I study in the juvenile lit section. My kind of world. For all of my vocabulary and high thoughts and theoretical reflections and intense school neurosis, I love nothing more than juvenile fiction. Nothing. Family and the gospel are possible exceptions. Let me amend that: I love good youth lit. Not all YA fiction is created equal. Not by a long shot.
I love the stories, I love the characters, I love the plot devices and dilemmas and humor, I love the resolutions.
Coincidently, there is an exhibit dedicated to Lloyd Alexander in the juvenile lit section of the library, and I possibly love Mr. Alexander more than all other YA authors combined. If I could name the main influences and molders-of-clay in my life they would be my parents, the gospel, the trials I've had or helped others through, and Mr. Alexander. His character Vesper Holly is my role model. I may have to name my oldest daughter Vesper...and don't get my started on Prince Jen and Sebastian the violinist and the gypsy Rizka and Taryn and the Gawgon and Carlo Chuchio and Tamar...they were the dearest friends of my childhood and the ones who still inspire my personal ethics and greatest dreams.
We can talk about their influence on my grasp of reality and romantic ideals another time...
Anyway, I sat down at a table in the library to begin puzzling out world systems theory when a book entitled Princess Ben caught my eye. Add that in to my long-denied senioritis, the fast approaching Thanksgiving break, and my latest musings on the direction my life and love life might take, and yep, good bye Immanuel Wallerstein and all of the other stuffy thinkers.*
Dear friends, I read the entire book in about 2 1/2 hours. Everyone around me was studying for tests and doing research and being stressed out and I read about Princess Ben whose real name, unfortunately for her, is Benevolence.
It was a more or less typical coming of age Cinderella-esque, Sleeping Beauty-ish, Ella Enchanted-like, female empowerment YA novel set in a faux British kingdom where the princess learns to reevaluate those above her, think of those under her, grow into her own power, discover her talents and gifts, save her kingdom, kill a dragon, learn to dance and eat politely and curtsy and talk diplomatically and fallinloveeventhoughshehatedthehandsomeintelligentprincefromtheneighboringkindgomwhohatedheranddiscoveredshewasawitchand wasalmostkilledbythedragonandwhohelpedherseewhatwasreallyimportantinlife.
Smartest, most responsible decision I ever made? Probably not. Best book I've ever read? Nope. But reader, I enjoyed it.
*It's not Wallerstein's fault he couldn't compete. World systems theory actually really is interesting. I've been interested in it for a long time.