The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making; or, why it is important to listen to one’s friends
I read this book this week, and must report: it was absolutely delightful and I highly recommend it! I feel very foolish about that. This is because my friend Jenn recommended it with the same enthusiasm when it first came out, over a year ago.
An occupational hazard of the book business is that I often do not read books I know I will like, precisely because I know that I will like them. One only needs a certain level of knowledge of a book to be able to talk about it effectively. Let’s give that level the value of Q, where A is “never heard of it” and Z is “writing a dissertation about it.” The most direct way to obtain a Q-level knowledge of a book is to read it. However, it is possible to build from A to B to H to M to Q by seeing a book in a catalog, and then seeing a bookseller blurb for it in an email, and then reading a few reviews, and then having a close friend read it and tell you about it. This happens all the time, and is why booksellers and librarians occasionally sound very smart when you ask them for book recommendations.
It is also why I do not read books I know I will love. I know I will love them. I have been interested in them since I first saw them in a catalog; I have added them to the TBR pile after seeing a bookseller blurb; I have bumped them up the piles after reading a few reviews; and they have languished there after a close friend, using hand gestures, enthused about them. With only a couple hours a day to read, coupled with a lifelong obsession with trying to know everything, I too-frequently choose to get Q-level knowledge about a totally new title, as I already have it for the book I know I will love. With the best of intentions, mind you. The more Q-levels I squirrel away in my mind-cheeks, the better I can be at my job.
Sometimes I think this is the main reason I keep buying books despite the mound of TBRs I have yet to R: that many more potential Qs. And also I get to avoid the sadness of actively avoiding all the books I know I will love by plucking just one off the stack.
It is books like The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making that make me feel really stupid about this stupid habit. It is fantastic! I really, really loved it! God, I wish I knew a kid who was 8 or 9 so I could experience it again by reading it out loud to them! Lord! How could I have neglected this book for so long?!
Jenn was right, per usual, and anybody who likes fantasy, The Phantom Tollbooth, fairy tales that don’t suck, or pitch-perfect chapter books or things like that ought to give this one a go. Just know that the longer you take getting around to it, the stupider you’ll feel.