Books, how I love thee.

Writers, if you are not a lover of books, you need to have your heads examined. Seriously, you cannot, CANNOT be a good writer if you do not read. I have always loved books. As an only child, I grew up reading – making fictional friends to take the place of siblings. The first books I clearly remember reading were Richard Scarry’s picture books. Then it was Ramona Quimby and her big sister Beezus. Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, Little Women….

I was a book nerd in high school, too. When other kids goofed off in free periods, I’d go bother the librarian. My high school librarian Mrs. Long, was a big, intimidating lady, but oh, she had great taste in books. She introduced me to Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Jules Verne, Douglas Adams…

And honestly, how can one pick a favorite? I’ve read the complete Sherlock Holmes collection and not just because of the TV series, either. (Although, I could listen to Benedict Cumberbatch reading a deli menu. That voice…) Other favorites include: Robinson Crusoe, The Count of Monte Cristo, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. More contemporary favorites are Tom Clancy’s: The Hunt For Red October, John Grisham’s: A Time To Kill, Khaled Hosseini’s: The Kite Runner and Sara Gruen’s: Water For Elephants.

Anthony Trollope asked, “What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book and a cup of coffee?” I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps I would add to that: a rainy or snowy day and a cozy blanket to wrap around your shoulders. To be forced by the weather to stay inside and curl up with a book? Heaven! And to have one with some heft, too, be it paper or electrons. As far as I’m concerned, a good story can go on forever. Lord of the Rings? Bring it on. Red Mars? But wait, there’s a trilogy.

I read many different genres and enjoy them all: mystery, thriller, romance, science fiction, espionage, historical fiction, biography… It’s been said that you can know a person by the type of books he (or she) reads. What does that say about me? Am I unknowable? Hmm. Perhaps just multi-faceted. Let’s go with that; it sounds so deep and sophisticated! *Snort*

Lately, I’ve been reading lots of history and non-fiction for research purposes. Beyond that, I just completed Graham Greene’s The End Of the Affair.  I am halfway through a biography of WB Yeats. I’m also working my way through the short stories of the Marquis de Sade. So what are you currently reading? Tell me what books you love. And what’s on your to-read list? If you like, join me on Goodreads. Winter is coming, let’s all curl up with a good book.

77 thoughts on “Books, how I love thee.

  1. OMG, The Kite Runner. Broke my heart. I tend to go for murder mystery and science fiction. The Time Traveller’s Wife was really good but not the movie… I don’t read as often as I should. Just about to start a book for my book club that meets this week, lol. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember how in school I used to hide books under my text books and read them even as the teacher stood in the front of the class and taught the subject. 😛 My favourites used to Sidney Sheldon. We used to have book exchanges, deals, swaps and major new books and major bribing/blackmailing to get ahead if there was a waiting for a particular book. You brought back such sweet memories.
    I wonder how some writers can claim to not be fond of reading. It’s like saying they can’t be bothered to learn and improve. Can’t get myself to ever take a writer seriously who claims to be fond of writing but not reading. That for me is disrespect for the craft of writing.
    If I may recommend an Indian author’s memoir about her struggle and victory against cancer – To Cancer, With Love by Neelam Kumar. Hope you enjoy it.

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  3. I rarely discuss what I read with anyone because I don’t read (and have never read) books that are extolled by the masses. In fact, I’ve read nothing mentioned in your post! So, I probably come off as some moron who reads “crap”. So many authors that people say are among the greatest — their books feel like homework to me… not pleasure.

    I’m not even sure I fully buy into the thought that one cannot be a good writer without reading. I’ve honestly always felt that’s a bit of a cliché… I do think there’s some truth in it but I don’t fully believe it. So maybe my writing sucks…!

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    1. You don’t have to love “the classics” or whatever, to love reading. As a lonely only child, books were my only friend when I was a kid. I do think reading certainly makes for a better writer. When you read, you learn style, the kinds of writing that you like to read. You aren’t going to write like Jane Austen if you like to read Nora Roberts. And really why would you even want to write if you don’t like to read? It’s like taking up painting and hating art. And your writing is great. You’re just being difficult! 😜

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      1. I really don’t read very much… lately anyway. It’s not that I hate it… There was this one time that I read about 60 books in, like, 2 months or something… but I really haven’t read much of anything for a long time. There are things that I love to write but hate to read, though. Maybe I’m a freak. I am an artist but I’d much rather create than look. I get a little bored sometimes. But I wouldn’t say I hate art (or reading)… I just would always rather be doing than watching. Maybe that’s what I’m trying to say. Who knows… my brain is not exactly sending me clear messages lately!

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      2. I am frustrated with myself for neglecting reading. It is a pleasure I’ve been denying myself out of guilt over continuing to produce more work. I read a another post today from a writer who fears that her reading will unduly influence her writing -in other words that she worries that she will inadvertently plagiarize an idea. So I suppose there’s that. I am very susceptible to outside ideas creeping in, which is why my reading has mostly been limited to my non fiction research material. But I’m feeling like that is ‘work’ rather than play. In one breath I say need to slow down and in the next, I’m considering NaNoWriMo just to force myself to finish my series novel.

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      3. Oh — I always think that, too! Some piece of something I’ve read sticks with me and it shows up in my own writing. I guess you could compare it to music… there are only so many notes or whatever (I am not a musician, clearly) so some songs are bound to sound similar. Like… what if I had the idea already and then read it in someone else’s work? Does that mean I can’t use it? I think not!

