Tonight, I’m signing books at my old school’s book fair. There’s something about going back to your old school that creates its own time warp. In my head, it’s suddenly 1989 again and I’m in a kilt. Or 1995 (still in a kilt!). And I remember, very vividly, just what that book fair meant to me.
The second we were out of class, we would race upstairs to the library, everyone eager to be the first one on the spot, to get dibs on the best Victoria Holts and Jean Plaidys before they were all gone. I can close my eyes now and tell you just where those books were sitting: The Time of the Hunter’s Moon, The House of a Thousand Lanterns, My Enemy the Queen….
I don’t know who did the book-buying for the book fair back in those days, but I am grateful to them from the very bottom of my heart. I found some of my favorite books and authors there at the book fair. It was there that I bought my copy of Gone with the Wind in fifth grade– and then read it again and again until large chunks of pages had fallen out and it had to be replaced.
I discovered Elizabeth Peters at the book fair, both her contemporaries and her Amelia Peabody books, starting with Legend in Green Velvet and The Curse of the Pharaohs. At the same time, I grabbed up Barbara Michaels’s Someone in the House (it was years before I realized that Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters were the same person).
Other notable book fair finds? Dorothy Cannell’s Down the Garden Path (the same battered old copy that I re-read last week) and Elsie Lee’s Mansion of Golden Windows, both of which had a formative effect on my developing prose style. (Hello, snarky heroines!)
Thank you, O Book Fair. I lift my signing pen to you– because it’s a pretty sure thing that I wouldn’t be writing the books I’m writing today without first reading the books I found there.
Where did you find your favorite books?