I was so in love with Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything, reviewed last week, that after hearing that her most recent novel, The Sun is Also a Star was even better, I knew I needed to read it, and so I did. I gave up shopping for Lent, so instead of purchasing my own copy, I stopped by my local library, nabbed the last book, and began reading almost immediately. After devouring it in less than 24 hours, I was so fatigued, I couldn’t think straight. I was visibly exhausted and took a shower to just kind of meditate and try to reenergize. It didn’t work. Now a full week later, I’m still reeling, still processing, still reflecting. American literary great William Styron once said, “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” Styron must have written this after reading The Sun is Also a Star because this novel was such an incredible, unique, soul-crushing, heartbreaking, draining, and wonderful rollercoaster ride, it left me yearning for more.
I’m a walking paradox, friends. I’m an English teacher who hates reading. Hated reading. Had a love-hate relationship with reading. Let me explain.
I grew up an avid reader and was even teased for carrying a book wherever I went. I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment when my love for reading started to dwindle, but I assume it was around college and/or graduate school. The more classes I took, the less time I had. The more technology advanced, the more I depended on it. The more school required me to analyze and analyze, the less I enjoyed reading. Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, says it better than I can. In school, I had to “tie the poem [or any other written work] to a chair with rope/ and torture a confession out of it./ […] beating it with a hose/to find out what it really means.” When I started higher education, reading was no longer a wonderfully enjoyable experience, and with every book I was forced to read for class, I hated it more and more…until now. Thank you, Nicola Yoon.