But today I was feeling passionate.
So here it is:
Some people aren't passionate about anything. Some people are passionate about the wrong things. I'm passionate about books [& women's colleges].
I haven't been doing much reading lately. I blame that mostly on the computer & my newest obsession LMS. But I like LMS & I like the people that I am meeting, so I haven't really thought that much about the lack of good books in my life.
I finished a book last week called "Nick & Nora: Infinite Playlist" & it was a book that I had seen on the shelves of one of the best bookstores in the world, in Lake Forest Park, Washington called Third Place Books. It's the way that bookstores should be. Lots of comfy chairs, recommendations everywhere, used & new books flooding the shelves. I'm pretty sure I could have lived in that store & have been happy.
What is it? Something about the way that books smell. Something about the way that the thick paper rubs along the bottoms of your fingertips. Something about flipping that jacket & skimming along the paragraphs, eager to find out what this book has in store for you. What adventure is lying somewhere between its 300 pages.
I get those emails from Borders Rewards, that tell you about the HOT new book of the week or the HOT new dvd that's out. Sometimes I skim over them. I'm not really one to go out & get "Millions of Tiny Pieces" just because Oprah or someone "read it" & it's the HOTTEST thing out there.
It's a complicated relationship that I have with books. When I was little, my room was overflowing with books. I had three shelves on two walls dripping with books. I would stand on my chair & pick out the ones that I wanted, the ones that were so good that I wanted to read them until I fell asleep & then read them all over when I woke up. There were so many picture stories that I sometimes search the internet for now, wanted to have that nostalgic feeling that I got from them back. Fabulous ones like "The Paper Bag Princess" & "Twenty-four Robbers" that I would be lucky to even find at a garage sale in this day & age.
Then I discovered the Baby-sitter's Club & I absorbed those stories like a sponge. Buying every one that I could get my hands on. I did chores during the week so I could go out & get the new BSC. I would beg my mom to take me to the library so I could check out the ones that I couldn't find at the bookstore. I have over 150 BSC books, maybe even close to 200. Still. All the mysteries. All the super editions. All the super mysteries. I would talk about the characters at the dinner table like they were friends of mine from school. "Mom, you'll never guess what Kristy did today." "Claudia's sister is being so mean to her." My mom would ask who these people were & I would always reply, "Some people in my book." I always wanted to live in the books, not because I was escaping reality, but because, they always sucked me in so much. I never wanted the story to end. I would sometimes cry when the story ended because I didn't know what to do with myself after they were gone. Even in my own stories, the endings are the hardest part.
It's just amazing to me, that you can read a book & the afterwards feel different than how you felt when you started it. Like the book was really speaking to you, really taking you along with it, really wanted to SHOW you something, really helping you SEE something.
I really feel this way. I just finished a book. I had heard about it before. My favorite genre is young adult fiction because that's the genre that I dream of writing someday. I don't dream of writing it, because I do write it, but I dream of creating it, creating a world that someone else cries about leaving. Creating a world that will one day be read by someone else.
I saw this book in the YA section of my library, while I was digging in the trough of new books. I even picked it up & read the back. But it wasn't time for me to read it yet, so without even knowing why, I put it back, & forgot about it. Back to the Borders Rewards Monthly. I got it yesterday or Wednesday, I can't remember, & I am just glancing through it. It mentions something about a Borders Book Club & I think to myself, "Everyone has a book club now." I'm actually thinking about joining the LMS book club, maybe that's why I was willing to look.
So I look at the recommendations for the Borders Book Club. There are four titles, with pictures. & it's the picture that catches my eye. The cover is black with a thin whisp of smoke trailing up the front of it. "Looking for Alaska" is the title. & I say, "Oh yeah, I remember this book." So I read the little blurb, something about finding something, boarding school, Alabama, girl named Alaska. Hmm. that's unusual Alabama & Alaska. So I jot down the title, with some others & make plans to pick it up at the library.
Yesterday I went to the library, sucessfully found "Looking for Alaska" & picked it up. & haven't really put it down until about 30 minutes ago when I finished reading it. It was the kind of book that makes you feel so thoughtful afterwards. Like, yes, you did just take something away from those pages. Yes, there is a little piece of the characters inside of you. It's been like this with a few books for me. I keep the characters tucked away inside of me, think of them when certain things happen in my life. [pretty much all of the characters from the "Everworld" series. Yes, Christopher, you're here too.]
& one of the first thoughts, as I put down "Looking for Alaska," thinking about the last paragraph, the last sentence, the last word, was, I hope that I write with meaning someday. I hope that someone puts down my book & shares a quiet moment with themself & think about what they are taking away from my words. Yeah, I've written stories. I've written pretty good stories. But I'm not sure if any of them have MEANING. Like they MEAN something at the end. Like someone could analyze it & think about what I was trying to package up & give to my reader. Their own little sliver of truth.
I think that's what I want my readers to leave with.
This is so rambled. What am I even trying to say.
Here it is. The sliver of truth.
"Looking for Alaska" is one of the best books I have ever read. I now know why it earned itself the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature, the 2006 Best Books for Young Adults, & the 2005 Teens' Top Ten. It's amazing.
It's inspriring me to write again. Something that I haven't done in a long time, & I don't even know why I stopped. But it's sparking me. & Maybe then I will be able to continue something that I started so long ago. Something that I started when I picked up "Harriet the Spy" & began my love affair with writing. Yeah, everyone wants to get their message out there. Everyone wants to leave a lasting imprint on other people. Sometime people do it in not good ways. & sometimes people do it with books.