Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jumping Into a Good Book

When I was a kid, I used to pretend I could jump into books. Literally.

(Yes, as a matter of fact, I was profoundly affected by watching Mary Poppins jump into the chalk sidewalk drawings with the kids & Bert, the chimney sweep. I thought if it worked with drawings, why not with with books?)

I would put a book I loved on the floor, hop up, and land...well, not on it--I was too anal about keeping my prized possessions in pristine condition to do that--but with feet on either side of it. Then, eyes closed, I would insert myself into world of Trixie Belden, or The Black Stallion, or Black Beauty, or any of the multitude of other book worlds I visited.

Once I even got my friend across the street to attempt it with me, though she thought it was nutso. Eh, what did she know? She wasn't much of a reader.

The thing of it was, my books were as real to me as my everyday life. I didn't just read them--I lived them. I knew those characters, and I wanted them to know me too.

Back then, my literary BFF was (of course) Trixie Belden. I didn't want to be her, I just wanted to be one of the Bobwhites of the Glen, to hang out with them and solve mysteries. To visit all the cool places they got to go, and to have my every problem neatly wrapped up within a reasonable time frame.

My literary boyfriend was Trixie's brother Brian--the brainy one. He was handsome, too, which didn't hurt.

Now for the embarrassing part of this post:

(Shhh. Don't tell anyone.)

*ahem* I still do this.

No, I don't physically put books on the floor and try to jump into them. I'm way too dignified (stop laughing) to do that now. But I have been known to daydream scenarios in which I play role in a literary figure's life. As me.

Kinda dumb, huh? But fun. Plus, it's a great way to pass the time if you're mired in the odd bout of insomnia, and don't want to turn on the light to read. Really. You should try it sometime.

My current BFFs are Stephanie Plum (you can't tell me it wouldn't be all kinds of fun to hang out with her for a day) and Sookie Stackhouse (the mind-reading thing might be a little uncomfortable at first, but I think I'd adjust, and then we could sunbathe together while we dished dirt on the vamps, and maybe catch a beer at Merlotte's).

Don't tell TG, but I also have a couple of literary boyfriends: Myron Bolitar and Harry Dresden, both of whom have "smartass" down to a science. I do appreciate a nice (smart)ass. ;)

I even have a literary Grandmother: Grandma Mazur. Geez, I'd love to have Sunday dinner with her! And then maybe hit the casinos.

So, do you ever fantasize this way, or am I the only one crazy enough to do this? Who's your literary BFF? Boyfriend or girlfriend? Illicit lover? *waggles eyebrows* How about extended family members?

Which book would you jump into?


Patty Blount said...

OMG, I totally do this! I love Jim in the Trixie Belden series.

Today, I crush on several characters - no surprise here. Tops on the list? Avery Cates.

Cynthia Reese's Where Love Grows features a grandmother named Meemaw which is EXACTLY what I called my grandmother. I have read that book more than once, imagining Cynthia's character as my grandmother and it's like she never died.

I'm also very fond of the Chesapeake Bay saga by Nora Roberts, imagining myself hanging with the Quinns.

And then of course, there's Thomas. Oh, my,my, my... Thomas lives in a (sadly) unpublished novel I wrote a few years ago. Someday, I hope he'll be lusted after by more than just me.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I would definitely have been your friend if you had lived in my town.

Unknown said...

I do love Stephanie Plum...and Lula (we mustn't forget her), but my literary BFF is Lt. Eve Dallas from JD Robb's IN DEATH series. She kicks ass and takes names, this hard-nosed cop who deftly solves even the trickiest murders but in almost 30 books still has not caught the candy thief that is stalking her stash :) As far as boyfriends go, I'd definitely sneak into Ranger's bat cave ;)

Michele Shaw said...

Here is the epitome of crazy...I have a crush on the LI in my own book! *giggles* You won't tell anyone, right?

Trisha Leigh said...

