, was a cautionary and prophetic warning about the coming of World War II, or more accurately, the continuation of World War I. If you haven't read it, do! The restored version of the Ronald Coleman movie is marvelous as well.

Almost fifty years after my first reading of Hilton's classic, I've finally authored and published my own book, Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel. I start a summer book tour in Detroit next week. My hope is that I can move readers the way I was moved by Hilton's words those many years ago.