N is for Novels

It’s no secret that I love a good book.

They are my sanctuary. My loves.

My favourite types of books are the ones that engross me by challenging the way in which I view the world that I live in. They make me think.

An example of this would be Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.

The protagonist of this novel has a gift (or maybe its a curse) that causes her to feel the emotions through food. For example, if her mother was sad whilst baking a batch of cookies, the protagonist would feel those sad emotions as she ate the cookies.
It got me thinking about how this gift/curse would both enhance and ruin someone’s world. It made me think about the things that we choose to ignore, the things we fail to consider, about the world around us. When we buy food, we walk into a café, order the food, eat it and get the hell out of there. We don’t care who made it, we don’t care about the process of cooking (provided it’s not going to make us sick). All we care about is whether it tastes good and whether we get it in a timely fashion. We are a selfish species. We care about things that only benefit us.
Though I don’t suddenly deeply care about the backstory of the chef that has prepared my food, I have, since reading, tried to be more considerate of those around me. To not be so selfish, and to remember that just because I may be having a good day, it doesn’t mean that every one else is.

Another that has had a similar effect on me is Jennifer Niven’s Holding up the Universe (review here).

The male protagonist, Jack, has a condition called Prosopagnosia, or face-blindness (video to help you understand it here). It means that he cannot recognise faces – not even the faces of his parents. Every time he sees a face, whether the first or the thousandth time, the person is as good as stranger. He wouldn’t be able to pick his mother out of a line-up.
This book made me, again, consider something I take for granted. Something that I can do without thinking. It made me think about how scary and big the world would seem if I couldn’t recognise a familiar face in a crowd. It made me think of how strong people with this condition would have to be. In some ways, I find it incomprehensible.

And, in the process of writing my own first novel, I am brought back to the same thought:

Am I challenging someone else’s world view?

I guess only time will tell…

Don’t forget to follow me on social media, and I’ll see you Saturday! xxx

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