On “That One Book”

I promise I’m not trying to set up a purely book-themed blog. It’s just that I’ve been spending a lot of time in Barnes and Noble surrounded by books while writing my own book, and I just purchased a Nook (which I am enjoying immensely). Consequentially, I find myself positively fat on literature at this point in time.

To further compound the issue, Iain M. Banks passed away last week at the depressingly young age of 59. To those of you who do not know, Iain M. Banks was a writer of both science fiction and regular fiction. Nerd that I am, though, I confess it has been to his science fiction that I have given the whole of my attention.

No matter who you are, even if you barely read, you’ve had that one book. The one that got to you, changed you in some fundamental and very real sense. The more you read, the more of those one books you have, and the more you change and grow as a person. This is part of why reading is so terribly important. Not to discount the mass and charge of film (and to a lesser, but noteworthy extent: television and video games) but the written word has a power to raise consciousness that we in our chrome-plated future have begun to forget, to our pain.

I’ve had several of those one books: Frank Herbert’s Dune, J.R.R. Tolkien’s entire body of work, Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, Hamlet…the list goes on. Sadly, I hadn’t realized the importance of Iain M. Banks on that list until it was almost too late. His “The Player of Games,” “Surface Detail,” and especially his “Use of Weapons” has had something of a lasting influence on my meager work. But I’ll never get to tell Frank Herbert, or J.R.R. Tolkien–or William Shakespeare for that matter–how important they’ve been to me either.

What does that leave me with? Well, only writing I guess.

Only words.

Best wishes,

Christopher Ruocchio

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