I love books so much my father recently built gorgeous wooden cases for my living room to hold all my treasures (imagine my disappointment when an interior designer told me I shouldn't fill them top to bottom with every title I own. Apparently that's not aesthetically pleasing.)
I have stacks of books I own but haven't read, and I have a list of books I want to read that I don't yet have (it's up to 112 titles). And that's in addition to my dream of reading the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels.
My favorite genres of books are historical fiction, literary novels, and the classics. There are a few authors whose entire collections I have read, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, D. H. Lawrence, and Tom Robbins. And then there's the Harry Potter series.
When Ian read that sentence over my shoulder as I typed (I hate when he does that, by the way), he remarked that "that's what teachers and librarians tell kids so they'll want to read." But it's completely and wonderfully true! Sure, there's something to be said for reading for knowledge, but for me, reading will always be about the escape, about the places I go, and the characters I meet.
Even before we had the Harry Potter movies, we had millions of children, teens, and adults with vivid images in their minds of Harry, Hagrid, Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Crookshanks, Moaning Myrtle, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and dozens of other unforgettable characters. In our mind's eye, we saw Quidditch matches, the Whomping Willow, and the Great Hall filled with food, and owls delivering dreaded howlers. We imagined the stories' fantastical creatures and fearsome beasts. We felt the terror, anger, disappointment, anguish, and joy of our favorite students and we "saw" them grow up before our eyes. We are indebted to J. K. Rowling for renewing or introducing the joy of reading to millions around the world.
As the marketing director of Judson Press, a small, non-profit Christian publisher, I am blessed to see firsthand the journey a book takes from a mere kernel of an idea to its final, printed form. I am blessed to work with our authors to literally "spread the word" about their contribution to the vast library of titles that has existed since the invention of the Gutenberg Press.
I would like to propose a National Authors Day in which we celebrate the gifts that we receive from millions of writers around the world. Without them, I would never have:
- Visited Hogwarts, Hogmeade, or Privet Drive
- Been kept awake at night wondering of the whereabouts of the devil in the White City
- Met Kavalier and Clay
- Felt the anguish of lost love on Chesil Beach
- Traveled to Afghanistan with Amir
- Considered what cats in hats have to do with Christian living
- Lived life as a baseball-loving, fatherless Jewish boy in Brooklyn in the 1940s
- Searched for Dracula with Helen Rossi
- Imagined my life as a widow during the Civil War or as a single mother in Nazi Germany
- Survived a shipwreck in the Pacific ocean with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker
(And extra credit if you can provide the title of each of the books referenced above!)
"The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television." ~Andrew Ross