The Washington Post’s profile of the thoroughly charming Junot Diaz recounts a classified find when he was just a kid that led to his getting 500 books from a little old lady:
"That was the first time I found ‘The Borrowers,’ " he says, referring to Mary Norton’s children’s classic about unseen, Lilliputian-scale people who live by "borrowing" from normal-size humans. Other favorites from this unlikely trove were titles by explorer and naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews, "the guy who went to Mongolia and found the dinosaur eggs" — Díaz still dreams of traveling to Mongolia himself — and a variety of "books for young people, like ‘On Hygiene.’ Great stuff!"
There’s nothing so great as the first really significant book score of your life. I’ve posted about mine before (number 10).
Also, I can’t wait to read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao:
Tolkien shows up everywhere — Trujillo is Sauron, his henchmen are Ringwraiths, a guarded upper-class enclave is "so Minas Tirith" — but the references are never explained. Neither, for the most part, are allusions to the Marvel universe and to numerous other works of pop or high culture. If you’re unfamiliar with Galactus the planet-eater or the works of Joseph Conrad, you’re on your own, just as you are in the many untranslated Spanish passages.
Rubs hands together…