Yesterday, I reviewed a very entertaining book called SUNNYSIDE BLUES. I am so excited that the author Mary Carter agreed to write a guest post for me; and I love that she the "inspiration" behind the post was based on something I said in my review! Talk about a customized guest post!
Where Were You When You Read. . . .
First I’d like to thank Julie of Booking Mama, for reading and reviewing my novel, and giving me the opportunity to participate in this guest blog.
When Julie mentioned she read my novel, Sunnyside Blues, on the train on her way to BEA, it made me think about some of the books I’ve read in my lifetime, and the places where I’ve read them.
And although a good book is meant to take you away, allow you to escape into another world, certain books are intrinsically linked in my memory with a time and a place all my own.
I will always think of my Aunt Bessie’s house in Steubenville Ohio, when I think of Jack Finney’s, “Time and Again”. Besides pulling the book from her shelf, I read it at her kitchen table, close to the jar of sugar cookies, and the refrigerator stocked with coke. (We had neither at my home). And although it didn’t take long for the house to fall away around me as I read, and be replaced with New York City in the 1800’s, when I think back on the book, I, like the character in the story, travel back in time, not only to New York City in the 1800’s, but to Aunt Bessie’s, where her house, those sugar cookies, and the view out her kitchen window linger like a welcoming mist.
I read Ayn Rand’s, “The Fountainhead”, while house sitting in upstate New York. It was an ideal setting to read a good book, a large log cabin surrounded by twenty-odd private acres. I sat near a large pond, book in hand. It was the same week I ordered some kind of miracle lose-weight-by-breathing book, the same week I finally dared to take off all my clothes and walk around in the nude, because there were no humans around, and from what I could tell the dogs did not care. (The losing weight while breathing was a bust by the way). But I will forever associate my introduction to Howard Roarke and his unwavering ideals with that pond, that house, those woods. I was simultaneously at the quarry where Dominique is arrested by the sight of him, and on the warm grass near the pond, with the dogs resting comfortably a few feet away. And I can’t help but wonder if I would have felt injected with the same degree of passion for the book, had I read it, say, while at the dentist, gyno, or in line at the DMV. I think not. I think a Dean Koontz or Stephen King novel is best for the dentist and the DMV. At the gyno, however, you might want to lighten things up with, “Women Who Love too Much and the Men Who Send Them Running for an Unscheduled Visit to the Gynecologist”--
But, I digress. . .
I like to read suspense, thrillers, or chick-lit in airports and on the plane. And for some reason I just can’t do it without a bag of Skittles or Reese’s Pieces, the calories do not count if you buy them at the airport, in a bookstore.
Sometimes, you can love a book so much, you purposefully incorporate it into your life. When I was a kid I read a book about a mailbox a little boy kept in a tree that would somehow fill with magical letters. So I took an old mailbox—a clunky silver thing with a red flag—and I stuck it up in a tree in my backyard. The next day there was a letter in it. Of course I recognized my mother’s handwriting, but I was thrilled (and probably expected) her to indulge my effort to infuse the life of the story with my life.
I asked my sister, who is a screen and television writer, and fellow avid reader, if certain books she read were forever linked to certain places in her mind. She said she read Nancy Drew in the summer time in our basement (oh we loved Nancy, yellow hard-back books still give me a thrill to this day), because she had allergies, and somehow the cool basement lessened their severity. She said she brought a folding chair down there and mom would bring her lemonade. I don’t remember this, where was I? Probably sticking a mailbox up a tree. . .
She went on to say she read “Eat, Pray, Love”, in Barbados, and “To Kill A Mockingbird” in a hammock in France. After that I just couldn’t listen to her anymore—totally heard nothing but “France” and “Barbados”-- she should have stopped with the basement.
I read “Anna Karenina”, and “Tess of the d’Ubervilles”, in a van on the road when I was a traveling actress, perhaps their arduous journeys made me feel less panicked about my own arduous journey-- nine months stuck in a van with three other actors.
I’m always nosing into what other people are reading too. On the 7 train one night, on my way back to Queens, there were three men sitting across from me, reading, in order: “In Cold Blood”, “How I Play Golf” (Tiger Woods), and “Help A Bear is Eating Me”. I don’t know if any of them will think fondly of the 7 train when they look back on the book, (or a woman staring intently at them from across the way), but I will now think of them whenever I see these books. We can’t help it, our brains are built to make connections, to take things in, to make things personal.
Books, above all else, are personal.
And unlike my sister, who’s come a long way from a folding chair in the basement, you can take a good book anywhere, and when you’re done, you might just find you’ve left a little piece of yourself in there as well.
If you’re able to pick up a copy of “Sunnyside Blues”, (or any other good book), I wish you happy reading in happy places. I’d love to hear your book-place stories, feel free to contact me, and as Julie mentioned there will be a give-away of “Sunnyside Blues” on this site, as well as a contest on my website.
Summer is coming, ripe with opportunities for reading, be it on a folding chair in the basement, or on a beach in Barbados, your next adventure awaits, maybe even in a mailbox, up a tree near you.
I think you can see from this guest post that Ms. Carter is a great writer with a wonderful sense of humor! If you'd like to win your very own copy of SUNNYSIDE BLUES, then you are in the right place. Here are the ways that you can get up to three entries into this giveaway:
1) Leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me the name of a book and the place you remember reading it.
2) Blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post.
3) Tweet about this giveaway with a link back to this post.
This giveaway is open until June 17th at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winner the following day. Only those of you with U.S. or Canada mailing addresses are eligible -- no p.o. boxes please. Good Luck!