Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers share their top ten in the category.

Top Ten Best Bookish Memories

10. Finishing The Scorpio Races

I can still remember every detail of this event. It was both ordinary and extremely out-of-the-ordinary at the same time. We were on our way back home from a trip to a city about two hours away; we stopped for dinner; I read on my nook until the food came, and then in the car for the remainder of the trip. But the dinner was at a restaurant that overlooked a lake, and we sat by the window; the atmosphere was very similar to the book, so I really felt like I was in the story. And when I finished the book, I was listening to Swallowed in the Sea by Coldplay on my iPod, a song that fits the ending really well. It was just one of those moments where everything comes together in absolute perfection. 

9. Reading The Reptile Room

The second book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is memorable because of where I read it: I'm pretty sure I read the entire thing while sitting in a tree. It was a fairly comfortable place to sit if you went about it right, and I'd just discovered a perfect notch to balance a book on while I climbed up and down.

8. Key West: Bookstores

Our week-long vacation to Key West two years ago was so delightfully bookish that three events from it earned a spot on this list, the first being the bookstores I discovered. I stumbled upon one while bicycling around town the first day; I don't remember the name, but I do remember it was absolutely overflowing with new and used books, a creaky wood floor, and was the place where I bought both of the Lemony Snicket books I own and my copy of The Book Thief. The second was named something that had to do with Voltaire and was more modern and most importantly, air-conditioned, making it the perfect place to seek relief from the 90-some-degree days. I bought Cornelia Funke's book Reckless there, and would have bought more had my mom not reminded me that I did have to fit all of my purchases into my suitcase for the plane ride home.

7. Writing Magic

I got this fantastic book for my twelfth birthday, and it has been the equivalent of my writing bible ever since. I spent that entire summer typing away on our old desktop in the computer room, trying out all the exercises and stories. It definitely shaped me as a writer, and I have a lot of fond memories associated with it.

6. Buying You Have to Stop This

You Have to Stop This is the final book in The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch, a series that my best friend and I have been obsessed with ever since I recommended the first book, The Name of This Book is Secret to her. We were at an outdoor Christmas festival and stepped into the bookstore to get warm when we discovered this book. I'm pretty sure we actually screamed. I convinced my parents it was a good early Christmas present, and both of us had read within the next week.

5. Meeting Erin Hunter

Erin Hunter, for those of you who don't know, is the author of the Warriors series, which I was obsessed with when I was younger. She visited Toronto one year in May, and my family made the four-hour drive to see her - well, Vicky Holmes, 1/3 of the writing team that creates the books under a single pseudonym. I've since outgrown the series and the writing style, but it was still one of the coolest things I've ever done. I have two of my Warriors books signed by her and the watercolor of Tigerstar that I gave her got a mention on her blog. 

4. The Lord of the Rings

I can't even think of this book without bringing up dozens of memories. This was a massive undertaking for me at the time I read it, and it took me an entire summer and into the fall to complete it, reading other books along the way. Whenever I go back and look through it again, I can remember all the places I was when I read it - on our porch, in a hotel room, in the car, in my grandmother's backyard. I have really specific, detailed memories associated with this book, which is probably part of the reason I'm so attached to it. 

3. Touring Ernest Hemingway's House

Ernest Hemingway was really fond of Key West. So fond of it, that he lived there. And I got to see his house. And it was awesome. That was my second bookish adventure: just casually wandering around the Hemingway house, very discreetly running my hand over Hemingway's furniture and poking my head into roped-off rooms and not-so-discreetly fawning over the resident six-toed cats. Since then, Hemingway has become one of my favorite authors. Four of his books now have prime spots on my shelves, and they were all purchased at the gift shop after the tour. 

2. Winning Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers

I won an advanced copy of this book on Kirsten Miller's blog a few months ago, and I was beyond thrilled. In November, I was reading a book that wasn't supposed to be released until the end of January. Not only that, but Kirsten Miller had written 'Stay Dangerous' on the inside. I love the Kiki Strike books and had been waiting for the third one for years. (Not exaggerating.) Having this book was one of the coolest things ever. Of course, not as cool at the last memory on my list...

1. Being in the same restaurant as Judy Blume AND Meg Cabot. 

My final and most exciting Key West adventure. Apparently Ernest Hemingway wasn't the only author who was fond of the Florida Keys. Turns out Judy Blume and Meg Cabot like it there too. So if you're there on vacation and are at the restaurant Sarabeth's, you might find yourself sitting at a table next to a group that includes a woman talking about things she's written and visiting the set of a movie. And you might just be eavesdropping on their conversation. And then, after the group gets up and leaves, the owner/host of the restaurant might come over to your table and note that he saw you reading at the table earlier, and so he thinks there's something about the people who were sitting at the next table that you might want to know. And then you might just find out that you were eavesdropping on JUDY FREAKING BLUME. 

And then, because your mind is not sufficiently blown, he'll just casually mention that Meg Cabot - yes, author of the Princess Diaries, that Meg Cabot - was sitting in another part of the restaurant. 

I didn't sleep much that night. 

(My signed copy of Firestar's Quest. According to Vicky Holmes, I'm a number one fan.)

(Signed Advanced Copy of The Darkness Dwellers. Probably the coolest/most kick-butt book I own.) 

 (This is Hemingway's bed. That's one of the six-toed cats chilling on Hemingway's pillow.)

(This was the view from his balcony. How can you NOT be inspired?)

(This was the restaurant we saw Judy Blume. We sat underneath the umbrella, right in the front there.)

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