Monday, July 22, 2013

We Read To Know We Are Not Alone

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it"—Oscar Wilde 

When I read, I don't simply read the words on a page written by some French man living in his Mom's attic 150 years ago. When I read, the written words float up and around me, they flow through me and create images stronger and more vivid than any film producer could ever make. When I read, the words become my reality, everything else is but a dream. Now, some may call my love of literature a characteristic that makes me, as the ignorant call it, nerdy. While I will not deny this, being as I would much prefer the company of a good book over any living creature ( with the exception of a certain fat cat), I cannot say this is a bad thing. Reading allows us to live in lands far and near, real and imaginary. It hands us the opportunity to know a multitude of people before unimaginable. We are given experiences far beyond the capacities of our dull drum lives—from standing in the French court with Charles Darnay to finding the horcruxes with our favorite wizarding trio. I could go on and on about the magnificence of the written word, but that would be superfluous. I will, however, add one more crucial point, the point, in fact, of this entire post. As demonstrated by my dear friend Mr. Wilde in the  quote above, reading can determine who you are. This could mean a multitude of things which I am sure are covered in many psychological books, but I will mention only one. The type of book you read, and the types of characters whom you love and wish to be, directly reflect who you are and/or aspire to be. I, personally, love historical fiction, with strong, independent heroines, impossible (and sometimes heartbreaking) love stories, with enough action and fighting as to be suspenseful, and, more often than not, sad endings, or at least not entirely rainbows and flowers happy endings. What this tells you about me, I don't know. Nevertheless I am aware that it reflects my character, and, be that as it may, I try to reflect the characters in my favorite novels. How do I do this? With my dress bien sûre! One of my favorite games is "who am I today?". Somedays I'm Elizabeth Bennett, others I'm Alice, occasionally I'm Luna. I have never ever been Bella, that is just silly. Some characters are easy to dress like, but with others it can be hard. For example, it would not be appropriate for me to go to school in a full suit of armor and a sword with which to kill the Nazgul king (not that I meet many of those on a daily basis), and so I must find a less obvious way to emulate my favorite heroine of all time (for those of you who have never read or seen Lord of the Rings, ie are a waste if oxygen, I am here referring to Eowyn). I might wear a tunic dress, leggings, and leather boots. No one else may know the game I am playing, or who I am trying to be in a particular day, but that does not matter. That is not the point. The point is that it gives me a test, by dressing as my favorite heroines, I try to put on the cloak of improve-ibility. I can attempt at emulating, not only their looks, but also their characteristics that make them worthy of the title "heroine". Just as in a play, the actors can act as much as is humanly possible, but we don't truly see the characters until the dress rehearsal; the costumes come out, and we are no longer seeing a bunch of starving men and women trying to make a living tromping about on stage, but we see Lady Macbeth going insane, Anne Sullivan transforming Helen Keller's life, and Belle falling in love with a Beast. By putting on a dress that makes me feel like Lucie Manette, I feel it necessary to be kind, sincere, and noble. When I want to be strong and independent I may put on green pants, a black shirt, and leather boots, and tada! I am Katniss Everdeen (minus the blood, tantrums, and fire)

Yesterday. I was feeling the need to be willful, hopeful, and adventurous, so I chose a girl from one of my favorite series, The Luxe, Diana Holland. Diana lives in high society, turn of the century New York. She rebels against every constraint of her high born life, dreams of a life as a daring adventurer, and will do anything for love. I needed the assurance that I am going to survive in all the scary new adventures approaching for me. I needed to find my willful, fighting nature that I see reflected in Diana Holland. 
I am wearing a chiffon and chambray shirt from I forget, an old navy belt, Romeo and Juliet Couture chiffon maxi skirt, and Rebel wedges. 

Although no one else could tell that inside I was pretending to be a rebellious New York socialite, I knew, and that's all that mattered to turn my view point around and regain the courage to face the scary world ahead.

And so, dear readers, I encourage you to read. Read anything, and let it full your mind and influence your life, it will do you worlds of good. 

And with that I bid you adieu

Ps here is a list of my favorite books, if you need a place to start. 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens 
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Alice in Wonderland (etc) by Lewis Carroll
Scarlet by AC Gaughen 
The Luxe series by Anna Godsbersen
His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
Harry Potter (of course)
Lord of the Rings (obviously)
The Narnia Chronicles by CS Lewis 
The Red Necklace and the Silver Blade by Sally Gardner
The Princetta by Anne-Laure Bondoux
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge 

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