Post-Crescent column: Wednesday, June 10, 2009
One of my favorite authors, epic fantasy novelist David Eddings, died June 2 at age 77.
Like J.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle and other writers of the genre whom I "met" in my youth through their incredible storytelling, Eddings told stories I devoured, until it came to the last few chapters of the final book in a series. Then I purposely slowed my reading rush, not wanting to finish the book and, in so doing, have to mourn the characters I'd come to feel were friends.
Because I started reading the prolific writer's books in middle school, I literally grew up with them. My most recent memory of disappearing into his world was when I was a college student, bedridden with influenza and feeling isolated during an away-from-home internship.
Eddings' latest series, "The Dreamers," sits on my bookshelf, waiting its turn for attention among other good reads stacked high in piles throughout my house.
But my first memory of Eddings is tied to summer, and to the children's reading program at McCollough Library in Evansville, Ind.
At 11, I flitted back and forth between the teen and adult departments. I'd spend hours there each week. On the day I "met" Eddings, I was both hungry for a new reading challenge, and also somewhat lonely.
A summer library employee in her late teens or early 20s saw me wandering the stacks and struck up a conversation with me as she re-shelved paperback fantasy novels.
I don't remember her name, but if I walked into that library again, I could go directly to the spot where she picked up one of Eddings' novels and said, "I think you'll like this book. Try it, and tell me what you think."
She doesn't know how much her kindness meant to me, just as Eddings never knew how much his books did.
Rest in peace, David, and thank you for your stories. Thank you, summer library employee, for your time. And thank you, hometown library, for the memories.
-By Kara Patterson, Post-Crescent staff writer