So…I have been hinting about this for awhile, but today I am revealing my new series for 2016. Without further ado, I present my Year of Important Books.
If you are a reader of any sort, you will understand me when I say that I have books that I consider old friends. Most of these books on my reading list for this year are ones that I have known for most of my life, in fact longer than any person except for my family. Hence, Important. At least to me. But why?
These are mostly classic books, read in my childhood (and a couple from my teen years), that have stayed with me all these years. They are books that I read and re-read over and over. They occupy high holy spots in my heart, and I approach them again with a sense of some trepidation.
All of these books are ones that captured me as a child, and I want to revisit them to see if I can determine exactly what it was about them that made them so special to me. I worry that by reading them again I will somehow undo their magic, after all, what if I discover a favourite book of mine, cherished all these years, isn’t really all that good, now that I read it again with adult eyes?
This is a possibility, but am forging ahead anyway. My experience last year of re-reading so many of the books by Lewis that I loved way back when has encouraged me to think that reading these books will only deepen my appreciation of them rather than cause me to turn them aside.
But I don’t know for sure.
One thing I do know. These books played an important part in the making of me. They were books I turned to over and over again, when my stock of library books ran out and I still had a week or more to go before my parents trooped us to the library again. Most of these books were discovered by me in the best kind of treasure hunt, as I searched through dusty bookshelves to find something to read. I had two older siblings (much older, my older sister is about 17 or so years older than me, and my brother a couple years younger than that), and most of these books were theirs, abandoned by them as they moved out of childhood.
These books taught me that you definitely don’t judge a book by it’s cover, for many of them are old and ratty and tatty, but I grew to appreciate the special thrill of finding a wondrous story between battered covers.
You have probably read many of these books, but if you haven’t, I hope that you will be inspired to either read them yourself or to buy them for your kids or grandkids. They will thank you for it!
Along with trying to discover why these books wove such magic on me, I will also see if I can learn anything about the writing craft from them. Writers are often given the advice to study books you love to see what makes them work. I won’t be dissecting these books with too sharp of a scalpel, but if there is something in particular that I think I can use as a take-away for my own writing, I will let you know.
My first book will be up on the blog next week, and I’m really excited to share it with you. It’s Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling.
I hope you join me.