Verna Aardema’s “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears” left me questions: did the mosquito lie to the iguana? Or was the mosquito mistaken about what he saw the farmer was digging up? Or was it joke that was unclear or unfinished? Don’t get me wrong. I dislike mosquitoes for obvious reasons. But the story made me pity the poor creature.
I was there for two days: the first and the last. While I have done that before, it’s nice to be reminded of the stark differences between first day and last day. During the first day: there are so many books, including rare tomes and limited editions from specialty stores—you just have to know where to look; some books have discounts and some do not; and you could bump into hardcore readers and/or hoarders. During the last day: book stocks have gone down significantly; the discounts could increase to somewhere between 30% and 50%; and you could bump into people fresh off the streets that are curious about the commotion in the center.
I could still remember how much fun some of my classmates and I had reading it, especially “English is a Pain! (Pane?)” by Shirlee Curlee Bingham. But during that time, it never occurred to me that I had an anthology with me—and one that is meant for kids!
I think the only introductions that I don’t read are from math and science textbooks and other academic literature. Cannot remember why I practice it though. But introductions have brought me insight I would have lost had I skipped reading those first pages.
How old are you, and could you convince my dad to get me a video game?
Anthony (age 9)
“You think life is easy? It might be easy in a tournament, my lord. A tournament is artificial. You’re on one side or the other and no one thinks God takes sides in a tournament, and there are marshals to make sure you don’t get carried off dead, but there are no marshals here. It’s just war, war without end, and the best you can do is try not to be on the wrong side. But who in God’s name knows which side is right?”
From the start, I knew it would be a coming-of-age book. I got that right. When the accident happened, it evoked memories from A Separate Peace by John Knowles. I could almost swear that there were strains of it in a few pages, especially during the recovery period.
I thought about my Uncle Randolph. How did you decide when someone was irretrievably lost—when they were so evil or toxic or just plain set in their ways that you had to face the fact they were never going to change? How long could you keep trying to save them, and when did you give up and grieve for them as though they were dead? (Page 444)
We listened to their tales of how they started writing and the inspiration for their works, answers on how to overcome depression, writer’s block, and other hurdles, and their opinions about literature, writing, and career choices.
I was in my junior year. And I was in a Mythology and Folklore class. Despite being a Christian school, the university didn’t lack for mythology books. But I wanted my own and one that they did not have.
Dear Messrs. Harold Pinter, Geoffrey Godbert, and Anthony Astbury: Good day, sirs! Just a few hours ago, I finished reading your collection. I found the book at a book fair and decided that I would buy it for the sake of change. I read mostly novels and short stories. And while I enjoy poems, I’ve…