My book group is reading The Neverending Story this month. Not that I need to explain this, but it came to be this month’s book because at last month’s meeting somehow we got to discussing it and some of us remembered it so fondly that we decided to read it. I suppose I feel like I need to explain this choice, or perhaps defend it, because the first person I happened to tell of our book choice clearly disapproved — not literary enough — and told me that he didn’t believe in returning to “children’s books.”
Here would be a good time to point out that I had trouble finding the book in the bookstore, and when I asked for help, I learned that it was located in the adult sci fi/fantasy section, the teen section, and the “adventurous readers” (or something to that effect) children’s section. Clearly this is a book for everyone, agewise. (BTW, all three copies, while they have different covers, contain the same text…but have wildly different prices. The paperback version in the kids’ section was a good $7 cheaper than the one in the sci fi section. I love it when book marketing works in my favor! And, btw, if anyone remembers reading the awesome version that had the red and green print, it still exists!)
Anyway, I was pleased to discover that not only did The Neverending Story hold up after all this time, but that it actually is an interesting commentary on the nature of storytelling and the importance of stories. A world deteriorates because of the absence of new stories. And it is reborn when new stories are told. And that in itself is a story.
And as Mr. Coreander, the bookseller, says at the end, “All real stories are neverending stories.”