Friday, July 15, 2011

Into the Past with Lisa Papademetriou

I always think it's interesting to find out what books authors loved as kids, and how that changed as they got into their teen years. So now, quick and concise, I bring you the past loves of Siren's Storm author Lisa Papademetriou!

Age 5: 
The Tale of Peter Rabbit: I found Farmer MacGregor terrifying, but oddly compelling. Also, the idea that he would want to turn Peter into a pie seemed particularly perverse. Rabbit pie? Um, gimme strawberry rhubarb.

Book of Fairy Tales: This is an ancient book of fairy tales that my great-grandfather bought for my grandmother when he was stationed in France during World War I. My grandfather was German, but the book is in English, and has the most beautiful illustrations I’ve ever seen. I was obsessed with this book for years--long after most children stop reading fairy tales.

Age 11: 
Chronicles of Narnia: I read all of these books multiple times. The one I liked the least (the Magician’s Nephew), I still read thirteen times. I guess I was a weird kid.

Earthsea Cycle: I recently re-read A Wizard of Earthsea, and found the syntax surprisingly challenging. This was a relief, because I had trouble reading this when I was a kid. I still loved it, though. It’s a true novel of ideas--it has the utmost respect for young readers’ intelligence.

Lord of the Flies: I *loved* this book, even though I found it horrifying.

Age 16:

Brave New World: I had to read this for an English class, and it was the book I loved most that year. It’s one of those futuristic novels written long ago that gets some of our present hilariously wrong, and some of it terrifyingly right. If The House of the Scorpion had existed then, I think I would have loved that, too. it has a similar theme.

Slaughterhouse Five: Kurt Vonnegut is the kind of writer I liked to read for fun. He’s easy to read, but there are really interesting concepts and characters in his work. I remember liking this much more than the word “Slaughterhouse” suggested I would.

Dune: When I went on my Yale college interview, the interviewer asked, “What is the last book you read?” Instead of saying something intellectual, like, “I really enjoyed Middlemarch,” I told the truth, and said, “Dune.” I think that--and the fact that I laughed, snorting water out of my nose and into my lap--is why I didn’t get into Yale. But I don’t even care, because Dune really was awesome. And I liked going to Vassar, anyway.

Age 20:
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: I wrote my thesis on William Blake. This book has a lot of really witty, insightful things to say.

The Screwtape Letters: More C.S. Lewis. I just love this book. It’s written from the point of view of a demon trying to help his nitwit nephew worm his way into someone’s soul. It’s really short, very funny, and a really great guide to life.

Northanger Abbey: Best Jane Austen novel ever. It’s really funny, and about writing.

So there you guys have it, a look into the past book loves of Lisa! How many of those were favorites for you guys?

Make sure you guys also check out Siren's Storm, coming July 12!

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