Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window.” William Faulkner
I love books!
I love the look and feel of new, books, I love being in the library with rows upon rows of books! I am not sure I am a Kindle person. I know, I know, but how can you touch the cover of a book through a glass screen. Not quite the same. To me it is a tactile experience.
Since I learned to read, way back in the good ol’ days of childhood, I discovered a world that I can walk into and escape for awhile. With 4 brothers and sisters, that was heaven to me! I am the oldest so this escape was needed.
My favourites in my childhood were a number of different books, A Horse Named Joe, By Robert E. Gard. Apparently, it is a collector’s item now...I wish I had never returned that library book. I would have something now that I loved. At the time, I loved horses and this book, which I read over and over again. The Secret World of Og, by Pierre Berton, and Nancy Drew! Could not get enough of them. I read a lot when I was in grade school.
By grade 6, I would read any book, any topic, and anything! V.C. Andrews was a staple, (I have a friend who still read these books even though she tells me the author is now dead and others write her stuff) John Saul, and Sidney Sheldon. I was an advanced reader at the time and this went throughout high school. Now I could not be bothered with any of those types of books. I am getting fussy in my old age or should I say because of my education and that has changed my taste in literature immensely! When I get a new book, I feel like I am doing something just for me. Only I can read it and I will not share my books until I am sure I am done with it. NO one is going to read those words until I have read them first! I tried that with my husband once reading the same book at the same time; and it is not happening again. I want to pick up and read it at any time, not when he is done. He is the master of “just a minute dear and you can have it.” WHO KNEW... that just a minute would be 30, 40, or an hour! I would be chomping at the bit to get that book back. SO NO I will not share.
I would absorb these books but once I put the book down it was forgotten, completely left my mind. Nothing worth keeping or thinking about. Every once and while I would pick up a book to read that considered to be a classic. When I finished I would read it and think about it for days and not able to start a new one. I should have known those were the books I should have been reading. I think my first one was The Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien, well the first one I pickup on my own, and thought, People say I should read this. I still remember that book, and I think if I now re read it, I would get something very different out of it. It took me a whole year to read it. Slow going in some parts, and in others I could not get enough.
In high school, we read novels that I think were over our heads due to lack of life experience. In high school, we or most of us were wondering if the hot guy across the room had noticed us when we walked in. We read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I still remember that book 30 years later. At the time, I hated the book, but the reason I hated it was it stirred up a reaction in me. I never liked it when people refused to behave in a fair and rational way.
For years I read everything from Science Fiction, to Fantasy, to Arthurian Legend, to Chick Lit, but none of it was worth remembering or at least very few. I am sure I can pick a handful of books out of each category that I do remember.
Now my taste in books runs along the lines of Faulkner, Hemingway, Atwood, Ondaatje, and Wilde, to name a few. These are books that make me work to get there points, or show me things, in ways, I would not have thought of, and I think of it as sort of a history through the back door. Writers often reflect what is important to them and what is happening in the world at the time, or just issues that they feel need to be reflected in their works. You get a fictional account of facts, or possibly, what the author was concerned with. This I love. My summer reading list, whom I got from a number of Profs in the department. Looks a little like this...
The Storm- Kate Chopin – Apparently, this caused quite a stir in an American lit class one day! I was not in that class but know the people who were and the Prof who taught the story. SO I mentally noted to I read it the first chance I had. I read this and prequel and loved it! Quite Risky for 1897! GO Kate! I loved the Awakening, and I loved this too.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald. Loved this book too. Yes, I have read it already! Gives you the mood and feel of a changing America in the 1920’s and the lack of direction most people felt at the time!
Of course, there is some William Faulkner on it....
Absalom, Absalom! I will read this summer, after I finish the May/June Session. I was told this would take some dedication from me. I thought at the time, what does he mean? I thought the Sound and the Fury was hard...and then I read the back of the book...Quinton Compson...enough said! If you have read the Sound and the Fury you will understand.
I have two Ernest Hemingway on my list, The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls. From Whom the Bell Tolls, I was told to wait on this, I may read it this summer I may not. BUT it is on my shelf waiting for me when I do get the urge to tackle it.
Right now I am reading the Swan Thieves, by Elizabeth Kostova – one of my friends told me I should read something that I don’t have to think about so much. AND Since I love and have a good Knewledge of Art History, he thought I would love it. So I will read it to see if I can...LOL! I haven't read something like this in years!
The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde. I hear it is quite the story. I love Wilde so I am sure to like this.
I wonder what these books will tell me about the times in which they were written, or about the human condition, of course they will stir my soul, otherwise, why read?