Monday, July 23, 2012

Stories that matter


As I was rereading my set of Harry Potter books, I realized that I may have to buy another copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban. The binding is broken in four different places, and I’m pretty sure that the next time I read through it, it’ll buy the farm in the sky. Sad, but that’s what obsessive rereading will do to a book.

It made me wonder. Why had I read that book so many times that the book is literally worn out? What is it about that book? Well, there’s a long and a short answer. Those books matter to me. That’s why I reread them. Something in them speaks to my soul and makes me feel better. I don’t know what it is, but it’s in there. It’s not the excitement anymore (I have them memorized), but something in there puts my mind at ease and makes my life somehow easier.

I read a lot. I’m not going to divulge how much is a lot, but let’s just say that my reading habits could be compared to the eating habits of teenage boys. I’ve read books that I knew I’d never read again, and though I love the idea of a giant library in my home, I usually send those books on their way. I keep books that I either want to reread at a later date, lend to a friend, or save for when my children need a book like that.

There are books that make us laugh, cry, and scream. There are beautiful books like Looking for Alaska that make me wonder how I ever got along without it.

And then there are books where I want to scream at the author and say “How could you break your own rules for time travel without so much as pretending to give a crap about the laws of the universe as you ordered them? It’s YOUR universe! Write in it!”

There are books out there where I have rooted for the bad guys because I wanted to see the “heroine” get it. There are books where I was so frightened the heroine would get it that I couldn’t set it down until I knew she was safe. I bet you know the difference I’m talking about.

But those books that I keep coming back to, those books matter in some deep, profound way for me. I know I shouldn’t compare my books to other people’s books, but I just have one hope with my writing. I hope that my books matter. I don’t feel like my stories have much potential to matter the same way Looking for Alaska or Harry Potter have mattered to me, but that’s what I hope for. I’m not there yet, but that’s what the journey is for.

13 comments:

  1. I just wrote a post on my top 10 favorite books to re-read! Ha!

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    1. I loved your post, BTW. And I'm exactly the same way when I read.

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  2. I think that's what all writers want. To write a book that matters. :)

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    1. Yes, very much so. I guess my anxiety on the subject is that I'm worried all of my stories will just been seen as silly little stories about half dragons, trolls, and faerie godmothers, and not stories about overcoming obstacles and pressing on even when life is a complete pain in the privates

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  3. I agree with Kyra - writing a book that matters is definitely what I'd like to do.

    My most read book (Pride and Prejudice) is holding up quite well - but I do make sure I choose paperbacks, they have a more lasting quality to them!

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    1. Oh, I only just read Pride and Prejudice, and I loved it!


      And I wear out paperbacks all the time.

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  4. i'm not asking for that much, just a few fans outside my friends & family...
    and your habit comparison made me laugh! ha!

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    1. Oh, I've actually thrown books that made me angry at the author for being so incompetent! In my opinion, my tendency to throw books is one of the few actual drawbacks to an e-reader.

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  5. I watch DVDs several times even though I know what's coming. Why shouldn't you do the same with a book you really enjoy?

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  6. This is a wonderful post. I love re-reading favorite books. I have many that I have read again and again. When I was younger I used to re-read just the end of An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott when I needed something cheery. :)
    I must admit I haven't read the Harry Potter books yet. (Or seen the movies.) My sister has bugged me to. I know I would love them. I just know that once I started I'd have to read them all and I feel like I don't have time to start a seven book series!(Especially when there are so many other books on my TBR list as well.) I may need to get past that and just do it. :)

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  7. I don't read a story twice very often. But the HP series is one I have to have. Not only to read to my boys but I know I will read them over, over again.

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  8. I'm like Jen. I rarely read something twice. There are just too many I haven't read once!

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  9. There aren't many books I read more than once, but I save all the ones I love. I can't help but want a huge library for my kids to enjoy. AND there are some books that I DO go back and read. Something that is just fun and nostalgic, I guess. HP series is one that I can read and re-read! :)

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