In the little over a decade I have been writing full time, I have received some fascinating letters. Two stand out particularly.
I haven’t asked permission of the letter writers – in at least one case, it was so long ago that I am not sure my contact information is any longer valid. So these two examples are essentially paraphrased with names and other personal information excised.
The first was someone who had met me on a major book tour for The Secrets of Jin-Shei, a novel which involves a sisterhood. The letter writer speaks poignantly about how my book made her reflect on her own experiences.
You sat in front of me (on the plane) and eventually, like people who travel, often do, we began to talk. You said you were an author and showed me the cover of the book you had published. You were on your way to a book signing.
Though you did talk to me for most of the trip and even gave me your card, it was the cover of your book that, strangely, remained in my mind. So, that when I went to the library and saw that cover amongst the other books, I remembered it. I didn’t remember you had written it; I remembered the cover…I found your picture on the back and it all fell into place.
So, I started reading the book and that’s when the sadness came. Here in my hands was a book about sisterhood, a mirror reflecting the deep friendships I’ve had with several women, including the teenager I made my mother take into our home as my foster sister… your book helped me remember….and understand that.
The rest is far too personal for me to summarize here without her permission. But I was greatly touched by her letter.
The second also involves The Secrets of Jin-Shei. It was much shorter and rather… unusual.
I have never read any of your books, and up to today had not heard of them. However, last night I had a dream that clearly showed me the name Jin-Shei.
After researching the name on the internet all I could find related to it was your book. Could you possibly share with me the actual historical significance of this name? Does it have an English translation? Is it merely a name you created?…Your book sounds interesting…
I hope he did read it and did find it interesting. After all, his own dream had led him there.
11 Contemporary Retellings of Classic Literature
At Off the Shelf, Sarah Jane Abbott offers some books by inspired authors that have reimagined beloved novels and iconic characters, using them as them as jumping off points to explore new settings, eras, and characters.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray:
All sixteen-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks.
Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel or possible hallucination who sets him on a quest paralleling that of Don Quixote.
10 Books To Read Before You See The Movies This Summer
We all love a few hours at the movie theater, Mark Athitakis writes at Huffpost, but there’s just no substitute for curling up with a few hundred pages of printed magic.
By Laura Lippman: The thriller Every Secret Thing revolves around two teenage girls and the abduction and murder of a baby seven years earlier. Starring Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks and Dakota Fanning, the movie casts more female leads than your average thriller (thank you!) and Laura Lippman, whose 2003 novel inspired the film, has deserved a big-screen treatment of her work for years. But the film was shot in New York, robbing the story of Lippman’s beloved Baltimore and her rich local details about everything from race relations to hairstyles. Let’s not overlook the scary pleasures of her prose, either. “There was something menacing in the very fineness of his bones,” she writes, “as if a bigger boy had been boiled down until all that remained was this concentrated bit of rage and bile.”
Daniel Hahn’s top 10 underrated or forgotten children’s classics
The author of the new Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature chooses the children’s classics you probably haven’t heard of but really should read, from picture books about dinosaurs and bike rides to a historical novel narrated by a dog.
It’s arguably the most famous road in the world. Route 66 – just saying those words makes you want to hit the road. But did you know there are many wonderful used bookstores along the way from Chicago to Los Angeles?
Abe Books has plotted the ultimate bibliophile’s road trip where you can visit 66 bricks and mortar used bookstores – who all sell on the AbeBooks marketplace – while driving from the shores of Lake Michigan to the beaches of Santa Monica. We are talking about two thousand miles and hundreds of thousands of books. It’s a booklover’s paradise – and worth the trip for that alone. Some folks travel for culinary adventures, some travel for landmarks and museums, but bibliophiles travel for the finest in literary offerings. It’s called Bookstore Tourism, and yes – there’s a book about it.
THIS n THAT
We humans are so VERY GOOD at inventing things that kill…
The best bladed weapons are at least somewhat flexible—but the urumi is downright floppy. When swung, it acts like a whip. A metal whip. A metal whip with two sharp edges
Quote of the Day
Alma Alexander My books Email me
If you found this blog post interesting, amusing or helpful, then please use the icons below to share it with other writers, readers or the guy next to you on the subway.