Reading Detours

Here I was, sitting in front of the blank screen pondering what to write about today. I had just replied to a comment from David, a new visitor to Bookstack, regarding my interest in a book he mentioned. In the comment I talked about developing a fetish for Flannery O’Connor after reading Ann Napolitano’s great novel A Good Hard Look. Her novel led me to search out Habit of Being, O’Connor’s collected letters.

Then, still not coming up with any ideas for a post today, I opened up the latest issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers, and find Robert Gray’s cover piece about “rerouting” which he defines as being “fully engaged with a great book and then… discovering that you have been sent in unanticipated new directions.” That certainly happened to me with Napolitano’s novel. It also happens with regularity when I read novels by esteemed authors. Reading anything Virginia Woolf will send me directly to her diaries for a deeper look into her mindset at the time she was writing.

Sometimes rerouting takes me away from books entirely into different media. When I finished Chris Bohjalian’s Secrets of Eden a couple of weeks ago, I went looking for the TV movie version (starring John Stamos whom I ♥), and found it being aired on Lifetime that very evening. After reading The Four Seasons and Marrying Mozart, I was busy downloading Vivaldi and playing Mozart sonatas on the piano.

It’s another mark of good writing, I think, when an author can spark the readers imagination and send them searching for more information about a subject, or for ways to enhance the reading experience with other media.

How about you? What experiences with rerouting has your reading life inspired?

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