One of those character traits I have that people might consider strange is I keep a physical copy of every book I’ve ever read. I should probably throw in the disclaimer that this doesn’t includes books I’ve read for classes, work, or any audiobooks. I’m just talking about books I’ve read–on paper–for fun.
Every now and then I like to glance over my bookshelf (which used to be arranged alphabetical by author and title, until the 1-year-old discovered it) and randomly pick a book. If it’s one that I really enjoyed, I can usually remember an important event or two that took place in my life while I was reading that book.
I was reading The Ninety Trillion Fausts (the third book in Jack L. Chalker’s awesome Quintara Marathon space opera) when our first child was born. I was reading Song of Susannah by Stephen King when our second was born and the final book of that series when our third was born. And since I seem to be reading King more often than not, his book Cell accompanied me on our honeymoon in Italy way back when.
But it’s not just the significant life events that a book left an impression. For example, I can remember listening to Jimi Hendrix and AC/DC when I read The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I can remember which NES games I played while I was taking a break from reading The Night Church by Whitley Strieber. I remember trying to make sense out of Clive Barker’s Great and Secret Show while I was at the doctor’s office with an ear infection.
And then there’s that week from Hell called “Boys State” that took place the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. Thankfully I had the second book from the Weis & Hickman Dragonlance: Legends series to help me get through that.
It’s just so cool to think about how reading has been a large enough part of my life in the last 25 years or so that I can associate so many memories from the books on my bookshelf.
I guess I’ve never really thought about it, but the authors we read impact us more than just by the books they write. In a lot of ways, they’re also the friends who follow us though all of the joys and sorrows of our lives.
And if that isn’t inspiration enough to keep you writing, I don’t know what is.
What books had accompanied some of your most memorable life events? Leave a comment and let us know!