Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Reading

If there is anything that has always been a constant for me, it has always been reading. Even before writing, which is sort of obvious when you think of it, since of course we learn to read before we write.

Reading has always been a thoroughly personal experience for me. Other than simply a relaxing pastime, which definitely it is, the process of reading (fiction, specifically) has always meant so much more. Perhaps, because I've always sought ways of evading reality (having had a not very pleasant childhood), and being an innate escapist, it's only natural that reading became my portal.

In one aspect, we could view reading as the way one simply forgets reality and escapes to other worlds to live vicariously through the characters. Interestingly however, I've realized that somewhere along the way, a different aspect of reading developed. Rather than superimposing upon my reality the more appealing fictional world, somehow my process of reading became such that reading only emphasized, highlighted and enhanced my reality.

Maybe that's simply the process of growing up. When you're young you are expected, and encouraged, to use the imagination to develop new worlds and make-believe stories. Then somehow while growing up, you aren't. 'Grow up, already': get your head out of the clouds, stop daydreaming, get your feet on the ground, face reality. That's growing up. And it makes sense, because the process of growing up entails assuming more responsibility, and to do so you can't be always in the twilight zone of imagination.

Growing, 'becoming an adult' means that you have to come to terms with reality, with your life. You need to face it head on, and not engender futile daydreams that would detract from your execution of what actually needs done. I'm hardly lecturing here, if that's the tone it seems; these are lessons I especially have had to learn, and am constantly being reminded when I tend to go emo and trail away in my own Lalaland.

What I have discovered is that what I enjoy most about reading now is that ability for an author to be able to speak to me, heart to heart. The ability to relate is what ranks highest (or at least up there with some other variables) for me in reading. One line a character utters could make the entire book for me. Hence, the process of reading is entirely too personal for me.

Which brings me to the point of reviewing books. I find myself hard-pressed to be able to write book reviews for amazing books because it is difficult for me to extract myself out of what had just happened while reading. To accurately review a book would mean that I need to extricate the many tangles and knots of the story out of myself, or else only attempt to describe to others who could not possibly understand my entire life. Rather, my whole being - because for some reason referring to 'life' seems lacking in what I am trying to explain,  life seems to just mean the series of events occurring to make it up, almost distinct from me, or me-ness. I mean me, as a product of my life in conjunction with my cognitive and emotional self.  And to simply write a review without this is difficult, if not entirely impossible.

Sometimes I want others to experience what I had in reading a certain book, so I recommend it. But this is also a bit tentative and shy on my side since I can't expect that another person with their own 'me' would be able to appreciate what I did in the same way. It also occurs to me that this process of sharing something one truly likes and appreciates is another medium for us to understand or learn more about one another. We could open to the thought of what and why exactly did this person like it, and rather than just the literal context of the plot, what is it that makes a person receptive to a certain theme or concept or mood. I guess that is how we sort of gauge where another person is on a mental frequency. You send out vibrations and they hit that person and bounce back and you absorb the return frequency to learn that person's aura. (If that went over your head, think of a bat and their sonar echolocation. No kids, I said bat, not Batman. Focus.)

This morning I get an update from Goodreads that another person had finished reading a book and rated it 5 stars. Why am I telling you this? Because I recommended said book to that person and THEY RATED IT 5 STARS. I mean, that's awesome - they liked a book I LOVE.

This book is coming out as a movie. At first I  had huge, and I mean HUGE, misgivings about this news. Cmon, by now we all know 1. how absolutely screwed up books made into movies are, and also 2. how much I detest this happening. But apparently the trailer has been released and everyone is absolutely raving about how amazing the trailer is and how this movie will be absolutely great. And this is a "hey, wait" moment for me because it's not just anyone raving about the movie, it's like-minded book readers who really love the book just as I do, so it could be said that their comments have more credibility. At least, to me. I  have yet to see this trailer.

In case you were wondering, the book in particular is The Fault in Our Stars, written by John Green. It's a YA book, and yet there are so many wonderful things about it.  It isn't a long read at all, and I would love for everyone to read this before they watch the movie.

(Quote from The Fault in Our Stars)


6 comments:

  1. No comments.
    Except just one question : Is that person on GoodReads me (only)? #JustCurious

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    1. Yes you, smarty! I thought me asking you about it on T made the connection obvious!

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  2. I am definitely going to read this! I actually started it, but after the first few pages decided I wanted to read it in a different state of mind :) But definitely before I watch the movie!

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  3. I dont know why but I have to read your post twice to truly understand what you are saying!!!
    May be you are too good with your writing skill that it just increases my dumbness... but indeed very well written... you are right that we do read first and then go on to writing!
    Everyone must read, it is after all a good habit... I try my best to encourage people on reading but their laziness gets the worse of them!!! Even sometimes with me... I get bored reading a book, so I just skip a couple of chapters!!!

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    1. Yes, it is actually a bad habit I suppose: I have this tendency of writing obscurely, saying lots without saying too much. And no, it shouldn't increase anyone's 'dumbness' :) the mere fact that you've read it is more proof that you're anything but dumb! (...err, don't think that through too much, I'm not sure about the logic either haha).

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