In Others’ Words: Reading the same kind of book as me differently

 

I have two favorite questions I love to ask my author friends:

1. What are you writing?  It’s always fun to listen to their answers and to be amazed by their creativity. I usually walk away thinking, “I wish I’d thought of that story!”

2. What are you reading? Asking another writer “What are you reading” is a dangerous question. Inevitably, my To Be Read (TBR) pile grows taller because someone mentions a book that I have to read also and I go and order a copy. Of course, it’s always fun to discuss the books after we’ve read them: what did we like, what didn’t we like, what we would do differently, what we learned that challenged us a writers — yes, those, “Oh, I wish I’d written that scene/character/beginning/ending” conversations. 

It’s true: No two persons ever read the same book. I might love a book and my friend might not make it through chapter one. Or my friend might love the dialogue and I might be caught up in the description. You just never know why a book is a couldn’t-put-it-down great read for one person and a couldn’t-get-past-page-one snoozer for another person.

As an author I’ve learned that readers see things in my stories that I didn’t even know I put in them … and overlook things — symbols, significant lines of dialogue — that I wove oh so carefully into my novels. You know what I’ve learned? It is what it is … and I have to let it be just that because no two persons ever read the same book.

In Your Words: What book has someone recommended you read? What book would you recommend to us today?

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From May 18-25, eleven award-winning, bestselling authors are giving away a dozen of their recent releaseas. All you have to do is subscribe to our newsletters via a Beach Book Bonanza Rafflecopter entry form. (OR CLICK ON THE IMAGE) We promise not to deluge your inbox, but we will keep you up to date with new releases and contests. Just click on each authors’ entry and, if a double-opt in is required, make sure you click on the confirmation  so that your entry counts.

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10 Comments

  1. May 18, 2015, 5:58 am   /  Reply

    Another thing, to add…it can be a different me, reading the same book today and yesterday. I have drawn drastically different things from the same words, sometimes only months apart.

    I would very strongly recommend Al Sever’s “Xin Loi, Viet Nam” as a well-written and thoughtful journey into the bright heart of a decent man in a soul-searing time.

    Recommended to me by a former student was the Qu’ran…and I’m glad I took the time to read it. Knowing the heart of a people makes it easier to like them.

    • May 18, 2015, 10:39 am   /  Reply

      As expected, Andrew, you bring something so unexpected and different to the conversation.

  2. Susan
    May 18, 2015, 6:14 am   /  Reply

    I completely agree, Beth. I love hearing what different people grab from books. I’m amazed sometimes at what they saw that I didn’t!

    • May 18, 2015, 10:39 am   /  Reply

      This is exactly why I loved reading (and writing) and discussing books … gaining others’ perspectives.

  3. May 18, 2015, 7:27 am   /  Reply

    Great post, Beth. And so true. There’s one book in particular that I didn’t really like the first time through. Then, re-reading it a few years later, I understood it in a completely different way and really enjoyed the story.

    Let’s see: Book recommended to me recently: Scary Close by Donald Miller. I won this one recently, so I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Books I would recommend: From the Start by Melissa Tagg and How to Catch a Prince, by Rachel Hauck. I enjoyed both of these books as they explored deeper issues through the context of story.

    • May 18, 2015, 10:40 am   /  Reply

      Scary Close — haven’t heard of that one, Jeanne.
      And yes, Melissa and Rachel are both excellent writers.

  4. May 18, 2015, 10:47 am   /  Reply

    So true about rdg. the same book differently–and differently at different times. It’s amazing how some people I meet initially and think I know change largely in my perception on knowing them longer. Not you–that was a good thing from the get-go, but I’m shocked sometimes at how I miss small important clues to major treasure hunts–but thankful I eventually get there.

  5. Bernadette DesChamps
    May 18, 2015, 10:58 am   /  Reply

    One of the great things about art and literature is that each person brings an individual viewpoint and thus gains a uniquely personal experience. That’s something I’ve enjoyed about my book club, so many opinions and insights I might not have gleaned on my own.

    A friend recently recommended Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Set in Seattle during the Japanese internments of WWII, it told the story of a young Chinese boy and a Japanese girl who became best friends in the face of prejudice. I loved it and pass on the recommendation.

    I’d also recommend The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones. I chose this for book club this last month. If you like something deep, hard, real, and redemptive, this book will resonate. It inspired rich discussion and encouraged healing.

    • May 18, 2015, 12:08 pm   /  Reply

      I did a mother-daughter book club for a while with my youngest daughter. Really enjoyed that — hearing the perspectives of the moms and the younger girls.
      Thanks for the recommendations, Bernadette.

      • Bernadette DesChamps
        May 18, 2015, 5:23 pm   /  Reply

        You’re welcome. I love the mother-daughter idea! 🙂

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