Monday, October 22, 2012

Jessy Randall, On Reading

"A book crush is different from a regular crush. With a regular crush, you don’t want to share the boy with anyone, you’d prefer if nobody else could see him or hug him or smell him but you. But with a book crush you want everybody to read the book. And that's how I feel about Daniel Pinkwater’s Lizard Music.

It's about a kid named Victor who has the house to himself for a few days while his parents and sister are away. He stays up late watching TV and happens upon a lizard band show. Soon he’s on his way to Thunderbolt City, an invisible floating island populated by large, upright, talking lizards. The story is absurd. It’s ridiculous. It’s awesome.

I still think about Lizard Music every day, mainly because of the Museum of Lost Things in Thunderbolt City. Victor visits this museum, which on the outside doesn’t look like much – it’s like a little shack – but on the inside it’s quite big. In it, he gets back his old teddy bear from when he was younger, and he can see (but not touch) the lost things of other people. There are so many of my things there. I’ve made lists.

Here’s another way a book crush is different from a regular crush. It can last for decades. Some books, you read them, you crush on them, and five or ten years later, you don’t know what you ever saw in them. But Lizard Music has stood the test of time for me. I go back to it every few years and it hasn’t disappointed me yet. I still get that heady feeling, that I-must-go-and-tell-everybody-I-know-about-this.

And here’s something else that’s great about book crushes: they’re addictive. You fall in love with the one book, and if you’re lucky, the author has written others. In the case of Pinkwater, there are a LOT of others. You’re set for life. Particularly in this case, because there’s a new Pinkwater, Bushman Lives, and … well, I won’t give away any surprises, but let’s just say that for all fans of Lizard Music, a lost thing has been returned."

{Jessy Randall is the author of, most recently, Injecting Dreams into Cows, a collection of poems from Red Hen Press. Annalee Newitz of io9 says that one poem from it, "The Consultant," is "the best science poem you'll read this month." For more information, visit her website here.}