A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Thinking Problem and Nora Roberts

I have loved reading for what seems like forever. I can remember Weekly Reader when I was in grade school and being able to order books. I'll never forget being handed my very own copy of the latest Encyclopedia Brown or Beezus and Ramona. Being a military brat and moving often we didn't accumulate books. There was always a weight restriction (still is) when you move in the military. And, books, well books add weight. It wasn't a travesty as a kid. We moved, with very few exceptions, our books didn't. But you never forget the feelings. The joy of ownership.

One good thing was always the library. I always found good books at the library. That and X-Men and Spiderman comics. Yeah, my brothers liked Superman and Batman. Me? I was all about X-Men. X-Men had girls. Girls with powers. Spidey had MJ. She was no clueless Lois Lane who couldn't figure out who Superman was. Peter Parker didn't think his girl was too fragile to handle his super hero life. MJ was a woman to be reckoned with.

Anyway, all my early reading and frankly most of my reading now is and was to escape. An adventure, a new place. In a book anything is possible, any world, any circumstance. Escape from the mundane, the difficult, the real.

All of which is off topic from what I set out to write about tonight. I wanted to come here and talk about a new twist in my reading. Books aren't just means to escape the reality of life with all it's ups and downs. Reading , when I have a good book in my hands, has become a journey that lets me see different people and perspectives of life. Books don't just make me look at my own life differently. The best ones make me think. Think of things I've never thought about before. Think on a grander and broader scale than the me I was before I read the book. Megan Hart's books have done that recently. So has Maureen McKade and Deborah Smith.

Tonight it was Nora Roberts. As I was finishing HIGH NOON (excerpt) I really wanted to sit down with a drink and have a conversation with her, the grand Nora Roberts. I wanted to talk to her about being a woman with responsibilities. About meeting men. About commitment. I'd like to tell her how amazing it was to feel my own burdens in life lightened by something one of her characters said. I have new thoughts to mull over because of this book. Thoughts about family and responsibilities.

I'd tell her this isn't about reviewing the book. Don't get me wrong. HIGH NOON is a good book. No, this is more than that. This is about reading a story that gives you a fresh perspective on your own life. Makes the bitter medicine of life a little easier to swallow. I'd ask her if she doesn't sometimes feel like life is an endless 'To Do' list. Always with the chores and the responsibilities. Responsibilities are okay they come with life. That simple, that easy. A character in HIGH NOON, Duncan Swift reminded me about that. Responsibilities go with life, with relationships. Reading what Duncan said got me thinking. Gave me a new perspective on how lucky I am to have some of those responsibilities. They mean I have special people and love in my life.

I'd tell Nora that I'm not anything like police Lieutenant Phoebe McNamara. No big past traumas in my life. No resemblance to her or my life at all. But I'd also tell her that Phoebe's story made me think about things as monumental as not giving up, and the importance of persevering through adversity to something as mundane as making an effort to exercise more. That's pretty amazing. You know what else? It makes things a little lighter to carry. When a book does that, makes you think and feel those things. That's true empowerment. That's joy. That's grace. That's a good book.

So that's what I'd tell Nora. That, and thank you. I'd even pick up the bar tab.

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Blogger Smart Socratics said...

Sheesh, Now I'm going to have to go get the book in order to read it. You've made it sound so profound. So, I think I will.

Are you waxing poetic today???

4:53 AM PDT  
Blogger Tara Marie said...

I had this book in my hand yesterday, but decided to put myself on the list at the library instead. Now I'm totally regreting that decision :)

6:33 AM PDT  
Anonymous scooper said...

Damn, girl. I bet Nora would love to read this post. I doubt there is greater praise to be given than what you've just given. I agree with you. Escape is great but finding a message or being moved by a character just seems to make the escape better.

6:40 AM PDT  
Blogger Anne said...

That was lovely, truly lovely. I think you should email Nora that. She would be touched. I truly believe that.

I'm waiting on this one from the library... ack! I might have to go out and GASP buy a hardcover!(Yes, I'm cheap) LOL

7:36 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Sue, I guess I am being a little philosophical. I just love that feeling when a book makes me think about my own life. It's personal, so I don't know if it will do the same thing for every person who reads it, but it did for me.

TM, like I told Sue, it was a very personal reaction. I just loved it. It turned a couple things in my life on their head.

Scooper, I think only twice have I sent a note, letter or email directly to an author. It just make me feel bashful. In this case NR has throngs of adoring fans. She has to know by now she has the affect on her readers.

Anne, hey, waiting for your copy from the library is good. With the book being on sale and my B&N discount I paid little more than what I would for a trade paperback. So it's all good. Good thing I'm working again before I had to cut back ::gasp!:: my book budget.

8:55 AM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

Cannot wait to read High Noon! Unfortunately I shipped it back from Dallas, so I have to wait for the UPS man now.

10:15 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Wendy! You can't read the actual book Nora signed. I'll loan you mine. Heh, heh, it's one way to get together sooner!

10:39 AM PDT  
Anonymous shiloh walker said...

