Friday, September 6, 2013

A World Without My Favorite Books? No, Thank You.

You can blame this post on Skylar Kade. She's the sadistic genius who posed the evil, evil question a few weeks back about whether or not we'd choose to never re-read our favorite books if re-reading them meant we'd never be able to read anything new.

If you need to refresh your memory, you can find our answers HERE.

I know I'm not alone in being the only die-hard re-reader of books although *ahem* you might not know that from our answers. Really? No one?  (Kate Davies, I have four words for you: The Dark is Rising). I can only conclude that all of my naughties were up to their eyeballs in edits at the time and the thought of re-reading anything was understandably low on their priority list. Seriously though, much as I love reading new books, I don't think I'd ever again have the courage to pick one up if I knew it was a one-time thing and that, no matter how much I loved it, I'd never be able to read it again. That'd be like intentionally falling in love with each one-night stand over and over again. That's just stupid. I mean, who the fuck does that? Nobody, that's who.

It's about as depressing as this song: which is one of the most depressing things ever.

Favorite books are like old friends. Sure, there's always the possibility that you will make new ones too, but if you knew going in that you'd never see this person again, no matter how much you wanted to, no matter how simpatico you turned out to be? Yeah, I'm seeing a whole lot of commitment issues on the horizon. To prove my point, here's a whole blog devoted to people talking about favorite books.
And I won't even mention sites like Goodreads or Shelfari.

Anyway, I'm sure Skylar never envisioned that I'd put so much energy into this topic, but that very same day it got me thinking about some of my favorite books from childhood. Books I haven't read in decades but which stayed with me all this time. As a result, I went to work and tracked down all of Rumer Godden's doll books and a few of Marguerite Henry's horse books that I didn't have lying around from when my kids were little. There are quite a few favorite books that I've lost touch with over the years. I'm on a mission now to get them all back. (Sky--my husband says "thanks a lot!" I think that's sarcasm)

Life without my favorite books? No, no, no. That is flat out not happening. Just the thought of it is so damn depressing it makes me think of that scene from the movie Testament where Jane Alexander has to sew a shroud for her daughter. (You're all seeing that in your heads now, aren't you? You're welcome.) And that, in turn, brings to mind the book On the Beach (also about a nuclear holocaust) which was required reading when I was in 6th grade.  Good book. Depressing. The reference to the hero removing the heroine's bra after they'd gone swimming made a huge impression on the boys in my class. And that, in turn, reminds me of Valley of the Dolls, which I read two years later.

Books. Movies. Songs. The stories we tell ourselves, the stories we tell each other. They have such an incredible impact on our psyches, on our culture, on who we are and how we think..even where we live. I moved into Manhattan because of a book. I moved to California because of a book...okay, several books. Who's counting? I rented an apartment in Berkeley for two years because the house it was in belonged to the sister and brother-in-law of the author of one of my favorite books. In the book he described visiting them there. Ten years later, I moved back into that house for another four years. Call it stalking, I don't care. It felt like home.

So, here's the thing. A world where I could never re-read a book--that just would not work for me. So I've figured out a few work-arounds in the event this hideous situation were ever to come to pass.

#1. I'd simply write new books. Hey, as Toni Morrison said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”   Or if it's been written, but you can't re-read it? Same rule applies. Just go for it. Re-invent that wheel. (please note: I'm not advocating plagiarism here. Except in the event of some insane global ban on books, in which case, all bets are off)

#2. We'd all just have to agree to read our favorite books to each other. Or recite them from memory...after re-reading the same ten books several hundred thousand times, I'm not seeing a problem with that.

#3. Speaking of reading-slash-reciting books, I'm envisioning a whole new venue for this--kind of a speakeasy-slash-coffeehouse-slash-opium den-slash-library-slash-salon kind of thing. Where books are the drug of choice. That would actually be really cool, come to think of it. Still not worth it, of course, but cool all the same.

Only blood can break your heart.

New Year’s Eve, 1999. The world is braced for Y2K, but that’s not the only ticking time bomb in Conrad’s life. Damian wouldn’t be the first vampire to find a way to die, but Conrad is determined he will not be one of them.

Present day. Damian struggles to trust that fate could possibly be kind enough to give him a love as perfect as Conrad’s. Conrad balances on the keen edge of his own fear that one more slip of his formidable control could drive his lover away—permanently. 

Julie learns the hard way it’s not just interspecies relationships that seldom work out. Even between vampires, love is not a smooth course.

Meanwhile, intrigue and conflict within the nest continue to grow, fueled in no small part by Georgia’s slipping hold on a deadly secret. Marc works to consolidate his position as leader of the ferals—and discovers that being a walking anomaly has certain advantages. Including some that are totally unexpected.


Meg Benjamin said...

Yes, let's all blame Skylar for this--there absolutely was no right answer! And yes, that is one very depressing song.

Erin Nicholas said...

I love this post! In part because of your incredible passion for the topic ;) You open a speakeasy-slash-coffeehouse-slash-opium den-slash-library-slash-salon kind of thing, where books are the drug of choice... and I'm there!