I make no apology when I state I LOVE to read. But being a non-political person, one thing I’ve not read with any consistency is op-ed pages of newspapers or news magazines such as Time or Newsweek. And because I didn’t, I’ve apparently missed out on the most delightful author Anna Quindlen. I was on an internet website that had a quote of hers at the end of the webpage. The quote: “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” Twenty words, but oh, the stunning power.
Being so not a writer, I have no desire or compelling need to pen a tome or write a romance. There are plenty of those out there in readerland and thank goodness for them. But how I wish I could relay to you the emotional impact from just those twenty words. Finally, finally, someone had succinctly expressed in just twenty words the power of a book. I should make them my new mantra.
As soon as I had calmed down, I started googling Ms. Quindlen, went to her website, read about her on GoodReads, and put her book, “How Reading Changed My Life” on hold at my library. Except for those few words, I can’t remember if I’ve read any of her works, but I find myself looking for other quotes (I found them on Goodreads), googling her books, putting them on my wish list, and wondering about the kinship I feel with her. I have no idea if I’ll even like her works, and I may never meet Ms. Quindlen, but I do appreciate her singular understanding of books and their power.
All that from just twenty words.
I think so, especially if it’s a strip like the For Better or For Worse series by Canadian Lynn Johnston. Her comics followed the Patterson family for over 20 years. In fact, in her strip, her characters actually aged out – maybe not as fast as you or I, but we watched Michael, Elizabeth and April grow up “in real time”. Now, today’s families can relive those early Patterson years through the daily papers that carry the comic strip.
Another strip that aged its characters was Baby Blues, by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott. But in this case, it’s been several years where Zoe, Hammie and baby Wren have been stuck at about the same age. Still it’s a sit-com daily strip where once in a while, a strip will follow a story arc for a week or two, but still delivering that “gag-a-day” you expect from the comics.
It’s been a while since I’ve picked up one of these comic books, even though I keep up with them in the dailies. I have kept all of the FBOFW books I collected over the years as well as the BB books.
Being the serial reader that I am, it may come a day that I’ll have to sit down and read these beloved books once again.
As a volunteer at my tiny local library (hi, Alida!), I’m privy to the host of new (and old) books that flow in and out through our doors. Of course, with the wealth of information online, most anyone can stay abreast of the goings-on involving a favorite author. But what I really like is discovering an author who has a series of books involving one or two characters or even a family of characters. It’s like one novel simply can’t contain all the history and angst for all the characters, so it has to be spread out amongst several novels. I LOVE IT! Only one problem. Once I start with the first book I simply MUST read all of them. In order. One after another. Heaven help me if I can’t get my hands on one of the serials. Or even harder, when the author isn’t finished with the series and you just KNOW it’s going to be a looonng time before the next book. Did I say that waiting is not my good point? That’s when I fall back on some tried-and-true series to re-read until that waiting-to-die-for book comes out.
One of my favorite series, The Chesapeake Bay books by Nora Roberts, is a case in point. It doesn’t hurt that I lived for 23 years in Southern suburban Maryland and made many trips to Easton and Ocean City and all points in between. The Bay is just gorgeous. Familiarity with the area always adds a little thrill of pleasure when I read the books. So, I have to confess, I spent time this week and read the whole series – again – and found myself actually missing that area and wishing I could have met the Quinn brothers along with Ray and Stella and the dogs – oh, especially Foolish! It took me three days to read the four books and when I turned the last page of the 4th novel, I gave a big sigh, and said, I’ll be seeing you, again – someday soon!
Of course, I’m not dissing stand-alone novels and I’ve read many of those by many more authors, including Nora Roberts, and enjoyed them immensely. But it’s nice to know that the connection you’ve made with a character, even if it’s in your mind, will be carried on in the next book, and if you’re very lucky, more books after that!