I think there’s a John Green quote from tfios that Hazel says about her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction (which, by the way, doesn’t exist). She’s saying that every no and then you find a book that fills you with this evangelical zeal and you feel like every person in the world must read it in order for the world to keep turning. But at the same time, that book is so personal that it would kill you if anyone else read it. (Apologies if I’m butchering this part of tfios, I am writing from memory).
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because I’ve been reading a lot of truly excellent books. I swear, one of the best things about London is the time I spend on the tube. I have so much killer reading time. Some of the books I’ve read since I’ve been here have filled me with this evangelical zeal. And I need to tell people about them, but at the same time, I’m hesitant to spill the beans. They’re my personal experiences and thoughts. It’s weird how that happens, right? Like we read these books that are written by strangers living in strange, different places. But we feel possessive of the work that they create. That they are, somehow, ours. That’s weird.
Anyways, I’m choosing to tell you because it would be crazy not to.
First book I read here was Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. It’s perfect because she’s so raw and honest about the inner-workings of just about any 16 year-old girl you could ever meet. She doesn’t apologize for being truthful about human desires and emotions and fears. It’s so real it could make you cry, and the whole story is set in an alternate universe, completely different from the one we’re living in.
Then, I read Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, which perfectly expresses what it’s like to be different, and to then be cast out for it. Told through the point of view of a dragon-human hybrid, it hits scarily close to home. Makes me wish dragons were real (not scary evil hungarian ones though).
Then, I (begrudgingly) read Beautiful Creatures. I admit, I was turned off by the two authors thing and I didn’t want to get dragged into another Twilight-esque teen phenom. BUt I’m glad I read it. What should have been disgustingly cheesy romantic scenes, just weren’t. They were kind of sweetly innocent, in a way that Twilight never was and could never be. There’s hope for us all.
And now, I am reading Just One Day by Gayle Forman. I can’t really talk too much about this one. Nothing I will say will adequately describe its subtle and quiet exploration of a 19 year-old girl. It’s excellent, with passages that make me want to cry just because they are so accurate to the way that we all feel sometimes. She is so good at observing people and their hearts and then transcribing those observations into words. I’ve never read anything like it. It’s seriously so incredible.
Hope you start reading some of these zeal-filling books.