First up: TGIF at GReads!
This week’s question:
In honor of Thanksgiving: Which books are you most thankful for receiving from other bloggers, friends, family members, or publishers?
Several books come to mind, as I’ve been a voracious reader all my life, so I’ve received many, MANY books in my (relatively short) lifetime.
The first book I received that’s stayed with me through they years is Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. My mother used to live in Mexico, and while there, had an American friend named Babs, who is from Maine, and lives there now. When I was a little girl, Babs gave my mother a copy of Miss Rumphius, as Barbara Cooney is from Maine. We used to read the book together at bedtime, and when I grew up and studied children’s literature, it makes sense to me now that this was one of my childhood favorite picture books. The message – that you must find something to do to make the world a better place – continues to resonate with me.
The second book absolutely has to be A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. I was living in Indiana at the time and had won the Junior Bookworm Award at my after-school program at Girls Incorporated. A lovely woman named Elaine, who was a bit of a mother-figure/mentor to me, hand-picked this book for me. It was 1997, I believe, and I was in 5th grade. It was exactly the perfect time to hand me a book about a young woman who works hard to overcome many obstacles and make something of herself. Gene Stratton Porter was a very early feminist, writing in the early 1900s. She was a famous nature photographer, and wrote several non-fiction books on flora and fauna. Later in life, she moved to California to become a filmmaker. Not only was the character of Elnora Comstock one that would stay with me my whole life, but I have since then begun to collect GSP novels, and even did a semester-long project on her in graduate school.
My BFF, the lovely Shane Prosser, gave me Letters from an Age of Reason by Nora Hague, when I was visiting her in Maine one year. Being a huge fan of both historical fiction and epistolary novels (novels written in letters), this was the perfect combination. Switching between the journal of a high-yellow former slave from New Orleans and a white American society girl living in Britain, this novel is a beautiful love story sweeping across continents, heroes, heroines, the Civil War, the medium/seance craze of the UK, and commenting on society’s expectations for both men and women.
An ex of mine gifted me with both The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. This was during our relationship, so I believed the books to be particularly meaningful, but even now that the relationship is over, those are still two of my favorite books, and I follow the careers of those two authors closely, hoping to recapture that special moment when I crack the cover and get pulled into the world they’ve created.
The most recent book I was almost giddy to receive was a signed first edition of the UK version of Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, the third and final book in the Chaos Walking trilogy that I have been SUCH an advocate for. I gave Candlewick Press an early quote for this series, handsold the heck out of it, and was rewarded by a kind saleswoman at Candlewick with this early copy. The coolest part? I received it when it was still embargoed in the States, so I wasn’t allowed to even show it to anybody for a couple of weeks!