Friday, February 17, 2012

The Right Book at The Right Time

I promise I will be posting reviews soon. I've read 15 books so far this year, but between student teaching and now studying for my certification exams, the thought of writing serious reviews is exhausting! But next week, I promise, there will be reviews!

Today though, I wanted to post on something else. I was recently at my parents and could not possibly read one more CST flash card, so I walked over to the book shelf and saw Twilight sitting there. I had let my Dad borrow it before his trip to the Olympic Peninsula, I'd last read it about 2 and a half years ago. To be honest I'd been afraid to reread it. 3 years ago (almost exactly) I picked up the series and devoured it. All four book in 5 days. Then I read it again. I scoured the internet for everything I could find about Twilight, watched the movie a million times and eventually found a home at Twilight Moms. I re-read the books right after I joined so that I'd be ready for the discussions on the forums, which were surprisingly in depth and dealt with issues like relationships, depression, classic themes and archetypes. I was afraid to re-read after that. What if the books lost their magic? What if I hated them? So I just let them sit. Until a few days ago...

I was right to be worried. The magic was gone. I read the book and enjoyed it, but there wasn't that all encompassing need to finish, to investigate, to discuss. It was just a story. I already know how it ends. I know every inch of the books. I can argue why they are great and why they are horrible. I can tell you why they provide positive messages and why they showcase really bad ones. I spent years dissecting them and now there's not as much excitement in them for me. It was kind of sad really. Still, it was fun to revisit the story and the characters. To read it slowly and enjoy it. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't the same. 

Which lead me to an interesting revelation. I found this book at the exact moment I needed it. Looking back there are very moments that I can think of where there is a distinct before and after. 

* Before I had my accident horseback riding and after. I was heading in one direction and suddenly that was lost to me. The joy I had in riding was gone and it was replaced by anxiety and fear. 

* Before I moved to Tampa for school and after. I was miserable at my first school and then, with one visit to Tampa I found a place that was a great fit. It lead to playing soccer again, dancing and my husband. 

* Before I saw my Paint horse in that field and after. I knew he was going to be mine before I knew anything about him. Buying him changed everything again. 

There are a few mores, but not many. The big one though, the one that can't be traced back to any other decision is Twilight. Before I picked up the book and After. 

Before: I working as a legal secretary, which was... okay. It certainly wasn't my dream job, but it paid me a check every week and it was flexible enough that I had time for other stuff. I was pregnant, which was... okay. I had already had 4 miscarriages in a little over a year, so needless to say I was miserable and terrified pretty much 24/7. I was not a pleasant person to be around and I knew it, but there wasn't a good way to get out of it. As someone who is paranoid anyways, this was pretty much a 9 month exercise is just getting through each day. At this point I was 5 months in and I had recently spent the night in the hospital with a pulled muscle (which I thought was appendicitis) and was told to take it easy. Which meant no more soccer and no more riding my horse (yes, I was still doing both). Suddenly my schedule was a lot more open and I had a lot more time to think. And then...

...Twilight. I stopped at Barnes and Nobles and saw the display on the end display so I grabbed it. Like I already said, I devoured it. And my life changed. Literally. 

After: It's been 3 years. In that time I had my kiddo, joined TwilightMoms, became a moderator on the Book Club group, migrated to Eve's Fan Garden, started this blog, quit my job, went back to school to become a School Librarian (HUGE thanks to the amazing TM LauraLee for pointing me in the right direction), traveled all over the US to go to conferences with my friends, and I'm now 3 tests, one student teaching position and 3 months away from graduating. It's a 180. I found my niche. 

