To Authors who write books, and their readers
Anything I read, I am in awe of the vision and time and effort and love and commitment put forth by the author and all those who work with and support that person.
To critique a book is to critique a piece of art, and that is a very subjective process. What I see in a book as thin is rich to another, what I see as lumbering is grace to the next reader. We all lean toward content that brings comfort, or horror, or love; whatever it is we are seeking. And that is the magic of books; that the reader can walk in the shoes of the characters and join their journey. The author has the magic and tenacity to pull words together that makes all this possible. How can there ever be a ‘bad’ critique of that.
So if I am to say that something in a book didn’t move me, or I found it difficult etc etc., that is me, at that moment. In another moment, the book might resonate in a completely different way. I remember a course I took in University, it was about the writing of Jane Austen. The professor adored her, I found her tedious and dull and boring. Didn’t know why I took the course, wished I could get out. I couldn’t see the richness of characters, I was too busy reading huge paragraphs about a tea cup. I wrote a paper that tore apart one of her books. I got an A, because the prof said I documented my argument well. And then she quietly told me that I was too young to appreciate this author. We had a rather heated exchange and then she had the last word….”Come back to her in 20 or 30 years, read her then. Maybe you will understand why the tea cup is so important in leading you into the depth of character.” I passed the course but I left Jane Austen. As years passed I’d watch movies made of her books, cringing slightly, and I waited. Her book , Emma (the book I had torn apart in my essay), sat on a corner of my bookshelf, patient. And then, one day, after having experienced school and work and motherhood and life, I reached for Emma; and was lost. The professor was right. I tried to find her to share the story with her, but she was long gone. Her lesson that day in class was not. I passed on her wisdom to many of my own students. I never forgot that lesson.
We all bring something different to what we read; our own history/herstory, our demographic, our culture, our experiences, our gender, our age and the list goes on. And authors bring all those things with them when they craft their stories. So many variables, which is why we have so many books. Something for everyone.
So to all readers….read voraciously. Read different genres. Step out of your comfort zone. Explore. Journey. And if you don’t like a book, wait a while.
And to all authors, bravo and congratulations on your achievement. Forgive me, if standing in my own variables, your work isn’t my favorite…..today.
Namaste!! And Cheers to the written word!!