“Reading became my sanctuary,” Belle continued. “I found so much in those books. I found histories that inspired me. Poems that delighted me. Novels that challenged me…” Belle paused, suddenly self-conscious. She looked down at her hands, and in a wistful voice, said, “What I really found, though, was myself.”
― Jennifer Donnelly,
In my November 15th post regarding starting to write about books, I used the above quote because it calls to me. It evokes strong emotions regarding how I feel about reading. The love of reading is not just about a genre, it is about the storytelling. To tell a tale well, to weave a reader into the tapestry of the text, regardless of content, has always been one of life's greatest art forms. A story is something you hang onto, remember and carry forward, sharing the impact, inspiration and lessons with others.
Now, it is true that I read far more non-fiction and have a habit of reading a lot of business, leadership and personal development books, but there is a home in my book-loving heart for fiction. Fiction is an escape, a place where I am not intending to learn or improve, but a place to get lost in a book without other distractions or plans. Finding a impactful lesson at the end of the book? Bonus!
And that is how I found myself reading this book. I was burning out and needed a break. A time for my mind to rest from my never-ending to-do list and to refresh and rejuvenate myself.
I have to admit, I felt a little silly buying this book, but I do love the story of Beauty and the Beast, including the Disney adaptations. But, it was truly the above quote that sold me on this one and I have to admit, it did not disappoint me. It surprised me.
See, the book is a story within the existing context of Beauty and the Beast. It involves Belle finding an enchanted book and the never-ending battle between love and death. It is all fantasy and fast-reading, but it left me with one staggering question that was asked of Belle - Who is the author of your story?
It is SO easy to fall into routine with the more mundane parts of life. To want to quit when it is messy or is hard. To seek something better. But, who decides what you do? Do you TRULY take the proactive role and define how your story will go? Do you see each day as the empty page YOU get to write? Or, do you see words on a page already filled out and you just play your part?
I never imagined this book would make me question how proactive I really am being about my life, how much control I willingly hand over to others and thereby allowing them to dictate my life. As the dedication at the start of the book suggests, I am someone who wants to write my own story. I just needed to be reminded.
So, who is the author of YOUR story?