I was flicking through the dedications and acknowledgments for Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City, when I started to wonder about his life, not just as a writer but as a person. Maybe it was the lingering effect of reading Miss Peregrine’s that made me start to examine the differences in both of the books’ appearances.
For instance, I noticed in the acknowledgments of his first book, he mentions his wife Abbi. But in the second, he not only mentions Tahera Mafi, another popular YA author, but also dedicates the book to her. It made me curious, wondering how his relationships with both of them came to be, and what they are now. Naturally, I probably could have Googled something about it, if I felt like being intrusive. But it wasn’t about that. I mean, his life is his own, and while I enjoy his books, I don’t really care to know the specifics.
What it did make me realize, however, was how much of themselves a writer puts into their books. I’ve heard countless quotes about such things, but only now did it sink in. Because between that dedication and page of acknowledgments is an entire story written by this person. An idea formed in their brains that we, as readers, are so lucky to be able to read. I know, as a writer, how precious the books or stories or poems etc. we write are. I can imagine as a published author, it must be even more so. You have to support and stand up for your idea, sell it and edit it without having it lose its essence.
Then I looked over at all of my other books. And instead of simply seeing them as books, I saw them as fictional diaries, exaggerated life stories of their writers. Daydreams turned into something tangible. A tiny spark of an idea that each of the books’ writers cradled and sculpted into the books that they are today.
And when I realized that, I suddenly wanted to read every book. I wanted to know as many people as possible. No matter how good or bad, every book is so important, even if just to one person. They tell stories that would otherwise be silenced. They explain histories that happened in someone’s mind before they happened on paper. I want to read all the books because I want to be able to understand people. I want to know how someone thinks or feels, even if I think or feel differently.
My collection of books is more than just books, they are a collection of thoughts on paper, labored over and written out by their writers. They are tales and characters created by someone somewhere, at a point in their life that cannot be repeated. They are time capsules. They are portals into ten thousand different worlds, because every time a person reads a book, it is interpreted differently. They can make us feel things we otherwise wouldn’t experience. They make us see things differently. They make us think about life and love and all those other important things.
And all of this happens because one person decides to sit down and write their story.