I loved to read when I was a teenager. In school, if there was ever a spare moment, I pulled out my book. I’d rather read than talk to my peers. I was not happy in high school and these books took me to a place where I wasn’t worried about how people looked at me. I loved big books that took me a few days to read. The smaller ones I would check out one day and return it the next, choosing another. This started because of my brother.
When I was younger, I saw my brothers reading. I would ask them about the books they were reading and they would tell me the stories. This didn’t make me want to read. I was happy with the abbreviated versions they would tell me. When I was 14, my brother was reading Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. I did what I always did and asked him to tell me about it. I don’t know exactly what was different that day, but he looked me for a moment and then held the book out to me. “Read it yourself if you want to know.”
I’d never had a desire to read a book up to that point, at least not a novel. I liked Garfield and the Far Side. Things with few words and pictures. I don’t know why, but I took the book and started to read. Then I read the next one, The Great Hunt, and the next, The Dragon Reborn, and on and on. I started to read other authors and expand my library.
Now, I am picky when it comes to my entertainment, just ask my wife. Once I find something I like, I tend to consume it again and again. Rereading books is a staple for me, but I noticed how I feel about changes as I get older and as I write. This is where this review comes in.
I’m going to go back and reread the books I loved as a teenager. I will first put up what I remember about the book when I first read it. Then the next month, I will put up what I think now, having reread it. Then I will announce the next book and start again. The first book I’m going to reread is the first book I read, Eye of the World by Robert Jordan.
Thinking back about Eye of the World is a bit of a blur. It has almost been thirty years since I first read it. The things that stick out most in my memory is how well the characters were written. Rand, Mat, and Perrin were all distinct, yet I could see a part of myself in each of them. They were naïve, yet so ready to experience the world. At that time, I found myself most drawn to Perrin. He was the most grounded of the three and had a strict sense of responsibility. He tried to appear confident while have great doubts about his abilities. I liked the other characters, but Lan was the one that also stuck with me. He was the great swordsman and protector, willing to risk everything to protect Moiraine. I’ve always loved the stoic warrior.
The world Robert Jordan described caught my minds eye and showed me what a cultivated imagination could do. The detail and nuance of nature, people, cities, politics, and cultures open my mind to the possibilities of the written word. I had always used my imagination to play, but could it be used for more? I wasn’t really thinking about this when I first read Eye of the World, but I believe it got my subconscious churning about what I could do some day.
No matter what I will think when I reread Eye of the World, I will always be grateful that it sent me down the path of reading. My life has been greatly influenced by the books I’ve read and led me to the art and passion of writing. It started here and its not about to stop.
Now we’ll see what I think of Eye of the World by Robert Jordan in the next newsletter.