Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Experience of Reading...

I can clearly remember the year I was twelve years old and I read all ten books of David Eddings' Belgariad and Malloreon fantasy series. I was in that sweet spot between child and adult and the whole world was magical to me. I remember the specific chair I was sitting while I read specific scenes. I also remember the summer I turned thirteen and I read Eddings' far-from-fantasy novel High Hunt, a piece of writing that would forever influence the type of author I wanted to be. I hunkered down in my bedroom with the door locked and my music blaring from the boom-box on the floor. I can remember the first time I read The English Patient and I sat on my parent's kitchen floor in the middle of the night and cried my heart out. I remember the lumpy futon I called a bed that I sat on while reading Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing and Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. I remember the sophomoric heart-break I agonized over while reading all of Dan Brown's paperback thrillers, acquired from the all-night grocery store. I remember reading Moby Dick and The Age of Wonder and Harry Potter. I remember throwing Dance with Dragons across the room and dislodging and painting.

We can all remember the stories, the themes, maybe even the gist, of all the books we've read, but some books come with experiences. Either the story was so powerful and spoke to us on such a deep level that everything about the novel, including our own setting, impressed itself upon us, or we were already going through an influential experience and just happened to bring along a story for the ride. Either way, there are books that will be inexorably linked to moments in our life and we will remember the experience of reading them always.

So I invite you to think back: what books will you always remember reading? What novels or pieces of non-fiction will always be linked with a specific moment, event or development in your life?  I invite you to share your thoughts, your experiences and the books that have become a part of the landscape of your life experiences. I'd love to hear from you...

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