I did this as a child too. I remember closing a Nancy Drew book where Ned broke up with her and frantically searching for the next one. The title of the followup was titled False Moves and I prayed for days that the False Moves was them breaking up. Because Nancy was my friend and I hurt for her.

Sad, but true.

Honestly, I feel that way about the characters in Bill Cameron's books. They're so real. I want to hang out in Ruby Jane's coffee shop and chat all day. I am dying for Pete to step up the the plate and work things out.

Any well written character will get me going. My literary boyfriend is Noah Calhoun from The Notebook. Sigh. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

October Woman said...

Literary boyfriend - usually the hero of whatever book I'm reading at the moment!

cathy said... do this every time I read a book, but I honestly hadn't thought about it until you said it. How funny. I do the same kind of daydreaming when I go into an old building.

When life is really kind to me, I will have a dream at night that inserts me into a book I'm currently reading. But then it usually just gets weird.

Elisabeth Black said...

Literary BFF = actually, I love my 3 MC's a lot. I'd chill with them in their worlds although... we might fight.

Bill Cameron said...

Trisha, I am so pleased. And I can tell you this: Peter returns in the next installment. But that's it for spoilers!

I tend to fall into so many books, which is why I love them so. Watership Down was a huge early favorite. I lived the lives of Hazel and Fiver and Bigwig over and over.

In more recent years (though I've never lost my love of the rabbits), my closest personal fictional friends are probably Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire and the members of the Absaroka County Sheriff's Department.


I am madly, wildly, passionately in love with Phin from Jennifer Crusie's WELCOME TO TEMPTATION. Oh, and also Nick from CRAZY FOR YOU. And kinda with Davy from FAKING IT.

Sensing a pattern? :)


Bess Weatherby said...

Haha this is great, Linda! I posted about something similar -- my illicit forays into the world of fanfiction.

I don't write fan-fiction anymore but, like you, I still daydream about going to Hogwarts and Narnia and Middle Earth. My literary BF is definitely Jon Snow from "A Song of Ice and Fire," but I'm not sure I'd want to visit his world (violence+LONG winter+impending dragons=NO), but maybe he could come with me to, say, Versailles? Just for the summer?

GĂ©nette Wood said...


Like Bess, I was played around with fanfiction (Harry Potter, mostly), but then I discovered that I could create my own characters. I decided not to.

Instead, I started writing stories about how perfect my life would be if I married the quarterback of the football team at my high school. I've also written a story about me and one #11 Sprint Cup racecar driver.

My fictional BFFs are totally different, though. I have a crush on a character in my WIP (really sexy, sweet widower with a hint of dark side) and my BFF (also from my WIP) is a spoiled rich kid who has a great sense of humor.

In fiction not written by me, I'd have to say I'm completely smitten with Lend from PARANORMALCY.

Linda G. said...

Patty -- Jim was cool, too, but I just loved how brainy Brian was. And, yes -- Meemaw is a totally cool character.:)

And, hey, I think it's *cough* perfectly okay to crush on our own characters. I know I do. Heck, if WE don't like them, how can we expect our readers to?

KarenG -- Aw, thanks. But would you have jumped into a book with me?

Karla -- Love Lula! And, of course, Ranger would not be a bad choice to spend some quality time with either. ;) Haven't read the Eve Dallas books yet -- guess I'll have to look into them.

Michele -- And that's OKAY. Normal, I'd say. I mean, how bad would it be if you didn't like your own creation?

Trisha -- Oh, my yes. It's amazing how much pain we can feel on behalf of fictional characters. I think it's because we're amazingly sensitive and empathetic, don't you? Not at all that we're nutso. ;)

readinrobin -- Not so much "Mr. Right," but rather "Mr. Right Now," huh? ;)

Cathy -- Dreams have a way of doing that. The sleeping ones, anyway. Daydreams tend to go anywhere I want them to. ;)

Elisabeth -- LOL! You must have some very interesting characters. :)

Bill -- Spoil me! Spoil me! No? Rats. I haven't read any Craig Johnson -- I'll have to rectify that.

