The Bookends Of My Life – Part 1

Well I missed a post yesterday, which means I can NEVER again say I post everyday! 😉 If you were really distraught about this, and found your Saturday sucked because you didn’t get to read a new post of mine, I think it’s time to get a life. (But that’s kind of hypocritical of me because I really don’t have much of a life myself).

Now for the real post to begin.

I may be a writer, but I am also a reader. I think, on a usual non-NaNoWriMo day, I spend more time reading than I do writing. Reading is so much greater than just a pastime; it’s an enriching experience that helps us learn and, sometimes, test the limits of our imaginations. I read a lot of different things, but my favourites are definitely Science-Fiction and Fantasy. I do enjoy many Classics as well.

When I think of my life spent as a reader, I imagine it to be a bookshelf displaying all of the books that I’ve read, organized chronologically by when I read them. I consider it this way because, when I think of a book that I’ve read, the first thing that comes to my mind is not how much I liked it or didn’t like it but, rather, the period in my life when I first read it. I think about what was going on in my life at the time, how it made me feel then and what I learned from it. I’m not sure if anyone else thinks of it this way, but I always find myself reminiscing, instead of thinking, about the books that I’ve read.

It’s almost as if, on this shelf, the books help to hold my life together and help me to remember details about my life that I might have forgotten otherwise. In a sense, I guess, I feel like the books on the shelf are actually intertwined with my life story and two bookends – one holding up my past, and the other opening up the future – are keeping everything together.

I may have over dramatized that a tad, but oh well. Basically, over an ongoing series of posts, I want to share with you some of the books from my bookshelf that really mean a lot to me, and then others that I wish, eventually, to read, thus adding them to my shelf.

It’s always hard to determine a ‘favourite’ novel and for a long time I jumped back and forth between two novels in particular. In the last couple of years, though, it’s been pretty firmly cemented into my head which of the two I like just a little bit more than the other.

Okay, so my favourite ‘novel’ is actually a favourite series, but who really cares? There are five novels in this series, but they tell one complete story and you need to read all five of them to understand that story. I’m talking about David Eddings’ Belgariad, an Epic Fantasy series that he co-wrote with his wife, Leigh Eddings. The couple, who are now both deceased, wrote all of their novels together, although the earlier works are credited to David Eddings and only their later works say ‘David and Leigh Eddings’.

I was around twelve or thirteen when I first read the Belgariad – having read it a total of three times to date. From the very first sentence on the very first page of The Pawn Of Prophecy, I was enthralled. From the beginning, I knew that the story would unfold in epic proportions, but I was not quite prepared for how intricate each detail of the plot was, or how much consideration was put into piecing it all together.

It was definitely the most captivated I’d been while reading in a long time, I will never forget the anticipation and excitement I felt when I first read those books. Now when I read them again, I know what’s going to happen so I can pick on little details I missed in prior readings, but the mystery of the plot and excitement of the very diverse cast of characters were what drove these five novels to what, in my eyes, is perfection.

I was only about a year younger than the main character when the series started, and so I felt I could relate completely with Garion. I actually think I learned and matured a little bit alongside this boy and he, as well as his austere Aunt and kingly Grandfather, will definitely stick with me forever.

The Belgariad is the epitome of great storytelling and if you have not read it, you should.

The other book I mentioned before – the one that I was unsure of whether I liked it more or less than The Belgariad – is The Lord of the Rings, perhaps the finest piece of literature ever written – in my own opinion. The reason why I had such trouble determining which I liked more between the two is that they are so different from each other, despite the fact that they are both fantasy.

This is my 50th Anniversary Edition of The Lord of the Rings which is, physically speaking, my favourite book I own and the most beautiful book I’ve seen. Apart from what it looks like, Lord of the Rings is generally accepted to be the greatest Fantasy novel ever written, but for me it has another meaning.

I started reading Lord of the Rings after I saw the first film, when I was in about Grade Three (I was around nine or ten). Granted, I didn’t quite grasp some of the darker themes, but I followed the plot excellently and was enthralled from the beginning until the end. I remember reading The Fellowship of the Ring in five days, The Two Towers in four days and The Return of the King in three days. The night I finished The Two Towers I was so captivated by the plot that I just had to read more.

I remember that I had already stayed up past my bedtime to finish The Two Towers and so I pretended to go to bed. After my bedroom door was closed, I hid under my covers with a book-light so that I could stay up later to start reading The Return of the King. I stayed up for about three hours, I think, too excited by the story to go to bed. My parents never caught me, so I was able to stay up as long as I wanted to read. I think I got through almost one hundred pages. I was quite pleased with myself.

Another thing I remember about reading The Lord of the Rings has to do with my Grade Three teacher, a wonderful lady named Mrs. Edwards who really, for me, went above and beyond as a teacher and I can remember, quite vividly, sitting in her class and being excited to learn. One day, just after school had ended for the day, I remember talking to her about reading and how much I enjoyed it. During this conversation, she mentioned her husband and how he was currently reading The Lord of the Rings, but it was taking him a while and he was finding it difficult to get through because the language was so complex at times. When I told her, almost bragging a bit, that I had read the first one in five days and was halfway through the second, Mrs. Edwards was so excited and happy for me. She went on to compliment my reading ability and made some very encouraging comments. I don’t remember what they were, but I remember I smiled and they really encouraged me to keep reading and to keep challenging myself while reading. It made me believe that there was no book that I couldn’t tackle. I was so tickled pink that I went home and told my mom right away and she, naturally, still likes to tell this story as much as I do.

Well that’s all I’ll share, for this post, about books I’ve read. Now, I want to turn it around and mention a couple books that I own and am hoping to read fairly soon.

The first is Mars by Ben Bova, a book my mom has been bugging me to read for probably ten years now. I’m a Sci-Fi guy and intrigued by space, and the book looks interesting enough, I just always seem to have something else to read. I’m hoping that will change, soon, as I really want to give this one a try.

Another series I really want to read are all of the Sherlock Holmes novels. I love older novels, considered classics, and have actually read the first Sherlock Holmes novel. I bought this edition to collect all of the Sherlock Holmes in one volume and hopefully give me the drive to read the rest of the novels, which, if they are anything like the first one, will be incredibly good.

Everyone seems to know one or two books that they think everyone else needs to read. Are there any novels of any genre that you recommend reading?

Other than this, that’s about all I’ve got to say, for now.

Thanks for reading!

Till Next,

-Will

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Categories: Bookends Of My Life, Family, Life, Writing | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “The Bookends Of My Life – Part 1

  1. Intriguing post Will. Am going to have to add this post in to my book purchasing pile for the future, I love Pratchett & Potter, so you have piqued my interest somewhat with the Belgariad series. I can’t recommend any books at this time because there are so many! I’m about halfway through your Perspective novel so far but don’t worry, I will finish it before I start any other new books! I really like the naming of the characters in it and how people would react to memory loss – I’m looking forward to how it unfolds. Chat to you again soon.

    • Belgariad series really is amazing. It’s similar in genre to Lord of the Rings, but a completely different writing style. It’s actually a really easy read – some people have called him juvenile in his writing, but I disagree – but I like how it is easy to read because it is that much easier to get lost inside of the story. And the characters…they are all so unique and different. The plot is driven by the characters…and I feel like not many people do character dialogue as well as David and Leigh Eddings. Highly recommended. They are all average sized books – ranging from 290-400 pages each. There’s only five of them. I read all five in a week before. Clearly you can tell that I’m a little obsessed. 🙂

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