Monthly Archives: January 2011

For the Love of Books

I don’t know when my obsession with stories began, probably with the gripping plot of the first book I was allowed to bring home from kindergarten, TIN CAN SAM, but it was in full force by the time I reached middle school.

I remember spending most lunches hunched over the circular tables that were scattered around the cafeteria. If I try hard, I can bring to mind the distinct smell of my daily cup-o-noodle soup, but what I recall most clearly is the weight of a thick book in my hands and the way everything else faded into the background. It didn’t end when lunch was over, either, as I can produce copies of several progress reports that cite my biggest shortcoming as a student as “reading novels during class.”
Is there anything like being that lost in a good book? What is it about those story-worlds that can so captivate a reader? Even after devouring the final page, some of the best reads left me longing for more. A few rather embarrassing examples:
1. While reading THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy for the first time, I insisted on wearing an old key ring on a chain around my neck for days on end. This resulted in an unpleasant rash, which I suppose was fitting for my misguided desire to bear the One Ring.
2. I paid the $25 lost book fee to keep the library copy of the out-of-print SOLO’s JOURNEY (Hey! This was before the internet’s magic!). Then, I proceeded to grow out my fingernails and file them to little points, so I could be more feline.

3. In other cat-book confessions, I greeted my cat with phrases from the dog-eared glossary in my copy of TAILCHASER’S SONG and did my level best to find a way to stalk about on all fours comfortably.

4. My long-suffering parents endured being called “Ma” and “Pa” for several weeks after I finished LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. And they let me bake lots of biscuits, which somehow felt prairie-ish to me.

5. I wore long skirts, did my hair “up”, and spent many hours prowling the suburban landscape looking for inspiration and pretending to belong in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.
What about you? What books grab hold of your imagination like that? Make a clean confession of it. Come join the conversation over at Project Mayhem. No need to be shy! What embarrassing things did you do to be part of a story-world?

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