Friday, December 3, 2010

For the Love of Books

Now that the spreading of the Blog Love to all my wonderful followers is done, I shall attempt a real post. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go here to find out!

Yesterday I finished a book. Not that this is like a news flash or anything, as I love to read. I used to always carry a book around with me as a kid - drove my parents nuts. However, after I finished the book, I realized even just a few years ago I might never have tried it. Why? It wasn't by Dean Koontz.
I admit, I am a huge Dean Koontz fan. It's extremely rare for me to not enjoy every word written in each of his novels. I am constantly lying in wait for his next book to come out in paperback (I'm not a fan of hard cover).

But it got me thinking. Or rather, remembering. I have always seemed to be quite selective when it came to my books. As a kid, I only read horse books. This of course limited my reading material. I had few exceptions, but if I found a book that had anything to do with horses, I was reading it. I guess you could say I was slightly obsessed? I mostly remember reading The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley as a kid. I read those so many times I can still tell you about every book. I actually wrote to Walter Farley for school once. We all had to write a letter to our favorite authors. I was singled out as mine was the only one who happened to be dead. I wrote to him in 1989 I believe, and he had passed away only in the last year. I was so disheartened to hear that my favorite author had passed on.

My great-grandma gave me my first non-horse book that I remember enjoying. I believe it was Sweet Valley Twins. I was around 11, I think. After that, I slowly branched out. Very slowly. I was still obsessed with horses, so I was still after those books. I used to spend a day of the week in summer with my Nana, who would take me to the library. I usually always got the same books, just re-reading the same material. One summer, I decided I wouldn't check out a single book I had already read. It  was a huge challenge for me. But I made it. I read new books for the whole summer. And you know what? I enjoyed them. I used to live going to the library with Nana. Then libraries became my study hall and the bane of my existence in college.

I eventually branched out into the books written by R.L. Stine. These lead me to my first Dean Koontz book, Strangers. I've been hooked ever since. I've tried reading Stephen King, but his shit comes from so far out in left field I have no idea how that man sleeps at night. The few books of his that I've read, I did enjoy but they were so freaking weird they actually gave me weird dreams. Something Dean Koontz's books never did. One book that I read that I wound up loving was The Diary of Anne Frank. I later bought myself a copy at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

A few years ago, though, I ran into a snag. I had read all of Dean Koontz's work to date, and Stephen King did little to help me sleep at night. I had nothing to read and I was anxious for a book. Enter Harry Potter. I had happened across the movies and found that I enjoyed them. After the 4th film (Goblet of Fire), I decided I would try to the books. I had heard nothing but good things about them. I loved them. I devoured them. And when the 7th book (Deathly Hallows) came out, I realized there was no way I would be able to wait a year for it to come out in paperback. It's one of the rare books I own in hard cover.

After enjoying Harry Potter, I thought, maybe I should just try random books. So I did. Soon I had a stack of books on my dining table just waiting for me to read them. I'm not a speed-reader, I enjoy just lounging with a book. I would browse the book section in Target for something that caught my eye. I'd spend ages in Barnes & Noble's trying to choose. I enjoyed every book I bought and tried.

I read two of Alice Sebold's books, Lovely Bones and Almost Moon. I'm still on the fence about the latter. I enjoyed the former, however. I read Look Again by Lisa Scottoline. If you haven't read it, you should - my mom borrowed and won't give it back as she has a line of friends that want to read it, too! At least I'm getting my money's worth!

I also started to attempt the classics. I started with Jane Austen. And of course, I started with Pride & Prejudice. I admit it took me a bit to get into it. No one talks like that anymore, that old English and we no longer use a portion of the vocabulary they used back then. I had to break out the damned dictionary. And luckily for me, the Barnes & Noble Classics have notes by scholars in them, defining some words and describing other things so I didn't have to look shit up on Wikipedia or something. I mean, really, how many different types of carriages did there have to be??? Anyway, about half way through the book I couldn't put it down. I had to know. Then I moved on to her other novels and loved them almost as much as Pride & Prejudice. And my best friend introduced me to the hilarious Jen Lancaster - some of her stuff had me laughing in such fits I couldn't stop for 30 minutes.

The book I just finished was loaned to me by a co-worker, who shares my love of Pride  Prejudice. It was called The Pemberley Chronicles, and it continues the story of everyone in Pride & Prejudice. I did get a wee bit tired of hearing about all the happy marriages, but really enjoyed the book.
I recently purchased a book by Kathy Reich, whose books spawned the TV show "Bones", which I adore. Now that I'm done with my recent read, I will be trying out Kathy Reich. 

I also want to continue attempting the classics, although some of them seem to scare me. For lack of a better term. I tried Uncle Tom's Cabin, and got about 2 chapters in and realized I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I couldn't understand anything. I tried a couple more times, to no avail. Perhaps some books make me wonder, simply because of the classics I was forced to read in school. No offense to anyone, but Steinbeck bores me to tears. I pretty much failed every quiz relating to The Grapes of Wrath because I never made it past that damned turtle chapter. And I hated Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm. Because I didn't like the premise of the books I had to read, not to mention I was forced to read them, I think these are partly reasons why I can stand at the Classics section in Barns & Noble for an hour and walk out with nothing. However, one day, I will actually try another one.

I'm not saying I was right or wrong as a child to be so selective in my reading. I did learn a lot about horses that way. My love of Arabian horses comes from the Black Stallion books - in fact, my first horse was Arabian. But I see movies that are being made out of some of the classics like Narnia, where I enjoy the movies and I wonder if I would have enjoyed the books as a kid? We'll never know now if I would have.

For now, all I can do is keep moving slowly forward and dive into all sorts of new worlds.

Except for Twilight. I don't do vampires. Even sparkly ones.



  1. I HATED Lord of the Flies, my whole grade 10 year was focused on that damned book! Even was forced to watch the movie!

    I spit on that book!


  2. I was forced to read Of Mice and Men. Apparently it's really good and one of those books you have to read but it depressed the Hell outta me. Would not read it again. Guess it must be because I had coursework and exams about it!

    Hazel xxx


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