Monday, June 06, 2016

Making a Difference

 By Vicki Delany

I sometimes think that as fiction writers we don’t really make much of a difference in people’s lives, or have any significant impact.

When I look at my own reading, I can identify a handful of books that had an impact on me. Lord of the Rings, The Crystal Cave, Keeping Watch by Laurie R. King. The early V.I. Warshawski books by Sara Paretsky.. To Kill a Mockingbird (and for that reason alone I have not, and will not read the supposed new Harper Lee Book).

And that’s pretty much it. I like to read, I read a lot, and I read a variety of books.  But they don’t affect my life or my way of thinking.  For that, I’d mainly list non-fiction books.  The one that really had a huge impact on my entire view of the world is March of Folly by Barbara W. Tuchman (Many years ago I worked on a friend’s political campaign for MP.  She won, and I gave her that book.

I write books and my goal is to entertain people and if they get a little insight into another way of living or thinking (or, as in More Than Sorrow, an entirely different way of seeing history) more the better.

But it’s not my goal.

Last week I had the honour of attending the Ontario Library Association’s literacy convention luncheon. The Golden Oak Award for adult literacy book was being given out.  There were eight shortlisted books including my Juba Good (from Orca Book’s Rapid Reads imprint).

Each book and attending author was introduced by one of the literacy students.

The young woman who introduced me, and talked about how much she loved Juba Good, told us it was the sixth book she’d read.

EVER

Think about that.  She was perhaps in her mid-twenties and in her entire life she had read SIX books.  (She was, BTW, English speaking, so it wasn’t just a matter of reading in a new language.)


Wow! I thought. I really did have an impact.


1 comment:

Mary Jane Hopper said...

Wow, only 6 books to now? I can't imagine being without a book for any length of time.