Monday, January 25, 2010

My Nose in a Book

There is something intoxicating about the smell of a new book. Bright, new cover and fresh, crisp pages. I could spend hours fingering the spines and flipping through the pages in a bookstore. I may not be a big fan of public libraries but I am definitely a fan of books.

As a child, my mom would read to us from "Little House on the Prairie" while we snuggled at her side or sat at her feet. One of the homes we moved into when I was young came with a fully stocked home library. My mom was baffled why someone would give up such a treasure but ecstatic that she inherited the hundreds of books. Those books were packed around with us from house to house every time we moved. When the kids moved out, my mom downsized a little, but still kept the bulk of the books. In fact, the very last thing we had to move from her apartment was boxes of old books she had carted around for years.

We loved books.

I used to lay under my covers at night with a flashlight, reading the exciting tales of "Nancy Drew". She was my hero. I read every book. I read every night, often finishing a whole book in one night, staying up well past normal hours. I had read and learned the authors “voice” so well that occasionally, I would drift off to sleep while reading, and would dream the rest of the book, as if I were actually reading it.

Still today, with all the responsibilities I need to be facing as a mother, nothing beckons to me like the pages of a new adventure. I promise myself, only one chapter a day. I mentally prepare to NOT become captivated by the words on a page. I assure myself I won’t fall into the “one more chapter” trap.

And then I open to the first page and begin to read.

I am like a train. Starting slow. One chapter here or there. Trying to pace myself. Trying to keep my self-made promises to not become enthralled. But slowly, I pick up momentum. I begin to tell myself “two more chapters” or “don’t worry about the dishes”. I begin to carry the book in my purse looking for any opportunity to read. I am suddenly hurling full speed downhill with no breaks. I am reading at stop lights, doctor’s offices, and while brushing my teeth. I ignore my body’s cry for sleep and I read.

There are some books I can’t finish. Some books are not interesting enough. But there is nothing like finding that story that excites you. Makes you think about it when you are not reading it. I have read some good books. Books that I want to have in my own library.

And then I read Mistborn.

In a word? Phenomenal.

You see, a while ago, I thought I would pretend to be a writer. I got a story in my head and began writing several chapters. I knew I needed work, so I started listening to this podcast by Brandon Sanderson. His information was so helpful. So comprehensive. In the podcast, he referred frequently to the books he has written (rather smart of him to do, I might add) Consequently, I became intrigued in these books and decided to give them a shot.

I am sure that they were written for a much smarter demographic than I fall into, but WOW! I am not a big fan of discriptiuve violence and mystical theology, but this guy was able to maintain that delicate balance between it all.

After reading the Mistborn series, I realized a couple things. First, this man has a gift for writing. I can’t even explain how both complexity and simplicity course through each of these books. I wouldn’t do it any justice. Secondly, I realized, I have NO IDEA what I am doing when it comes to writing books. I have a lot to learn.

But hey, if this is how I learn, by reading books like this, then I am all for it. In fact, anyone who wants to learn to be a better author, specifically for the fantasy genre, these books are a must.

I just have to wait before starting another one so I can find out what has been going on in the world the last month.


Just SO said...

I need to read this series. My good friend has recommended it but I've never gotten around to it.

Brandon Sanderson is finishing writing The Wheel of Time series (whose author passed away before finishing it). He did a FABULOUS job on the first book. I can't wait to see how he wraps it all up.

Emmy said...

I love getting lost in a good book but I too am afraid to do so.. as I will often so easily just put one more show on for my kids so I can read some more. I might have to check out Brandon's books.

That Girl said...

Well, shoot, I'll just add that to my list.

I devour books. And I'm not at all ashamed of it.

I sneak them in ... while dinner is sizzling on the stove, during naps, when I'm on the pot, or on the porch while the kids are riding bikes .... I try hard not to let it KEEP me from mothering (sometimes successful, sometimes not), but the fact it, there's always a book nearby.

Fiauna said...

Are you giving up? Writing takes practice . . . and practice . . . and practice. And a lot of work. But what it really takes is the will to write. Don't give up on yourself. Just because you don't write what he does doesn't mean you don't write. Cause, if you remember, a little while ago I tried to pretend I was a writer too.