Sunday, February 28, 2016

Inspired by Reading: A Wrinkle in Time

The latest book selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.  I've been eagerly awaiting this one since this book has a special place in my reading history.  I'm a little late getting my post up... more on why in a bit. 

Just two of the many covers that this book has had over the years.
Even though I do own a copy of the book in my personal collection, I waited to borrow one from the public library because I wasn't convinced that my "vintage" copy would withstand me reading it.  It's a copy from my childhood and is pretty yellow and brittle, but it does have the cover I grew up with... the one on the right in the picture above.  I was oddly put off by the cover of my borrowed library copy... it was the one on the left above and was created by famous husband and wife illustrator team Leo and Diane Dillon.  I really enjoy much of their work and they're even responsible for some of my all time favorite book covers (you can see an archive of their work HERE) but I just found this cover slightly off-putting for some reason.  I'm not sure that I would have picked the story up as a kid if that had been the cover on the copy I found.  Maybe I'm just reacting because it's not the version with which I'm familiar.  If you're interested to see the other cover versions, click HERE.  Did anyone else have a reaction to the cover art for this one?  or another favorite that you went back to revisit? 

Ok, pushing past the cover art and onto the book itself!  A Wrinkle in Time was first published in 1962 and has been continuously in print ever since.  If you know anything about the publishing world, you know that this is a pretty amazing feat!  Part of that longevity can be attributed to the fact that Wrinkle won the prestigious Newbery Medal... but it's bigger than that since plenty of award winners have gone out of print.  I was curious to re-read the story to see how I responded to it as an adult.

I first read this book when I was in elementary school and an older cousin let me borrow a copy.  I was instantly hooked and had to speed through and read the two sequels that existed at that time (A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet).  Unfortunately, for me at least, you can't go home again.  My adult re-read of Wrinkle left me disappointed to say the least.  I feel really guilty about my reactions... it feels like a betrayal of my youth services librarian roots or something.

Part of it is that Wrinkle falls into the same trap as many stories that are written as contemporary fiction... what was totally normal life in 1962 feels quite dated in 2016.  Genre fiction (with the exception of maybe mystery) can often get around this pitfall since they are set in another time and place... well defined and different from our own.  But it was more than that, the dialog just didn't work for me.  Yes, the slang was beyond outdated, but the dialog was generally clunky in my opinion.  I really don't mean to trash a children's classic... it made me sad that I just couldn't get immersed in a story that had so captivated me once upon a time.  I hope I'm just a weirdo and others still can find a connection here... I just didn't.  (Eric tried to read it but had to put it down for similar reasons and because he wanted to hold onto as much of his original reading experience as possible.) 

Because of my lackluster response to the book, I had a really hard time coming up with any sort of jewelry design based on it.  I really pushed myself to make something... anything... just because I wanted to reflect on my reactions to the book.  Here is what I ended up with:       

I finally settled on doing something to play off of the idea of the "Dark Thing" around the dark planet of Camazotz (and many others) as well as travel through outer space.  I started with a pair of lampwork beads by Firelily Glass that have darker tones to them and what feels like a alien sort of pattern to them (at least in my mind!)  I mixed in some dark black and grey Czech glass, brass, crystal, and some moon and star beads in brass tones. 


  1. I find your reaction to the book interesting. I had not read it before, which I find amazing because I cleaned out my school library during the appropriate age range, and my sister said they had this book because she read it (and apparently didn't tell me about it!) Anyway, I liked it and found it easy to finish (I can rarely finish books I don't connect with) but I also found the dialogue clunky. I attributed that to the fact that it is aimed at a pretty young audience and the author needed to be explicit for that age group. I'm sorry about how you reacted this time; I often don't re-read some of my very favorite books from my younger years because I'm afraid I won't like them as much. Your earrings are beautiful, though, and very appropriate for the inspiration.

  2. What an interesting post Sarajo. I have not read the book because I could never get into it. But I know many who have. I found your take on a childhood memory of the book and its cover juxtaposed to your present day experience with the book so very touching. I know that I like to rekindle old memories of childhood books and I am trying to think if I have actually re-read any. But like many things from our past, as you pointed out, you can't go home again. That is very fine...and I am so glad you wrote about it in your post.

  3. I so wanted to love the book again...but I just couldn't do it. The speech of the characters was just odd and stilted, as were the responses to situations--just not how humans (especially children) talk and react.

  4. Love the earrings! It is funny we were thinking and blogging about this book at the same time. I like both freaky 70's covers :-).

  5. This was one of my favorite books ever. I read it over year after year when I was a teen. I think I would agree that reading it today would feel a bit outdated, but I think I would like to try since I loved it so! I like what you made to go with it. Now you make me want to pick up that book again! Enjoy the day! Erin