While it is a website for pop culture and decent laughs, BuzzFeed has a way of unlocking my thoughts and saying, “Yes! I completely understand! Whoever wrote this must be my kindred spirit!” Well, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this link on my Facebook the other afternoon…
We all have those books that we grow up remembering. For me it was Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco (I had a big fear of thunder storms as a kid) and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. Then for some of us there are those books that influence you to the point where you throw your hands up and declare, “I am a reader!” For me those books were The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (albeit they were YA editions for this young reader), The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (a YA edition then the original translated script), and The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede (who later became a great writing influence for me). After cherishing these books, I not only absorbed a love of reading, but the inspiration to write as well.
So what is this lifestyle like you might ask?
Once you’ve crossed that line where you can definitely say, “I am a reader,” you begin to evolve. You become emotionally attached. You take on the personalities of your main characters (heaven above help you if the narration is first person). You eat, sleep, and live your stories. You find that when reading a character’s dialogue, your face contorts to the emotions they’re feeling. You mouth the words under your breath. The world disappears around you and you simply become part of the scene. Be careful if you choose to read in public. With all the twitching your face may be doing, some may assume you are having a seizure (or the preliminary stages of transforming into a werewolf, depending on the crowd). A warning to the companion who interrupts a reader in this state: you may not like the reaction you receive!
Now use caution. You’re now on the edge of obsession. You’re up at 3:00am reading once again, thinking to yourself, “Well, there’s only 26 more chapters until the end of the book, so it would be silly not to stay up and just finish it” (my experience while reading The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells). If the ending bothers you, you throw the book against the wall and pace your room for another three hours (my reaction to the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). You weep (real tears dammit!) when your favorite characters are not redeemed before their death (my reaction to the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). And you dream of schmoozing with the authors and getting the good dirt on future books that have been promised, but yet to be written (I’M LOOKING AT YOU MADAME WREDE! THE FIFTH BOOK OF THE ENCHANTED FOREST CHRONICLES? THE AFOREMENTIONED SOMETHING SOMETHING DRAGONS? ISN’T 20 YEARS A LONG ENOUGH WAIT? I BEG OF YOU TO BREAK THIS SPELL! MORWEN’S CATS CAN’T LIVE FOREVER YA KNOW! PLEASE SEE MY REACTIONS IN NO. 9 AND 14 IN THE ABOVE ARTICLE).
To habitual readers, books aren’t just things. They’re treasures! For some people they are a way of life. They’re like cats. They steal your heart, make you laugh, they’re great to cuddle up with, and they end up in awkward situations in the most unfortunate of times (mine have both accidentally fallen in the bathtub). Never underestimate a reader’s ability to understand experiences they’ve never had. They may have experienced them otherwise…in a book.