The Two Who Shaped Me
When I was just a little Library Girl, two writers formed me as a reader, and shaped my bookish heart; Edgar Allan Poe, and Jane Austen.
In this post, I’ll share my favorite work from each of them.
“Complete Poems” of Edgar Allan Poe
I fell in love with Poe’s words as a little girl, when Father would tell me Poe stories or poems for bedtime stories. (It was my job to shout “Nevermore” at the appropriate places in “The Raven.”)
While I can remember details and passages from Poe’s stories, it’s his poems that captured me. I can remember the words of the poems, and the music of them; the cadence as they marched or waltzed off my tongue, and the melody as the pitch shifted for a question, a declaration, a burst of passion, or a moment of terror. Even now, I can close my eyes and subvocalize one of his poems, and feel the emotions washing over me like the incoming tide; love, fear, triumph, and despair.
I admit that selecting “Complete Poems” as my favorite book of Poe’s is a cheat, as a complete collection of his poems was never published in his lifetime.
When I go on trips, I’ll often bring a volume of his poems with me, as something soothing to relax into, like an emotional bubble bath.
If you’re curious about his poems (and I do hope I’ve piqued your curiosity), here’s a pair of links for you to explore:
(For any who think it’s odd for someone to tell their child Poe works as bedtime stories, I’ll note that Father also picked my name from his favorite novel; Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” Oh, and Father would want me to proudly inform you that Stoker was an Irishman. Back to Poe; I’m assuming there’s a chance Father considered “Lenore” &/or “Annabel Lee” as names for me. He chose “Mina.”)
“Emma” by Jane Austen
I know that “Pride & Prejudice” is the most-popular of Austen’s novels, but P&P is second-place in the Austen room in my heart; “Emma” owns the room.
All Austen novels have delicious dialog; razor-sharp banter, character-revealing declarations or questions, and moments of tenderness and vulnerability.
Emma is no exception.
This book also has characters who are flawed in ways that feel real to me; feel like people I know.
They try their best, they mess-up, and they grow.
Ultimately, I love that Emma includes a story thread of best friends who forge a true love that’s built on the foundation of their friendship.
(I’ve been married to my best friend for over two decades; I know how strong a foundation this is, and I relate deeply to this thread.)
If you’d like to learn more about “Emma” &/or read the novel, here’s a pair of URLs for you:
Before we leave “Emma,” I want to tell you that the novel was adapted by Paul Gordon into a delightful stage musical!
You may learn more about a video of this musical, including watching a trailer, here:
And if your favorite Austen is P&P, I respect your choice and want you to know that Paul Gordon also did a stage musical adaption of it, which you may find, here:
Thank you for letting me share my love of these two writers who I still turn to, and whose works still influence what I read, how I read, and what I enjoy out-of my reading.
In short, rereading these works is like fondly returning to a childhood home.
How do you feel about these selections, and what are your favorite works by dead authors?
My next post will be a follow-up to this; I’m going to share my two favorite works by living authors.
I’ll talk to you there; and until then, happy reading!
Library Girl (aka Mina)
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PPS: Just before we part, I’d like to note that these blog posts are only half of what I do as Library Girl. The other half is on Twitter. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you may still visit my twitter page and see what I’m up-to, here:
If you are on Twitter, please join the bookish conversation with me.