Friday, February 28, 2014

Childhood books

You have a lot of time to think here, and as a result I probably over think everything now, but something that's been on my mind lately is just why am I rereading a bunch of books from my childhood when I have thousands of new ones to read?

I've reread the Chronicles of Prydian by Lloyd Alexander, as well as the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer. I've been craving to get my hands on copies of Tamora Pieces's Tortall books, Farley's Black Stallion novels, as well as the Dark is Rising series. Recently I got copies of Diane Duane's Young Wizard Series and am in the process of reading Harry Potter for, oh maybe the fourth time (total, not since I've been here!) and am delighting in reading a book and then watching the movie with Dani.

She is totally a Ron Weasley fan, because of the faces he made in the second movie. And while Dani doesn't always understand what's going one (something that's making realize that despite how many movie lines were taken from the books, the books do a lot better as explaining things, and setting them up so you have less surprises) I'm please to say she demands I pause a movie when she has to do something instead of letting it play like she will with other flicks.

But still, why in the world am I revisiting all these childhood worlds?

I wonder if it's cuz I miss home, still, even after having been here pushing 20 months and thinking about how weird sleeping in my childhood room will be when I go home. Back to the States. What did that historical romance about immigrants I just read say – we come expecting to go home, but then here becomes home. It's very similar here. I have friends and family here and as frustrated as three day power outages are, I know I will miss Huruta dearly. It has become as much a home to me as Wellington where I spent a semester. Though, I would much rather move there to live than return to Huruta. It's a rough, though lovable life.

These books though, they're familiar. Maybe that's why I return to them, because as homey as my compound is, I do live in Africa and that's very different than Michigan.

Or maybe because all these books and series, all fantasy (aside from Farley's works), are things that aren't found here. People don't know of dragons or magic or faeries. I know of people who saw an ad for Pixar's Cars and thought that cars actually talked in America.

Pretend, make believe, imagination, creativity are rare here. I asked students to create characters, and a third of the class simply filled out the profile format with their own demographics and self-portrait. There is no magic here, people don't dream or set goals. I love Duane's works because in it words control the world. In Rowling's series, you can see the effect of the individual. Pierce's characters are women fighting against stereotypes, Alexander writes about growing up and shedding childhood selfishness, Cooper about standing up to evil and temptation. Themes that all hard to find here. Maybe I'm seeking out what I miss in these old childhood friends, and turning to them instead of new books because I know they're reliable.

Then again, I'm probably just over thinking again.


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