professornana (professornana) wrote,

what literature can do

Yesterday, there was a fabulous op-ed piece in the NY Times ( that noted how literature can stop a heart and allow the reader to become someone else. While Colum McCann was talking about adult books, the same is true (IMHO) for YA literature. When I dive into a book, I do become someone else. Yes, I am still there as the reader. However, it is almost an out of body experience: my own heart stops, my breathing slows, my body and mind and soul morph. I become one with the book. At least that is what happens for me. I am sucked into the vortex of story and setting and character. I still lose myself to the book and enter what Carlsen and others term "unconscious delight."

Over the past 15 months of reading for the Printz Committee, I have become lost in books even when I revisit them. I just fall back into them, eager to lose myself and spend some time with characters I have come to know and love and think of as family and friends. It's an incredible experience. Add to it the other committee members who join me in this unconscious delight and the experience becomes deeper and more rewarding.

But I have been getting lost in books for all of my reading life. It all started, as near as I can recall, with Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames and Sue Barton. When I see kids today reading series books, I grin in recognition. They are on the way to what McCann describes in the NYT piece. Stop my heart; execute me. Let me live within the pages of this book for now.
Tags: lost in a book
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