6 Feb 2013

On imagining authors complexly

This Christmas, I decided it was about time I live in the present and asked my parents for a Kindle. I've been an intense reader ever since I was a kid. It was always all about books, books, books. That's all I ever wanted for Christmas. Read was all I ever did. I collected books like kids collect marbles (except I collected marbles too, but that's another story.) Thing is, like most people who are passionate about books, I liked BOOKS. Hardcover pages-to-turn funny-smell books. It gave me many a back ache along the years, but I loved my books.

Problem is, I'm getting old and books are just too heavy to carry around... is the excuse I was giving for not reading anymore. So I put my pride away, took a deep breath and got myself a fancy Kindle with a pink case because why would you ever get something that isn't pink?! (I think it was about time I confess how much I love pink. NOW YOU KNOW. JUDGE AWAY.)

I needed a great first book to read digitally, something really meaningful. Now, if you know me just a little, you'll know I've got a slight obsession on everything Harry Potter. Remember this? Yeah, right. So naturally, I decided to read The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling's new and first adult book.

Photograph: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images via The Guardian.
Well. How do I put this? 

I started the book a month ago and still haven't finished it. That's how I put it. J.K. Rowling wrote a book and I just don't. Like. It. Which is perfectly normal and fine, except for someone who used to idealise Rowling as the ""perfect"" human being who went from nothing and created this fantastic world; a world that meant so much to so many people, to so many of my friends and me; a world in which I grew up and characters that taught me a lot about life and myself and... 

And now she's just a normal person who writes stuff I don't really give a damn about. 

Even though it should've been obvious to me, since I like to think that I am a fairly reasonable and relatively smart person, I needed this to realise that at the end of the day, she was just another person who eats and sleeps and buys groceries in her PJs (maybe?) and, also, writes books. 

Now, this past week-end I also met another of my favourite authors, John Green. Here's a proof, that I post not so much for you readers rather than for me: 

John Green in the background + me smiling at this brother Hank
Funnily enough, despite me being as admirative of him (and his brother) as I am of Rowling, meeting them didn't feel nearly as strange and unbelievable as reading The Casual Vacancy is. Maybe because I'm so used to seeing John's face on the Internet and him talking as if we were mates in his videos, maybe because he's not nearly as famous as JK, or perhaps because I got into his books and work when I was older; I don't know why, but John Green is to me a human being before being a New York Times bestseller and one of the most famous vloggers of the YouTubez.

One of John's books, Looking for Alaska (which happens to be the first of his that I read, way before I heard about the vlogbrothers), contains this quote:
"There are so many people. It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined." 
I guess this is why John Green was always a normal guy to me: because he writes books about imagining people complexly. And this includes friends and parents and authors and everyone you love and admire. They're not just one thing; they're people. Sometimes they're great, sometimes they suck.

And, well, Jo, I think you should stick to wizards. 


  1. "What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person", John Green, Paper Towns, ça m'avait marquée.

  2. Célestine (Enora's friend that you've met once and that still awaits every article with impatience!)18 February 2013 at 20:59

    Well you have just given me an excuse not to read this book! I was waiting for someone to tell me that JK writing anything else than Harry Potter was not right. Thank you :)

    1. Haha you're VERY welcome. Yep not a fun book. Boooooring.

  3. Definitely judging you for liking pink, yup.