When I read, I get extremely entangled in the story and the world it takes place in. Often when I put a book down after an hour or so of complete devotion to it, I find it arduous to disengage myself from what’s transpiring in its airy-fairy realm, and go back to dealing with my mundane life beset by run-of-the-mill tasks, tedious homework, and interminable school days. I withstand, though, as long as I know that I could plunge back into another, more pulchritudinous, exciting and festive world, and spend my time with robbers, princes, fairies, glass men, enchanters and fire-dancers. I am one of those people who prefer fictional characters to real human beings and consequently, I have the knack to bond with the protagonists pretty quickly. “Books loved anyone who opened them, they gave you security and friendship and didn’t ask for anything in return; they never went away, never, not even when you treated them badly. ”
However, when I reach the end, I am infallibly devastated; lost in my own world for I don’t know where the next book on the shelf will take me, and all I feel is craving and homesickness for the one I just left. I can’t shake off the abiding memory of the adventures, the picturesque lands, the silver castles whose towers ascend towards the clear blue sky and all the fun I had tagging along with valiant, altruistic beings on their path of life. That’s why I adore trilogies and book sequences. Once you submerge in the story, by the time you are unbound, your curiosity and thirst for knowledge of the way the characters’ lives unravel is quenched. Books belong to their readers but there are too many ramifications to acquiesce that the story simply halts when you put the book down. “Stories never really end…even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don’t end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.” Cornelia Funke depicts the astonishing connection one can develop with ink on paper amazingly, how caught up one can get in the words and vindicates that a story is as real and flowering, as you allow it to be in the trilogy “Inkheart”.
“Inkheart”, “Inkspell” and “Inkdeath” are centred around Meggie, who in the beginning is a twelve-year-old girl, living with her father in a small house, filled to the brim with books. “Stacks of books were piled high all over the house – not just arranged in neat rows on bookshelves, the way other people kept them, oh no! The books in Mo and Meggie’s house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. There were books in the kitchen and books in the lavatory. Books on the TV set and in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new. They welcomed Meggie down to breakfast with invitingly opened pages; they kept boredom at bay when the weather was bad. And sometimes you fell over them.” Mortimer, Meggie’s father, is a bookbinder. He treats and looks after books which are falling apart and whose pages are sagging. He has managed to instil his love and adulations for novels and stories into his daughter’s heart. Bearing in mind that Meggie’s mother purportedly set out on a great adventure when Meggie was just a toddler, her father and she have developed an exceptional father-daughter relationship. I relished reading about it because it frequently conjured up memories of my childhood and all the games, make-belief and fun my dad and I used to rejoice in.
Even though it is generally believed that a girl cannot be properly brought up without a female figure, Mo has raised a beautiful, vivacious and benign girl who thinks the world of her father. The enormity of trust, understanding, consideration and mutual concern in every relationship is profusely emphasized in each sequel. As the story unfolds, a lot of friendships are stricken up and soon irrevocably broken, and a lot of hearts flutter joyfully before they get irreparably broken. But the turmoil of corrosive events and poignant feelings ascertains the profound values of friendship and love along with degrading betrayal, secrets, cowardliness and unctuousness.
Unfortunately, though, the latter could be found even in the most celebrated relationships. Even Mo keeps something from Meggie. A secret. A two-edged gift. Mo can read characters and objects out of books with his enthralling voice. So one evening when he was reading out loud from a beautifully illustrated book, called “Inkheart”, out of the blue three of the characters sprung out of it. Dustfinger – the poor fire-dancer with his superstitious smile, Basta – the loyal but superstitious fire-raiser, and Capricorn – Basta’s master – one of the notorious villains who has set his heart on ruling over our world. However, in order to keep the balance in both worlds, for every person that comes out of the story, one must go in and take their place. Two cats dive into the world of “Inkheart” that evening and Meggie’s mother Resa follows them. Thus, Mo and Meggie get swept in the quest to spread justice around the world, punish the wrong-doers, and figure out where they do indeed belong.
I was impressed by the idea that the world was made up of numerous stories, and you are born within a particular one with a determined destiny, but if you are courageous enough you can always break away from the words on the paper, and alter your fate and the course of the story altogether. This notion makes me wonder whether we are bestowed with a role and story which are most beneficial and convenient for us, or whether we are meant to seek out our home in between the pages, and play the role we believe we deserve to play.
What bewildered me most, though, was the self-effacement of the author: “You know, it’s a funny thing about writers. Most people don’t stop to think of books being written by people much like themselves. They think that writers are all dead long ago–they don’t expect to meet them in the street or out shopping. They know their stories but not their names, and certainly not their faces. And most writers like it that way.” It’s a weird inkling, I know, but it exudes genuineness. We acclaim and praise books, the beauty of the words that weave them, the profoundness of the story and the values it teaches but we disregard the person who has spent months on end in their den, mulling and stooping over this piece of writing. I am abashed to admit that I don’t know much about the authors of my favourite books. Except for John Green. After reading “The Fault in Our Stars” which took my breath away, I was curious what kind of a person would write such a heart-rendering, and yet so funny and witty, story. So I googled him and lit upon the vlogbrothers, Nerdfighteria and this whole new world opened up to me and changed my life so much. The weekly YouTube videos that John and Hank upload, discussing current events, peculiar ideas, or just everyday matters helped me build an astounding relationship with a person I admire so much, and become acquainted to John Green and his ways, even though I’ve never met him in person. It’s splendid to know at least a bit about the person whose words you are devouring and whose world you are basking in. It takes the reading experience to a whole new level.
So I decided that from now on, I am going to read short biographies of the authors before reading their books because it’s somewhat unfair to abide in one’s imagination and creation without even knowing their full names or current dwellings. If you are interested in reading Meggie’s adventure inside one of her own favourite books, you can check out Cornelia Funke’s official website which is adorable.