Monday, February 22, 2010

In the Grasp of the Book

I read a book last week. It was disturbing. Generally, I like to read books with some good humor and suspense in them, great stories, but nothing life-shattering. This book was definitely disturbing on several levels. Since I agree with Renoir, that art should show what is beautiful because there are too many ugly things in the world already, this was hard for me. And this book did have a type of beauty in the form of self-sacrifice of the protagonist. But the terrible parts are hard for me to contemplate, an unsettling view of a dystopian society.

You'd probably like to know the title of this book, so you can be disturbed by it too, but I'm not going to tell you. You'll just have to writhe in agony knowing that you could be reading a story that will roll over in your mind for days because it bothers you so much. However, from the point of view of a writer, I realize that this is exactly the type of book we all want to write.

How do you create a book that won't set the reader down? A book which clutches the reader so he cannot escape once he has begun to read. A book that twists in your gut when it's no longer in your hand. I'm not sure yet, because most picture books don't do that to you, and that's most of what I write. It did make me realize that writers have a huge responsibility. For a skilled writer, a book gives them entryway into the reader's soul, a place where the story plays out as though it is real. That's a scary thought.

I guess we should never underestimate the power of the written word.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, so I folded and told my writer's group the name of the book. The truth is, I want to know what they thought of it, too. I definitely agree with Randy Ingermanson that the writing is top notch. Powerfully written.