Today I am honoured to be hosting a guest post by the author Zarina Macha, to celebrate the release of her new novel, Anne. Not only that, but it’s a post about my favourite subject… books. Enjoy!
The Magic Of Books – Zarina Macha
Do I believe in magic? Not in a literal, izzy-wizzy, hocus-pocus sense. But I do believe in the magic of storytelling, through music, films, and above all, books. Books are magical; they are a way of stepping into a different world and imagining whatever you like within that world. You open a book and it’s your own private television; the characters and plot jump out at you and you become immersed in them.
A book that truly touches on the power of literature is Finders Keepers by Stephen King. In this story, a sociopathic man named Morris Bellamy murders the writer John Rothstein and steals a bunch of money and notebooks containing Rothstein’s unpublished works. Bellamy is crazy (though not as awful as Brady Hartsfield from Mr Mercedes), but I understand how he feels. I know the power of obsession and I know how a story can possess you. Bellamy’s story is quite tragic, and when I first read Finders Keepers I was upset at how King had led things to happen.
But rightly, as mentioned in the book itself, good novelists don’t ‘tell’ the story, they follow their characters and write down what happens. I try to apply this rule when working on my own fiction, as I believe the best stories are character drive. If you follow your characters and let them narrate the story, you’ll be fine.
I always feel sad when I meet people who say they don’t read. Reading is considered ‘nerdy’ and ‘uncool’; something that hoity-toity high-and-mighty folk do. In school, no one ever wants to befriend the nerdy bookworm; they get taken the piss out of. Fortunately, growing up into the adult world reveals a world of book lovers and bloggers whose passion is none other than to consume literature like the flames of Fahrenheit 451.
But the message of Finders Keepers isn’t only that literature is powerful enough to turn a man to murder and obsession. (Misery also touches on this brilliantly; one of my favourite books). It is also that there are some things more important than books. When Pete Saubers discovers Morris Bellamy’s buried trunk filled with the stolen money and notebooks, he too becomes absorbed into the world of Jimmy Gold as created by Rothstein. But Pete knows that his sister and his mother are more important than words. Words are powerful, and I love books, but I love my brother and mother more than books. Like Pete, I like to think I know what matters.
Books will never replace loved ones, and in every cat-and-mouse thriller, the hero realises that it’s the ones they love that are more important than whatever ‘treasure’ the villain craves. The villain doesn’t care for others, he/she wants treasure. Harry Potter expresses this message brilliantly. Voldemort will never know love, or friendship. Voldemort doesn’t have a Ron, Hermione, or a Hagrid. Voldemort only cares about power, but Harry cares about love. And that really is the best magic of all, and a magic that is incomparable to books, no matter how wonderful they are. After all, every writer dedicates their books to people they love, and without love, those books wouldn’t be written in the first place.
Previously posted 20th September 2017 on thezarinamachablog.co.uk.