If you love to read, then you know that there are treasures to be found within the pages of books. Books entertain, inspire, and even change us.
There are so many ways books can leave an imprint, but what about the imprint the reader leaves behind?
Forgotten Bookmarks is a collection of interesting finds made by the author Michael Popek.
By day, Michael Popek works in his family’s used bookstore. By night, he’s the voyeuristic force behind www.forgottenbookmarks.com, where he shares the weird objects he has found among the stacks at his store.
There are actual bookmarks, but there are also pictures and ticket stubs, old recipes and notes, valentines, unsent letters, four-leaf clovers, and various sordid, heartbreaking, and bizarre keepsakes. Together this collection of lost treasures offers a glimpse into other readers’ lives that they never intended for us to see.
The secret lives of books.
But what if the reader could make another mark? What if you could change your favorite story–would you?
That’s the premise in Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s new book Little Women and Me.
Modern-day teen Emily March turns to Louisa May Alcott’s famous book for a school assignment and finds herself mysteriously transported to the world of Little Women, where she and Alcott’s story both undergo surprising changes.
What would you do if you ended up in your favorite book? Would you change anything? How would you leave your mark behind?
***My copy of Little Women and Me is up for grabs this week. Simply leave a comment below (before 12/9) and you will be entered into the giveaway.***
First impressions can be significant.
That first meeting with someone, your first taste of Brussels sprouts or reading the first line of a book–we get an instant, often lasting, impression.
“A man’s look is the work of years; it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life, nay, more, by the hand of nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily.” –William Hazlitt
I guess it’s kind of like the imprinting phenomenon for the wolves in the Twilight series, they are forever branded once they experience their love at first sight moment (although when it happens to Jacob in Breaking Dawn, it’s a bit bizarre).
But the best first lines not only impress, they offer a glimpse into the entire story to come.
“The boy who lived.”
–Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
“It was a pleasure to burn.”
–Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”
–Feed by M.T. Anderson
“There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.”
–Holes by Louis Sachar
The best first lines make the reader curious, instantly pulling you further into the story.
“It was the day my grandmother exploded.”
–The Crow Road by Iian Banks
“The winds in Washokey make people go crazy.”
–Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
“Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.”
–A Tale Dark and Grim by Adam Gidwitz
Sometimes the best first line tells you so much about the main character.
“My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.”
–Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
“It was fun at first, playing house.”
–Love, Aubrey Suzanne LaFleur
Or they simply inspire.
“So she tells me, the words dribbling out with the cranberry muffin crumbs, commas dunked in her coffee.”
–Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
First lines are special, crucial to both reader and writer, because they often determine the success of the rest of the story.
“He who therefore fails to please in his salutation and address is at once rejected, and never obtains an opportunity of showing his latest excellences or essential qualities.”–Samuel Johnson
What is your impression on the first line? Do you have a favorite story opening?
This weekend I took a little road trip to take my son to camp. With nothing on the radio, I dug around and came up with a cassette. It had no artist cover, just my loopy, teenage handwriting all over the paper liner.
Yes, it was a mix tape.
So I popped it in the player and started to sing (while my son pushed his headphones deeper into his ears). I found myself thinking about the power of music, and I don’t just mean the power that is remembering lyrics from a 25 year old song (although that is pretty amazing especially when I can’t always remember why I walked into a room), no I’m talking about the power it has to give you a boost.
I GOT A FEELING
Music improves your mood. It can make you happy, make you want to dance or inspire you. Some of the top happy, upbeat songs (they say so in the title) are:
Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t worry be happy “
U2’s “Beautiful day”
Don McLean’s “American Pie” (okay, so it doesn’t exactly say it in the title, but the song rocks and who doesn’t love pie?)
Or this oldie, but goodie:
Even that outfit makes me smile
Music not only evokes emotion, but memory. Forget the beat or the lyrics, sometimes a song can lift you up simply because it reminds you of a happy moment.
For me a big one is the day my fourth grade teacher passed out the slightly damp, freshly copied lyrics to “We will rock you” and “We are the champions.” We all sniffed the paper (ah, remember those days?) and then sang along to Queen, slapping our palms to our desk to the beat (Mrs. Fearn rocked).
Music brings people together. Think about the last concert you went to, wasn’t it amazing singing along with thousands of people to one song?
But it doesn’t have to be that big.
I can also think about dancing in my room to Club Nouveau’s “Lean on Me” with my sister B (small favors that the recording technology was not as accessible as it is today).
Or, there’s the synthesized beats of a-ha that will always remind me of high school, and my friend Selina. And Jimmy Buffet will always make me think of college and singing with everyone at Sully’s (including my future husband).
Then there was this song that reminds me of going to parties with my friend Livia. To this day it makes me want to turn it up and scream along (even if I’m still not sure what it’s about).
Yes, whether the song is cool or cheesy, it can lead to happy connections.
DON’T STOP BELIEVING
Everybody loves a song that can lift your mood, empower you or even make you feel like a superhero, as it apparently did for Henry David Thoreau:
“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”
(And he lived in a cabin in the woods for 2 years!)
Who doesn’t want to listen to a song that makes you feel like that?
Whether you prefer the original or one of the many covers, here’s a rocking, positive song (so good it apparently summed up the entire six seasons of HBO’s Sopranos).
What is your happy song?Read More