Researching Books

If there's one thing you should know, is that it's widely accepted that you shouldn't read too much about a book before you begin. Often starting it without expectation, opinions, and reviews sets your mind in a better place for the story ahead. In other words, no outside influence. Many books that I've enjoyed the most have been only minimally described before I read them. 

However, when I find myself not understanding a book very well, needing to better understand the main point, or just absolutely loving it, I will take to the world wide web to learn more about the story and the author. Books such as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schafer has a story behind it, the inspiration behind The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is really fascinating, and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand has an incredible author story. It's this foundation of information, I've learned, that gives me a fuller understanding of what I'm reading and makes me love it so much more. For instance, the end of Guernsey seemed to fall a little short compared to the rest of the book, but the back story is that she passed away before finishing this, her first novel, which was a dream she always had. Her niece actually finished it for her. Neil Gaiman is equally interesting as a man as his stories. Laura Hillenbrand is a mastermind with descriptive writing and researching her stories flawlessly. Laura is riddled with a chronic illness that keeps her pretty firmly homebound. She goes to great lengths to have things sent to her and people visiting her so she can understand and research a story to create the incredible works she's published. 

All of this is to say, often times a story is more than just the words on the page, but as much about the person who wrote them, or the experiences behind them. Having that broader context to fill in between the lines of the pages is incredibly valuable. This is what hits home, what favorite means to me, a term I do not use loosely when talking about books.

Are there any novels or author back stories that you've learned about, that made you love the book even more?