Memorable Quotes from somewhere in the middle of a book: HEY! That’s my name! Edition

You may have noticed, I have an unusual name. I’ve heard over the years of a few other people named Shala roving around America.  One lives in New Jersey, and has (or had) a furniture store named Shala II in Dallas. I know she lives in New Jersey and owns the store because when I was in high school, I was so excited about seeing a store with my name on it that I stopped in one day and asked who it was named for.

Just this past summer, I came across a yoga studio in San Francisco called Monkey Yoga Shala. When the Chicago winter gets me down, I like to imagine a much cooler and more physically fit version of myself running that studio and living a balmy life in San Francisco.

Sign for Monkey Yoga Shala studio in Oakland, CA. (Photo: Monkey Yoga Studio)

Namaste, y’all. (Photo: Monkey Yoga Studio)

 

But though I’ve run into the odd retail business here and there with my name (and had my name used as nonsense syllables in countless pop songs), in all my years of reading and/or being read to, I have never, ever — not even once — come across a character named Shala.

Until this week. When it happened not once, but twice. Within a few pages of each other.

I’m reading Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series right now, and in The Broken Eye (Lightbringer #3) two characters named Shala appear.

The first appears in a dream/backstory segment and is fondly remembered by the main character as a middle-aged room slave with so little sex appeal that the main character speculates that his mother has given him the slave to ensure that he remains celibate. Awesome.

Just brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it? (Excerpt from The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks)

Just brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it? (Excerpt from The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks)

The second Shala appears a few pages later and is killed off within eleven words. But what a cameo! That Shala has been driven insane by the wanton use of magic and appears for her death scene completely strung out on poppy.

ShalaSmith

Seriously though, “Smith”? You show a nearly — no, as far as I know completely unprecedented amount of creativity in using the name Shala, and then you pair it with “Smith”? Disappointing. Why not use something more creative. Like, I don’t know… Howell. An incoherent drunken mage named Howell. Yeah. That’s perfect. (Excerpt from The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks)

 

It’s good to be me. Even if it’s not so good to be named after me in a Brent Weeks novel.

Michael doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. He is constantly running across his name in books and is completely desensitized to thrill of seeing his name in print.

Me? I’m a Brent Weeks fan for life.

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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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