Welcome to a new category on this blog, “A Life in Books.” This is a catch-all for posts that aren’t reviews, or round-ups. They’re just about my life… in books.
I don’t remember when I first read those words, “The Book of Dust.” Sometime after I finished reading His Dark Materials for the first time; that means I heard about it before my dad died, because I remember talking about the end of The Amber Spyglass with him in the library parking lot.
I went online, like I always did – even back then – because I wanted to share this reading experience with someone and nobody in my hometown ever wanted to talk about books as much as I wanted to talk about books. At the tender age of twelve, I was already spending hours a day online, talking to strangers all over the world about Redwall, and Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings.
This was couldn’t have been later than 2002, so we’re talking Web 1.0. The old web was a veritable Wild West of rumors, and I loved them all – even the ones that weren’t true. Does anyone else remember Pikablu? Or Harry Potter and the Green Flame Torch? I chased that delicious thrill of speculation, and in my search for more of Lyra’s world, I read those words: The Book of Dust.
Philip Pullman was writing a companion series, called The Book of Dust. Serafina Pekkala would be in it. Nobody knew when it would be published. This was maybe 2002. I forgot about it for awhile. I hardly believed it when I heard the news: The Book of Dust was real, and I could preorder it right that very moment. I wasted no time.
My copy came in the mail today, delivered to me not in my hometown of Nowhere, Vermont, USA, but my apartment in Tokyo, Japan. It’s sitting on the floor next to a stack of books and tarot cards. I’m going to finish rereading His Dark Materials before I pick it up. I want to savor it.
… and I am afraid.
Rumor had it for years that the last word of the mythical Book 7 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) would be “scar.” I held onto that for years, and when it wasn’t… Well, I felt betrayed.
So I’m excited, and a little afraid.