Hi, can you please help explain what this quote from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green means?  “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become...

Hi, can you please help explain what this quote from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green means? 

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

Expert Answers
William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you haven't experienced the feeling that John Green is talking about, you have a treat in store for you. The time will come when a book will make such an impression on you that you will want everybody to read it. The key words in the quote seem to be "weird evangelical zeal." They simply mean that a book will sometimes make such a strong impression on you that you want to share it with everybody. Unfortunately, you are often disappointed by the reaction you get from others. It has to be the right book for the right person at the right time.

John Green is probably exaggerating for effect. It would be an exaggeration to say that you think all the world's problems can be solved if everyone were to read one particular book. He just means it would be helpful in one way or another. A lot of people feel that way about the Bible, of course, and there are a lot of people out there who are genuine evangelists trying to introduce others to the truths they have discovered in the New Testament.

For my part, I can think of only a few books that have made such a strong impression on me over the years that I have wanted, and maybe still want, to recommend them to others with evangelical enthusiasm. But my evangelical zeal has become somewhat diminished by the luke warm or negative feedback I have often received.

For example, I once recommended Raymond Carver to a middle-aged English woman, and she read one of his books of stories solely on my recommendation. (She was more the Thomas Hardy type.) Some time later when I asked her what she thought of Carver's book, she told me with narrowed eyes and gritted teeth, "I hated it!"

The books I remember as seeming to come as great revelations of one kind or another included:

What is Art? by Leo Tolstoy

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

New Grub Street by George Gissing

And I'm sure there were a few others that don't come to mind at the moment.

I don't usually recommend books anymore, and I'm not necessarily recommending these. The words "evangelical zeal" express the desire to share a moving experience, but they are also ironic because it is nearly impossible to communicate your feelings about books to others--just as others usually find it difficult or impossible even to get you to read something, much less appreciate something, that transported them. And your feelings often change with time.

maria-vivanco | Student

This evangelical zeal that is felt when reading a book is when a book has impacted you deeply and you want everyone to know about it. 

foreigninquiry | Student

I think it is strongly link to spirituality ,to a revelation. Now this might be about the need for Man to believe in a higher power and an absolute truth. Hazel grace is the embodiment of a person trying to find meaning. She found it in AIA for a while.

parama9000 | Student

The book is so good, it has struck you deeply, makes you feel that something is lacking in you or your surroundings, and this book has such a profound influence on you that you want the change to happen, and that that change would happen as a result of reading the book.

laurto | Student

You know when you read a book and you just want all your friends to read it because it's just that good. I think that's what he means. That book has such a strong impression on you that want to share it with everyone and you feel that everyone will get the same impression of the book as you. I feel that Green probably exaggerated for effect, but did that to get his point across. This is my personal interpretation on it and the feeling may vary for others. Hope this helped! 

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The Fault in Our Stars

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