Welcome to the next stop on the blog tour for This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki. You can check out the full tour schedule here.
For today’s stop I have for you a guest post from Maiko Tamaki about the books she read as a child. Enjoy!
There’s a picture of the young writer, the caterpillar, percolating a future interest in words. Typically, in this picture, the young writer is reading.
I also think when people ask me this question they’re going to be appalled by my answer.
Because I read pulp as a kid.
Lots of it.
I can shift blame and say that I read what my friends were reading but who’s to say where the chicken and the egg is here? I do have a very clear memory of the first time I laid hands on Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, which was given to me, dog-earred, by a friend of mine who had pretty much already told me the plot because it was all anyone wanted to talk about that summer. Not unlike what we would later play out obsessing over Nightmare on Elm Street, which that same friend explained to me point by point while we were canoeing through Muskoka a few years later.
I read them all, from Flowers in the Attic to The Seeds of Yesterday, at the time marveling that V.C. Andrews ability to carry the metaphor through each title.
Later I obsessed with my friends over the Sweet Valley High series, and the Wakefield twin’s ups and downs. And their blonde hair. And their perfectly assembled outfits, which haunted my dreams.
At the time, reading was as much ritual as content. You sat around the balcony with your friends in the hot sun trying to get a burn and reading about girls being girls. I think part of the thrill of it was that it wasn’t what we were being assigned in school. It was the literary equivalent of soap operas, only meditative.
At the time, this reading seemed like an escape, from the world but also from the world of literature as it was presented to me in school, which I pretty much hated.
Beyond this pulp consumption, I think there was a time when I started reading in a way that felt…different. A kind of reading where I started to notice something other than just the “what was happening” in the story. The first books that I remember as “those books” were written by my literary icons: Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, and Alice Munro. Reading their works was the first time I read books that felt big and important.
Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye, which has such a stunning first chapter I recently reread it and swooned.
Timothy Findley’s Not Wanted on the Voyage, which was the first literary work tackling biblical themes that I actually enjoyed.
Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women, which is as complicated a portrait of growing up as a woman as has ever been written in my humble opinion.
These were also consumed on balconies, and of course by then I was a different person. Maybe I went to these books because I was becoming that person, that obsessed observer, the book nerd. Maybe those books transformed me, I don’t know.
They’re very good.
Here’s more about this wonderful book:
Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.
In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age—a story of renewal and revelation.
Thanks so much to Mariko for stopping by today. As a middle school librarian I love hearing about peoples favorite books!