by Romi from Where The Writer Comes to Write
Books. That’s what it’s about, right? They’re friends, the really good ones, and perhaps we make (as Harry Potter thinks about Draco Malfoy in The Chamber of Secrets), the occasional “arch enemy” out of ones we don’t get along with so well. Books can capture something in their pages that can make you cry or laugh, and one of the best things about them is the fact that you can go back to them whenever you want.
Yet now and again you may ask yourself two questions: How being the first, and Why being the second. To add more light to these two questions, I made a chart, which applies to a novel you’re loving.
The How and Why, explained:
How does this book do all these things do me? Why does it do these things to me? How am I so connected with these characters, why do I feel as if they’re a part of me?
I’m definitely not a professional book decipher, I literally just spelt “professional” incorrectly, but I, like everyone, have ideas and I am going to share a few of them. There’s the wonderful quote -
And that’s us. We’re the readers, we live alongside many fandoms, we share our love for these characters, even if they broke our hearts into many tiny little pieces and then stamped on them for good measure.
So why do we love books so much? Why do we feel an instant connection and the blossom of love when we start reading some books and not others? Here’s what I think. It’s because you’re reading about people you aspire to, who you see a yourself in. You fall in love with the world and wish you could live in it yourself, and when you can love Katniss, Luna, Hazel Grace, Augustus, Peeta, Harry, Finnick, Annie, Four, Tris and so many other amazing characters why would you settle for anything else?
When we open a book we have the opportunity of living two lives, one between the paper and one quite different one. We can be reassured that nothing will change when we go away and we can always go back if things in this life take a turn for the fictional. We give so much to these places inside the pages. In return they promise never to leave us, no matter how what happens. These books become a part of us, of our lives and that is more than okay. It’s wonderful. It’s as it should be. Without it, what would life be?
There are OTP’s and Ships and we are at the base of all of these things. The reading community starts this and makes a bigger community, a community that grows with every page turned, a community you will always be welcomed in to, and to sum these relationships up I have two very small lines to say:
And so, of course, we come to the deaths. Your favourite character, the one you’ve rooted for all along or the one you fell in love with at the same time the heroine/hero did; the one you hated all along (and I think a lot of you know who I’m talking about now) who, in the last moments of life, show the best part of themselves and turn you into a wet mess. If authors knew what we went through, would they keep it up?
Characters fight to the death, the cast spells together, they fall in love, they push that love away, they die. You’re left speechless, not even able to enunciate how you feel, silently asking why it had to happen to that character. Why couldn’t someone else have sacrificed them self, why couldn’t the author have written in a different name.
For a time, you may be left sobbing into your hands, only able to turn the pages which you have made sure stay as dry as possibly between your tears, because you know you have to keep going on, no matter what. It comes close to breaking you, but you have to keep reading. Because it’s life. Pure and simple (though simultaneously neither of either). To read is to be alive, to stop is like taking away all the air in the world, in a dramatic and honest sense.
Now we come to part 2. The books we don’t like.
Are we prejudice against some books before we even start reading them? Why do we, on occasion, judge books by their covers and not their content, decide we wouldn’t like to read that book because of the nauseating cover, and will definitely read this one because of it’s enticing one, when the one you don’t like the look of might change your life for the better and the one you choose might change it for the worse.
Perhaps we read reviews of them and that particular person didn’t like it and so you decide not to bother reading it, maybe it has too many labels on it, it’s tagged as being the next big hit- that can get tiring, seeing “The biggest thing since Harry Potter!!!” or, “The next Hunger Games!” or what have you, sprawled over the cover. If those are books you don’t like, why would you pick it up? If those are books you love, the expectation, the expectation, an expectation that isn’t easy to quench. And perhaps sometimes luck is against us, so we put aside those books.
I just hope that if we pass up on the one that will change us for the better we still have another chance at reading it, even if that chance doesn’t come along for many years.
I can’t live without books. They’ll break me, they’ll tear my heart to shreds, and yet I wouldn’t give them up for anything in the world. I wouldn’t ever let anyone take away the thousands of other lives I live, I couldn’t let part of my being be taken from me, because books are me- without them I would never be who I am and I would be entirely someone I am not.
I saw a post on Tumblr recently that basically summed me up, and it went something like this…
So that’s what I’ll do now, to finish this off as neatly as I can, with a few books that I think will destroy you in the best possible way. Obviously we’ve got The Hunger Games, my favourite series, specifically Mockingjay, and Harry Potter, probably The Order of the Phoenix for me. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Why we Broke Up by Daniel Handler. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid.
Go on, break your hearts. You know you want to.
In books we have the chance to live another life, the chance to take a step away from our everyday life and live another. And, maybe most importantly, we have the chance to find out what is important to us - we get to decide how we live and books, for me at least, influence that decision.
Thanks so much for your fantastic post, Romi! I think I nearly all of us can relate so much to her words. I especially love her paragraph with, "I can’t live without books. They’ll break me, they’ll tear my heart to shreds, and yet I wouldn’t give them up for anything in the world." This is ME. No matter how much books ruin me, it would ruin me more to give them up <3