SUCKER BLOG TOUR – DAY 31 – FEATURING MIMA TIPPER

ItSucker Literary Vol 2 Cover‘s the last day of the Sucker Literary Blog Tour and I have to say we’ve had a great run and shared some amazing author’s work. Did you miss the tour? Get all the dates and tour stops HERE.

IMPORTANT!! THIS IS TOMORROW!!! Sucker will reopen the doors for Volume 3 submissions. One day ONLY, August 1, 2013. Find the guidelines HERE.

Today we have a fantastic guest post from the lovely Mima Tipper.

“Boys and Reading and Bookstore Love”

 By Mima Tipper

 Truth be known, I’m more of a reader than a writer. Yup. I love writing because I love reading, and there’s nothing I like better than being pages deep in a fantastic novel. So imagine my readerly grief when my efforts to raise book-loving kids were pretty much a fail, especially in the case of my oldest son. Yeah, yeah, boys and reading, reading and boys: been there, done that, heard that, hate, hate, hate that. Exactly like many of his fellows, my oldest son loved being read to when he was little, liked books well enough through elementary school, but as soon as he hit middle school all that reading stuff went south. He had “better things to do.” Books were for “idiots.” Arrows through my reading-and-writing heart, people, big, sharp arrows!

Then came the summer after his freshman year of college. Two things: 1) my lovely, smart son was beginning to look at his future with a clearer, brighter eye; which led to 2) him being honest enough to confide that he wished he’d listened to me more about reading during his middle and high school days. That’s right. After one year at an uber-demanding liberal arts college, he saw how being a deeper, more fluent reader would’ve been a huge help with his crazy-hard courses.

Victory? No. Want to slap him silly with “I told you sos?” No (okay, maybe a little). In true mother-form, I told him it was never too late and I invited him to read a book with me. Yeah. We’d have a little mommy/son “summer book group.”

Carping the diem (and not wanting him to change his mind) I rushed him to our local independent bookstore, Phoenix Books. From the title of this piece, you might think I did that because I’m a bookstore purist: I am, mostly, but I do buy tons of stuff on-line (including the occasional book). This was not a time for internet shopping, though. Nope. I wanted books in our hands pronto, and going to an actual store was the only way that could happen. So yeah, I hustled him into the store, and bee-lined to novels by my fave authors. With barely a glance, my son rejected all of my choices: “Too much like school-reading,” he said, “Too chick-ish, too long, sounds boring…” and on and on.

Hmmm.

We began moving through the shelves, letting our fingers trail over book spines, angling our heads to read titles, and generally letting the texture, smell, and feel of being surrounded by books wash over us. Here and there I’d pull a book off the shelf, and we’d read the first page together, heads close. An admitted book-slut, more often than not I’d be sucked in, wanting immediately to shack up with Chapter One. Not so for my son. Picky, picky, he’d take the book from my hand, and put it back on the shelf. I chose not to advocate or argue for my choices, because I was on a mission: the book we chose had to be that perfect book, the one that would rope my son like a rogue calf, and tie him at last and forever to the reading-for-life fold. (Did I mention that I’m delusional? I do write fiction after all!)

Little by little, I began to notice something beyond my book-shopping fever: how being in the physical bookstore, especially a smaller, more eclectic independent, was working magic on my son. Displays of different books were closer together: the fiction section only a couple of feet from local interest books, novelty books, picture books, cook books. He browsed away and, as I continued searching the racks, sometimes chatting with a bookseller, I’d come across him curled up in a chair, reading humor, or standing by a table poking through a book of photographs. Magic upon magic, pearls began dripping from his tongue: “Check this out, Mom.” “Have you seen this one?” “My friends were reading this, take a look.” “Oh,” I’d murmur, not wanting to burst the bubble and, one by one, I collected each pearl.

Me? I loved bookstores from the get-go, but that day I experienced the space through my son’s eyes: how being in the physical store relaxed him, let him wander and dream. This wonderful experience with my son was illustrating for me in a new way that internet-shopping ( or even whatever kind of shopping comes next) will never replace the magic of certain kinds of physical-shopping, like being in a bookstore. Surrounded by hardcovers and softcovers, sizes, shapes, colors and textures, my son and I could push the envelope of what kind of book we “wanted” or were “searching for,” and instead actually “discover.”

