Do you ever wonder about what books shaped the lives of the characters you read about? What were Kami Glass from The Lynburn Legacy, Seth from More Than This, or Taylor Markham from Jellicoe Road reading? What books did they love?
In Essential Reading, readers and authors share five to seven books (children’s, YA, general fiction, romances, nonfiction, and all) that they or their characters love, or has impacted their lives or their characters’s lives.
I’m incredibly excited about this series. I wanted to do a feature that focused on authors and their characters, and that gave me the opportunity to contact authors, and voila! We have this lovely feature. It’s a great idea, right? Because we all have those favorite books we hold close to our heart, but what about those characters? They are readers too; they must have books they love.
So, I am very honored to have David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland, kick off this feature. Let’s give him a warm welcome!
FIVE BOOKS MIM MALONE FROM MOSQUITOLAND WOULD LOVE (AND WHY)
by David Arnold
|Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein|
In addition to Mim’s multiple references to LOTR throughout the book, in my mind, there is no greater “road trip” than Frodo’s journey from the Shire to the fires of Mount Doom. I try to reread LOTR every other Christmas (alternating between this and Harry Potter), a habit I believe Mim would whole-heartedly approve of.
|The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky|
In the earliest drafts of Mosquitoland, the story was about a new kid at school. That changed eventually, but this “new kid” mentality is something I tried to maintain throughout the revision process. To me, Perks is the ultimate book for any new kid. Not to mention the epistolary angle. Mim spends much of her time writing very personal, introspective letters, and I think she definitely would have considered Charlie’s letters in doing so.
|Cash: The Autobiography by Johnny Cash and Patrick Carr|
At the heart of Mosquitoland, Mim is desperately trying to connect with her mother, and in doing so, find her own identity. Music is one of the many things she clings to when considering her mom, specifically Johnny Cash. I like to think this may have even been a book they read together.
|Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour by J.D. Salinger|
I would be remiss not to include something from Salinger on this list. The ultimate first-person snark. And while he’s more known for Catcher in the Rye, I think Mim would prefer one of his Glass family novellas. All those brothers and sisters, each one a genius in their own right—hard to imagine an only child like Mim not finding the appeal here.
|Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak|
Here’s another one Mim actually mentions in the book. Far different from the others, this is an absolute masterpiece by Maurice Sendak, a chapter book for the morose child. The protagonist of the book, a strong-willed lad named Pierre, is in a perpetually apathetic state (his go-to phrase being “I don’t care”), and ultimately he gets… well, I don’t want to spoil the ending. But I think this is a book grown-up Mim might read to her children.
David Arnold is the author of MOSQUITOLAND (Viking/Penguin, 2015). Previous “jobs” include freelance musician/producer, stay-at-home dad, and preschool teacher. He is a fierce believer in the power of kindness and community. And chips. He believes fiercely in chips. David is represented by Dan Lazar at Writers House. You can find him at davidarnoldbooks.com and on twitter @roofbeam.
And in honor of this inaugural post, I am giving away a copy of Mosquitoland! Yeeeeee. If you aren’t convinced that you need to pick up this book, here are my reasons why I’m so pumped for this book!
- This giveaway is opened internationally (as long as The Book Depository delivers to you).
- The giveaway will run from March 12 to 28.
- You must be 13 years (with your parent’s permission) or older.
- You will be disqualified if you pick up entries you haven’t done.
- If the winner does not respond to my e-mail within 48 hours, I will have to choose another winner.
- I am not responsible for any items lost in the mail.