Recently, I’ve read several novel reviews that gushed about how the book had a powerful impact on the reader’s life. In a couple of cases, the reader said the reading experience actually changed their life. I can’t remember when that last happened to me. I want to know why.
I don’t think it’s necessarily my reading choices. I’ve read some of those same books said to be so powerful. They just didn’t have an overwhelming effect on me. Am I too cynical? Am I too dense? I know it’s not that I’m so perfect I couldn’t use a good life-changing experience.
Might it be that I’ve forgotten how to read in such a focused way that I’m open to receive that experience?
I have a pile of books to read and a backlog on my Kindle. Those dwindled a bit when I went back to reading as I ate lunch. Reading in little chunks that way is probably not the best way to experience a novel, though it might work for short stories, essays, or poetry. Then I started writing again. Now I eat lunch while I try to catch up on email or check in on Twitter. That means little or no reading.
What would happen if I took a few days off and did nothing but read? The first thing I’d have to do is fight the urge to put down the book and write. I know that every perfect word choice or gorgeous metaphor I read would have me chomping at the writing bit.
In previous posts, I’ve talked about filling up on reading before I can write. This time, I’m writing well, the words are flowing, yet I feel I’m missing something by not reading. Strange.
Maybe I need to disappear for a while and completely, absolutely, totally, deeply immerse myself in a life-changing book—if I can find one.
What was the last book that had an impact on you? Why?
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