35-Day Author Blog Challenge 2015 · The Inside Story

Day 5: We gots to read lots!

For the author–indeed, for anyone! –reading causes growth. What pleasure to experience another’s storytelling voice and pacing and word patter. Between the lines, there are deeper currents going on. It’s as if I am able to hear that author’s heartbeat. A bridge of trust is built between us, and sometimes even friendship.

And when I write, I try create a book I’d like to read myself. That is to say, an adventurous tale about likable people (or people I’d love to hate!) with a clever ending–a mystery solved or love requited or a victorious quest. Along with something to think about.

My favorite books become friends. And when I love a book that much, I read it again and again.

“Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are” is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread.
-François Mauriac

My smallest bookcase
This must be my smallest bookcase
Today’s prompt asks about the kind of books I’d avoid at any cost. I’d have to say a hopeless book, written by someone with an ax to grind who seeks to enlighten me about their suffering–with nothing as take-away. Nothing! No victory gained after a hard struggle. No resolution, only sorrow and guilt. Eh, I had to read a few of those in college.

“Life is hard and then you die.” Who needs that? We read books for enjoyment. And if the story is well-told, we grow.

See, I am one of those who “live on the windy side of care.” My imagination is vivid and retentive; I have little trouble putting myself in someone else’s shoes. I guess this makes me a kinder, gentler person. I know it makes me bad at arguing, for I too often see the other person’s point. I wish I could ignore the hardships of others, but I can’t.

How would my writing change if I read more of the things I typically avoid? Since my stories are lighthearted and subtle, adding despair would deflate the balloon. Why write at all? My intent is to help readers escape their troubles, not compound them. And nobody wants to be ranted at, especially if the message brings only guilt and despair.

So forget that! Let’s hear it for fun, sweep-away fiction. And as readers smilingly turn pages, they’re seeing things from a different point of view. And sometimes even growing.

Hey, thanks for stopping by today. If you’d like to see what the other 35-Day Challenge participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here.

And now, a favorite quotation:

“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice…and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart.”
-Gilbert Highet

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