Oh, hi! Yes, it’s a bit dusty and neglected around here. But thanks to the lovely Willaful, that’s about to change. Willaful nominated me for the three-day quote challenge, for which the rules are:
- Thank the blogger who nominated you.
- Publish a quote on 3 consecutive days on your blog. The quote can be one of your own, from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
- Nominate 3 more bloggers each day to carry on this endeavor.
I do thank Willaful! I am finally coming out of the reading slump that has dogged me since late August (i.e. back to school time) so I needed a push to start blogging again, and I’m grateful to her for giving me one.
I aim to choose a quote from something I’ve read lately on each of the next three days, and use it as a jumping off point for a reflection on the book.
Now I am going to break the rules: I am not nominating anyone because I am not sure I even know 9 bloggers (who won’t already be tagged by Willaful) and I’m not comfortable asking people to do something like this. But if you think it sounds like fun, by all means consider yourself nominated and drop a note in the comments to that effect!
“An open book . . . that’s all that will save us, I think.”
— Cecily Stone in Kit Pearson’s Awake and Dreaming
Awake and Dreaming is a wonderful middle-grade novel by the Canadian writer Kit Pearson; we just finished it in my Children’s Lit class.
It’s sophisticated meta-fiction, a blend of realism and fantasy that reflects on how those two modes relate, and on the pleasures, benefits, and dangers of reading for an escape into a fantasy world.
In some ways, the line I quoted above sounds like the “moral” of the story, which is certainly in favor of reading. But I think the novel’s reflections on reading are more complex and nuanced than this line implies. Theo, its young heroine, learns that she can’t live in a fantasy world; she has to cope with this one. But she learns that partly from reading and dreaming, which are never dismissed as “mere” escapism.
One of the things my students and I talked about is whether the book is too didactic. Cecily, who is the ghost of a children’s writer, gets some rather long and preachy stretches of dialogue. I think myself that these passages are a bit too didactic. But again, the novel is sophisticated enough to be aware of that and to raise the question itself. Cecily goes on like this:
“I think an open book symbolizes imagination. Only imagination will save people from their narrow, cramped expectations of life–like those my parents had.” She chuckled. “But enough of my philosophizing. When you’ve done nothing but think for forty years you get pretty pedantic.”
This is a book that takes the intelligence and thoughtfulness of child readers for granted, and for that, among other reasons, I admire it tremendously.
PS: If I remember right, Willaful likes this book too, so my first choice is a tribute to her.