Tuesday, 3 May 2016

BOOK TALK | The Ties We Form With Stories

 
For us bookworms, reading is so much more than words on a page, it's an experience, an adventure, and we form ties and bonds with stories and characters. Today I'm going to be sharing about the book I have the strongest ties with, and why, as well as asking you what books you have strong connections with.
 
When speaking of ties with a book, immediately The Woman in Black by Susan Hill comes to mind. I guess it's kind of a funny choice of book - the book is a ghost story and in many ways quite simply written, but the way in which The Woman in Black came to be one of my favourite stories, holding much nostalgia for me, is an interesting one... At least I think, and so I thought I'd share it here.
 
It wasn't actually in word format that I first discovered The Woman in Black. In fact, I was fifteen years old and it was as a show in the West End. During my teenage years I attended a youth group that was specifically for young carers (young carers being children who aided in the caring of a disabled member within their household). We met once a week, but every few months we were taken out on excursions, one of which being a trip to the West End. Initially I wasn't actually going to go and see The Woman in Black, whilst I love ghost stories, I'm not so great when it comes to movies and things of that nature, but my older sister convinced me to go. I'm so happy I ended up going because the story acted out was beautifully done, well paced, atmospheric, and I have such fond memories of the outing.
 
Time passed, and although the theatre show had quite an impact on me, I kind of 'forgot' about it... That is until I stumbled upon the book in a bookshop. The day I purchased The Woman in Black, I devoured it within the one day. Everything fell in to place, all the dots connected, the story played before my eyes, and to this day The Woman in Black remains to be one of my most atmospheric reads.
 
That reading experience is one I remember vividly even now, and each time I return to the story (typically once a year) the experience feels just the same as the first.
 
My story doesn't end here however.
 
A good few years later, after hearing me bang on about just how amazing the theatre show was, my partner gifted me with a second trip to see the show in theatre. If anything, the second viewing was on a whole other level to the first, it was so wonderful and another treasured memory - largely because I got to share one of my favourite stories with my partner, but also because I feel like being older it was kind of like watching an entirely new performance.

If it wasn't for the theatre shows, I know I would not feel as connected to The Woman in Black as I do - my connection is largely based on nostalgia.

Now, ten years on from the very first exposure to the story, I still recommend The Woman in Black when people are looking for ghost stories and still reread the book on a regular basis. Not only that, but I'm a big fan of Susan Hill's ghost stories in general; I love the simplicity and subtlety in her writing.

I've shared my story, now I'd love to hear yours. What book do you feel a connection with, and why?
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7 comments

  1. I enjoy hearing about personal stories attached to a book, what a great post to share with us. I have had The Woman in Black on my list for awhile and now you have helped it go further up, this may actually be the year.

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    1. Thank you, Marce. It's always interesting to learn of the story behind the story, so to speak. One of my favourite things about books and reading is how individual the experience is, even when the same book is read we all have an individual attachment and interpretation.

      I hope you enjoy whenever it may be that you get round to reading The Woman in Black - I will say the colder months are perfect timing to delve in.

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  2. I love this!! Thank you for sharing this. It's so fun to hear how certain books made such a big impact in a readers life. There are several authors and books that have impacted me over the years in some way. The one that always comes to the forefront of my mind is Twilight. I was always a reader/bookworm, but my reading intensified after I read that series. I started trying new genres, joined Goodreads and met other bookworms like myself. It forged a bond with one of my best friends, as we went to see all the movies together. Those are very fond memories for me that I'll always cherish.

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    1. Thank you, Brandie, and thank you for sharing some of your bookish attachments.

      It's amazing how one book, or one series in your case, can propel a hobby you already possessed as well as intensify a friendship. Reading really is quite a life changing thing, big or small. :-)

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  3. What a wonderful post! It's so interesting to see how reading and seeing the same story makes you experience it in different ways.

    I remember loving the Narnia books as a child and my father taking me to see a two person show of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. In my mind, I can still see the two actors using props and costumes to play every single character!

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    1. I agree Lindsey, that's one of my favourite things about the book community - seeing the many ways in which one book can be experienced and interpreted.

      That sounds like quite a show!!

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  4. I read this one and don't feel so strongly about it, but I can absolutely see why you would with your history. I have many fond, nostalgic memories of reading specific books, but I'm not so sure I could single out just one. I do love the connection to stories though :)

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