I once read something that said that we all have a favorite book–it’s not the one we tell everyone is our favorite. No, it’s the one we keep to ourselves because it’s so special that we are afraid that others won’t understand it the way we do.
I have a book like that. I’ve only read it once (Well, I actually started re-reading it as slowly as possible a while back), and it was in eighth grade. It touched my soul in a way no other book had. I was enamored of it. I couldn’t believe I was reading something so wonderful.
But then disaster struck. I had checked it out from my middle school’s library (I had been reading a lot of their books that year because it was the first year I’d had enough free time to do so) and was reading it on a day when everyone was separated into groups. My group was stuck watching a sports movie I had seen a million times at school while the others were doing their activities, because there wasn’t enough room for everyone at once in the room where the activities were being done. I had gotten to the climax of the book–the best, most exciting part–when the worst possible thing at that time happened:
A chunk of the book was missing.
It went straight from the middle of the action to the biography. I didn’t notice that the page numbers had skipped, so read a few pages of the biography until I saw that it had the author’s name and not the characters’. Well, crap.
So I asked if I could go to the library and was granted permission. I showed them the damaged book, and they told me there was another copy that they’d be happy to let me read. So I went and ran to the back room where I’d found the original and brought it up to the counter as I continued to read. I went ahead and finished it and put it back when I was done. But there was something particular about the experience that scarred me: I saw them throw it away. They just tossed it into the little trash can under the desk like it was a clump of dirt stuck to their shoe.
Books have always been somewhat sacred to me. I always take very good care of my books, to the point where people can’t even tell if I’ve read them a good portion of the time. Throwing a book away was unthinkable. Why throw away a good book just because part of it was missing? Was that really the only option?
Regardless, finally getting to read that climactic scene was special to me. It wasn’t like Harry Potter. The first four or five had come out by then, and I enjoy the series greatly, but this was different. The final scenes meant a lot to me then.
And they still do. I’m excited to get to that point in the book again. I feel like this book belongs to me, like it was written just for me.
Do you have a book like that? If so, write something in which a character discovers your favorite book and experiences something like what you did upon your first, second, or even later readings. Bring up and describe each and every emotion you can remember; drink them in and write them down. Feel your book as it resonates through you and your character and brings you closer together. Concentrate on what you feel and let it flow through you. Don’t think. Imagine. Feel. Believe. Remember.