Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's Always Words That Undress You

It is so refreshing: the feeling you get when reading something you can't seem to put down. It is a truly beautiful feeling when a piece of literature entices and captivates your mind, your body, your soul.

Growing up, I loved to read. In my early years at school, I excelled in my Reading and English classes. 'Library' was my favorite class, one of our "Specials", like Gym or Art class. We were required to read a certain number of books and then take an online quiz to prove we had read them in order to pass Library class. In 2nd grade I read over 200 books and received an award for reading the most of all the students in the school.

I just loved to read! 

Some of my favorites included The Cam Jensen Mysteries, Roald Dahl's The BFG, Joan Lowry Nixon's The Name of the Game was Murder, C.S. Lewis's series The Chronicles of Narnia, and Gail Carson Levine's The Two Princesses of Bamarre. 

I particularly like fantasy, fiction, and mystery. I loved creating my own interpretations of the world that the author laid out for the reader. I would become the main character in my mind, be it a girl or boy, and I would experience the story as I read.

When I progressed into junior high, I started to read longer novels that involved more mature topics. I began reading young adult authors like Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, Ann Brashares, Stephanie Meyer, etc. I also began loving classics like Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders. 

It wasn't until high school however that I realized just how much of an effect novels had on me. Being a very naturally empathetic person, I generally tend to feel what I am told. My empathetic nature has allowed me to feel so much when reading novels. When reading, you are being told a story, whether it be from the person's own perspective, an omnipresent narrator, or many different perspectives, you are given details that allow you to experience what the characters are experiencing.  

After reading a slew of novels my freshman year of high school, I could not wait for more! Throughout my four years, I was deeply moved by novels such as Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bee's, Julia Alvarez's In the Time of the Butterflies, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Daphne de Maurier's Rebecca, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. These are just a few of the novels that brought me to tears, gave me anxiety when I could not read fast enough for myself, taught me valuable life lessons, opened up new perspectives, and gave me the courage to feel something I had never felt. 

I can remember the moment when I finished Alice Walker's The Color Purple. I was lying in my bed crying, as I had been for the last few chapters. I read the last sentence, closed the book, and laid in my bed sobbing for about a half hour as I thought about what I had just read.

 I had a similar reaction when I finished Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. As I turned the 940th page (the last page), I suddenly felt a sense of loss. I had been reading Anna Karenina for the past month. I had been on a roller coaster whirlwind of emotion as I read of the characters' triumphs and struggles and experienced it all alongside them. 
I hated Anna. I hated Vronsky. I hated Karenin. I hated Oblonsky. I hated Levin. I hated Kitty. 
But I loved Anna. I loved Vronsky. I loved Karenin. I loved Oblonsky. I loved Levin. I loved Kitty. 

I had been through so much with these characters that the thought of ending my journey with them scared me. It didn't matter that the last page did not reveal anything new or plot-twisting, it was the sheer fact that it meant there was nothing more to read. That made me sad. In fact, I cried for a while, mourning the end of my experience reading Tolstoy's novel for the first time. It hurt me that I had to return to my reality and say goodbye to the unknown of these character's lives. I now knew everything there was to know, and that knowledge gave me both a sense of pride and despondency. 

But that is what is so magical about reading. The mixed emotions, the temporary attachment to something that is not our reality. Being able to connect with a piece of literature is a remarkable gift that we as humans are all capable of in our own unique ways. 

So, I guess that this blog post should wrap up and get to the point now that I have completely gone off on a tangent. I apologize. 

I do not want to shove it down anyone's throat that they should read if they honestly do not find enjoyment in doing so. I do not want to force someone to enjoy something just because I enjoy it. However, I would like to kindly encourage you all who are still reading this post (you survived my tangent- yay... and thank you), to read something this summer. Read and allow yourself to feel. I would love to know what some of you are reading/plan to read. I have a little list for myself of some novels I want to give a go at (also getting a Goodreads account helps too). Let me know any suggestions/recommendations as well!

I hope you enjoyed this post :)

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xx

2 comments:

  1. love reading these kind of posts! I kinda love that feeling of not knowing what to do after you finish a good book and feeling at a loss and almost completely re-thinking your life and morals! I'm definitely the same as you in the sense that i feel what i read and i'm going to look in to buying some of the books you have mentioned (I used to love sarah dessen too! especially the truth about forever!)

    bec X
    honeythumb.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. Great post Grace! I guess great minds think alike because I have been obsessed with reading lately :)

    <3 Maddie

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