I was recently asked if I had a favorite book or author that has somehow changed my life...this was my answer. The book is Even by Andrew Grant.
It was the third Saturday in May 2010. I had gone through my weekend chore list and was headed to the credit union, the post office, and the grocery store. It would be the same locations, in the same order just like every Saturday before, minus weekends when I would be on vacation. Nothing unusual at the credit union, nothing unusual at the post office, but there was something strange at the grocery store.
After pulling the grocery list from my purse I started shopping. I was half way through my list when I realized the grocery list had a date from two weeks prior. I dug through my purse and found the new list and stood in shock and confusion when I realized the new list was exactly like the old list. It had the exact same items. Worse, the items were in the exact same order as the list from two weeks ago. There was no difference between the two.
At that moment the grocery list became more than just a list of shopping items, it became a symbol of all that was wrong with me. I saw the disaster of my childhood, the constant struggle for order in my early twenties, and the difficulties that I had never expected to encounter once I found my prince charming. Here I was, two months into my fortieth year standing in a grocery store acknowledging my inability to have children, embracing the reality that I'm dying from a disease that will more than likely never have a cure during my lifetime, and confronting the truth that in my attempt to protect myself from everything around me, I had forgotten to live.
I was so busy processing the meaning of that grocery list that I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings. I took a wrong turn and ended up in the wrong aisle. Before I could turn and back out, the entrance became crowded and I found myself forced to move forward. MOVE FORWARD? Tell me that isn't symbolic! I pushed along with my cart and then noticed something odd. I found a book nestled next to a package of spaghetti in the pasta aisle. When I took it from the shelf my intention was to return it to the book section, but I have a tendency to get sidetracked when I hold a paperback book. Once they're in my hands, they go straight to my nose. For some ridiculous reason I have to smell them. Once my smelling time is over I like to hold them close to my face and fan the pages so I can feel the breeze against my cheek. At that point, I always go for the first sentence in the book. I knew when I read the first sentence that I was taking the book home with me. I had an instant connection to David Trevellyan. I've never come across a dead body in an alley on the streets of New York, but I do know where some bodies are buried. It doesn't matter how much I don't want to get involved, like David Trevellyan, I'm always compelled by my own morals to do the right thing.
Long story short-found it, read it, loved it, kept it. I loved the book so much I started it from the beginning the same day I finished it. I carried it in my purse like a treasure I couldn't live without. When I finished it the second time I ordered the second book, and while waiting for the second book to arrive, I researched the author. There was something about his reason for writing that truly sparked an interest in me. I liked how he was doing something that made him happy. He set out to do something that he truly loved and in the process his entire life had changed. It was amazing to me and, well, it made me happy!
It isn't that I wasn't happy before. I think I was just grateful that out of all the things this man could be doing, he chose to write a book. He wrote a book that sold me on crime fiction, and his personal story for writing a book made me look at why I was doing the things I was doing in my life. I guess you could say I reevaluated my surroundings. I pulled out that long forgotten list of goals I had written way back when, and realized with great disappointment that there really wasn't anything on my list that I really wanted to do. They were things that I felt I was expected to do or things that I knew would please others. Some were items that I had seen on my friends list and thought they would look good on mine. In the end, I did the only thing I knew how to do; I threw the list away and started over. I actually have three lists now. I have a list of Things I Want to do and Love, People I want to Meet and Thank, and a list of Places I want to See and Explore.
Yes, I was happy before I read EVEN by Andrew Grant, but I can honestly say that I'm happier now and I'm having a lot of fun marking items, people, and places off my lists. Thanks to Mr. Grant I have this book blog, a Twitter account, more activity on my Facebook page, many friends reading his books, an incredible love for crime fiction, and a hotel room in St. Louis with my name on it for Bouchercon 2011. I've listed Mr. Grant as my most favorite author not because I'm secretly in love with the guy, but because his happiness is infectious and truly changed my life. Well, I know I'll be forever thankful for the person who disposed of his book in the pasta aisle at the grocery store, but are there any authors or books that have changed your life?
This week I'll be introducing a friend that has accepted my offer to do reviews on my blog. I can't wait to introduce you to him. Yep, it's a he! I'd make him some business cards with his name on them, but something tells me the female lying on the sofa reading a book thing might look a little odd with a boys name on the card! And just in case you're wondering, he'll be reviewing the David Trevellyan series by Andrew Grant!