“For in dreams we enter a world that is entirely our own.”
[J. K. Rowling]
I invite you, dear reader, to muse with me:
Why is it, as grown-up readers, we long for backstories, prequels, character bios, and author explanations? Why is it that simply reading a book is not enough? There is a whole culture of readers who want all secrets revealed to them. I am too find myself longing for that from time to time.
But is that really the purpose of reading a good book?
A wise woman once said,
“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one that makes you think.”
I would like to further that idea by adding, the book to read is not only the one that makes you think, but also leaves room for you to imagine. I believe that a good book should allow you to wonder. Just as a wizard’s wand channels the holder’s spells, a book guides the reader’s imagination like magic!
I was having a conversation on my instagram page with a fellow bookstagrammer about this very concept in regards to Neil Gaiman’s book, Coraline.
I will state, for all those who have not read this wonderful book, please note, as I will try to be as discreet as possible, but there may be some spoilers in the following paragraphs! You have been warned!
In Coraline, the creature named the “Other Mother” appears and is set up as the dangerous foe for our brave heroine to overcome. This fellow bookstagrammer read the book and then wished that the book went into more detail about this creature. Where did she come from? Why does she long to kidnap children? Can she return? These are all perfectly fine questions to ask. But why do we so often demand the answers from authors?
“A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.”
I like to connect books such as this one to the phenomenon of being in a dream. When you enter a dream you are not given a backstory or plot set up. You simply accept the world around you and interact. This same feeling can be said for a story such as Coraline. The reader does not need to know much about the Other Mother to know that she is up to no good! If one wants more than that, the author welcomes all to let their imaginations run wild.
This is a fact I find so mystical about books. Just as personal dreams are different, everyone’s interpretation of a book is distinct due to the variety of make-believe that each reader uses to fill the pages.
Call it make-believe, fan theories, fan fiction, or imagination, but every reader enters the world the book has to offer and fills it with their interpretations. Our minds are amazing machines. I am constantly floored by how much detail my mind can put into every inked description.
“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.”
So, the next time you are reading a book and come across a character or story that you wished the author gave more detail on, stop and remember the following:
You have the power to add more to each book you read.
You have the power to unlock each secret left unrevealed.
You don’t have to see the story through the shape of a keyhole.
You have the enchanted key.
The key? Why, it’s your imagination of course!
Thank you for musing with me! I leave you with this quote of encouragement:
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Until next time,
Your Key-Holding Friend,