Looking for a break from the Civil War but not wanting to stray too far, I picked up my childhood copy of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and quickly found myself back in antebellum Missouri delighting in the language and the wit. As I read, I realized how similar much of the language was that of my work in progress. It didn't take long for me to decide this counted as research.
I adore Tom who is obviously a great reader of Sir Walter Scott and his fascination with make-believe -- he's Robin Hood, he's a robber, he's a pirate . . . but always a noble one.
I also realized how much I love the charming illustrations in the well worn copy I've read and reread over the years.
I remember when I first read this book -- maybe sixty-five years ago -- I didn't have the sense that it was taking place about a century before. Sure, the clothes were different and there were no cars and such but the people were just like people I knew. They still are.
Of course, I grew up reading my grandmother's childhood books -- Little Women and An Old Fashioned Girl-- for example. And my grandparents' encyclopedias that were twenty or thirty years out of date. Time has always been a bit fluid for me . . .
I was also delighted to discover some phone numbers I'd written on the end papers -- Ann H. lived across the street and was older than I. He mother had a huge collection of little green clad china elves that I coveted.
LMK -- my next door neighbor was younger than I. She had a grandmother who was a Christian Scientist and spent a lot of time in bed -- when she wasn't driving her big boat of a car to visit her Practitioner, whatever that was.
Really, as Emily D. says, "There is no frigate like a book/ To take us lands away..."