Do you ever feel like the author of the book you are reading is trying to kill you? →
#Books that changed my life
You know those scenes in the movies where a bomb has just gone off? The ones where everything is distorted and off balance. Well that’s where I am. The world around me has just exploded and I am disorientated. I am blinking to clear my vision. Dust cakes my eyelids, my mouth is a sandpit. The ringing in my ears messes with everything. I sway back and forth desperately, wiping at my eyes, trying to find my family. I want to move, I want to get out of this puddle only to realise the puddle is my legs and the only thing moving is the bell tolling in my head.
That’s what John Green did to me. I picked up a slim blue book, The Fault in Our Stars, on Sunday morning. I emerged a few hours later in the above-mentioned state. Bastard.
Emma Donoghue has done a similar thing to me. She, unlike John didn’t just destroy my Sunday, she destroyed an entire holiday. They only thing I could utter for days after reading Room was Fuck. And I sounded like Keanu Reeves when I said it. There have been other books that have caused similar reactions; The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbach, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Rock Orchard by Paula Wall, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, my first Harry Potter, and Tussen Stasies by Irma Joubert.
I am always furious with an author for making me feel like this. I hate it, because for weeks afterwards I can’t read and I certainly can’t write. Because what do you read after a book that just ripped your guts out and handed them back to you? What do you write after reading a book that is so well thought out, so well-written, so beautiful and epic in its scope? What do you do when your world tilts and you can’t get it back up?
The first thing I do is wallow in it. I wallow for days if need be. I reread passages. I look up random facts about the author. I look at other books they have written, but I pass. Nothing can compare. Not yet anyway. And then slowly I will start writing again. I’ll pick up another book, but I know I’ll be left wanting. It’s like Heroin. Once you’ve had it in your system you’re changed forever. (But this is a good kind of heroin, I don’t know much about the other kind. Apologies to any to needle enthusiast I might have offended.)
So I’ll rather say I feel like those hyenas in Lion King. Where the one goes: ‘Mufasa, Mufasa, Mufasa.’ and the other one says: ‘Do it again. Do it again. Do it again.’ Because I want to feel like that again. I want to find another book that changes my world, or better yet I want to write a book that changes your world.
by Mia Botha
Literary Birthday - 24 August
Happy Birthday, John Green, born 24 August 1977
12 John Green Quotes
- I really think that reading is just as important as writing when you’re trying to be a writer. Because it’s the only apprenticeship we have. It’s the only way of learning how to write a story.
- I’m tired of adults telling teenagers that they aren’t smart, that they can’t read critically, that they aren’t thoughtful.
- Teenagers have more intense reading experiences because they’ve had fewer of them. It’s like the first time you fall in love. You have a connection to that first person you fell in love with because it was so intense and unprecedented.
- Read a lot. Read broadly… Tell stories to your friends, and pay attention to when they get bored… Write a lot.
- When you’re writing a novel, you spend four years sitting in your basement and a year waiting for the book to come out and then you get the feedback. When you do work online, the moment you’re finished making it, people start responding to it which is really fun and allows for a kind of community development you just can’t have in novels.
- The funny thing about writing is that whether you’re doing it well or you’re doing it poorly, it looks the exact same. That is actually one of the main ways that writing is different from ballet dancing.
- Teenage readers also have a different relationship with the authors whose work they value than adult readers do. I loved Toni Morrison, but I don’t have any desire to follow her on Twitter. I just want to read her books.
- It is very sad to me that some people are so intent on leaving their mark on the world that they don’t care if that mark is a scar.
- You can’t not like ‘The Great Gatsby.’ It’s got the best sentences in, like, ever.
- Different authors write different ways, have different relationships with their audiences, and those are all legitimate.
- My responsibility is to try to tell true stories. To me a true story is always hopeful, but never simply, uncomplicatedly happy.
- I don’t think we should see the world of books as fundamentally separate from the world of the Internet. Yes, the Internet contains a lot of videos of squirrels riding skateboards, but it can also be a place that facilitates big conversations about books.
Green is an American writer of young adult fiction and a YouTube vlogger and educator. His novels include Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars.
Source for Image
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write
"I felt the unfairness of it, the inarguable injustice of loving someone who might have loved you back but can’t due to deadness."
"We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the clouds. But I believe there is real value in just standing there, being still, being sad."
"I wanted to be one of those people who have streaks to maintain, who scorch the ground with their intensity. But for now, at least I knew such people, and they needed me, just like comets need tails."
"She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers."