Wednesday, June 10, 2009

From The Jar... #38

Hi there. Remember me? I'm Clancy's little Jar she's been ignoring for the last lots of weeks. (Hey, lay off! I'm a Jar! I don't know how many weeks it's been since her last jar post! I can't do math in my brain because I don't have one.... just little slips of paper with questions on them.)

I've missed feeling useful. For these last lots of weeks, I've simply become a dust collector. (and there's a LOT of dust around Clancy's computer.) I feel so alone and neglected. She used to be excited to remove my lid and pull little questions from my innards. But now, she just pretends I'm not there while she mumbles 'seven years!!' under her breath.

Well, today, I'm taking back Wednesdays! I shouted and shouted with all my Jarness until she heard me. And then I reminded her that I'm here sitting, waiting, crying, pining away for the relationship we once had. And guess what? It worked. She pulled a question...

And the Jar says... (kinda gives new meaning to that statement, doesn't it?)

Tell about your favorite books as a child, youth or adult. Who is your favorite author?

Well, well, well... this is an interesting question for me at this time. It just so happens that one of the main reasons I fell from my lofty perch atop the blogging wagon was because of a massive series of books that I started reading a month or two ago.

As you well know, I love books. I devour books. I eat them up and lick my little fingers after I've finished reading them because they are just so darned tasty and satisfying!

My favorite books as a child had to be, GO Dog GO!, but Bears on Wheels was the first book I ever read. I don't really remember learning to read. I just remember reading that book and showing my parents and they were shocked. Maybe my memory is off, but that's how my neural filing system has it set up. Correct me if I'm wrong, Mom. (if you read this...) I also loved Danny and the Dinosaur, and that book about Harold and his purple crayon.

I remember by second or third grade I loved the chapter books. My first picks were scary books by John Bellairs, my favorite author for many of those childhood years. I also loved Nancy Drew books and anything with a mystery. I loved Where the Red Fern Grows but I think I love that even more as an adult reading it to my own children. Powerful book...

As a teenager I loved almost all of the books I was assigned to read for English classes. Rebecca was one of those, as was To Kill a Mockingbird, Dandelion Wine, The Human Comedy, and Great Expectations are among my favorites.

As an adult I read everything from every genre. I have read several fantasy series, ie., The Wheel of Time, The Sword of Truth, A Song of Ice and Fire. I've read lots of non-fiction self-helpish books. I've read Diane Mott Davidson's "culinary mysteries", Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series along with The Host. I've read a lot of Orson Scott Card... the Alvin Maker series is my favorite. Too many books to list. I read a LOT.

I have to say that my favorite book of all time is Atonement by Ian McKewan. This book holds my aspirations as a writer. To write like he does is my dream, my goal, my aim. I'm a far cry from it, but I love it. Each word is considered. It is beautiful and powerful and dives deeply into the psyches of the characters. LOVE IT!!!

Currently, the large series that has me very distracted from blogging is Outlander, by Diane Gabaldon. The first book is the best, but they are all very well written and engaging. The first book, Outlander, sucked me in emotionally in a way that I've never before encountered. It pulled everything out of me and wrung me dry! The characters were that well developed as well as the relationships. It was great. I read it twice in about a week and a half. If you decide you want to read these books, you are hereby warned: They have some steamy parts in them, so if that offends, be ready to skim them or just skip these books.

As far as my favorite author, I don't really have one. Just favorite books.

Now I'm going to get a little philosophical on you. Do you know why books can be so powerful? I just told you that Outlander tore me up emotionally... ripped me apart and then put me back together. I felt like I got hit by a train before I finished it. That is power! I thought a lot about it over the last few weeks as I've been reading and I've wondered how that can happen.

