To My Fairy Bookmother

Rachel Cordasco

Staff Writer

Rachel Cordasco has a Ph.D in literary studies and currently works as a developmental editor. When she's not at her day job or chasing three kids, she's writing reviews and translating Italian speculative fiction. She runs the website, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Dear Fairy Bookmother,

You usually come through for me. Each year, when I send you the list of books I’d like to receive for my birthday, you find a way to make it happen, whether it’s by whispering wished-for titles into the ears of my family and friends, or sending me cash or gift cards that I can use to physically or figuratively romp among books (and then buy a whole bunch of them).

As you know, I am turning the big 3-1 at the end of October. I’ve been having moments of OH MY GOD I REALLY AM IN MY 30s. But that’s beside the point. Right now, I’m asking for something different. This is not the usual List o’ Books, my bookish winged lady. No, this is a more complicated, complex list. I ask for books, but I also ask for other, less tangible things.

So in the spirit of family tradition, where we like to halve our ages, here are 15 1/2 birthday requests. Make it happen, Fairy Bookmother. You’re my only hope.


1. A complete set of Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series in English delivered to my door, in old binding that’s in good condition, with the pages UNCUT.

2. A meeting with Thomas Mann. If it takes a time machine, or wormhole, or whatever, so be it.

3. Total recall of all the books that I’ve ever read.

4. A bunch of cash sent to my neighborhood bookstore that’s closing at the end of November so that they can stay open forever and ever.

5. A cat that wears glasses and reads books aloud to me.

6. A hologram that I can conjure up any time I want to talk about a book with someone who’s already read it. Sometimes you just want to sit and have a chat, you know?

7. Every book Margaret Atwood has ever written.

8. Coffee with Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick. Again: time machine, wormhole, etc. etc.

9. Mark Twain brought back to life. Period. Forever. Seriously.

10. Certain famous living writers to get over themselves and just write their freakin’ books.


12. Books made of chocolate / books that smell like chocolate / books that look like chocolate.

13. Agatha Christie writing more mysteries- HERSELF!

14. Free, round-trip plane ticket to Maine and a letter of introduction to Stephen King. We have a lot to talk about.

15. Frank Norris not dying of a burst appendix at 32 and Stephen Crane not dying of TB at 28.

15 1/2. Half a day just to sink into my sofa corner and READ READ READ READ READ.

Sincerely, Rachel


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