Saturday, September 15, 2012

10 Bookish People I Want to Meet

10 Bookish People I’d Love to Meet is the Top Ten Tuesday theme for September 18 over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Sadly, some of my literary heroes, people I have long admired and wished to meet, are no longer with us. Madeleine L’Engle was 88 when she passed away in 2007. Maurice Sendak died in May 2012 at the age of 83. Else Holmelund Minarik, 91. Diana Wynne Jones was only 76. Anne McCaffrey was 85. Ruth Chew, 90. Eleanor Estes, 82. Ray Bradbury, 91. Russell Hoban, 86. Sid Fleischman, 90. And my favorite childhood author, Catherine Woolley, whose Ginnie and Geneva books I read, reread, and reread again--was 100.

I’m sad that they are gone. The world is not the same without them. But isn't it interesting and encouraging that so many of these folks lived well into their 80s and 90s? I choose to believe there’s something about the process of imaginative writing that keeps a person mentally and physically young.

If only I could do what Owen Wilson did in Midnight in Paris! But since I haven't yet found that magical clock tower, what living authors do I most want to meet?

I want to pick her brain about creating memorable and universal characters. Who doesn't know and love Henry, Ribsy, Beezus, and Ramona?

She is simply brilliant, and I’m in awe of her accomplishment. 

Water for Elephants and Ape House gripped me from the first page and never let go. Tell me, Sarah, please--what’s your secret?

In an NPR radio interview years ago, she impressed me as someone I would  very much like to know. And I love her writing.

I’ve read a lot of children’s fantasy, and Midnight for Charlie Bone and its sequels still top my list of favorites.

I want to know how she writes so many incredible books so quickly, and sustains that pace over time. I’m also impressed with her kind and straightforward manner in online interactions.

Nobody writes magical realism like Hoffman. How does she do it?

Anyone who can write like that is sure to be an interesting dinner companion! Also, I’d love to learn about his system of worldbuilding.

I was twelve when Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret came out. Forever was published when I was 17. I read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and its sequels to my kids. Judy Blume is an icon, and I want to hear her insights on creating groundbreaking literature for kids and young adults.

Sorry to be heretical, but I’m not going to talk about The Giver or Number the Stars. After all these years, I still love Anastasia best of all.

What a multitalented guy! From the whimsical, pastel mice of Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse to the honesty and emotion of Olive’s Ocean, Henkes can do it all.

Oops, that might have been eleven. And even so, I’m sure I’m unintentionally omitting lots of people who deserve to be on the wanna-meet list. But it’s a start.

What literary people do you most want to meet?


Mirka Breen said...

The first part of the list reminded me of the book about the FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN, only you've got eleven. Heaven will be doubly sweet!
Personally I would like to meet those who were known as great conversationalists, because not all writers are. I may love their work, but not all writers are as generous or gifted with sharing themselves in person. (With this sort of observation, you'll understand why I’m not naming names.)

Ruth Donnelly said...

That is a good point, Mirka. Some people speak brilliantly on the page, but might not be so forthcoming in real life.

Anonymous said...

Yes! I was a huge Ruth Chew fan as a kid (and still am, though it's really hard to find any of her books). And I second the Anastasia books as favorite Lowry ones. The Giver is phenomenal, but Anastasia is a classic.

Angie Sandro said...

I would love to meet George R. R. Martin and Stephen King. I would probably turn into a puddle of goo-- totally worthless, and unable to hold a rational conversation without babbling like an idiot. So, it's best if this dream is never actualized IMO.

Ruth Donnelly said...

mlicious, glad to know another Ruth Chew and Anastasia fan!

Angie, yeah, that's my problem too. I would blurt out something ridiculous, and they would give me a wary look and walk the other way!

Marcia said...

Yes, isn't it wonderful what long lives these people lived? So much for the myth of authors dying young.

Another Ginnie and Geneva lover? I adored those books. I liked the Cathy Leonard books, too.

Ruth Donnelly said...

Marcia, glad to know you loved the Ginnie and Geneva books, too. My favorite was Ginnie and Her Juniors, in which Ginnie starts a babysitting business. I had forgotten about Cathy Leonard--thanks for the reminder!