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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Author Insight: The Significance of Books

Author Insight is back for Round 3 with a new crew of 30 fabulous authors! These ladies and gents will be sharing their experiences, wisdom, trials and tribulations over the next few months every Tuesday and Thursday. The first 15 are up today...

What do you believe is the significance of books and why did you want to write them?

"Books allow us to experience things we wouldn't normally (thankfully, in many cases) be exposed to.  It makes us look at the world and at ourselves differently, to ask ourselves questions that help us flesh out our own individual beliefs and values.  There's tremendous power in that, particularly in YA fiction where most readers are teens who are on the cusp of adulthood and trying to figure out who they are vs. who other people want them to be." - Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.

"To me, the most important thing about a book is the ability to create human empathy. When a reader can understand why a character does something or the choices he makes, they subconsciously become better able to empathize with humanity in general. If a book makes a reader care about war on Middle Earth, she'll care about war on Earth, too. If a reader protests tyranny in Panem, he'll protest it in America, too. If a reader can learn to love a character who's handicapped, or a different race, or from a different socio-economic class, that reader may also feel the same way about people he meets in real life." - Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe.

"To me the interaction with books and all forms of art is the difference between living and living well. As humans, we can survive without art, but the quality of our lives is severely diminished by its absence." - Ty Roth, author of So Shelly.

"A good story lets you experience life through someone else’s eyes and that’s why I decided to write books. Usually the characters come to me first and it takes a while for the story to unfold before I can start writing. I often feel that these characters and these stories already exist somewhere and it’s up to me to figure them out and write them down for other people to read." - Cynthia Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets.

"This is the kind of question that deserves DEEP THOUGHTS and an entire essay instead of a snarky paragraph from somebody like me. I think books can be a million things to a million people, and that’s pretty awesome. Without books, there would be no hot Mr. Darcys diving into lakes, no quidditch, no balrog. There would be no sparkly vampires. And it’s very hard for me to imagine a world without sparkly vampires, which is why I write books too." - Carrie Harris, author of Bad Taste in Boys.

"I think that books are one of the the best ways in the world to learn that you are not alone. Even if you are in a crummy point of your life, unhappy or lonely, a book or story that captures your imagination is a  wonderful escape. But you're not escaping into isolation. By enjoying a book you form a connection with a least one other person (the author) who shares a sensibility, or a sense of the absurd or the beautiful. A tangible voice in the darkness. A friend." - Maurissa Guibord, author of Warped.

"The amazing things about books is that they always seem to find the people who need them. And I wanted to be a part of that." - Hannah Moskowitz, author of Invincible Summer.

"Of all the forms of self-expression humans have come up with, story-telling in all its many forms is the only one where the audience can lose her or himself and feel as though he or she is part of the story. That’s magical. I have gotten lost in books my whole life, and I love trying to create a world and a story that will pull others in, in the same way." - Tracy Barrett, author of King of Ithaka.

"Books entertain, inform, inspire. They offer solace and illumination. A book can be a friend when you have none, make you laugh out loud or move you to tears. A book is life, or at least one aspect of it, bundled up in words and sometimes pictures." - Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Blessed.

"Mom taught me there were two things you should always spend money on – books and a good haircut.  Books record history, open minds, challenge authority, inspire dreams.  I've been devouring them since before I can remember. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I had a story that I needed to write." - Gretchen McNeil, author of Possess.

"For me, books have always been the best way to entertain, educate, and open my mind. I was unschooled (homeschooled without structure) and everything I know was mostly self-taught and mostly through books." - Jaclyn Dolamore, author of Between the Sea and Sky.

"Books change our thinking, our worldviews, and our lives. There is nothing more important to me than making people think, and bringing them joy and excitement. This, of course, is why I write." - Inara Scott, author of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates.

"Oh, wow, how am I going to answer this in one paragraph? Books can teach. Books can change lives, cultures, worlds. And, sometimes just as importantly, they can entertain. They can be a few hours of escape for someone who needs it. They can give you a good laugh, a cry, a scare. Whatever you’re in the mood for. I love the idea of someone coming home from a tough day at school or work, curling up in a chair, and losing themselves in my book. The possibility of making someone’s day better means the world to me." - Kim Harrington, author of Clarity. 

"Books are escape, reassurance, comfort--books (or I should probably say "stories" because who knows how long we'll have actual "books" anymore?) have been part of my life ever since I saw my English-teacher mom curled up on the couch with a novel and her bag of sunflower seeds. I've always had the urge to tell stories and can't believe how lucky I am that one of them will become a real book." - Sara Bennett Wealer, author of Rival.

"Well, really...what isn't significant about books? There's very little less important than books, not when it comes to living a well-rounded life and/or being a well-rounded person, at least in my opinion. No, you don't need them to live--well, I kind of do, but most of us wouldn't literally die if our books were taken away--but without them the world would be very boring, we'd be less empathetic, less able to see other people's points of view, less tolerant...we'd know very little about how other people actually think and feel." - Stacia Kane, author of City of Ghosts.

Stop by Thursday to meet the rest of the authors and find out why they think books are significant in life!


  1. This is a great question and some really awesome answers! I can't wait to meet the rest of the authors and see what they think, too!

  2. I'm not sure what I would do without books or without many of these authors!