Gave me a new perspective on how lucky I am to have some of those responsibilities. They mean I have special people and love in my life.

you are so right. :) You just made me smile a little... I haven't gotten into my rush mode yet to finish up the writing day, pick up the kids, get to karate, get home, get kids fed, get them to bed.... but I was already exhausted before I even started.

Now? Not so much.

Thanks to karen for the link. Reading this was a little highlight to my day.

12:27 PM PDT  
Blogger ReneeW said...

Rosie, what a terrific, insightful post. I have this on hold at the library. Now I want my own copy. Nora should send you free books for this :)

12:40 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Shiloh, sure one knows that anyone can read a post when it's out there in the blogosphere, but who knew you'd come here and say something so nice? Got the old heart a pattering that's for sure. Especially when I think that your book HUNTER'S SALVATION is sitting on my night stand right now. Mind boggling.

As for Karen, imagine my surprise when I saw the link when I was blog hopping this morning. Holy crap!

12:45 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Renee, it's not just about Nora, awesome as she is. It's about the power of words and what reading can do. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

12:46 PM PDT  
Blogger nath said...

Hey Rosie :D really insightful books :P I guess I'm still a bit young though, to see all what you've seen in this one :D although, for sure, it was a good book :D I just post my review of it yesterday night :P

1:51 PM PDT  
Blogger Mailyn said...

My fave comic has always been Batman. He had all the cool toys and he was so dark.

2:02 PM PDT  
Blogger Casee said...

Great post, Rosie. I've been looking forward to this book, but now I'm looking forward to it even more.

2:58 PM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

I can easily read my autograph copy. I'm one of those anal retentive types that can read a paperback without ever cracking the spine. It's a sickness I tell ya!

I e-mailed you earlier, but I fear it might have gotten sucked into cyberspace again. If you didn't get it, let me know.

3:35 PM PDT  
Blogger Jenster said...

That was probably the best book review that's not a book review I've ever read!

3:52 PM PDT  
Anonymous shiloh walker said...

Shiloh, sure one knows that anyone can read a post when it's out there in the blogosphere, but who knew you'd come here and say something so nice? Got the old heart a pattering that's for sure. Especially when I think that your book HUNTER'S SALVATION is sitting on my night stand right now. Mind boggling.

LOL... what's mind boggling is that I forget very often just how much I ought to be thankful. So I appreciate the reminder. :)

6:46 PM PDT  
Blogger Kristie (J) said...

What a great post about when a book really touches your soul!!

6:59 PM PDT  
Blogger Shelly @ Bewitched said...

This was a wonderful post, Rosie. It really made me sit back and think. It's been a while since a book has touched me on the level that High Noon has for you. Now I'm highly curious and I must get it.

8:44 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Nath, maybe it is just because I have lots of family and responsibilities and that's why the book hit a nerve for me. It was Duncan's simple acceptance of it being a part of life and that there's a joy in it that got me.

Mailyn, hey I like Batman well enough. In fact, he's one of Beanie's faves too. It's just with 4 brothers immediately following me in birth order (9 of us altogether) the women super heroes held special appeal.

Casee, it sure touched a chord for me. Hope you like it too.

Wendy, all I can say is, I should have know that SL could manage to read a book without a stain or a cracked spine. That's why you are who you are a SUPER Librarian. I did return your email. Let me know if you didn't get it. We're having lots of DSL drops due to construction.

Jenster, my feelings were generated by moments and thoughts of the characters rather than the story as a whole. Like I said, Nora Roberts is a good writer, but this was about a new way of thinking about things. So I didn't really feel like it was a true review.

Shiloh, I just read your post. You totally got what the book made me feel. A different perspective of looking at the responsibilities of my life. Thanks for the link too.

Kristie, yeah...my soul.

Shelley, Duncan Swift is a pretty interesting character. The words Ms. Roberts put in his mouth just changed my perspective. I don't think I'll forget it either.

9:32 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

BTW, thanks to all the new people who have stopped in. I hope you'll come back and visit again.

9:33 PM PDT  
Anonymous Nora Roberts said...

Well . . . Wow.

Thank you, Rosie (and Karen for the link). I'm incredibly flattered, and really, really touched that the book and the characters spoke to you.

Every writer hopes a reader will enjoy her book. But to find out the book struck a chord with a reader in a personal way is beyond the best.

You seriously made my day.

5:23 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

I already told Shiloh Walker that even when you know what you write on your blog can be read by the world one doesn't really expect Nora Roberts will be stopping by. Wow!

Who'da thunk? Thanks again Karen.

6:54 AM PDT  
Blogger Zeek said...

Great post, Hon! And how great for you that Nora got to see it ... and comment!!

8:22 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Zeek, I have to admit I hyperventilated a little bit. I'm very flattered.

4:42 PM PDT  
Anonymous Gabrielle said...

Hmm, I was sure I'd left a comment but it looks as though it didn't take. I've had this experience with a lot of books, where you just want to sit down and have a quiet conversation with the author to ask about the choices they made and the impact the writing had on me. I find that happens a lot with Earl Emerson reads.

10:21 PM PDT  

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