Monday, May 6, 2013

The Bookshelves of Jo March, Neville Longbottom, Edmond Pevency, Claus and Fern Arable

This post was loosely inspired by a lovely post Natasha did a few weeks back about the hypothetical bookshelves of characters in literature. I was thinking about some of my favorite children's and young adult books and then I started thinking, "I wonder what some of my favorite characters like to read ..." And since they're fictional characters themselves, I've chosen to blithely ignore the fact that Jo March was 19th century and therefore couldn't have read Alan Bennett of the 20th/21st century.

Let's begin with Louisa May Alcott's beloved heroine. Jo March's bookshelf is easy because, in Little Women, she is perpetually reading. Her bookshelf, as detailed by Alcott in the novel, would look something like this:
Pilgrim's Progress, The Wide Wide World
and The Pickwick Papers

However, I think if Jo could time travel and read anything ever published, her bookshelf would look more like this:

13 Little Blue Envelopes, On Writing, The Penderwicks,
Self-Reliance and Other Essays,
and The Uncommon Reader
Jo's a writer and grows up with a philosopher/minister father. She's also determined to travel, to escape her small world for a larger one, and ultimately to be a free woman.

I always thought J.K. Rowling's Neville Longbottom, underdog-turned-hero in the Harry Potter series, would have been an avid reader. As a kid who's bullied and bears the brunt of a lot of jokes, even from his friends, he seems the sort to enjoy some escapism. However, he also grows a lot over the course of the series, on a kind of epic saga of his own. Additionally, he's a horticulture-lover, so I think his bookshelf would look like this:

On The Road, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Edible Wild Plantsand Useful Herbs
Everything You Need to Know About SnakesSpud

C.S. Lewis's Edmund Pevencie begins as the family rebel until the morality in the series beats it out of him. It does flare up on occasion, though, post Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I think with that little bit of rebelliousness kicking around in his system, as well as his royal heritage in Narnia, his bookshelf would probably look something like this:

Tangerine, D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths,
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table,
Edward III, The Hobbit
E.B. White's Fern Arable has an imagination and creative view of the world that, to me, screams "Reader!!" She's also an animal-lover and very child-like, while at the same time just beginning to approach the age where make believe isn't quite enough anymore. If Fern, like Jo, had run of a literary timeline, I think her bookshelf would look like this:

Because of Winn-Dixie; Are You There, God, It's Me, Margaret?;
Catwings; Mercy Watson to the Rescue; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Who are some of your favorite book characters and what might their bookshelves look like?

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