Wednesday, April 15, 2020

By the Book with special guest blogger Ari Raftelis

"If my life is going to mean anything, I have to
live it myself"
Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you the most?
When I was younger, I absolutely loved to read. I mainly read fictional books, whether they were about a dystopian society or a whimsical world. I would sit down and get lost in the novels. I would let my imagination run free and picture myself in the worlds I read about, whether that meant I was riding on the back of a mythical beast or fighting against a government alongside the heroes and heroines. As I got older, the adventures I went on with my favorite heroes inspired me to travel! I’m very lucky to have been to Italy, Greece, and Iceland. Many of the locations I visited are also the settings of my most loved books. My favorite author as a child was Rick Riordan, who wrote novels that had spins on mythology to show the gods, goddesses, and their children living in modern times. 

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).
I love to get cozy and read in bed or on the couch wrapped up in warm blankets! If it's nice outside, I do like to read on my back deck while I sunbathe. Reading is something very relaxing to me, and I enjoy unwinding somewhere quiet and warm.  
Mrs. Raftelis reading with Ari & Thea.

What's the most interesting thing you learned from a book recently?
I’m a college student, so all of my books are very informative! I’ll spare you the details, but all my books are somehow related to chemistry.

You're organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
I would love to invite Rick Riordan, Aldous Huxley, and Mary Pope Osborne. Mary Pope Osborne wrote the Magic Treehouse series. Her stories were the first to make me fall in love with reading. I loved the adventures she took me on as a reader as a child. Rick Riordan is the author of many series relating to mythological figures taking on the modern day world with their demigod children or magical heroes. I read all of his series from Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, to The Kane Chronicles. I actually wrote to him and he wrote me back a very kind letter. I'd love to meet him in person and let him know how much I loved his novels growing up. Aldous Huxley wrote my favorite novel as a high school student, Brave New World. This was a dystopian novel that I had to read for class, but I ended up loving the plot and the lessons embedded in the plot. I’ve read the novel many more times since it was originally assigned to me and notice new details every time! I’d love to sit down and talk to Mr. Huxley about the novel and discuss how today’s society ties into many of the themes and warnings he left in his novel. 
On a historical trail in Southern Iceland!


  1. A letter from Rick Riordan?? WOW! That's something to keep as a keepsake! His books always make me learn a little bit more about mythology. When I e-read his books, I am always bouncing off to sites where I can learn more about different mythological people and creatures.

  2. Thank you, Ari, for such an inspiring post! We have many RR fans in our school - I'm looking forward to telling them you received a letter from him! And your travels sound wonderful. Thanks again!

  3. I loved learning about you and your interests. All three of my kids read the Lightening Thief Series. I read them with Natalie, we too love all the demi-gods and magical details. Natalie appreciated all the reference to ADD too. You're lucky to have seen so much of the world already too. Good luck in your future endeavors sounds like you are off to an amazing start.