I am exquisitely fortunate to be a part of a bi-weekly book club. We're a small group (currently only five members), we read eclectic selections (Wally Lamb, Madeline Albright, Lorna Landvik are three recent authors), and our conversations often veer well off the path of the books we are reading. But books brought us together and they keep us coming back for more.
Our latest is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I was only supposed to read through Chapter 25 for our meeting in two weeks, but I couldn't stop. And now that I've finished the book, I can't stop feeling. I feel sad. I feel triumphant. I feel exhausted. I feel hope. I feel like I could burst for wanting to talk about this important book.
Truth is, I read a lot. I have the ability to read quickly and I take advantage of that. I read books like other people read newspapers – a fresh one nearly every day. But then I read a book that makes me wish time would stop. Words so beautifully strung together that I want to experience them again and again. The Help is like that – I want to live in this world a little bit longer.
Anyone who wants to say, "I am a writer" must read this book. It's as simple as that. Observe how first-time author Stockett shows but doesn't tell. Experience how she crafts her characters and gives them not just voice, but vivid life. Be inspired by the risks she takes over and over again.
I'm tempted to pick up the other book I started this week, but I can't get the women of The Help out of my head. Like an earworm, a tune playing over and over in my mind, their lives wash over me. No, I'm not ready yet to move on…