Amanda’s Adventures in Reading
“And if a door be closed/ Then a row of homes start building/ And tear your curtains down/ For sunlight is like gold,” sings a central character only known as Guy in the musical and film Once, a story about a talented Dublin street musician, who meets a girl who causes him to abandon the fears that have halted his dreams.
In some ways Once is a story of reinvention. But it is so much more. It is a story about love—of the romantic variety, but also familial love, a love of music, and a love for one’s culture and country. It is a story that shows the ways in which one person can transform another’s life.
Some of the novels that sit high on my list of all-time favourite reads are books that I have already extensively promoted like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Though none of these novels focus upon a love of music as Once does, they are all varied stories of love, which highlight how one person can change another for good.
In The Fault in Our Stars, terminal cancer patient Hazel’s life is changed when she meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group. In Me Before You, Louisa becomes the caregiver to Will, a brilliant and broken quadriplegic, and their relationship alters them both. In Les Miserables, the generosity and kindness of Bishop Myriel changes Jean Valjean into an honest man, while cynic Grantaire finds only one man he can believe in, and it is his adoration of him that alters his life.
Another theatrical take on love and transformation is Edmund Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, a story of a man who is a masterful swordsman, witty and intelligent, but possesses the face of a clown. It is not Cyrano who is transformed, but his friend Christian, who has garnered and returns the affections of Roxanne, whom Cyrano also loves.
At the Haliburton County Public Library, we have a number of plays in addition to Cyrano de Bergerac, which are available to reserve. Works by the likes of Shakespeare, Shaw, Beckett, Brecht, Pinter, Ibsen, Chekov, and more can all be found within our catalogue.
Finally, as I will be beginning a new position working with the Burlington Public Library system in the New Year, and this will be my last article, I would like to thank both the residents of Haliburton County and staff of our library system for welcoming me, and teaching me so much during my time with the HCPL.
As always, all titles mentioned, including DVDs of both the musicals Once and Les Miserables can be reserved from the Haliburton County Public Library today.
*Originally published in Haliburton County Living on December 19th 2013