Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Question for Our Readers by Amber Leigh Williams

While pondering my subject for this month’s “possibilities” post, I came across an intriguing question I wanted to ask our readers here at the Roses of Prose. While exploring everything that possibility means to me as a fiction writer, it occurred to me that all roads lead back to the reader. Before I was a writer, I was an avid reader. After I became a writer, reading remained one of my favorite pastimes. Wherever I can find the time nowadays, I still love to lose myself in a good book. When you crack open a new read, the pages breathe possibilities. Anything could happen. And when turning the last page of a truly unforgettable novel, sometimes we feel a bit sad – a sense of longing that the story would continue…or we could keep reliving it word for word again and again. I believe this sense of longing is why we so often go back and re-read our favorites. Whether a book is good or bad, we feel a bit sad at the end of it because all those possibilities we were so thrilled to uncover in the beginning have been revealed to us. Whether we’re disappointed in how it turned out or satisfied that all the plot threads and character arcs were tied up, that sense of longing is usually there.

This all meanders back to my question for readers, just as a line from Nathan Fillion in an early episode of the television show Castle. When finding out that a suspect is suffering from amnesia, the lead character, Richard Castle, contemplates one of the few benefits of profound memory loss: reading your favorite books for the first time all over again. Think about it. We can re-read our favorites again and again and achieve some of the thrill and satisfaction we received from their pages to begin with. But we can never go back to that moment we cracked open their spines for the very first time and sensed all those possibilities beckoning us forward. We can never really relive the rush of watching all those plot points unfold before our eyes and in our imaginations. We can never fly into the unknown of these stories again and grasp that knowledge in the end that we’ve discovered something amazing. Just like falling in love for the first time in our lives, we can sadly never get these moments back.

This brainstorm leads me to my question for you, readers. If you could go back and read any book for the first time again, what would it be? Think carefully. If I could go back and read the Harry Potter books for the first time all over again, other than reliving my first love, I can’t imagine anything more exciting! How about going back and finding what seemed like the words of a kindred spirit in The Diary of Anne Frank in eighth grade? Or Pride and Prejudice junior year? Or perhaps I would go back to the summer I was fourteen when I went to my mother and complained that I was bored of my own reading material and she handed me my first romance novel – Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts. That was definitely a game-changer. Or maybe I could go back to that book I read in third grade literature class that made me want to be a writer to begin with….

There are others, more guilty pleasures than those pivotal books mentioned above. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. The J.D. Robb books. (Rediscovering Roarke for the first time all over again? Sign me up, please!) Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s Ashes in the Wind. The Black Dagger Brotherhood. The Enchantment by Betina Krahn. Nora’s romantic suspense Honest Illusions, her western romance Lawless, or any of her Irish trilogies. Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon. Jillian Hart’s Homespun Bride.

I can’t choose. The possibilities are endless. Now you try! I’m dying to know what book you would choose to read for the first time all over again – and why….

Happy choosing and may spring shower you with many blessings!





Jannine Gallant said...

The amnesia thing is one advantage to getting old. My grandma (age 97) has short term memory loss. She reads my books over again because she forgets what happen the first time she read them!

As for me, I'd like another first shot at Robert Ludlum or Dan Brown books. Romance you can savor more than once, but a mystery/suspense falls flat once you know the outcome.

Fun post, Amber.

Amber Leigh Williams said...

You make a good point, Jannine, I don't think I've ever reread a mystery novel or a thriller.

Margo Hoornstra said...

An advantage to getting old! Who knew? Re-reading great mysteries would be fun as a writer, to see how the masters plant their clues. But, if I have to choose a favorite re-read, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and her book Shanna got me started on this romance writer path of mine, so that would have to be it. Nice post.

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Thanks, Margo! I think Woodiwiss inspired many authors to write romance.