The point is that it's amazing what a book can do. Especially if you find that book at the exact right moment. If I had read the book three years earlier when it first came out I might have liked it, but it might not have had the same impact. Same goes if I was just discovering it now, who knows how I would have taken it. But in March 2009, I needed it. I needed the escape. I needed to remember that reading should be fun, and that there didn't need to be some larger message, sometimes it was enough to just find a friend among the pages. What I really needed was the friends I found online. Not that I didn't have friends in real life, but here I found friends who loved to read the same books I did, they all fell in love with the same story and they wanted to talk about. Beyond that, they wanted everyone to be happy and to find their something. Everyone has their something and I've never met more supportive women then the ladies at TM's. Like I said, without Laura Lee I might never have considered becoming a Librarian, but when she mentioned it everything kind of fell into place. Without the girls at EFG I might not have found my voice and my confidence to actually go do it. not only that, but to start contacting authors and writing reviews and talking about all these great books we were reading. It was a complete 180. 

I've read a lot of great books since then. A lot. Brilliantly written, heartbreaking, hope filled and hysterical books that keep me coming back. Better books then Twilight. No book though, has changed my world like Twilight did. And even though it's lost a little of it's luster for me, I can't be anything but thankful that I found this book just when I needed it. It was 100% the right book and the right time for me! It's also a good inspiration for being a librarian. I want to help these kids find their book. The book that they will fall in love with and want to embrace and discuss and learn from. If I can do that, well, I'd call it a win. 

So how about you? Do you have that one book that changed everything for you?


  1. I think that is why Twilight became such a phenomenon. It was the right back at the right time for a lot of people. It was for me. The other was "To Kill A Mockingbird." I originally read it in 6th grade, I enjoyed the book but not life changing. I reread it again in 9th, and it was at this time that it changed my life.

  2. Oh, yes. The Book of Three when I was in fifth grade and dealing with my parents' divorce. The entire Prydain Chronicles saved my sanity. And unknown to me, planted an idea that came to life a year ago.

  3. A few books have really changed my life over the years. One book in particular was Mountain Solo by Jeannette Ingold. The Twilight series came to me when my life was changing rapidly. I had broken up with my boyfriend and started student teaching away from everything I knew. It provided a sort of comfort reading those books.

  4. I read the whole Twilight saga in about a week last autumn, and although i do see the "teen-appeal", i found it all rather annoying... Bella is shallow and Edward is borderline sociopath with control-issues, The rest of the kids at the school are transparent and the Cullens change personallities from one book to the next and i could not for the life of me work out why they were a family for other reasons than their choice of diet.... Jacob is bi-polar, Alice is a control maniac who really needs to be told to back off and butt out... and the fourth book really did not belong with the rest of them. it's a different tone and a different story...
    Enough gripes...

    I'm a bookoholic and read pretty much everything
    In the last few years i have at lest once a year read Audrey Niffeneggers, The Timetravellers wife. It inspires me on a lot of levels.
    If i'm feeling low or like i'm in need of a mood-boost i'll read The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.
    In my teens, Jean. M. Auel's clan of the cavebear-saga (the first 4 books)changed my life completely and made me want to be a herbalist. i still cure a lot of ills with herbs thanks to those books. I had a child with the "wrong" man because i thought he was my Jondalar.. turned out the similarity was only skin deep...
    I've recently read Kate Mortons "the secret Garden" which made me cry.
    And I LOVE Margaret Atwood.
    her Oryx and Crake changed my whole perspective on consumerism and made me a more environmentally concious consumer. It's a novel that really runs deeply and although i have re-read it several times, i alway discover new elements about it.
    I also love Sci-fi novels from the 50's-60's... Clifford D. Simak's City gave me a new view on overpopulation..

  5. Marit- I love that you hate Twilight, because objectively I can say that there is a lot that isn't right with Twilight. Which is why it was the right book at the right time for me- I totally needed something that wasn't school, that wasn't perfect and was just fun. It snapped me out of my funk. I went back and read it for the first time in years and it was just okay for me.

    Clan of the Cave bear was my first BIG book too. I read it when I was on vacation when I was 12 and it changed everything. I agree 1-4 are amazing books... this last one, not so much, my review of it is actually the post I have the most comments ever on b/c so many people hated it that much. It was insane!