Summer means books: A My Bookprint guest post
By Guest Blogger on July 19th, 2012
Today, Miryam Coppersmith, one of the Scholastic Art & Writing Fellows, is sharing the five books that most influenced her. We call this a Bookprint, and we have hundreds of them from “names you know” right here on You Are What You Read. Thanks, Miryam!
For many people, summer conjures memories of suntan lotion, tug-of-war, swimming in the lake and late-night scary stories around the campfire. As a kid, summer for me meant books. Over the summer, I had all the time in the world to read whatever I wanted, not just what I was assigned in school! As I’ve grown older, I’ve spread that reading throughout the year, but summer is always a special time. I discover old classics, spontaneously pick up new bestsellers, and finally get to those recommendations my family has been bugging me about for months. So, what better time than the summer to look back on my reading and discover my Bookprint? Here goes!
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien: The Hobbit marked the beginning of my lifelong foray into obsessive reading. And when I say obsessive… well, let’s just say 4th grade me literally hid this book inside my textbooks to read it during class. (Kids, don’t try this at school.) The Hobbit taught me that working through a book, reading a little bit past your abilities, can be fun. It also introduced me to the beauty of descriptive language. Just a truly epic read and definitely due for a re-read before the movie comes out this winter!
Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner: This book was my introduction to Faulkner and I had an amazing guide through that wild ride. My fantastic English teacher opened my eyes to the way Faulkner’s writing style was influenced by the heat and atmosphere of the South. Faulkner embodies, in my mind, the perfect combination of style and content working together to produce truly original storytelling, unique to the author.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling: The Potter books definitely shaped my childhood, but OotP (as it is referred to within the fandom) hit me at a time when Harry’s feelings really resonated with my own. We all have that moment in teenagedom where we lose our childhood innocence and realize that the world is much larger than ourselves. Rowling conveys the pain of this transition perfectly. After the long, long wait to get this book in my hands, reading it was one of the most delicious reading experiences I’ve ever had!
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon: This book has special emotional significance for me, as it marked one of the first adult books that my mother recommended to me. The two main characters struggle with being Jewish artists in New York, themes I can relate to. Chabon’s language is rich and his images—“slumped like a question mark against the door frame”—stay with you for years. A must for comic book fans, historical fiction readers and anyone who likes a book to sweep them up into an outlandish but poignant journey. Watch out for an unforgettable cameo by Salvador Dali!
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina: I knew I wanted to add a picture book to this list, because those were the first books to influence me, but it was so hard to choose just one. There are so many beautiful, classic picture books that I read as a kid. Caps for Sale, however, tops the list. I even dressed up as the salesman for Halloween last year! Some of my other favorites include: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Big Orange Splot and Pancakes, Pancakes!
Of course these are only the tip of the iceberg. The most important thing is to never stop trying new things with your reading. I’m going on a nonfiction kick soon, starting with Jon Meacham’s American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. What are you setting your sights on reading this month?