As often as I have seen that sentiment on t-shirts and mugs or Facebook walls, it didn’t really hit me until a few months ago how true it is. When I walk into a bookstore or a library now, all I can think about is the fact that the shelves are lined with thousands of books that I will never get to read. Of course, some of them are probably boring. I don’t regret those. But even taking out the boring and the bad, I find it depressing when I think about how many wonderful, possibly life-changing books will never even enter my awareness. And when I think about launching my babies into that world where they can so easily get lost in the crowd…well, let’s just say it’s disheartening.
When I was a kid, I read so voraciously that I would finish every book I started, and sometimes even reread books I disliked, just because they were there. Sometimes I want to go back in time and smack that kid and give her a booklist to work through during all those lazy childhood hours. Don’t get me wrong – some rereads would be fine. She could keep her yearly Christmas vacation reread of The Lord of the Rings, which inevitably ended in 2 am bawling as Frodo sailed from the Grey Havens.
I felt guilty when I first jettisoned my rule about finishing every book I started, but there are just too many wonderful books in the world to waste time on something that doesn’t delight me. And that’s what every reader is chasing, isn’t it? That sense of delight, of being transported out of our everyday lives. That can’t-put-it-down, can’t-wait-to-get-back-to-the-car-so-I-can-continue-the-audiobook preoccupation with a fictional world.
When I think about my own stories, it almost seems too much to ask, to be able to create that feeling for someone else. It feels presumptuous to hope that someone might love my fantasy worlds the way I love Middle Earth or Hogwarts or Eddis, Sounis, and Attolia, to even conceive that somehow someone might find my little books among all the other wonderful stuff out there.
But I keep on reading, even though my reading list will never end. And I’ll keep on writing, hoping even one person out there will find something transporting in it. Because, I don’t know about you, but I just can’t seem to give up on looking for magic.