I love chatting books and I’ll admit I take delicious, juicy, guilty pleasure in listening to others chat ME, HIM, THEM AND IT while I sit there fascinated and wondering how many different opinions of Todd there could possibly be, among other things. So when my husband’s co-worker invited me to join her book club for their July meeting last week, I enthusiastically said yes. And I am so glad I did. Let me tell you, these women love to read. I’ve been thinking about some of the things they said ever since I met with them.
Like how some of them have been readers for life and others didn’t get too into it until they were grown…
Like how a good book becomes so much better when you have a group of deep, thinking women to analyze it with…
Like how even a book you don’t enjoy can become great if you get a chance to have a real discussion about it…
I’m telling you: it was wonderful to learn the thoughts and processes and revelations of these dedicated readers!
BUT I think the coolest thing I heard was this:
“I love books. I love reading. But I don’t love starting a new book. When I start a new book, I feel like I’m walking into the middle of a party where I don’t know anyone.”
(Apologies if I’m not quoting you perfectly, Wise Woman!)
When I start a new book, I feel like I’m walking into the middle of a party where I don’t know anyone.
This sentence has been running from the back of my mind to the front on repeat ever since I heard it. I do often feel that way as a reader. I read, like I write, for the characters and the emotional journey, so it is difficult to get me invested in the first few pages. I need to get a few hundred words deep before I’m invested in the characters enough to want to immerse myself in the book and bathe in the pages.
But I’ve also been thinking about that analogy as a writer. In some ways though, it feels like the opposite. By the time I sit down and brave typing the first word of a new book, it often feels like I’m late to the party. Like the characters have been talking in my head for ages. Like they are begging to be made into real black-and-white words that exist outside of my skull. And by the time I write those first few pages (which takes a LOT longer than reading the first few pages that someone else has written) it often feels like now that I’m finally opening the front door to the party, everyone plants a hand on one hip and turns to stare at me with eyes that say What took you so long?
What do you think, fellow writers and readers? Anyone relate?
And, of course, a big thank you to the Book Ends Book Club for having me last week!
Photo Credit: incrediblethings.com, notyourmothersbookclub