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Monday, January 26, 2009

Stuck in a book

When I was a little girl, all I did was read—to the point where now, I sometimes have a memory and can’t remember whether it happened to me or happened to Jane Eyre or Anne Shirley or Francie Nolan (that scene where Francie pretends her name is Mary to get the doll? I was pretty sure I did that until I reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as an adult). I also loved the fact that there was a character in Little Women with my name. How I thrilled at the scenes “I” was in, even to “my” deathbed! So when I heard about the contest our marketing department is holding to highlight our new DC Super Heroes books, I thought immediately of my younger self, and how exciting it would have been for her to get her real name in a book. What a treasure that would have been! (If you haven’t seen the information about the contest, it’s here.)

If I could become a character in any book, I think it would have to be Anne Shirley. I loved how smart, how unconventionally beautiful, and how daring she was. I recently reread the first couple of Anne books and couldn’t help remembering how cool I thought she was when I first read Anne of Green Gables around age nine, sitting in my room, wishing I could be as exciting as Anne. If I could become a character in a Stone Arch book, I think I’d be Sam X—losing shadows! Being hunted by a boomerang! Finding a living statue!

After my son, Sam, was born, I brought home copies of each Sam X book. When he’s old enough, we’ll read them together, so that at each mention of his name, he’ll imagine himself in those same adventures. And maybe his memories will get mixed up with fiction, like mine have. I hope he’s that lucky!

What book would you want to be in?

Beth Brezenoff
Senior Editor
Stone Arch Books


Steve said...

I think I'd probably want to be Taran Wanderer, from the Book of Three, and the other Lloyd Alexander fantasy titles set in Prydain. Those books, and a connection with Taran, were my gateway into fantasy. And I think Eilonwy was probably my first literary crush!

Emily said...

That's a tough question Beth-who wouldn't I want to be! I think I will have to go with Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary because those were my absolute favorite books as a child. Through that series my love of reading was born. I was even nicknamed Ramona when I was young (we shared the same haircut). While I was not as pesky and bad as she was, I always wished I could write on my walls with crayon!

Val said...

I still wish I could be Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit. I read that book so many times as a kid that I had to get a new copy. I recall almost as vividly as my own memories battling goblins, climbing trees to escape wargs, and outwitting Smaug. My dad passed his love of Tolkein on to me, and I hope to do the same to my kid someday.

Leigh said...

I felt the same way about Anne, but another character who really captured my imagination was Polly Flint (of The Secret World of Polly Flint--It's a strange little story about a girl who discovers she can see a special town of people called the Time Gypsies.)

"Have they told you?" His voice was lowered now, he was speaking of secrets to be told.
"Told me? What?"
"Of the lost village..."

Oh, how I loved the idea of being able to see secret people and places that no one else could! And the idea of time as fluid rather than linear was mesmerizing. The really interesting part, though, is that until I read it again as an adult, I was convinced that this story involved gnomes or fairies. It didn't; my reading-fueled games had overlapped and created a whole new fantasy world even better than the one in the books. The novels I devoured were just a launching pad for a whole world of imagination.

Susan said...

Definitely Jo in Little Women--except it always bothered me greatly that she wasn't considered to be as beautiful as her younger sisters! I was a big sister like Jo, and I was always the leader in our plans to put on shows, etc. Also like Jo I loved to read, and I've never ever forgotten how Jo had a special attic spot where she would read and eat apples. I can't eat an apple to this day without picturing Jo in her cozy corner! I read that book for the first time as a first grader, and reread it many times throughout my childhood.