As you probably know, I love to read. It is my favorite thing to do in my down time. I almost always have a "current" book and that book usually doesn't stay current for long because I tend to fly through. I don't ever just sit and watch TV, I'm always also reading something. If I have to sit anywhere- doctor, body shop, mani/pedi- I'm reading. Now that I don't buy hard copies of books anymore (there's only so much storage space in a one bedroom apartment) I read on my iPhone, my iPad, my Kindle. I read, a lot.
I've said it before: I credit mostly my Momma for instilling in me a love of not just the written word, but books. The thrill of holding an unread book in your hands. Feeling the weight of it. Smelling its pages. The satisfaction that comes with seeing your physical progress through the book by watching your left hand hold more pages than your right. The sense of completion when you turn that last page, learn the last plot point, read the epilogue. The hours and days after you read a big series and you're still thinking about the characters that shared their lives with you for so many pages. The way books look on a shelf - evidence of hours of dedication to their pages.
Can you tell it was hard for me to switch to reading electronically?
I've come to a conclusion in the last year or so, since we moved here. I read a lot when we first arrived in San Francisco because, truthfully, I didn't have that much to do. I wasn't working and Marc was working...a lot. Poor guy loves to tell people how he'd get an email almost every day stating that I'd downloaded yet another book to our Kindle. Because of that and also due to some reading friends I've met here that have suggested books to me, I had time to explore books I wouldn't normally have read, and I realized, there's a lot of good reading out there that is outside my "box."
You see, I've been one of those people who only read certain types of books. I read classics, historical fiction, biographies, histories and various novels that qualify for my sophisticated sensibility under a very strict rubric. Not only was I snobbish about what I read, but I judged others who did not share my refined taste. I stuck my nose up at popular series just because they were popular. I gave the "bestseller" tables at Barnes and Noble a wide berth lest I be seen perusing a popular novel by one of those book-a-year novelists. There's nothing wrong with knowing what you like and you don't. For instance, and for reasons I won't go into online, I will never be a big supporter of the Christian fiction genre. I'll probably not grow into a horror, romance, or sports documentary fan either. That's OK. But the problem comes when I judge someone else by what they like to read.
We've all done it. And we've all been on the receiving end of it too. What? You like/don't like ___________ band? You watch that TV show? You bought that shirt at Target? Instantly you feel insecure, judged, shrinking in that person's estimation of your worth as a human being. Why do we do that to each other? Does it really matter if I don't really think the Beatles' music is that awesome or if my friend happens to love the latest Francine Rivers novel? No, it really, really doesn't matter.
It's OK to explore new things. I've been introduced to excellent writers because I trusted the recommendation of a friend even thought that author wrote fantasy novels. Totally not in my "box," but completely worth the time. What I'm saying is: read. If you don't like to read, that's OK. If you do, try some new stuff. There are worse things in the world than not finishing a book because you ended up not liking it. But go explore the great, wide world of the written word. Don't let anyone put you down because you read Harry Potter or because you happen to like reading philosophy books. That's the beauty of reading - there's something for everyone.
Here are some of my all-time favorites:
- A Long, Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
- Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- The Alienist by Caleb Carr
- Crazy Love by Francis Chan
- The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Far from the Madding Crowd and Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
What are some of your favorite books? What do you like to read and why?