Books Upon Books

So I do this thing where I read no less than four books at a time. I don’t know if this is a good thing for my reading life or a bad one, but nonetheless, it’s how I operate. At this moment (a thrilling Saturday night btw) I am pages deep into two graphic novels, three young adult novels, a historical fiction novel, two professional development books and a book aof fairy tales. I don’t know if it’s my attention span or that I just cannot wait to start another book. Either way, I always have a book with me.

I enjoy being entertained by the variety of plots, characters and settings. Inevitably, I run into common themes and steady plot devices. A couple weeks ago I finished “Holding up the Universe” by Jennifer Niven which was fabulous. The characters are vivid and of course there is a teenage love story, a YA novel staple. Every other chapter is told from Libby and Jack’s point of view, the love interests of the story. There’s a school fight, a world record, family problems, an unknown learning disability and high school bullies; everything you need for a good high school romance, right?

Right now I am struggling to finish “Crazy Messy Beautiful”, by Carrie Acros. There is nothing wrong with this novel… it has the love story, the learning disability, the high school bullies, family problems… all the same things “Universe” had. The authors have reviews on each other’s covers, and I can easily see how. I am having a difficult time with the second one because it is so similar to the first.

This insistence paired with the workshopping we’ve been doing in class has got me thinking; how individual is my writing? I understand no one has lived the life I have lived. Our unique humanness allows people to experience the same incident and walk away with different interpretations. Does that humanness transfer onto paper?

In our class workshops I listen and read my friends’ pieces with awe. They all have a spunk different from anything else. Do I? Our education professor chuckles every time any of us utter “voice” but it is the most important writing trait we know.

Voice is embedded in the graphic novels we inhale, the children’s books we read out loud and the YA novels we leave tear-stained. I think I would enjoy “Crazy Messy Beautiful” more if I had read it independently and not so close to “Holding up the Universe”. The voices in my head need different echos to make a complete choir.


2 thoughts on “Books Upon Books

  1. Elisabeth Ellington says:

    I had no idea we were reading twins in this way. I also have to have MANY books going at once. I don’t know how to read any other way. At any given time, I probably have 10-12 books started, and most of those I do eventually finish (while also starting a whole bunch more books!). I do think it’s fairly rare to read like this so I am glad to have found someone else who does it too!


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