Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Reading Books

I'm not sure how I got so sidetracked, but I very belatedly realized that I neglected to answer one very important question, hailing back to my Q and A post...

"Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite books?"

The short answer... YES! and... YES!

The long answer... I grew up with my nose almost constantly in a book. I read while brushing my teeth, tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to read at the dinner table, I read while sitting up in a tree or cozy on a couch. Reading was my primary and favorite entertainment during my growing up years and into my 20's.

Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series, Richardson's Grandma's Attic series, any sort of Fairy Tale book I could lay hands on, a favorite being a collection of Grimm's.
I later advanced to Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew series and Walter Farley's Black Stallion series. Then there was Caddie Woodlawn, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Pilgrim's Progress, and Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.
In my late pre-teens I discovered JRR Tolkien, and from there forward became an ever-after and eternal fan of Middle Earth, and the Inklings, which lead me to read CS Lewis' Space Trilogy, which lead me to a search for more well-written fantasy books, which led me to discover Steven Lawhead.
In between, I read a bajillion other books by Janette Oke, Michael Phillips and Judith Pella, Brock and Bode Thoene, George MacDonald, Corrie Ten Boom, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, even a little Jane Austen (although I have to confess that I'm much more a fan of the movie versions than her own writing style), Louisa May Alcott, and many of the classic poets.
I'm not the sort to buy books like crazy. I tend to check them out at the library first, then, if I love a book enough to know that I'll be reading it again, the next time I want to read it, I go out and buy it, or watch for a good sale and buy it in advance. That way I'm not buried in books that I'll never read again.

There are a few series that I have read at some point that I plan to add to my collection, one being Laurie King's Mary Russell Series, another being Jan Karon's Mitford series. I also plan to stock up on Elizabeth Gaskell's entire collection of books. If you haven't read her yet, she's the creator of Cranford, writing just a short time after Jane Austen was writing, but with a more village-level view of life in the England of the time.

All told, I would say that Dickens, Gaskell, Tolkien, and the Bronte sisters are my very favorite classic authors. Current day favorites are still to be discovered.

Because the truth of the matter is... I don't read much these days. Ever since having kids and starting my needlework design business, all of my sit-down time is either spent reading children's books or stitching. I have grand plans for catching up on the last decade of best-sellers, but it will be a long while before I find time to do any serious reading again.

Currently on my bedside stand are the books that I pick up from time to time, all time favorites and curiosities should the mood strike...
I also pull very often from my healthy supply of craft and diy books, which live in my studio...
My current guilty-pleasure, squeeze-in-a-few-minutes-each-night-in-bed-before-my-eyelids-droop, is a series by Robert Jordan, that I've been reading since 1994. The author passed away a few years ago, leaving the series unfinished, but with a detailed summary of how it would be completed. His family then interviewed and chose an author to finish the series as close to the original voice as possible. I'm working my way through the entire collection of 15 books (including a prequel), trying to time it so that I finish book 14 when the final volume is released in January.
In summary, when it comes to books, I would much rather read science fiction and fantasy over any other genre, can find satisfaction in historical novels or stories about the 18th and 19th centuries, but don't ever give me a silly romance or story that will make me cry.

Because if you do, I will hunt you down in the night and put ice cubes between your toes before forcing you to eat soggy cereal while listening to that Macarena song.

Oh... I'm also reading this:
What do YOU like to read?


Terri said...

Oooh, I love to read too! I was much the same way - always with my nose in a book. My grandmother used to yank the book away from me and send me outside to get some "color."

If you like science fiction/fantasy type, then try Ted Dekker. I've just "discovered" him myself and am devouring his books.

Beth Twist said...

Ted Dekker! Totally forgot about him. Yes, I've read and enjoyed a few of his books. Fantasy Thrillers, and hard to put down if I remember correctly.

Ralee said...

As a life-long book worm and former English professor, I never thought I would stoop so low as to listen to books. But since I've been unemployed and busier than ever, I've discovered that books loaded onto my ipod, borrowed from my wonderful library are a way to have my cake and eat it too! I listen to books while stitching, cleaning, and otherwise too occupied to sit and focus on the printed word. Oh, I still revel in the tactile wonder that is a real book, but like I said, listening to a wonderfully narrated book while my hands are busy is a delicious (and calorie-free) way to have that cake and eat it as well.

Vickie said...

I have to agree with Terri up there. That is exactly who I was going to recommend to you. Ted Dekker. I have read every single one of his books. FANTASTIC.

woollylottrugs said...

Oh reading is one of life's pure pleasures! I am an avid reader and always have been. I love all your books!! When I was a kid I loved the Nancy Drew series and read them all. Also the Hardy Boys I read them all. And when very young the Bobsey Twins. I have never met a book I didn't like yet. I still am an avid reader and now own a kindle. I love it. I have over 1000 books downloaded and I only ever paid for one. There are so many free books available it's incredible. I really really enjoyed Jan Karon and her Mitford series a few years ago. Just finished reading the complete works of Jane Austen and really loved that too but a bit difficult to read her style.


DebbieSFL said...

I love Laurie King's Mary Russell series. I have also enjoyed Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen series. She keeps Jane in her time, but has her solving murder mysteries.

Donna G. said...

Beth, I'm glad you "neglected" to answer my question until yesterday. I was on vacation from 9/1-9/15 and had very little Internet interaction :o) so I could have missed this post had you answered any earlier.

Just as I figured, you are a lover of books. One of my "hobbies" is going to used book sales. I'm fortunate that there are several libraries close by that have regular book sales at fantastic prices! Needless to say I have enough books to read for the next 150 years (!) however I will continue adding to my library.

Once I read a book, I hold on to it if it is a favorite. Otherwise I pass it on to a friend who might enjoy it also....or donate it to the local thrift store.

One of my favorite authors is Gladys Taber. Have you read any of her stuff? I also like A. J. Cronin, Jan Karon and World War II history/biography.