Sunday, February 10, 2013

Books I Read, Books I Keep

There are books I don't even look at, invisible to me as the wearer of the one ring.  These include Harlequin romances and celebrity biographies.

There are books who's cover I find interesting and I might glance inside, but who's first paragraph is so repugnant to me, I immediately put it down.  There are some classic books I feel I ought to read and then struggle through the first chapter and immediately dismiss it from my mind.  A Clockworth Orange, for example.  I'm not going to struggle through near incomprehensible slang just to feel depressed.

Other books I buy and they sit on my shelf, until I move it to a box, and finally give it away.  I don't know why I can't bring myself to read these books and I feel sad for their lost potential.  Some books stay on my shelf for a long time.

Still more books, I crack open and get through about the midway point.  And then I realize I have no desire to go on.  Maybe the plot hasn't caught on soon enough.  Maybe I realize I don't care about the characters.  Whatever the reason, I put it down and never pick it up again.

Then, there are books that compells me through until the very end, even though I don't like it very much.  Catcher in the Rye, for example, or the latter books of the Twilight series.  I can't figure out why I can't stop reading and I feel sort of angry, like an addict who can't quit his drug.

Some books I read with enjoyment all the way until the very end, when the author does something so terrible, it ruins the whole book.  The Family Tree, for example.  I feel so upset I throw the book down in disgust and spend another hour ranting in my notebook exactly how the author screwed it up.

A few books I read and I enjoy and I may even recommend to a friend or family member, if I remember.  But they don't particularily stick to my soul, and I find myself forgetting them over time, like an aquaintance I met at a coffee shop.

Some books stick to me in a way I don't like.  Like 1984.  I will never forget that torture scene and so help me God, I will never read it again.  It traumatized me for a week.  It was an important, eye-opening book, but I just cannot let my soul go through that sort of pain again.

And then there are a few rare gems of books that attach to my heart and bloom there, books whose characters I know like the names of old friends, books I pick up and re-read every few years, because it's like having a chat with a long-lost friend.  There are books whose characters enter my dreams and we go on new adventures together.  There are books that make me think, not because they bash my head over with an idea, but because they make me feel and wonder and ponder what I would really do if I were in the character's shoes, if I would rise to heroics or merely break. 

These last are the books I strive to write.  The books that spoil me for all others.  The books I keep.  

No comments:

Post a Comment