Friday, November 2

The Test of Time @JanaRichards_


My birthday is coming up in a few days. I won’t say which one; suffice it to say I’ve been around the block once or twice. But it’s got me thinking about my writing and an uncomfortable question.

Will my books stand the test of time?

Recently, my husband and I went to see the play version of “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen. It’s hard to believe Austen wrote the book some two hundred years ago and people are still finding enjoyment in her words today. But I guess if you write with the wit of Austen and with her sharp eye for the social conventions of the day, those themes will resonant across the decades. 

Not to compare myself with Austen, because really, there’s only one Jane. But as a writer, I aspire to the kind of longevity Ms. Austen has achieved, whether that is realistic or not. I seriously doubt anyone’s going to read my books two hundred years from now. I’ll be happy if people are still reading my books in five or ten years. Unfortunately, like much in our modern use-it-once-and-toss-it-away culture, books are consumed and then forgotten. When there are literally millions of books uploaded to places like Amazon or Kobo, and an author is only as good as her newest release, how do you keep from being forgotten?

Perhaps that is the same question as “How do I get noticed in the first place?” which is also something that occupies my mind. But for now, my question is “What gives a book longevity?”

I guess the number one answer to that question is “Write a good book”. Believe me, that’s what I strive to do. Do I always reach my goal? I guess that’s for readers to judge.


So, fellow Word Wranglers and dear readers, what makes a book a ‘keeper’ for you? What do you think gives a book longevity? Can you give examples of books, in any genre, you’ve re-read many times, or older titles that still ring true after many years? I can’t wait to hear your answers!

6 comments:

  1. That is such a good question! And if I could only give one answer, it would be author voice. While there are many of those I truly enjoy, there are only a handful that still resonate years down the road.

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    1. I agree. Somehow the author has created something timeless. I wish I could find the magic formula!

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  2. I also think it's the author voice - I've re-read Chronicles of Narnia, Tiger Eyes, Little Women, Pride & Prejudice, and Montana Sky so many times I can't count them all...and the books still hold up.

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    1. Definite classics, Kristina. Are you talking about Montana Sky by Nora Roberts? I think a lot of her work will stand the test of time. At the very least, she will be remembered because she's so prolific!

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  3. You know, I think there's a difference between what the world today considers "Classics" or "literature" and modern romance. My books will never be literature, but I know a few people who've said they've reread them, which is lovely. I've read Liz's ONE MORE SUMMER at least 5 or 6 times... and Gene Stratton-Porter's books--all of them at least 10 times in my life. That doesn't really answer your question, but I'm not sure there is an answer.

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    1. I love your answer, Nan. I want to be a writer whose books are read a second and a sixth time. That speaks to the lasting power of the book, whether it's a romance novel or classic literature.

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