Monday, September 17, 2007

Reading is good for you

I'm reading such a good book right now!
Christina lent it to me and she swore by it. It's not that I don't take recommendations, because the last few great books I've read were recommended to me (this one, this one and this one definitely count--all recommended to me by RK) and I ate them up.

It's always good to have a good book thou. Before Christina lent it to me she said, "do you have time to read a good book?" And she's right to ask. 'Cuz, let's face it, if someone lends you a book and it just sits on your shelf and you never get around to reading it and then you move to another city and put it on a new shelf and realize one day while you're cleaning off your shelves that you've never read that book that someone once lent you and you're about to move again and you decide to drop that book at the thrift store on your way out of town...well...let's just say, it was a wasted lend for sure. I'm of the ilk of reading a good book and lending it to the next friend, in the hopes that they'll lend it to the next friend. And so and so on and so on... Mind you, I've had the conversation with many a soul who knows exactly which book is on their shelf that they did the above scenario with. And they can still feel the sting.

So, I'm only about 70 pages into the book and, already, I'm composing a letter in my head to Miss Gilbert. Telling her how much I love the book, how much I relate to the stories, the feelings, all of it...
And, thinking about writing to her reminds me of a few other authors I've fallen for while reading their book (Brenda Ueland and Jean-Dominique Bauby, to be exact). I had the letters composed and ready to mail when I re-read the backs of the books again and realized that they'd never get my spectacularly composed words praising their genius...because they'd already passed through this life.

I've written to a lot of authors over the years. Starting when I was about ten, I think. And they've all written back to me except for one: Stephen King. And my reaction to that was not cool: I'd written him a letter telling him how I'd read all his books (sometimes more than once) and I just thought he was amazing (I was about 12 or 13 when I did this...but I think I can still be held accountable). Well, he didn't drop even a postcard to me and I guess I got a little peeved and I'd just finished reading Misery, so I sent him a postcard that said, "im your biggest fan." Jeeez, that is hella creepy. I think I'd read one too many of his novels as a kid.
(and if you haven't read his stuff, well, then you're not gonna understand why that was creepy at all!)

But that brings me to an author that did write back, William Wharton. And not only did he write back to my initial letter when I was a teenager and had just gobbled up reading Birdy and Dad, but our correspondence continued for about seven years, thru my college days (at one point he tried to set me up with his very shy son). I even visited him, his wife and said son, on Long Island one summer. It feels like a dream now and I often wonder how they all are. Maybe I'll drop him a letter tomorrow....or, as soon as I finish reading my new book!


Christina said...

what a great story. and i'm SO glad you're as into that book as i was/am. i just can't wait for you to get deeper into it. just promise me we can discuss it all as you're travelling through the story.

Kaari Marie said...

what about Frank McCourt - does that count?

Ellen Zachos said...

I'm dying of curiosity; what's the book? And I'm so glad you write those letters because I thought I was the only gushing fan out there! I emailed Eleni Gage this summer after finishing her book and she answered right away. Sometimes you just need to make that appreciative contact. Maybe someday someone will do that to me.

comfies said...

oh molly! the diving bell and the butterfly is one of the most beautiful and closest to my heart books i've ever read in my whole life! you probably remember all that stuff i told you about my dad...etc. that book hit very close to home.

madeleine l'engle was the only author i've ever written and she indeed wrote me back. what a wonderful human being.