I recently read this in Something More, Excavating your Authentic Self, by Sarah Ban Breathnach:
“It would seem to be an easy thing, really, the reading of a book. You pick a book up, open it, fix your gaze, and begin. Well, maybe so and maybe not. As a reader, I’m hard on books and other writers. A passionate woman, I like my men and books to knock my socks off. It’s got to be love at first sight. I need to be bowled over by an author’s insight, to wonder how I lived before the book explained it all to me, or how the author knew me so well.”
“In reality, while there is often a mystical bond between writer and reader, the author is just trying to figure out his or her own life, on the page, not mine. But as the Irish poet W.B. Yeats once told an admirer of his work, ‘If what I say resonates with you, it’s merely because we are both branches on the same tree.’”
Breathnach continues to say that so it is with her book, Something More, and she further offers,
“The wonderful writer Katherine Paterson has observed that part of the magic of books is that ‘they allow us to enter imaginatively into someone else’s life. And when we do that, we learn to sympathize with other people. But the real surprise is that we also learn truths about ourselves, about our own lives, that somehow we hadn’t been able to see before.’”
As a reader, this has always been fascinating for me, discovering why an author writes a certain book, and then matching that purpose, (their ho‘ohana) up to what in fact, the book had done or not done for me, regardless of the passion and intent the author had poured into it. So I’ll usually steer clear of interviews with authors until I’ve read the book myself first, to come up with my own impressions of their reasons.
Breathnach didn’t give me that opportunity; what I’ve quoted here appears in the beginning of Something More, on page 12. In offering it up so early, she raised my own expectations of her: after reading these short paragraphs, finding her book for $3.99 on the Borders Express bargain table seemed a real steal.
Chalk this one up to another impulsive book buy for me … I’ll let you know how I like it.