Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2 Books That Have Changed My Life

 I have always loved reading, especially novels. It is how I discovered the joy I have when 

writing and why I am a creative writing major. Though just like any avid reader it it impossible 

to narrow  my list of favorite books to any number below twenty, there are a few that have 

changed me and I want to share them with you. Please note there may be some spoilers.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

  If someone had a knife pressed to my throat and I was forced to name my most favorite book in the

entire world, it would be The Chosen, but it wasn't until a few months ago that I figured out why.

 I first read this book my freshman year of high school in my writing and literature class. The Chosen 

is about two Jewish boys living in New York during World War II. When Danny Suanders

accidentally sends a baseball flying into protagonist Rueven Malter's eye, they form a strong

friendship despite their different Jewish sects. Rueven is soon horrified at finding out that Danny's

father is bringing him up in silence. They never talk-- something that hurts Danny deeply, but he is at

peace with, and something Rueven finds hard to forgive.
 A few months ago I had to re-read The Chosen for a class assignment. For the third time I read this

book, and I realized what it meant to me and why it has affected me so much. I feel like I am Danny

and Reb Saunders feeling the pain of the world, grieving for all of the Jews murdered under Hitler.

God has given me a huge amount of empathy. Certain movies and books can leave me in a

depression. A crying friend's tears at the loss of a loved one leaves me in despair. A meeting filled

with tension makes me scared as I feel each person's anger, hurt, or confusion.

 This is the only book I have read that attempts to explain that kind of empathy. It helps me

recognize it as a gift from God and not a curse that people can't understand that makes me feel

miserable at times.

 This may not make sense to you. If so I am sorry. I am trying to convey to you what this book does

for me, and I fear I am failing miserably. But I think the things that mean the most to us are the

hardest to share or put into words, like trying to explain why I love the color blue.

Writing Magic:Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine
  I can't remember when I found this book. Maybe it was middle school. Maybe I was a little older. I loved Gail Carson Levine's novels, so I was very excited to find a book she wrote about how to write, especially a book with such an amazing title.
 Though it is written for children, I would still recommend it to anyone who is serious about their writing. Levine weaves together writing lessons and tales from her own life all in a very simplistic and down to earth manner that anyone can understand all taken from her experience in teaching writing classes. She even provides writing classes at the end of each chapter.
 This is what I remember from her book many years later:
"Said is a magical word. Boring maybe, but magical nonetheless. It's magical because it disappears. It becomes invisible" (115). 
She went on to explain that using big, fancy verbs like "she exclaimed" or "he interjected" only distracts the reader
 Writing Magic helped me at an early age to recognize good writing as well as embrace my own writing style. I have never been a person with an impressive vocabulary, but I realized that was okay and even good. Not only did Gail Carson Levine encourage me as a beginning writer, but she has helped to make my writing what it is today, teaching a lesson about a magical word that I have never forgotten.

No comments:

Post a Comment