I asked my friend Thea van Diepen from Canada to tell me about a weird place she read in. This is her reply. Have fun.
Canadians are supposed to love hockey. When we attend hockey games, we’re supposed to cheer on a team or an individual with vim and vigour, especially when we’re in another country. They must know we are not American Canadian, after all. What we’re not supposed to do during a hockey game is read a book.
When I was about eleven, in the middle of my family’s three years in Alabama, we found out about a hockey game happening in town. So my parents bought tickets.
At the time, I was busy working my way through all of the science fiction and fantasy books our local library had in its MG/YA section. I’d take out as many as I was allowed at a time (aka, a lot) and read them all in a couple days. The book I was in the middle of when the hockey game even occurred was Colors in the Dreamweaver’s Loom by Beth Hilgartner, which had me fascinated. So fascinated that, book lover as I am, I brought it with me to the game despite lingering guilt.
It’s hard to explain to someone who isn’t Canadian exactly how… Canadian hockey is. Tim Horton’s, the coffee and doughnuts chain that has also been a Canadian Thing, was started by a hockey player and its ads and commercials would feature kids playing hockey. It’s our official winter sport. It’s all over TV and social media when the season hits, during draft picks, whenever anyone might have the slightest excuse to mention it. And, yes, it was invented in Canada, no matter what anyone else might say.
Still, I am not a hockey person. Shocking, I know.
I would have not gone to the game at all, if possible, but my parents cajoled me.
“There are a bunch of Canadian players on both teams,” they said.
Which, as far as cajoling goes, worked. Moving to another country had been hard for me, and I was determined not to lose my Canadianness while there. Maybe it’d be interesting enough that I wouldn’t have to read to relieve boredom.
We went in, found our seats, and commented about how we never thought we’d find a real ice rink in Alabama. I’m not sure how much of this I joined in, as I opened my book as soon as I possibly could. And, swoosh, I was sucked right into the story. Hockey didn’t even stand a chance.
Outside of the world of the book and Zan’s adventures in an alternate world, hockey players made goals. Half-time happened. Canadians did cool things on the ice. Other vague events occurred.
Inside the book, I travelled with Zan as she both dealt with grief after her father’s death and tried to find a way to help the Orathi keep their land from being taken. There were shapeshifters, spirit-gifts, gods, and the Dreamweaver doing her best to help using a loom that can affect the actions and choices of others. With the last being the coolest world detail ever. There were characters that I loved and connected with. I wanted them to succeed. I wanted them to find happiness.
(And then there was the ending, but I won’t spoil that one for you. Just, if you do decide to read it, keep in mind that there’s a sequel… the author doesn’t hate you, promise.)
Even in the action and excitement around me, it all paled next to the book that had me riveted.
It’s easy to read a book and enjoy it when life is calm and you sit in a pleasant garden by yourself on a warm day.
But, from time to time, you may want to try reading a book during a hockey game. That’s when you know you have magic in your hands.
When have you been sucked into a story this way? What book was it?