On Books I Have Loved: Harry Potter

Dear Future Publisher,

With Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming out in print in less than a week, there seems to be no better time to write of my love for the Harry Potter series.  I’m sure it’s unsurprising to you, given what a phenomenon the series has been and given that I was a young avid reader in the target demographic when the first one was released.  I was seven when the first book came out, and from that time until this, with no reprieve and no abatement, I have been obsessed.  My mom read it to me first – to me and my sister, curled up all in a bed at night before dispersing to our separate rooms and turning out the lights. She read and I closed my eyes and let the words transport me and I saw it all.  It was so vivid, so magical.  So captivating.  I was hooked. Continue reading

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On Books I Have Loved: Peter and the Wolf

Dear Future Publisher,

Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf offered me an experience of reading that I had never before encountered.  The combination of music with narration – and the use of music itself as a form of storytelling – was revelatory.  I loved the sounds of the different instruments for the different animals and people in the story.  I loved the way the music twined with the words, providing an emotional resonance the text alone could not.  I remember being thrilled by the feeling of fear inspired by the wolf’s sound, soothed by the lighter tone of Peter’s, and charmed by the way it all came together. Continue reading

On Books I Have Loved: The Serpent’s Egg

Dear Future Publisher,

Have you ever read a fantasy novel where the passage to the other world is located in Canada?

I mean, Canada is great, it’s a lovely place, but people who are not Canadian don’t seem to have a whole lot of interest in reading about it.  Most of those magic doors are in England, right?  We all know that.

So I’m thinking the answer is probably no.  But if it is yes, it might be because of these books. Continue reading

On Books I Have Loved: Jillian Jiggs

Dear Future Publisher,

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read.  This is probably due to the fact that my parents carefully indoctrinated me into the cult of Bibliophilia from a very young age.  Before I was ever ready to read myself, before the shapes on the page became letters and then words and then phrases that had meaning, before any of that, there were picture books, and they were lovingly read aloud.  And that, I believe, makes all the difference.  There are all kinds of studies about the importance of reading aloud to children from a young age, and I won’t bother to track them down and cite them here, because this isn’t an essay with a thesis to prove.  If you’re interested, you can find them, I’m sure.  Partly because of studies like these, and partly because of personal experience, I fully intend to force reading on my children when they are still too small to complain (don’t read too much into this people, it’s at least partly a joke).  I want to read to my children, and I hope to foster a love of reading in them.  I don’t care much what books they read, so long as they are reading – we will find the books that speak to them and engage them.  I have fond memories of being read to even after I was able to read myself, and I hope I can make memories like that with my own children. Continue reading

On Terry Pratchett

A year ago today, a man lost his life.

Not misplaced it, of course, not like a set of car keys – it was not to be found in the pocket of another pair of trousers, unless in a pocket of the Trousers of Time.

Death came for him.  A Death that speaks in all capitals, LIKE THIS.  A Death with a white horse named Binky.

This man’s death was, in many ways, a perfectly unremarkable event.  Men die every day.  Death (like taxes) is inevitable.  This man was a man like any other man, and also unlike any other man, as all men are. Continue reading

On Books I Have Loved: Pellinor

Dear Future Publisher,

The Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon were a prominent feature of my high school days, and encouraged and fed my love for high fantasy.  I don’t remember how I came upon them – whether the first book was recommended to me, or given as a gift, or whether I saw it on the shelf at the book store and took a chance – but I am glad that I did.  The endorsement on the cover from Tamora Pierce may well have influenced me.  When one author you love sings the praises of another book, you trust them.  But I do remember that I was madly, passionately, thoroughly in love with these books.   Continue reading