Thursday, March 6, 2014

Once Upon a Time

I think of time as a series of traveling tubes we zip through passing each other on our way to unknown destinations. Some events--or rather the possibilities of those events--might come our way more than once. Or not.

Reading is one of the events with multiple opportunities. Depending on where we are in life, we may (or may not) enjoy a particular book--even a much anticipated book. Then later, at a different time in our life, even a few weeks or months later, the story might have great meaning or solace for us.

I think that's why I re-read books. Sometimes, that old favorite has something especially important to tell me. Sometimes, it makes all the difference in how I'm dealing with a particular issue in my life. No, I'm not talking about self-help or non-fiction books. I'm speaking about the wide world of fiction. Mystery, romance, westerns, suspense. A good story has something to say, regardless of genre.

We just aren't always ready to hear what's there. Hence, re-reading the story later.

Recently, I re-read a story I first read nearly forty years ago. At that time, I desperately needed the humor and hope the story gave to me. It made all the difference in my life. When I re-read it more recently, it was a mildly amusing book, but didn't carry the same punch it did before. And that's quite okay. That just means I'm in a much better place now than then. I still enjoyed the shenanigans of the characters, but now see them from the perspective of a different age and experience.

Quite a few years ago, a woman reviewed one of my books. She prefaced her review, almost apologetically, by explaining she was bored and not feeling well so she'd chosen to read my book as a nightcap. When she finished her scathing review, she gave it two stars. Small wonder my story didn't speak to her on any level!

I often wonder about reviewers' lives and how they're affected by their personal issues when they review a book. Of course, we all know they're supposed to be objective, but that's plainly impossible. All of us are influenced by the events surrounding us. That's pretty much why I discount the opinions of others when it comes to movies, television shows, books--even art.

Let each of us experience it on our own. And if it speaks to us, let that be enough.


  1. Oh Anny, I know exactly what you mean. I actually have a rule. Never review a book that is simply not to my taste. Or if it is not to my taste and I choose to review then I feel obligated to be really clear as to why it is not to my taste. The casual reviewer never considers how these reviews affect authors.

    1. Very true. But in this post I also wanted to explain why I believe re-reading a book has value. Just as we see different things when we re-watch a movie, we notice different aspect of a story when we re-read it. At least for me, there is value in reading books multiple times.