Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Books That Only Get Better

I have shelves of books, boxes of books, and towering piles of them in some places.
Kindle? Need it much?
But I digress.
I read some of those books once and then I sort them into boxes. Others don’t get that much recognition. I read half way through, get bored/ticked off flip to the end. Those go to a very dusty corner and given away.
The novels that put a twist to my lemon are the ones I read again. And sometimes again. Many times. Those find their way onto the antique oak bookshelves. This place of honor holds the life-changers such as JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, and Jack London’s Burning Daylight.
The last is one of London’s best, IMHO. My copy is in a fragile state with loose pages sticking out from every corner of its binding.
Reading the favored tomes a second time (or more) usually shows me the places I missed in my frantic need to get to the end.  Nuances of the story. Since I know how it will end, I slow my pace, and the second reading opens the story like a flower.
For instance, I missed this passage from LOTR, The Two Towers: “He looked on the bright point of the sword. He thought of the place behind where there was a black brink and an empty fall into nothingness. There was no escape that way.”
My Sweet Lord, the volumes spoken in that simple phrase.
Another example is from Mockingjay (no spoiler alert necessary, I think). “I want to call him back and tell him that I was wrong…Forgive him. But since I can’t I’ll just have to deal with the pain…”
A paragraph from Burning Daylight: “She heard the footsteps of Daylight returning, and caught her breath with a quick intake. He took her hand in his, and, as he turned the doorknob felt her hesitate. Then he put his arm around her; the door swung open, and together they passed in.”
That simple scene is more erotic to me than a play-by-play, insert tab A into slot B from one of today’s books. It speaks of mystery, of her inner fears and his quiet tenderness. Really, goosebump-city here.
What passages jump out to you the second time around, the places you skip in the page-tearing hurry to see how a beloved book ends?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Missed a Spot," my spouse said.

Suggestions can be helpful, annoying, or downright nasty. I put the hubby’s statement in the second category. It does nothing to aid, lends no muscle to the project, and usually results in the speaker’s early demise. (Actually, he is recovering quite nicely)
In the writerly world, examples of helpful suggestions come from many blogs, more than I can name. A few of them (in no particular order) are as follows:
These bloggers and websites give their time, talent, and expertise to aid their fellow writers, a form of ‘pay it forward’. Has there ever been a community like this, generously giving of themselves without thought of recompense? Truly, it stirs my soul to see how special this writerly society is.
The last category unfortunately shadows the ‘good uns’. They are the wannabe-writers, crabby that they haven’t acquired an agent or book deal in the month since they completed their novel. They lash out in the comment sections of QT, AQ, and blogger sites. Mostly, they hurt themselves, but paint all of us with the same venom-spattered brush.  
With the grouchy writers, I place the ones who mock and belittle. These are the ones who have ‘made it’, authors, agents, editors, and others. They are like the clique of popular kids in school, looking down their collective noses at the ones who lack what they imagine as status similar to theirs. Examples of this behavior include poking fun at the crash and burn queries (Query Shark is an example of HELPFUL not nasty), books they deem subhuman (mention Twilight and they froth at the mouth), and the people who disagree with their opinions.
For myself, I applaud the first category, laugh at the second, and ignore the last.
Whatcha think?
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