Tag Archive: book

The Magic of Books

I love books. I can’t even explain the feelings I get when I’m in the middle of reading a good story. It’s like I’m a new person and there’s an exciting adventure beginning to unfold. Even after I finish, the excitement lingers. I lose myself in the story.

Maybe that’s why books are so popular. You can BE the protagonist. You can feel their pain, follow their story, imagine them however you like. TV is great— I won’t deny that— but by seeing the characters and having every image shown to you, some of the magic is lost. In a book, I have to interpret the characters and settings. I can imagine a character’s school like my old school. The nasty grin of a character’s aunt might cause me to remember the creepy grin of an old teacher. Memories from your life can be intertwined into a book’s story, because the interpretation is left to the reader. TV shows… yeah, not so much.

Why do we feel the need for the escape of stories anyway? Why can’t we go on adventures in our real lives? Perhaps it’s because we’re afraid to make the story permanent. What if something goes wrong and we can’t return to the satisfying life we used to have? Books offer a temporary release from our humdrum and droll lives. We get to experience that which is impossible or frightening from the safety of our own homes (or school or office or movie set depending who you are). However, there is more than fear that drives our desires to escape through stories. Sometimes books impart an emotion we would otherwise be unable to comprehend. Love. Pity. Fear. Determination. Emotions are transitive. I’ve never been in love and don’t really understand it, but through books I can edge closer to the mystery of falling for someone who I don’t want to live without. It’s a chance to discover more about the world around us, even if that opportunity simply isn’t available in real life… yet.

This post seems pretty scattered, doesn’t it? I promise there’s a point. Just keep going.

I started thinking about why I love books so much yesterday while reading Rick Riordan’s The Son of Neptune. I couldn’t stop speaking to the book like it was a friend I was having a discussion with. There were several times I squealed like a little girl, stood up, and had to go tell my roommates the exciting things I had just read (don’t worry, I didn’t actually give away the plot). I get so into books that sometimes I forget they’re just stories. I begin to imagine that they’re real and affect me. I see the connections and foreshadowing and announce to the book, “So, yeah, I think I know what’s going to happen. But I don’t want to say anything in case you decide not to go that way. But you will. I know you will. You’re amazing! I love you. Maybe such and such could happen too? If I were there I would totally do such and such.” It goes on and on, with me telling the book not to worry, because everything will turn out for the best.

Yes, I’m a loser. Stop laughing at me. 😛

I see books as more than just stories. I see them as extensions of myself, entwined with my memories. I see them as safe escapes, chances to face the unknown. I see them as friends that are always on my side. Books are amazing, but not everyone appreciates them as much as I do. Some people just don’t like books. I won’t hold a grudge or anything, but I can’t help wondering if they dislike reading simply because they wanted to rebel as a child. Or maybe their parents didn’t encourage reading so as a child they never bothered to read non-school books. Some people simply have trouble focusing or understanding words. It’s unfortunate, but not everyone is as lucky as we avid readers.

There’s one final group of non-readers I want to mention. The people who cannot afford to buy books. They may love reading, they may crave a temporary escape from their lives, but they don’t have the money for these simple paper luxuries. You can help. Throw a book drive. It’s not hard to do. Place cardboard boxes all around your town, labeled with fliers asking for “new or gently used books.” Find an orphanage, school, church, synagogue, homeless shelter, club, ANYWHERE that supports less fortunate people by providing books. I have held several book drives throughout my life and they’re actually very simple to organize. My favorite was the one where I collected books to begin a library for the local Police Athletic League, which I was invited to visit afterwards. So ask around and share the joy of reading with those less fortunate than yourself.

I wish that every single person in the world could lose themselves in the excitement of reading, just as I do. That’s why I’m a writer. I yearn to create that thrill and those feelings. I dream of bringing about that escape. I fantasize that someday people will talk to my books like they’re alive. Because stories are definitely alive, and they live within the flimsy pages that make up our books.


Don’t Give Up

Yesterday I gave up on publishing my novel, The Dream Master. I decided that it needed to be put aside, that it shouldn’t be sent to agents anymore. All because I got two more rejection letters from agents.

That makes eight so far. Eight nicely worded emails from agents I thoroughly researched, saying “Unfortunately, your project is not right for us at this time,” and “Unfortunately, I feel that in today’s market, I cannot take on projects unless I feel strongly about them,” and simply, “I’ll have to pass at this time.” Most heartbreaking are the agents who receive so many queries that they are unable to respond at all. You are told to wait 4-10 weeks and, if they have note responded, assume that they are passing.

But despite the pain, despite how they make me feel incompetent, I forgive them. In fact, I understand them. It isn’t possible for every single book written to be published. There aren’t enough people in the world who love to read books. Heck, there isn’t enough time for people who love to read books to even read that many books. So agents have to say “no.” It’s hard enough to sell a really good book, let alone one that’s not quite good enough. Now you’re probably thinking, “But what about J. K. Rowling? She got rejected so many times before being accepted.” It’s true that future bestsellers get rejected too, and the agents who passed are probably kicking themselves as a result. However, if the agents who passed didn’t feel strongly about a future-bestseller’s story, then they couldn’t have promoted it as well as an agent who truly loved the story. Those bestsellers, under another agent, may never have been sold to the right publishers, and then would never have sold as well.

So much about life is timing and chance. And my chance will come. Maybe not with The Dream Master. Okay, so that sucks, but I’ll live. I’ll write more novels and those will be better, because I’ll have more experience. As I wrote in a play way back in middle school, “Time goes on and we remember freezing rain half past the hour, rushing cars, and business men, babies crying, as we go along this long road we call life.” Looking back, that is such a rambley, terrible sing-songy phrase. However, the message remains true. We’ll remember the small things that bothered us, but we just keep going down the road of life. Those little things make up who we are; we are the experiences that we have had. However you say it, rejection isn’t something to cry about. It adds to who I am, and I will keep going.

And just to finish this on a happier note, after giving up on The Dream Master, I gave up on giving up. I decided to ask my creative writing teacher to look over my query letter. She’s a successful science fiction author, and she said she would be delighted. So, with help, maybe The Dream Master will live again. And if not, I have some very in-depth notes about the next novel I am going to write… Hypermedia. I don’t want to go into details right now, but I plan on participating in NaNoWriMo again ( Click here for the site ). Somehow, despite traveling between three states, doing homework, studying for tests, etc., I WILL write the story. I feel much more confident in my writing now that I’ve fully written and edited a novel. Wish me luck!