Sunday, January 1, 2006

"Beware the Man of One Book" -- Anonymous

I cannot remember a time when I could not read. I cannot remember a time when I did not have books all around me. I was taught to read by being read to by my mother and older sister, Barbara. She is the one who first began to teach me the necessary mechanics of reading, so that I was already a reader on an elementary level when I started school. I was taught to read by the sight at any given time of one or both my parents or of any of my siblings with their noses buried in the pages of a book or magazine. I was taught to read by the joy I felt when I heard the rustle of pages turning, the smell of a new book or of news print, the sight of all those words filling all that white space.

In school I was always several years ahead of myself in reading comprehension. My Senior-year English teacher told me she'd never had a student who had read such varied material. I still have pretty eclectic tastes in reading.

So, what do I like to read? What do I have on my shelves? A little bit of everything.

I like biographies, children's books, classic literature, books for young adults, fables, mythology, modern romances, period romances, mysteries, suspense novels, westerns, ancient literature, science fiction, books on self-improvement, books on home-improvement, comics, poetry, school texts, plays and cereal boxes! (Although that last isn't supposed to be on my book shelves!) I'm currently reading the "Unicorn's Secret" series of books by Kathleen Duey that my nine-year old just finished. (They were a recommended read, and when my daughter recommends a book, I must read it!) I have four books going right now: the abovementioned "Unicorn" book (Book #1, because I just started), the first volume of ONE PIECE, which is an anime that my 16-year-old son told me I'd like (he was right -- very funny!), the Georgette Heyer novel for December (REGENCY BUCK), that my Heyer group is reading (actually just finished it), and I'm listening to CRITICAL JUDGMENT by Michael Palmer on audio at work.

Sometimes I want something light and full of fluff. Sometimes I want Dostoevsky. Sometimes I want to re-read a favorite series like The Rabbi Series by Harry Kemmelman, Tolkein, or all of the ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series....aallllll of them! Sometimes I want to re-visit a favorite from my childhood, like Nancy Drew (the original ones!), The Three Investigators, or something by Marguerite Henry, Marjory Hall, Erle Stanley Gardner or Zane Grey. And I almost always have a Georgette Heyer or Patricia Veryan novel going, because they are the best and wittiest, with the most consistently interesting characters of any of my favorite novelists, and it always makes me feel good to read them. Sometimes you can find on my shelves a book that I picked up from some dusty thrift store shelf, written by some obscure author no one's ever heard of.

I don't have the time to read like I used to, but I still manage. And my shelves are full to overflowing. This year I have been concentrating on building my collections of my favorite authors and of many classic novels. I'd like to share on the pages of this journal what is on my shelves and what I think about the books and authors. I'll also be sharing my quests for certain books that round out a series or collection. Maybe by doing this readers will find some enjoyment, be reminded of an old favorite, or be inspired to try out a new author.

I've tried this before and just couldn't get it down the way I wanted. But this time is different. I know what I'm doing. So stay tuned for some talk about books. Leave comments, email me, make suggestions, recommend a book you like and tell me why you like it. It's a new month and a new year, and I mean to start it off with a book. Come join me.


yakima127 said...

What a great idea!  I have been thinking about going back and reading the James Herriot series, "All Creatures Great and Small".  I loved those books as a teen.  You do read quite a variety of books/authors.  I need to broaden my reading horizons...mind if I tag along???  JAE

springsnymph said...

Always such a pleasure to discover another "Anne" fan.  Have you read the "Emily" books as well?  There are only three of them and they are wonderful.