Any avid reader knows there are books and then there are books.
There are books you read and then forget, and there are certain books that stick with you for the rest of your life.
When I was about 14, I read Mervyn Peake's novel Titus Groan for the first time. Reading has always been my favorite sport, and I began making up stories at an early age...but this encounter with Peake changed me. His rich, somber fantasy was a world unto itself. His characters and settings were odd and fascinating and wonderful--and presented with such skill that although I've not read the Gormenghast trilogy for years, I can still remember Peake's people and places with clarity.
Reading Peake made me write in a new way. His novels and poetry unlocked a deep love of language in me, a love for the shapes and sounds of words. This love flowed out of my pen and filled my notebooks with brooding teenage poetry (stuff you will never read and that I ought to burn for my own protection!).
To me, Peake's books are books. They are "sticky." They're in me and with me forever.
Titus Groan was a library book, borrowed again and again.
Eventually, I took my hard-earned baby sitting money downtown to Otto's Bookstore and ordered my own copies of the Gormenghast books. They had to be special-ordered from England (which was so romantic!). Once they were mine, I shared them with only my most trusted friends. And without fail, each of them loved discovering Peake's sprawling, magnificent world. I like to think that the books stuck with them, just as they stuck with me.
As an author, my favorite compliments come from readers who sigh about being kept up past their bedtimes by my story, and those who say they can't seem to stop thinking of my characters once they finish the book. Maybe my story is "sticky" too. I hope so.
On Friday, May 1, 2015, I'll be signing copies of The Mermaid's Sister at Otto's Bookstore. I'll remember teenaged me, and marvel at what has happened since I bought Peake's fantastic books in that very place so long ago.
Here's to sticky books, beautiful words, and thousands of glorious chapters yet to be written!
Author Mervyn Peake
For more info on the book signing, see my Amazon author page. www.amazon.com/author/carrieannenoble
The Mermaid's Sister is available here. http://tiny.cc/np53vx
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