Books as Memories

It's a well-known phenomena that hearing certain songs can take you back to a certain place, or situation.

I think I have this with books.

The Twilight series got me through my husband's deployment (judge, IDGAF).

Books 1-21 of the Stephanie Plum series got me through what turned out to be basically a super stressful friend-breakup, within about a 2.5 week time period.

The Hunger Games got me through my last years of undergrad.

And the His Fair Assassin series just got me through my first test of grad school. 

 When I hear about these books, I don't just think of the characters and plot. I think about where I was emotionally when I read them. I think about every detail that lined up and made those stories exactly what I needed at that moment in time.

Memories and emotions are strange, double-edged creatures. Our memories are almost never as trustworthy as we typically believe.

If I read Twilight today, I might be a hater. There are certainly people out there who trash it. But it will always have value to me, despite it's problems. I don't pretend there aren't problems, I just know how it was useful to me despite them.

Is it good for every person in every situation? 

Probably not.

But that could probably be said for all books, in the end.

So often the snooty literary folks will pretend a book is good solely because of the specific words in the specific order on the page. But that's sooo not true.

It's about the culture the story was written in, and it's about the reader. That's what makes being a reader so amazing and magical. You get to personally connect with a story- sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. But like everything in life, the personal background of a reader absolutely shapes the lens in which we view the story.

There was a Christian book I had heard a lot of hype about and was excited to try. Pretty much as soon as I started it (via audiobook) I could tell me and this author just didn't jive. He ended up saying what was- to me- an incredibly sexist statement and I flat out DNF'd. When I mentioned this too someone else who read the book, they said that sentence never even registered- they didn't remember it being in the book at all, and walked away feeling like it was a great book. Think she actually had some kind of personal connection to the author, and therefore probably went in predisposed to think highly of what he had done or even just with a better idea of the heart behind the statement*.

*because saying something out of ignorance and saying something out of hate are very different, and I do believe if we want to change the world for the better we must be ready to stop being angry at people for being ignorant and work with them to educate...although this is a much longer thought subject for a different post

Anyway, it happens. It doesn't make her a bad person or bad reader. Pretty much all of those series I listed have gotten tons of flack for various reasons. And I'm sure at least one person would say I can't be a feminist and enjoy Twilight. But...I definitely consider myself a feminist- and I still stand by the appeal of that series!

Do you link books and memories? 
If so, what are some of your connections?


  1. Twilight is the series I read after a horrible breakup I had around the time those books came out. They got my mind off that and back onto things I enjoy doing for myself. And the Stephanie Plum books were my way to get back into reading 4-5 years ago after I read HP for the first time and was looking for something else to be excited about.

  2. I read The Giver in 7th grade as my parents were going through their divorce and I HATED that book. Everyone else loved it. I knew it was just me because of the circumstances. I also had to read Where the Red Fern Grows as an extra credit assignment since I was failing my English class (also due to the divorce since I've never been bad at languages) and that's what I always associate with that book.

    Also, Twilight isn't that bad, IMO, and I read them all in 2012, way after the popularity had died down. TL;DR: IDGAF about Team Jacob or Team Edward.