I posted this quote from a Christopher Pike book today on my facebook and I couldn’t agree with it more! I think that’s why I love reading biographies so much. History books didn’t appeal to me very much in school, but I did love the times when they would include actual letters and other things from whatever time period the section was about.
It’s amazing to read these and get an idea for how these people lived, how they spoke in their own words instead of the words of a person who studied them decades or more later. When I read those, it’s almost like being brought back in time in a way fictional stories can’t quite capture, either. Don’t get me wrong, I love period books too. Mine actually includes a bunch of different time periods. Still… it’s all made up. You can research all you want and attempt to capture their speaking style, but nothing (for me) compares to actually reading words by people who lived through different events, written as they were happening.
One of my favorite examples is The Diary of Anne Frank. I first read it back in middle school and got myself a copy a few years ago. It’s one of the more moving things I have ever read because as I read it, I can’t help but think: this is her. These are her words, her feelings. She was able to give a real-time account of being a young girl living through such a horrible time that survives today and continues to be just as affecting as when I first read it. She wrote in that diary that she wanted to be a famous author and a journalist. She wanted to leave something behind and thanks to the impulsive acts of one of their helpers, she did.
It’s amazing to read it and see just how formally kids spoke back then. She sounds more like a grown woman in that diary then a kid as she muses about the war and the kindness of people. Still, you read the sections where she talks about fights with her mother and feeling misunderstood by the other people hiding with them and you remember this was a 14 year old girl who sounds a lot like me when I was around her age and kids now. You sit and think about how alike people really are and how as much as things change, there are always going to be things that won’t.
So what do you think? Do you like reading biographies and historical documents or do you stick to fiction? Do you have a favorite one? If so, please comment back and share. I’d love to read about them. Hey… gotta fill out the rest of the 52 week book challenge somehow right? 🙂 Before I go, here’s a bonus clip from the Anne Frank house’s youtube. It’s the only known video footage of Anne: