A Gem From Our Backlist

A Gem From Our Backlist

Posted on July 5 by admin
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I remember some of the books I read when I was at that awesome age, between 8 and 12, where I could read like a champ and I was still of indiscriminate tastes. Archie comics and Baby Sitters Club got thrown into the mix with Narnia and The Hobbit. My first job, when I was eleven, was dusting old mildewed books at a used bookstore on Saturdays. It was easy work and the owner paid me in books.

At first I was taking home as much pulp as I could, until my dad put an end to it. I was banned from reading Archies and had to choose my books more carefully. Well, though my father’s authoritarian censorship did not go over well, I can now hand it to him. I don’t remember one Baby Sitters Club plot, and my memories aren’t crowded with Betty’s frustrating feud with Veronica. I do remember bits from the finely crafted YA novels I began reading. I acquired a particular taste for fantasy and adventure.

If one Saturday I had stumbled across Julie Lawson’s White Jade Tiger I would have snatched it up. It tells the story of a young girl who finds a hidden door while exploring a curiosity shop in Chinatown, and is transported to Chinatown of the 1880’s, where she is swept up in a race to find a missing tiger amulet. It has all the elements – time travel, hidden doors, adventure – that would have satisfied my own and my father’s literary tastes.