My perfect day – if I could have a day just to do this and nothing else – would include little more than a comfortable chair and a stack of books. Oh, and lunch delivered from McAlister’s.
Seriously though. I love to read. Always have. And I’m pretty good at it. Insert moment of shameless bragging here: In the first grade, I went to reading time with fifth-graders. I loved when the Book Fair came to my elementary school, I always had at least three things circled on my Scholastic Books order form they’d send home with us, and that Book It program, where you earned free stuff from Pizza Hut for completing certain reading tasks? I was on it. Not for the pizza so much as the books. NERD ALERT.
I guess I’ve got a somewhat creative mind – I liked the reading and writing aspects of school infinitely more than the maths and the sciences. Like how I used infinitely back there? Hey, vocab! I think if I didn’t write I could definitely be a librarian, or work for a publishing company.
I’ve tried starting a book club, but it hasn’t worked out too well as of yet. But I’m gonna do it. It’s on my list, so I have to.
So what kind of books do I read? Well. My tastes have changed over the years and are still changing, actually. I started out, of course, at a young age, with “The Babysitter’s Club” series – which is why this blog appealed to me when I found out about it and MAN, I wish I’d thought of that… I also read pretty much every incarnation of “Sweet Valley High,” which I think I heard recently might end up a movie? I read some Stephen King stuff in late middle/early high school, which I probably shouldn’t have (more on that later). I did the mandatory reading for high school and ended up finding a few favorites, and some I wouldn’t read again if you paid me. Well, scratch that. It depends on how much you’d pay me…
In high school I found out I really liked “To Kill A Mockingbird,” though Mr. Marshall almost made me hate it because we had to write our own Cliff’s Notes for the book, a project that took about 35x longer to do than he took to read and grade it. I also found I liked “Beloved,” even though about five years after I graduated they decided to not allow it in our high school anymore…
We read some books I didn’t like, too. “Crime and Punishment” is not a favorite, neither is “The Great Gatsby” (sorry, Rach) or “All The Pretty Horses.” We read “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” which wasn’t too bad. Cool concept for a movie though, I’m still deciding if I need to see it.
College provided little time for reading because I was doing so much of it in my classes I didn’t have time to get into a book, much less feel like it after all the other reading I had. I did read during summer and winter breaks though – and college is where I really got into the Harry Potter series. When it first came out, I was in high school. My sister was reading the books and I thought they were for kids and had no interest. A few years later, I thought I’d try ’em out and see what all the hype was about – which I did with Twilight too but found I only kept reading to see what happened, not because I liked them. From then on, I was hooked. I’ve been to three midnight showings of the movies and the book release party for the final book in the series. In fact, I just got the third book in hardback, the only one I needed to finish my collection of all seven of them. Wow that’s a lot of numbers in not a lot of sentences.
In my post-college years, I’ve tried some different books. I’m open to pretty much any genre – except romance novels with cheesy pictures of Fabio on the cover with some headline that has to be read while breathing heavily – and any author. I like my books like I like my music, you hook me with one, I’m gonna at least give the rest of the stuff you’ve done a chance. For example, Jodi Picoult. Read one book, “Nineteen Minutes” and immediately started devouring the rest of the books she’s written. Same with David Sedaris and now, Jeff Lindsay.
I’m really into memoirs lately, more so than fiction. But I’ll give the occasional fiction a chance. It just depends on the subject. And the author. Like Stephen King, for example. Remember how I told you I probably shouldn’t have read his stuff at such a young age? Yeah, on account of how his book, “IT,” made me deathly afraid of clowns. But then again, his “Eyes of the Dragon” is one I read soon after and one of the few books I have read/will read more than once. “The Green Mile” is also pretty great. It’s a love/hate relationship. I have his new one on my list of books to buy, which, like this post, is getting progressively longer.
I’ve been told I should get a Kindle. Besides the ridiculously high price tag – I need to be saving for a new car, a laptop, a Wii…a girl’s got needs, even though all three of those actually kind of sound like a boy’s needs – I am hesitant to buy something that keeps me from being able to hold a real book in my hands. I already stare at a computer screen all day as it is, I want a book. And a bookmark. Preferably with a nice quote on it, or some puppies.
I’ve got some pretty good books on my shelf. Here are a few of them.
“When You Are Engulfed In Flames,” By David Sedaris
The first book of his I read, “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” is the first book that has made me laugh out loud while reading it – luckily this happened when I was at home, alone, not in Starbucks or something where I might look like a crazy. His books are memoirs, short stories about things that have happened in his life. The best story in this book is called “Solution to Saturday’s Puzzle,” about his cough drop falling from his mouth onto the lap of the person sitting next to him on a plane.
“The Eyes of the Dragon,” Stephen King
For as much as I like this book, it really should have made me want to read Harry Potter long before I actually did. It’s one of King’s older-ish books, to me anyway, it came out when I was 3. It’s about a kingdom. The king’s advisor poisons him, locks the heir to the throne away in a tower and has the king’s youngest son crowned king, who’s only 12, therefore needs help, which is what the advisor is there for. Pretty good stuff. And like I said before, the first book I wanted to re-read.
“Handle With Care,” by Jodi Picoult
I bought a Picoult book on a whim once, when I was at Walmart in college without a book to read. The cover looked interesting and the info in the jacket even more so. I finished it pretty quickly and proceeded to read everything else she’d ever published. Her books are so well-written they’re hard to put down. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view, and the stories are ripped from the headlines or at least sound like they should be. This book is about a girl with brittle bone disease and her family, who sues the mom’s OB/GYN for “wrongful birth.” She’s got a new one coming out in March, according to her Web site.
“Columbine,” by Dave Cullen
Before you think I’m morbid – especially because this is the second book about high school shootings mentioned in this post – hear me out. This book is written by a journalist. And seeks to disprove pretty much everything we thought we knew about the shooting that happened 10 years ago at the high school in Colorado. Like, that the shooters weren’t in the Trench Coat Mafia, they weren’t targeting jocks, the girl who actually professed her belief in God to one of the shooters wasn’t killed. The book jumps back and forth from events leading up to the shooting to what happened after. And Cullen appears to have done his research. A good chunk of the back half of the book is his bibliography. Hard to read at several points, but very interesting. **Update: Also, what I failed to add when I wrote this is that the book is just as much about media criticism and how easy it is to misunderstand what happened – as a member of the media, I find that the most interesting.
“Water For Elephants,” by Sara Gruen
Never thought I would like a book about a circus. Remember, I fear clowns. This book, however, is clown-less. Thank God. It’s instead about a guy who loses his parents in an accident and joins a circus as the show’s veterinarian. It’s a surprisingly good read and I’ve recommended it to several of my friends who were looking for their next book.
Then we’ve got my wish list on Amazon.com, currently about 10 books longer than it was a few days ago. On it? The next three books in the Dexter series – which has become my second favorite TV show ever, after LOST. Also, Dan Brown’s newest, “The Lost Symbol,” and Stephen King’s “Under The Dome,” which my mom got for Christmas and the book looks to weigh about half as much as the couch in my living room. It should keep me busy for a while.
I’ve also got “The Nanny Diaries” on the list, mostly because I saw a second one just came out and figured the first one must have been good, if they’re writing something else. Plus it got made into a movie. Then of course, a book for my coffee table – the Postsecret book I’ve got there now is kind of lonely. I’m ordering “Cake Wrecks,” by the writers of the blog of the same name. Hilarious stuff.
So, yeah, I like books.