Eventually we agreed on a book: J. Lethem’s first novel, Guns with Occasional Music, a short, wacky, Raymond-Chandler-meets-William-Gibson sci-fi-noir-crime thriller. We both liked the book a lot, and later that summer had a lovely bit of fun talking about it. Now, I can’t claim that our book and bookstore experience converted my son to crazy-avid-readerness, but he does spend more time reading for pleasure these days, and when we get the chance, it is mad-fun going to a bookstore together.

A small P. S: I guess my hope is that stories like this one will add fuel to the fire for all of us (internet book sources/retailers, as well) to work together actively to support the survival of bookstores. After all, if kids don’t grow up spending time in actual physical book places (that means you too, libraries) will they even bother searching out books on the internet, or anywhere else?

About the Author: Mima Tipper received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is thrilled not only that her short story “Waiting for Alice” will appear in Sucker Literary Magazine’s first issue, but also that another of her YA stories, “A Cut-Out Face”, was in the fall, 2011 issue of Hunger Mountain’s online Journal of the Arts. When she’s not whipping up trouble for her fictional characters, Mima tries to take full advantage of living with her family in her beautiful home state of Vermont. Find her on Twitter @meemtip. She is represented by Hen&ink Literary Studio.

Pick up a copy of Sucker Literary Volume 2 Today! Amazon

When Alex’s bandmates invite a girl to sing lead, a battle of the sexes becomes a battle over something unexpected. . . A girl tells her friend about hooking up with longtime crush Fred, but his kisses are not what makes that night in his car memorable. . . A therapy session with Doug might just make Jason go insane again. . . Wallflower Aubrey hooks up with Gordon after the cast party, which would be fine if he weren’t the most forbidden fruit of them all…Savannah certainly doesn’t sound like a convict’s name, so maybe hanging out with her isn’t all that dangerous. Miki is committed to getting over Dex, yet she can’t get him off her answering machine—or her doorstep. In between puffs of cigarettes and attempts to smear lipstick on her face, Allie’s grandmother dishes out advice that maybe Allie should take. . . And finally, what’s a girl to do with Satan as both her boss and father? Nine short stories pose the questions we obsess over whether we’re growing up or all grown up: Who should I love? Am I doing the right thing? Is there ever an end to heartbreak? In its second volume, SUCKER continues to showcase the very best emerging talent in young adult literature and give (some of) the answers to Life’s Big Questions along the way.

IMPORTANT!! THIS IS TOMORROW!!! Sucker will reopen the doors for Volume 3 submissions. One day ONLY, August 1, 2013. Find the guidelines HERE.

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13 comments

  1. Thanks for such a great finale to the SUCKER blog tour, Mima and Kacey. Mima, my experience with books as a kid was a little different–for me it was LIBRARIES that fed my passion. My mom was frugal (why buy when you can borrow?) and the only small local bookstore in our town didn’t have much of a children’s section that I remember. I loved our family trips to the local library, a dusty old former school with narrow aisles, creaky wooden floors, and a card catalog with real, finger-smudged cards. I think there was a 10-book limit per visit and I rarely left with less than 10 books. I tried to raise my own children to treasure library visits, but the library in our village (Hastings-on-Hudson, NY), while beautiful and well-curated by the wonderful children’s librarian, did not have the same visceral pleasure for them as my old library had for me. That being said, both kids are now in their 20s and are avid readers. Whatever works! xo

  2. Nice article about your son Mima. Jonathan Lethem is one of my favorite authors, and I love “Motherless Brooklyn” which you have probably read, about the young man with Tourette’s Syndrome. Fabulous book.

  3. Ahhh, yes, I had to march into my son’s room and demand, “You must spend one-half hour reading before you go to bed!” and then check in my daughter’s room only to find her reading by flashlight under the covers and I’d have to admonish, “Stop reading and go to sleep!” I’m glad you and Phoenix Books helped Jack find his way back to reading for pleasure again.

    1. Thanks for reading, Meg. Love the memories of M and S and can’t wait to check in with S about his honeymoon reading:)

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed this Mima! And while I do have one son (21 years old today!!!) who reads like there is no tomorrow, my other could care less, so I do see this from both sides. Your bookstore experience reminded me of times spent in public libraries when I was young and the thrill of finding a new read that tickled my fancy. Thanks for sharing!

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