Monday, 20 April 2009

Jasmine Fassl: The books that look at me

After several months of guest bloggers, the blog is back in the hands of Scottish Book Trust's Children and Young People's team, and Children's Programmer Jasmine is in a philosophical mood...

I am not sure if everybody has had this experience, but books do sometimes ‘look’ at me. They sit on the shelves, spine on, staring at me. Even if I am watching TV, they still have their watchful eyes on me. They follow me across the room when I walk past. They are willing me to read them.

Now, I thought a great deal about what makes certain books look at me, and others not even acknowledging that I am there, and I think there are many reasons for it. I’ll try to give you some examples:

One is that the book was recommended to me, probably with words like: "you will love this one" or "this is just perfect for you". Another may be that I read an interesting review of that book somewhere. Maybe I really like the cover (I know, I know, but I can’t help loving some and hating others!). Or maybe we are planning an event with the author, so reading the book is imperative, really.

Whatever does it, probably a combination of all of the above, I do end up reading these ‘watchful’ books eventually. Last weekend it was The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos (a combined result of reading a good review, a personal recommendation and a very appealing, beautiful cover). It’s the story of a girl who is infected by her family’s love curse which, in combination with her interest in taxidermy, makes for an unusual and brilliant read. So, if you have a few hours next weekend, give in to the recommendation, review and cover and read it. It’s well worth it.

And me, well, I’ll have to give in to another of my books. Which one? Whichever doesn’t blink.

For more on Jack Gantos, check out this great interview with him:

And if you still have time to spare, check out the audio clip from Marcus Sedgwick's new audiobook Flood and Fang currently playing on the Scottish Book Trust site!

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