At She Reads, we work every day to bring you the magic of reading from the most talented authors out there. We want to take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’d never meet otherwise, and immerse you in situations you’d never get to experience yourself—all by opening the pages of a book.
As a reader, novels have had such power over me. I would put books down and sigh, “I don’t know how that author did that.” The sigh was part awe, part hopelessness that I would ever be able to do what that author did. But I wanted to. Oh, how I wanted to.
So I began to learn the tricks of the trade. How to create characters a reader gets invested in. How to make a setting seem as real as a reader’s own backyard. How to form a love story that resonates with a reader. How to tap into universal themes that echo in a reader’s heart. I have read so many books on writing, created my own little DIY MFA program. And now I know how they do it. But I have to admit that some of the magic got lost in the learning.
When my brother was about ten, he went through a season of being fascinated with magic. He bought books and kits to teach him how to do magic tricks and joined a magic club in our town. I went with him once to that club, most likely because my parents couldn’t find childcare for me so I was drug along. I remember sitting in that room of magicians all sharing their tricks and—while the camaraderie was touching—there was something so un-magical about these magicians spilling their secrets.
I didn’t want to see behind the curtain. I didn’t want to know the magic. I wanted to be dazzled, fooled, taken for a ride.
I read differently now that I’m an author. I’ve turned into a bit of a reading snob now that I know the tricks. I can tell you who’s doing it well and who cut corners. That doesn’t mean I always do it perfectly. That doesn’t mean I’ve reached the ranks of Houdini. Far from it. But it does mean that knowing the magic makes you more aware when the magic is present. Those are the books we share with you here. So that you can be moved, awed, and stirred by story.
About Marybeth Whalen
Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.