Today’s guest post comes from Sherrilee
I am a reader. Many things define my life; I am a single mother, an organizer, a cook, a friend. But at my core, I am a reader. I read every day and I spend more time than you can imagine keeping track of what I’m reading, what I have out from the library, what I have requested from the library. If I could figure out a way to have someone else pay the bills, shovel the snow, cut the grass and buy the groceries, I would be perfectly content to spend my days reading. On the sofa, laying in the hammock or sitting on a park bench – all wonderful places to read.
I used to have to finish any book I started. For years it plagued me that I had started Ulysses after my freshman year in college and had never been able to plow through it. While I still struggle through a few books, these days a book has to grab me pretty quickly. There have been books that I give up on after just a few pages and occasionally there is a book that I abandon half way through because I realize I’m just not enjoying it.
This past week I reread “The Earth Abides” by George Stewart. I read this book back in high school at the suggestion of one of my favorite teachers and it was the first “science fiction” that I recall reading. Ideas from it have stuck with me over the years, so when I noticed on the library website that a new edition has been rereleased, I checked it out. Not only did I enjoy it greatly after all these years, but it struck me on a more emotional level than I remember from first reading it and I cried towards the end.
There have been many books over the years that have made me cry. When I was in the 8th grade, I read “Flowers for Algernon”. I couldn’t put it down and started to cry early on, when it was clear what direction the story was going. I read until 4 in the morning and cried until I could hardly breathe and thought I might throw up.
“Doctor Zhivago” was another one. I had already seen the movie before I read the book and was unprepared for the emotion of Pasternak’s words. I cried for an hour.
So I’ve been thinking about the difference in books – why some grab you and why some don’t. A few years ago one of my book clubs read a book about 4 brothers and was filled with baseball and baseball analogies. All the other members of the club relished it from beginning to end and I had to work hard to get through it; every time the author started to bring baseball to the page, I started to glaze over. And I have a friend who cannot understand why anybody reads anything by Jasper Fforde, who is one of my favorite authors.
Even though the tears stuff me up and made my eyes puffy and read, I consider crying over a good book a great cathartic experience and I look forward to the next “cryer”.
When have words on a page affected you physically?