Friday, November 4, 2011

The Book That Got Away

Book three was my favorite of the lot
We all have that book—the book to which all other books are compared. A book that made us feel a certain way, or changed our perspective on the world, or on life. Maybe a book that did all of the above. At the risk of drowning in my own juvenile, non-literary shame, I’m going to bite the bullet for the sake of journalistic integrity and admit that my “book” or “books” in this case are the Harry Potter Series.  I began reading them at the tender age of eleven and in spite of the fact that I read them so young, (or maybe…rather, quite probably, because of it), no book since has rekindled such a sense of wonder and excitement in me. There are millions of great books in the world just waiting to be discovered, but I can’t help but feel less than hopeful that any book will ever speak to me in the same way that Harry Potter did the very first time I read it. Even re-reading them as an adult I am left only with the strong memory of having marveled at those words so many years ago, laughed along with my favorite characters, and jumped at every unexpected plot-twist. It’s still a great series; really well-imagined, thoughtful, thorough, exciting, and funny. But when “that book” isn’t even as good as “that book” the second time around, what hope is there of finding a book that matches it? Of course this is a challenge that must be undertaken regardless of the odds.

When did you read "that book"?
During my childhood.
During my early adolescence.
In highschool.
In college.
As an adult.
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Lynne said...

I devoured The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books when I was about eleven or twelve. I loved that Frodo and Sam were not the biggest and the strongest, that they didn't necessarily see themselves as heroes.

Jackie said...

It always seems to be fantasy books (Harry Potter, and then later LOTR for me). I think it's when the author has so thoroughly created an entire universe to be devoured that a book really comes to life.

Linda K. said...

The Harry Potter series will always be special to me, but the first book I can remember ever being enthralled by is Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. I was about 11 years old, the same age as the girl in the book. I really didn't want to read it as it had been recommended by a teacher and ... it was one of those dreaded award winners! But I loved it and own a copy today that I still take out and read every once and a while. Books can make such a difference in our lives.

Joel said...

Take heart. After reading Lord of the Rings (twice) I had thought that nothing would ever compare to that monument of epic storytelling. Then I ran into Stephen R. Donaldson and his First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (7 books total). His use of huge words to wring effect from every sentence ("eldritch ululations" and excellent plot devices affected my expectations of books from then on, and they altered how I read. Donaldson even impacts how I write today! In short, those books changed my life. They did not supplant LOTR from the Throne of Greatest Books Ever, they just kind of squeezed in next to Tolkien (its a big enough bench).

While the original object of our bibliophilic affection may not always retain the magic of the remembered feeling, there will always be some other book waiting for us that will!

France said...

This album is one of the best I have heard from a break out artist. This young lady is unbelievable. The songs keep repeating themselves in your head. She has good hooks in her songs and the ballads tell wonderful stories. She has something on there for everyone.

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