Friday, April 24, 2009

Renewed by Books

There are some serious gaps in my children's literature education. That's probably because until a year ago I hadn't read any children's lit since I was a child. Now I'm rediscoving the kind of books that got me excited to read in the first place, that shaped my love of words and made me want to tell my own stories.

I just started reading the Secret Garden. (I told you there were serious gaps.) Already I love it. I love this poor disagreeable girl who doesn't make you feel sorry for her but makes you want to see her grow. It's the perfect set-up for what has to happen later. We know she'll find the secret garden. We know she'll make some friends. We know that she'll learn to be human. We keep reading to find out how.

Before starting this book, I had drafted a blog post about what a snob I am about good writing and how I haven't been wowed by a book in a long time. It was a rather jaded and cynical post. I'm glad I never finished it. Because now I'm renewing my faith in the beauty of a simply story and the magic a good writer can conjure with the right combination of words.

Unlike many of the fast-paced adventure stories I've read lately, I want to read this slowly and savor every word.

Next on my reading list: A Little Princess and Bridge to Terabithia


Michelle said...

The Secret Garden is my favorite book. It's so hopeful, and I love reading it at this time of year!

Jim said...

I had a similar experience last month. I read Tale of Two Cities for the first time. Certainly dated and what not, but what language!
As a burned out ex-literature major I've stayed away from a lot of the "important" books. Sure, there are many overrated books out there but most of the classics earned the distinction for a reason. I've had a lot of fun filling in the gaps in my literature education by reading some books that I wouldn't have otherwise considered: Kidnapped, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, East of Eden. There is just so much good stuff out there.

Lisa said...

I've shied away from the important books too, trying to keep up with what's hot and current. But what's hot today may very well be forgotten in ten years.
I've been playing hard to get with Moby Dick for ages, and soon it may be time to take the plunge.
I think my pendulum is swinging back toward the classics.