The written word has always held special appeal to me. When I was 8 I can remember sitting in our huge linen closet on the butter box. The sliding doors hide me from site and I was short enough that I fit under the first shelf. Those words transported me, via the magic closet, into another world long before I ever read C. S. Lewis’s series to my children.
Those early years were spent reading all the Trixie Belden books, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I was fond of Trixie Belden who with her curly blond hair and ripped jeans was always getting into scraps and disliked math as much as I did. I thought Nancy Drew was a bit stuck up and perhaps too rich for her own good.
As a teenager I read every book for school and then would usually branch out and read more by that author or another one suggested by a teenager. I would read the day away if my parents went to the city and just work like crazy in the last hour to get done my list of chores. I would read while the milker was on the cow and I would sneak away into my own big closet to get lost in another world for a few minutes or hours. Perhaps even by flashlight at night but don’t tell my mom because I was probably reading her Harlequin Romance!
I both expanded and narrowed my horizon over the years as to what I read. I love getting into a series where they develop the depth of characters and the settings are rich in details. I am drawn to historical fictional novels and have read every James Clavell, Edward Rutherford, James Mitchener and Herman Wouk book written.
I have reread several series, most notably the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Outlander Series. The later series I came upon several years after it commenced so had to catch up and then prior to each new release I reread the series so I can remember all the nuances of the characters and story lines. Tolkien’s series has been read aloud twice, one to my husband and one to my son/husband and that doesn’t include the times I have picked it up to reread a passage here or there. The Harry Potter series we read each year as they came out. As the fastest family reader I usually finished them first but we shared them around for a certain time period daily. I might have read in the bathroom at night with the light on occasionally there! Again it’s the characters that draw me in and the plot twists keep me plowing on. That then forces me to reread them because in my haste to see the story line I forget to savour the subtle nuances and descriptive passages.
There are times though when you want a light book that’s easy to pick up and put down, easier to get lost in but not lose your way but perhaps makes you think a little. For those occasions I go see what Kinsey Millhone from the Sue Grafton series is up to or perhaps check out a recent Canada Reads or an Oprah suggestion.
I have, very occasionally, stumbled upon a book that I disliked. The one that comes to mind is Fall on your Knees by Ann-Marie Macdonald. It was dark and dismal and I had trouble finishing it. I find some of Jodi Picoult’s books a bit disturbing as well but they are equally as compelling. For a story that is powerful and irresistible Tatiana de Rosnay’s books always leave an impression. Add the Silimarillion to this list as a dry as dust book.
Then there are the times were you just want to duck into a fantasy world that seems too good too be true. Of sure there is always an issue but the kinks work themselves out and the characters always fall in love. Hey – it works for me. It’s called escapism and yes I read Nora Roberts, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Jude Deveraux. They all have great settings, some scintillating scenes and happy endings.
Now excuse me while I go pick up a book.