John Green's readers
- Question: What is one thing that you wish your fans would ask you, but never have? And how would you answer?
- John Green: You guys have asked me so many questions that I don't think there's ANYTHING you've never asked, except for really personal and/or weird questions I'm grateful to you for not asking. HOWEVER...because my readers are nice people who do not tend to think of themselves when chatting with me (you're very empathetic!) I think one question I don't get asked much is how I feel about my readers. Whether I like them. Whether I'm grateful to them. So let me answer that: Yes. I like them so much. I am so fascinated by them and feel so lucky to have the kind of readers who read my books generously. The truth is, a book can't be good unless and until the reader of that book makes it so. It means so much to me that my books are read so thoughtfully by you, and I am endlessly grateful for all that you do to try to make my books, flawed though they are, the best they can be. So thanks.
Reading is dangerous.
Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.
As children we read to escape — to enter fantasy worlds where a bespectacled boy can discover he’s a wizard or a brave girl can find a magical passage through a wardrobe. But we also read to find reflections of ourselves. “Matilda” was the first novel in which I, a shy, bookish child, saw myself. It didn’t matter that I was growing up on a farm in rural New Hampshire and she lived in an English village. I was her. She was me. I was right there beside her as she read alone in her room, sipping from a cup of hot chocolate. When “books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives,” I went with her, too.
Reader, you may ask this question; in fact, you must ask this question: Is it ridiculous for a very small, sickly, big-eared mouse to fall in love with a beautiful human princess named Pea?
The answer is… yes. Of course, it’s ridiculous. Love is ridiculous.
But love is also wonderful. And powerful. And Despereaux’s love for the Princess Pea would prove, in time, to be all of these things: powerful, wonderful, and ridiculous.
What’s more delightful than an evening beside the fire with a nice bright lamp and a book, listening to the wind beating against the windows? I’m absolutely removed from the world at such times. The hours go by without my knowing it. Sitting there I’m wandering in countries I can see every detail of — I’m playing a role in the story I’m reading. I actually feel I’m the characters — I live and breathe with them.