By Erica Misoshnik
As the lovely Hannah wrote last week, books have the power to influence us in ways we never imagined possible. My own love affair with books started before I even learned to read, after seeing Beauty and the Beast for the first time at the age of 4. So I knew, no matter what, that when I grew up I wanted to work with books. Still, it wasn’t until my freshman year at Pace University that I knew how I could actually accomplish such a goal. It was my freshman advisor who first told me about the combined BA/MS degree in Publishing program when we met to discuss my spring schedule. I researched the program that night, suddenly saw a clear and attainable future for myself that just seemed to fit, and have never looked back.
It was also at Pace that I took an upper level literature course that forever changed my view of books, the publishing industry, and my own future. We were assigned The Hunger Games, the first book in a young adult dystopian trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. None of those things were appealing to me. Aside from a few novels, I had no interest in young adult books and dystopian lit was just not my thing.
Yet, about four chapters into the book, I was hooked. In fact, Hunger Games made me love young adult literature in a way I hadn’t since I was a young adult. It even brought me to middle-grade reads, such as the endlessly brilliant Percy Jackson series. Very quickly, I realized that these were the kinds of books I wanted to work with – books that made me feel like a little kid all over again, discovering the wonders of reading for the first time. Working with children for the past five years, and teaching them for two and a half, has only solidified that desire. There’s no matching the excitement of telling one of your students that in fact, yes, you have finally finished Son of Neptune, and no, you can’t wait for Mark of Athena either, and of course we can talk about the series at snack time.
But, I don’t have to tell anyone reading this how amazing and transformative books can be. We’re all here at the WNBA because we love them. That much was apparent when I met some of the women for the first time at the Brooklyn Book Festival back in October. I volunteered on a whim because of a posting on Pace’s publishing blog and ended up with a great afternoon, a newfound organization, and – a few months later – an internship working with the very women I was so excited to meet!
So yes, I’ve always known I wanted to work with books and yes, I’ve known for a few years now that I have wanted to work in publishing. Yet even I had no idea the impact one novel could potentially have on someone’s perception of an industry, or the way it could completely alter the course of a future. I had no idea that heading to the Brooklyn Book Festival would introduce me to so many wonderful new people. But I know now…and the story is only beginning.