There are two fantastic ways to welcome Gabriella Burnham's debut novel, It Is Wood, It Is Stone.
One is with a great New York Times book review. Done.
The other is with this conversation between the author and the teacher who inspired her passion for literature.
Gabriella Burnham is a graduate of Nantucket High School's Class of 2005. Her love of great books -- and her belief that she could become a writer -- was fueled by lit teacher Anne Phaneuf.
It was in Ms. Phaneuf's class that Gabi learned that the type of literature she loved "isn't trying to tell the reader what to think but really to look at the book as almost like a detective work ... to really find the symbols and the images."
It was Ms. Phaneuf who put Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera in her hands. Reading Garcia Marquez, says Gabi, "blew open the doors in terms of what literature can be" and empowered her to approach writing as a way of "reconstructing the way that we can see the world."
It was Ms. Phaneuf who wrote notes in the margins of Gabi's essays, and stayed after school with her to help with her application to college, and whose own enthusiasm for great books infected Gabi.
Gabi tells Ms. Phaneuf -- Anne, now -- "It's very difficult for me to find a book that I absolutely adore. But when I adore a book," she says, grabbing a book from her desk and embracing it, "I cling to it like this ... it's a part of me now. And I learned that from watching the way that you read books."
Watch this conversation. You'll adore it.