Tuesday, March 3, 2009

a life in books

I had someone ask me the other day what my all time favorite book was. I replied that I had too many to name just one. My friend said that was a cop out and I should have one that stands above the rest. Hers is The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, which is in my Mt. TBR waiting patiently to be read. While I respect what she was saying I feel that I have favorite books from various times in my life. It is almost like a paper trail of where I have been.
I can't remember any small children's books really that stood out other than Where the Wild Things Are. As a older child I have fond memories of the Anne of Green Gables books and of all of the wonderful writings of Madeleine L'Engle. In jr HS I was in an advanced readers class due to testing out of the 7th & 8th grade ciriculum at my school. This meant that I went to the computer/reading studies lab for a period each day and did work in there. I was assigned all kinds of books to read with a report due once every week. I read Where the Red Fern Grows, 1984, Animal Farm, The Catcher in the Rye,
Lord of the Flies and various others.
When I got into HS I took as my senior elective advanced placment english lit. I hated my teacher, but loved the class. I could not get enough of Shakespeare, who to this day is amongst my favorite authors. I devoured such works as Beowulf, Paradise Lost and Moll Flanders. This class introduced me to Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, D. H. Lawrence and William Makepeace Thackeray. These writers changed my world by opening it up to new places, times and people. I found I could almost become someone else for a while thru the simple act of reading. I could experience places that I might never see in person, but could picture so clearly in my head.
As an adult I now read for pleasure and my tastes are quite varied. While, I will admit to loving a chick lit book or cheesy vampire type fantasy, I also look for books that make me think, a great memoir or travel book. So, to be asked to choose just one book out of the thousands that I have read in my life so far...no I just can't do it.
My latest good book is always in some way my newest favorite as I just finsihed it, it is fresh in my mind as to why it touched or affected me. Then there are those books that sit on my shelf and get read again and again that count in my top reads. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Handmaid's Tale, Where the Heart Is, Hotel New Hampshire, Women in Love, I Know This Much is True. Who knows, maybe buried in the hundreds of books on my shelf waiting to be read is my favorite book ever.
All I know is I will most assurdly have fun finding that out!

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