I think I should have been an editor. Why this never crossed my mind when I was younger, I’m not quite sure. I have always loved books, good ones, that is. From the time I could read, I devoured them. I was one of those dorky kids who read a book a day, and yet, thanks to my speed reading ability, I still managed to have a social life as well.
I remember when we got a new librarian at our local library when I was a kid. She looked at me skeptically when I wanted to check out ten books. She informed me that I couldn’t possibly read all of them before I came back next week (it was the summer reading program). The other lady looked at her and smiled. “Oh, yes she can, and she will!” And I did.
As busy as I am as a mom with three young kids and as a fledgling writer trying to get her career off the ground, I still manage to squeeze the time in to read a good book every now and again. Luckily for my family, there are a lot of good authors out there, but only a handful of truly excellent ones. As my husband told me the other day, when I stumble on a truly excellent writer, I become compulsive. I cannot stop reading. I escape into that world and feel like a stranger in my own until the adventure ends.
What’s amazing about these writers is that no matter how many times I read their books, I find them affecting me in the same way. I must have read the first 8 books in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan at least ten times by now, but they still pull me in in.
I have always prided myself as not being a band wagon kind of girl. I feel no real need to que up with the status quo and I don’t mind being the only one in a group to say that I have not adhered to the last Oprah book trend. I will judge for myself if a book is excellent and, frankly, having read more than just about anybody I know, I am a tough critic!
Well, if I ever doubted it, I now have to acknowledge that sometimes things reach band wagon status for a reason.
I had been told that I simply must read “The Hunger Games” before I see the movie. I knew my mom’s group was planning to see the film so I contemplated on whether or not I should take this recommendation seriously. I hemmed and hawed, and finally decided, “What the heck?” I had just finished two of Emily Giffin’s very mediocre books “Baby Proof” (not good when you find the main character unlikeable) and “Love the One Your With” (her husband should have dumped her sorry ass!) and was looking for something to read, so why not give it a try? I went to half.com, placed my order and it arrived two days later.
When I crawled into bed that night I picked it up, turned it this way and that, frowned at it a bit and contemplated going downstairs and beginning to give Sookie and Charlaine Harris a re-read instead. I just wasn’t expecting much, but if I was going to see the movie next week . . . I sighed, but began to read.
At 3:00 am I was only half done, but I REALLY wanted to finish it. I contemplated my 6:00 wake up call of Lily at my bed side demanding that I wake up to get her a cereal bar because she’s absolutely starving. I dog-eared the page, reluctantly put the book down and turned off the light.
Thank goodness I am a speed reader, because my house would have green stuff growing from the kitchen counter and some sort of monster living in the kid’s bathroom if I read at a normal person’s pace! I was hooked! Hook, line and sinker!
By late afternoon I was making a Target run to pick up book 2 because I wasn’t willing to wait the couple of extra days that ordering it from Half.com would have taken. Somehow I managed to spend time with my kids, cook the meals and even get some cleaning done despite my frantic pace.
The next morning I finished “Catching Fire,” went to see “Journey 2 the Mysterious Island” with the family (pretty much a snooze fest . . . you know it’s bad when the Rock’s little pectoral jiggle is the most entertaining part of the movie!), stopped at Target on the way back from the theater for book 3 “The Mockingjay,” and anxiously awaited bed time so I could disappear back into the world of Katniss Everdeen.
Few writers are able to draw me in so completely. Suzanne Collins is a master of her craft. Her characters were excellent, well rounded and real. Her plot was irresistible, and her writing had an edge and timing that was something special. Add to that the fact that the world itself is so thought-provoking and philosophically challenging to American modern day society and, well, this is a band wagon worth getting on!
If you love to read and haven’t read this book, block out a few days and prepare to immerse yourself in a world that will pull you in and not let go. It’s brutal. It will leave you feeling raw. But it will also leave you appreciative for all you have in a way that you have not been before.