Influence of Books
The written word – it’s a marvel, don’t you think? A couple of days ago, my husband unpacked a couple of boxes (I know – amazing right?) and found his collection of Highlights magazines from the 1980′s. Just seeing the signature cover brought back memories of my days and hours of anticipation, racing to the mailbox, eager for my next monthly magazine. I would read and reread them until they literally fell apart each month. This was long before the internet opened up access to all kinds of information. I look back on that dewy-eyed innocent girl enjoying the long days of summer, remember moments of the last remnants of my childlike innocence and smile. The influence of books on my life is clear from an early age. My oldest daughter is 11, about the same age I was when summer ended and I began that transition into becoming a young adult. The three of us stood in the living room, talking about the magazine and some of our favorite stories. That’s when it hit me. This is what makes writing so powerful. It’s connective.
Influence of Books
We literally had almost three generations in one room (my husband is 7 years older than me – yes, I’m rounding up liberally) but we were connected by a common interest – our love of the writing in the magazine. We moved from there to our favorite books and stories from when we were a kid. I shared my first experience reading the books Dick & Jane and See Spot Run with a local tutor.
It may be a surprise but originally, due to a poor upbringing, I failed kindergarten and was struggling with learning in general, but especially reading and math. I remember sitting at my tutor, Mrs. Sample’s kitchen table during countless sunny summer afternoons, struggling to read this simple book. She was patient, encouraged me (Sound it out, you can do it), and never got annoyed with my fumbling. Over the course of several years, my reading and comprehension grew to the point that I entered two local spelling bees. By that point I was reading at a high school level. Without her, I would never have developed a love of reading that has endured my whole life and led to me becoming a writer.
See what I mean? It’s all connective – like a giant spiderweb. What stories connect you with others? How have books affected your life? Gossamer strands connect us all through literature and those works have had various effects on our lives. Books have endured and shaped countless experiences. Where would the world be without the bible? Anne Frank’s diary account of the Holocaust and her experiences coming to age in World War II? Or Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare has provided influence of books, short stories, movies, and popular culture since the 1500s.
Books and literature are a gift and so easily taken for granted. It’s easy to forget that a writer spent hours weaving together words, characters, settings, and conflict to bring you that work you hold in your hands. So next time, instead of looking at the price and thinking “Wow, it’s $10″, think of the price of the memories, adventures, or knowledge this book will unlock for you. Can we put a price tag on those kind of gifts? I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on books. And my experiences show that investment as does my perspective.
I hope you’ll support a local author with reviews and encouragement, buy books in whatever format you choose, share your opinion and experiences with others. Books enrich our lives every single day and contain an incredible power to bring us together. So next time you pick up a paperback or e-book reader, think about the effect books and literature have had then show some support. Even a review or a short comment can make an author’s day brighter. We writers love to hear about how our books affect others and engage in conversations about the writing. I miss my college days simply for the literary analysis. We would sit in class talking about all our favorite parts, what they meant to us as a reader, and our favorite characters.
This is just one more reason why I write. Because I want to connect to my reader. I want to have an impact. I want to share experiences. It’s why I wrote Jason Lizzy and the Snowman Village. To share a bit of the holiday spirit with children and adults. To help us all remember being children and believing in all the possibilities of life. To me, that’s the best kind of magic.
How have books influenced you? What books have lived in your heart from your childhood? What do you see your children experiencing from books? How is that different from your own experiences?