Here's another scenario. When I first read the Twilight series I was deep in the dark crevices of the January blues I've been dealing with in recent years. Those books offered me escape from those crevices. I read them quickly. (devoured. inhaled. consumed.) In less than 72 hours, I finished all three of them. They provided light in my dark place. I relished in living someone else's life for 60 hours. Then, they ended. I finished them. And, I cried. I mourned the loss of the lives I had been living in. I really and honestly felt like someone I loved had died. It was 2:00 in the afternoon when I closed Eclipse and I was depressed the rest of the day. The next morning, my depression was still there. It was then that I had a brilliant epiphany! I could just read them again, and all those characters would live once more! Over the next two weeks, I read the first book 5 times, and the other two books three times. (Breaking Dawn wasn't out yet.) Silly, you might say...pathetic is the word I used many times, but I'll tell you what.... Those books were my lifeline at the time. For whatever reason, I needed to be in those books and by reading them over and over again, I burned that need out of my system and I felt better.

So, what's my point? The point of all this to illustrate the power of a book. It's just words on a page, but why are they so powerful? In my mind, it's because those stories become a part of who we are. We subject our mind so completely to all the thoughts of the author. We experience the emotions of the characters as they go through their joys or struggles and we take them on as our own. In my own mind I lived through the struggles of the characters in Outlander, and my mind now holds the memory of all that emotion. It becomes my own experience. That is so powerful! I don't really know what to do with that, but as someone who wants to write, it seems very, very important. And I have no idea if that makes any sense whatsoever, but it's actually helped clarify my thoughts, so thanks for 'listening'.

And there you go, Jar. Now maybe you'll let me sleep peacefully at night. I'm so tired of listening to you sob through the floorboards. :-P


lynsey said...

i've heard amazing things about atonement & want to read it! just need to find the time...once i start a book i can't just start & stop it. unless it's something fluffy like the "shopaholic" books. but even then, i find myself thinking about them all day long. my parenting skills start lacking, not to mention blogging & showering. :) i get enveloped.

and now outlander sounds great too. thanks for the recommendations!

welcome back jar. you poor thing.

Emily and Dustin said...

Nice post. I'm thinking of starting a book club that reads only the classics. Interested???

Clancy Pants said...

Emily... sign me up!

Maria Hart said...

But what makes a classic... whose "classics" list are you using? Are you going to include modern classics that are on certain lists right now but may not stand the test of time? Most science fiction, and fantasy for that matter, aren't on classics lists (barring HG Wells and Ray Bradbury) because they are such contemporary genres. And... two of my favorites, To Kill a Mockingbird and Les Miserables, are powerful, but rarely make the classics lists. Ah, the dilemma!

As for your essay, Clancy, wonderful! Great! Even in a digital world, where everything is fast paced and we can see stories played out for us on the big screen, we need books. Maybe we need them even more. We need to slow down, savor the language that is so quickly becoming obsolete and abbreviated, and use our own imaginations. The human race is a story-telling, story-listening body... we forget that during the daily efforts of survival. We need to remember that we need art to survive: literary, visual, performing, all of it.

Clancy Pants said...

Meh... "Classics" by whomever's definition is ok by me. I just love to read and love to have a night of discussing books with smart ladies! And, since you've moved, Maria, I am on the prowl for another book club. I know I can still go to yours, but it's on Wednesday nights which is bad for me so, I'm on the prowl! :)

Emily and Dustin said...

I've been browsing the net for what is considered a "classic." Maybe I should change the theme to "Books You Tend to Read in High School." Ha! My idea was to read books like To Kill A Mockingbird, Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Animal Farm, Pride and Prejudice, etc.

Clancy Pants said...

Sounds good to me, Emily! I'm in for whatever you decide the book club is! :)

Emilee said...

You are a CLASSIC ya..

Genene said...

What neural filing system? Do I have one of those? (heh) I know it's filed in there somewhere but it's kinda like the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark... filed or stored away somewhere deep, buried, blended in far far away in the recesses of my mind.....

Great post Clank! I love you!

Polly said...

I love that books are such a great escape as well. I can get so much more emotionally involved with the characters in books than I should. :P

I think I didn't read enough as a child or teen, though because I was always doing something else. My book love is newly discovered.

The books you loved in HS...I hated to read a book that was assigned in class. It doesn't matter if I might have enjoyed it. If it was an assignment, I had serious problems reading it. Partly because I had to read on a schedule, partly because I didn't take the time to read, and partly because I didn't like the assignments that went with it. Maybe if I had done the reading, I would have liked the assignments, but I still think reading in class should involve a little more book club style with no right or wrong answers! :)

Fun post.