Thursday, November 27, 2008


I am thankful that I woke up to the smell of the turkey cooking; that both of my siblings and I were all able to come home for the holiday; that we still put the Macy’s parade on while we make coffee and help around the kitchen and generally putz around; that everyone still stops for a minute when Santa comes at the end; that my cousins and their kids joined us; that we sit around, talking and listening to each other; that Thanksgiving is a day to slow down and catch up with life; that my parents’ home is a warm, inviting place full of life shining in a dark, snowy, starry night.

I am thankful for a job that I believe affects people and makes the world better; that I help to bring kids and teens the kinds of stories that will stick with them and help them figure out life, choice, love, school, friendship, independence, and so many other things; that I get to know and work with awe-inspiring, creative people; that what I do is all about connection.

I am thankful for amazing friends who are funny, smart, passionate, giving, strong, and generally incredible people.

I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fictional Crushes

We bookish girls have lots of literary crushes. Here are mine . . .

George Cooper from The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
Eugenides from The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (hmm...I seem to have a thing for thieves)
Frederick Garland from the Sally Lockhart trilogy by Philip Pullman
Henry DeTamble from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Captain Wentworth from Persuasion by Jane Austen
Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling
Wes from The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
Mel from Sunshine by Robin McKinley

And, okay, I admit it, I've got a few from the TV, too . . .

Josh Lyman from The West Wing
Jess from The Gilmore Girls
George from Grey's Anatomy

I know you have your fictional crushes too...want to share them in the comments?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sharing Books

One of my favorite quotes, the one that embodies so eloquently and deeply not only what books mean to me, but what they mean to my relationships with other people, is from a poem by W. B. Yeats: “I bring you with reverent hands / the books of my numberless dreams.”* (From "A Poet to His Beloved") I can't imagine any vow or promise carrying more significance than the sentiment that line expresses.

Books are so easily shared, yet are so tremendously personal. The person I am, the way I think, the way I approach life, have all been shaped by the books that I have read. I've never been able to name "the book that changed my life" because every book has changed my life. The ones that I love are more than just objects on a shelf (or mp3s on my ipod). They hold parts of me inside of them. In their pages, they hold the places, the thoughts, the people, the smells, sounds, emotions that surrounded me as I read. Often rereading can take me back to the time and place of that previous read, can remind me more sharply of particular moments or feelings than anything else can.

And so, sharing books, even sharing thoughts about books, can be a very intimate act, when it comes right down to it. I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been collecting quotes since I was in high school. In blank books, I write down lines and passages from books or articles or that I just stumble across somewhere. I sometimes think that giving someone those quote books to read would reveal more about me than giving them the journals that I’ve kept in the last 15 years. In them are the ideas that I identified with, agreed with, found funny, found moving, disagreed with but found thought-provoking--and how I’ve grown in my thoughts about everything over the years (even if I am still mostly reading books for the YA audience). I love sharing books with people, I love the sense that I am saying, essentially, “Here is something that got inside my head, and I hope it gets inside yours, too, and let's talk about it once you read it.”

Everything we read affects our minds somehow, and being able to share something that affects your mind is pretty remarkable. Being able to have a conversation with another person about how that book affected you, what it made you think, is exciting. Maybe the person I share with won’t pick up on the exact same themes or passages that I did, but regardless, we’ll still both have that book, that story, inside of us. This feeling about books may be part of why I have an enormous to-read list. Because every time a friend tells me about a book they’ve loved or found interesting, I want to read it, too, to understand something that’s now a part of that person I care about.

My library doesn’t contains just stories and worlds and beautiful writing. It contains memories, emotions, thoughts. . . . The books that I keep, the ones I’ve connected to and identified with and found valuable enough to cart with me from apartment to apartment, to make sure I have the space for . . . well, I’m attached to them. Lots of times I’ve actually scribbled notes in them and marked the passages I later transcribed in my quote books. They’re little parts of my mind. My numberless dreams.

* Thanks, Angie, who introduced me to this quote. (In fact, is this quote part of the reason we became friends? Apart from our mutual literary crush on George Cooper? (And other mutual literary crushes.))

Friday, November 7, 2008

Poetry Friday

The Reader by Richard Wilbur

She is going back, these days, to the great stories
That charmed her younger mind. A shaded light
Shines on the nape half-shadowed by her curls,
And a page turns now with a scuffing sound.
Onward they came again, the orphans reaching
For a first handhold in a stony world,
The young provincials who at last look down
On the city's maze, and will descend into it,
The serious girls, once more, who would live nobly,
The sly one who aspires to marry so,
The young man bent on glory, and that other
Who seeks a burden. Knowing as she does
What will become of them in a bloddy field
Or Tuscan garden, it may be that at times
She sees their first and final selves at once,
As a god might to whom all time is now.
OR, having lived so much herself, perhaps
She meets them this time with a wiser eye,
Noting that Julien's calculating head
Is from the first severed from his heart.
But the true wonder of it is that she,
For all that she may know of consequences,
Still turns enchanted to the next bright page
Like some Natasha in the ballroom door--
Caught in the flow of things wherever bound,
The blind delight of being, ready still
To enter life on life and see them through.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What a Good Day!

Kevin Henkes sums up how I'm feeling today best. :)