Tawna -- LOL! I totally understand. I adore Crusie's men, too. :)

Linda G. said...

Bess -- I remember your fanfiction post--it was a good one. And pulling a character out of a book to take on vacation with you seems like a perfectly reasonable alternative to me. :)

LadyGenette -- Isn't it a blast working with your own characters? Have to admit, I'm hooked on it. And, just from reading the comments here, I can tell you you're not the only one with a crush on your own character. :)

Elizabeth Ryann said...

For the record, I'd literally jump into a book with you today, so long as you promise that we leave them in pristine condition.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank Karla for distracting Eve so that I may have more time to hang out with my literary BF Roarke--he is somehow both ridiculously perfect and also believable. Which is how you know Nora Roberts is magic. I realize she's not actually fictional, but after this many books, she might actually be at least a little fictional, right? I'll count her amongst my imaginary friends anyway. And also Eve. For all that I'm stealing her husband, I do really like her (this sentence is extremely limited and applies only to imaginary fictional romances, by the way).

I also really love Damon from Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy. Nothing like a sexily tortured high-fantasy hero, you know?

But as far as fave gals to hang out with, I'd spend most of my time with Hermione Granger. Because she is awesome. Let Harry Potter have all the fame. We know who the brains of that operation is (and it's certainly not Ron).

Though when I was younger, I probably would've picked Charlotte Doyle (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi), or Cimorene from Patricia C. Wrede's Dealing With Dragons, or Princess Eilonwy from Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series, or Menolly from Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall series, or Harry from Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword, or...

Actually, let's be honest. I would still hang out with all of these ladies and gents still, and many more, because I am a very friendly sort with lots of room in my heart for imaginary people. My own and others. And I don't want to hijack your comments with my fictional loves. :)

Linda G. said...

Elizabeth -- Hijack away! I love reading about other people's literary love affairs. :)

I guess I'm really going to have to check out Eve Dallas & her hubby. You'll share, won't you?

Damon sounds pretty dang interesting, too. In fact, all your fictional friends sound great. That must be a pretty good party you have going in your head. ;)

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Eve Dallas and Roarke are worth checking out. Here are the deets on Roarke: richest guy on or off planet, who is really ridiculously good-looking and charming in the way only a black Irish formerly troubled youth (with the soul of a poet, of course) can be. He's also really sweet, really smart, good with weapons, and an excellent hacker. And because Eve is generally fairly serious, he also gets to be the one with the sense of humor. HE CAN DO ANYTHING. Including, somehow, feel realistic. I will maintain my silence on the subject of how well I share, though.

Daemon IS really interesting (even if I did manage to misspell his name. Sorry, Daemon!). The Black Jewels trilogy are the books that I reread whenever I read to renew my desire to write. They're quite the example of epic worldbuilding and a rather dystopian female-led society, full of long-lived people and magic. But at its heart is a family drama spread across three magical realms. Plus there are assassins and unicorns and magically dreaming spiders. These books are pretty much what happens when imagination explodes, essentially. And she ties so many disparate elements together in such heartrending ways that I always get something out of it, no matter how many times I reread them. Which is not to say that they're perfect books, but they are really really well done.

Charlotte Doyle is the enterprising young lady who at various times finds herself in the roles of respectable 13 year old miss, sailor, rebel leader, and sea captain. In 1832. She's rather awesome. Cimorene is the sort of princess who refuses to marry anyone for silly reasons, so she leaves home and lives with dragons instead...

You know what? It is a party in my head. All the time. And I LOVE it. No wonder it's so easy to get addicted to books! They mean more guests for cocktails (tales? Hmm...).

Linda G. said...

Cocktales? Now, what kind of stories would those be? *innocent grin*

You've convinced me. I will have to get hold of some Roarke AND some Daemon. They sound delicious. :)

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Heck, I convinced myself. Those were some fine books to reread this weekend. :)