        And I forgot to say… not reading/enjoying the work of the authors people always refer to as, like, ‘the masters’… it makes me feel dumb. I hate feeling dumb… because I am not dumb. I just have fluffy taste in literature. (And I’m sure some would say what I read is not ‘literature’!)

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  4. Me too! I have always been a book nerd, and although fiction isn’t usually my thing, I’ve read some. I enjoy books of all kinds and when I find an author I like, I tend to read every single thing they write!

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    1. Thank you, Mia! Sorry this got detoured into spam. I can’t imagine a life without books and reading. Where are you, if you don’t mind my asking? I’m in the Philadelphia suburbs and it’s ridiculously warm for this time of year. Nearly 80 degrees and it should be in the 50s!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome Meg. I’m in Southern California the West Coast, Los Angeles County. We had a surprising rain last night and this morning, terrific! Wow, 80 degrees, that’s normal for us in October, the Indian Summer. I heard this on the radio, here in Southern California we have summer and fall is just our second summer. Stay cool, enjoy the warm weather before it gets too cold! Thank you for pulling me out of spam!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I so agree. And with fiction, the need to engage your imagination is so wonderful. I think for me it’s why movies rarely live up to a book, because I’ve always imagined the characters differently, or the settings… S.E. Hinton’s books got my oldest to start reading when he was in high school.

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  6. This was a love dedication from Meg to books befitting a scene from Romeo and Juliet and stopping just short of pledging,”Books, I’d give my life for you.”

    Wonderous, gooey and inspiring all at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The ‘gooey’ was ill-chosen and conveyed the wrong meaning.
        I totally loved this post and judging by the number of comments so did others.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m guessing a great many of us followed a similar route to you. I have loved books as long as I can remember. They were company when I was ill, which was often. They were a refuge from my sister and they were the many imaginary adventures that I took part in.
    Far too many authors have influenced me but the best were people like Tolkein, Stephen Donaldson and some great names like David Eddings.I suppose sci-fi and sci fantasy are my favourite reads but I never missed a Terry Pratchett, a Dick Francis, a Harlan Coben and Sue Grafton is currently making me smile again.
    xxx Huge Hugs Meg xxx

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    1. Thank you David. Yes, I agree about finding refuge between the pages of a book. What a cure for loneliness and isolation and a comfort for when you are ill. I appreciate your wonderful comment. Thanks again!

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  8. I’m trying to write a comedy (am considering blasting it during NaNoWriMo), so have been reading lots of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams to (a) study how they create humour from situations, (b) get in the mood for “writing funny”, and (c) have a damn good laugh. The danger is spending more time enjoying than writing myself! 🙂

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    1. I’ve been considering NaNo too – I’ve made no progress on my series novel for months. And I’ve had the opposite problem from you, I’ve been writing/blogging too much and ignoring my reading! I can’t wait to see what the comedic mind of Al reads like! You’ve picked the masters as influences!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Their style is already all over my work, so it seemed to make sense to immerse myself even further. 🙂

        If I do NaNo, I’d have to do a complete blog shutdown for a month, not even checking in on anyone else… that’ll be tough! No distractions! Is that what you had in mind too, or would you go for the “not sleeping for a month” option instead? 😉

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  9. Fiction favourites? Lordy, very diverse; Tolkien’s LOTR, anything by Hermann Hesse, Jorge Luis Borges, Somerset Maugham, H G Wells…the word eclectic was specifically coined for my reading tastes, I think. The last few I read that made a deep impression on me were The Book Thief, by Markus Zusac, Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

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  10. Oh Meg, I don’t have words enough to describe how much I love this post, anything about books and you have my undivided attention!
    It looks like we have a lot of similarity in our choice of books.
    I’m currently reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes as a part of my reading challenge. Next on my list is Red Mars!

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  11. As a fellow non-fiction history lover, I have to recommend Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte…some of the most amazing prose and an incredibly powerful account of the front lines of WWII by an Italian reporter who had to smuggle the transcript back to Italy. Here’s a better review from Google Books: “Curzio Malaparte was a disaffected supporter of Mussolini with a taste for danger and high living. Sent by an Italian paper during World War II to cover the fighting on the Eastern Front, Malaparte secretly wrote this terrifying report from the abyss, which became an international bestseller when it was published after the war. Telling of the siege of Leningrad, of glittering dinner parties with Nazi leaders, and of trains disgorging bodies in war-devastated Romania, Malaparte paints a picture of humanity at its most depraved.”

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  12. I think you have to read to be a writer. I don’t read as much as I used to, when I was younger I would read between 3 to 7 books a week, now I am hard pushed to read 2 in a week, and I read a lot more non-fiction, mainly art or history. I am reading Nothing by Henry Green. Back in the day before mobiles, kindles etc I have been known to read the back of aspirin packets if nothing else was at hand, just to read something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is an ambitious schedule. I am lucky to read one a week, and actually usually have several going simultaneously so it’s harder to gauge. An audio book for exercise, a non fiction for knowledge and perhaps a second for research purposes and yet another fiction for pleasure. It’s no wonder my head spins. I’ve never had to resort to aspirin packets thank god. I am starting Henry this weekend. And I ordered a compilation of Living, Loving and Party Going, so I’m going straight ahead with the trio.

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