Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Grateful For...


Ah, November. Time for spicy pumpkin pie, the crackle of gas heaters, and the return of socks. Yes, I hate wearing socks, but I hate cold toes more. But ya know what I love the most in this weather? Curling up with a wonderful book (or, more often these days, my nook). I'm overwhelmingly grateful for the role books have played in my life, from my earliest memories of board books, right up to reading on my phone during my lunch hour today. 

One book I am particularly grateful for is Roald Dahl's The Witches. So many amazing, whimsical, magical books that I read during elementary school (this was the stone-age, mind you, years before harry potter came on the scene) helped shape my personality, Dahl's books most of all. Charlie, James, and Luke seemed to have all the fun... despite their often tragic backgrounds. (as you may well know, james's parents were killed by a rhinoceros that had escaped from the zoo. that's a rhinoceros for you, no respect for pedestrians.). The combination of humor and horror made these books my all-time favorites.

The Witches even served as a sort of primer for me, shaping the way I've perceived the paranormal genre ever since. The book was "educational" on the subject of identifying witches, but more importantly, it scared the bejeesus out of me. Especially the dark stories delivered by the benevolent, yet un-traditional grandmother, whose missing finger undoubtedly augmented the creepiness of her macabre tales. Her memories of her childhood in Norway, and the children who went missing, set the stage for Luke's adventure at the seaside resort where he and his grandmother are attempting to have a relaxing vacation.

Though I hate to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't read the book, when I first read The Witches, I loved that Luke stayed a mouse (which was thoroughly ruined by the movie and its desire to give in to the allure of the happy ending), resigned to the fact that mice don't exactly have the same life-span as humans. But Luke, bless his little mousy heart, only cared about traveling the world to vanquish the rest of the witches. What an amazing role model, huh? ;) Can't believe this book has been on the most-challenged list just about every year. Oh, wait, yes I can. It's a book about "witches". Hence, it must be teaching kids to worship the devil. *eye-roll*

So, what books are you grateful for? Did you post about it? Are you dying to read A Million Suns as badly as I am? ;)  I'd love to hear about it!


Cynthia Lee said...

I am eternally grateful for Alice in Wonderland.

Its images are burned into my mind forever. It kick-started my lifelong obsession with stories involving little girls going into creepy dream worlds, populated with inexplicable things, including some monsters.

When I was a kid, it creeped me the hell out, for real. :)

Tere Kirkland said...

Oh, I love Alice, too... but I think it's the illustrations from Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass that I remember most clearly. Very vivid and evocative, like Quentin Blake's drawings in Dahl's books.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great choice! My 9yo LOVED that book! I'm grateful for Riff, Remember and Follow My Leader--two beautiful stories. :)

Krispy said...

For whatever reason, I totally missed out on my Dahl reading. :P

I couldn't pick just one book, but definitely fairy tales and Greek mythology made me a fantasy writer for life. I was eating that stuff up before I started really reading fiction. (I was a strange kid. I mostly read non-fiction for fun up through like 4th grade.)

I don't like wearing socks either! I also have cold feet, which the socks don't really help. So even cold toes don't convince me to don socks! (Mostly.)

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

Never read that one, but as a child I loved The BFG. Surprised they haven't made a film of it yet. Not that I think they would do it tastefully today. I wish it had been made into a good film like the original Willy Wonka and the Charlie Factory.

Sarah Allen said...

I love love love The Witches! One of my childhood favorites as well. The book I posted about is Persuasion by Jane Austen. Such a great one.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Sara McClung said...

I'm greatful for Piers Anthony's Xanth series. I was a voracious reader as a child and climbed quickly from Nancy Drew into Xanth--and I KNOW his influence is one (of the many) reasons I like to write genre fiction today :)

(I love Roald Dahl as well! OH--and Alice in Wonderland is an absolute favorite.)

Karen Denise said...

The first book I remember my sister reading to me when I was four and then finally reading it for myself was Disney's Robin Hood. I loved it!

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

THE WITCHES is fantastic, one of my FAVS. Have you ever read THE WESTING GAME? It's one of my all-time favorite MGs, quirky, mysterious, filled with wonderful characters and secrets and humor.