Thursday, September 13, 2012

Guest blogger: Charlene Kochensparger

We at Fine Print are very excited to bring a series of posts by local authors. We have asked them to share their thoughts about their favorite book, something they've read recently, or the role reading has played in their lives. Charlene Kochensparger is the author of "Mama's Been Called Up," a story about a young girl's response when her mom is called to deploy, in Military Life: Stories and Poems for Children. She was inspired to write it after the librarian at her children's school commented there weren't enough books about children whose moms are deployed.  Charlene graduated from The Ohio State University, is a contributing writer for Suite101.com, and has been published in several magazines. Her family is traveling through the United States alphabetically and are currently on the letter "i." Charlene Kochensparger will be one of the authors featured at A Tasting With Friends at Benham's Grove tonight. Tickets are available at the door or online. For more information on this event or to buy tickets, check out this page.

My official bookworm status began in sixth grade, when a friend introduced me to Nancy Drew. I still remember my first mystery as clearly as if I'd met the girl detective herself. Mystery at the SkiJump, number 29, had a yellow spine, a snowman on the cover, a mysterious hand reaching out, and a bit of pine branch in the foreground. Between the covers, I found magic.
Nancy was so cool--she had style, a boyfriend, a convertible and enough moxie for half a dozen girls. She could attend a college dance, find a thief, escape kidnapping through her clever use of lipstick and garner gratitude from local police. She defeated the bad guys every single time. What a track record this girl had! She became my hero and I read every copy of the Nancy Drew mysteries my elementary school had...multiple times. I read them at breakfast, at the bus stop, late at night and whenever I could. It felt like Christmas when I would look at the range of titles waiting for me on the library shelf.


Today you can find Nancy in a variety of stories and guises, as the detective I knew and loved, in first-person books, as an elementary school detective, and in graphic novel form. I've read some of these, but my favorites are still the ones from my childhood. My old-school Nancy Drew books have a place of honor on my bookshelves (the newer versions are on my daughter's shelves) and I still re-read them when I get the urge. I credit my love of reading and writing to Nancy Drew  and I still wish I were as stylish, quick-thinking and capable as she.

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