I have always loved books and will read every chance I get. That was the worst part of being a student over the last several years. I never had a chance to read for pleasure. Since I finished school in December, there’s no telling how many books I’ve read.
Many years ago, Fly Girl told me that I should become friends with Ultra (formerly known as Payton’s Mom. Name changed because she’s the only person I know besides me that drinks Michelob Ultra because she LIKES it!) because she is a huge reader too. Our friendship was really cemented over Water for Elephants. We’ve swapped book ideas many times since.
I have been a fast reader and have enjoyed books since I can remember. The Air Force school I attended in Germany was huge with kindergarten through second grade in one section, with their own library. If memory serves me correctly, I read all of the books in that little library well before the end of second grade, so I got to go to the big kid library by myself every week. I can’t confirm this to be true, but I remember being very little and going upstairs by myself a lot. It could just be that I got kicked out of the little library for being obnoxious, both situations are equally likely.
I read all through junior high and high school as well. I started with Sweet Dreams romances, then Sweet Valley High, then moved on to Danielle Steel novels. When we were given books to read in school, I’d read them in the first week and have nothing left to do for the rest of the term, except examine said books for symbolism, imagery, etc. I really should have insisted that the teachers give me all the assignments up front. Everyone else only had to read those dumb books once, I had to reread them multiple times to do the assignments. Totally unfair.
When I started working on my Bachelors a few years ago, I was excited to see that I needed a Literature class and tried to fulfill those credits with a Popular Fiction course. I was told by Sarah Smiles that I could do that, but would still need an additional course to fulfill the “global marker” requirement. She told me to take World Literature instead. I told her I would hate it, she told me to take it anyway. I psyched myself up for it by deciding that I would write a term paper (still hadn’t read the syllabus at this point) about Jackie Collins. She writes literature (I consider smut to be literature) and comes from a different part of the world. In my head, I was already justifying any criteria set forth by this professor.
I went to pick up the required text and was complete alarmed by the THREE VOLUME SET. Holy shit, we have to real ALL that? Once I read over the syllabus I settled down a bit. While some weeks required heavy reading, we certainly weren’t expected to read every single page. And here’s the biggest shocker of all… She, who enrolled in this class kicking, screaming and foaming at the mouth-loved it! This course ended up being one of my favorites. Some of the stuff we had to read, I intensely disliked, but I loved Medea, Oedipus and One Thousand and One Nights (short versions of all). And the pieces I didn’t like? Well, I had to respect those too. The professor made everything wonderful and gave great explanations about the readings. I propose that everything be rewritten with modern language so it’s easier to understand. I was also shocked (SHOCKED, I say!) by the sexual innuendo in the poetry written centuries ago. If you get stuck taking some class on interpreting poetry and you just can’t figure it out, think sex and it’ll all come together (no pun intended).
I almost always have a book going, and I almost always finish anything I start. That’s when I wear my rose-colored glasses. I’ve read some really stupid shit, hoping that something great will happen. Many a book has been tossed across the house, and still others have been put in the freezer (you must be a fan of the TV show "Friends" to understand this reference).
If I read a book that I like, I will read everything that author has ever written, usually back to back. This is never, EVER a good idea as you can really get sick of an author’s style and end up hating them. If I hate one book written by an author, chances are, I won’t read anything else they’ve written. I HATED Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell and my mother beat me with Sister Mine to get me to read it. In the end, she was right and I enjoyed the book.
I have not read anything in the currently-popular vampire genre. I have zero interest. I need books based on some level of reality. I have tried to get into the Sooki Stackhouse books, but I simply can’t. I’ve heard there are some incredibly steamy sections and the promise of reading that still doesn’t do it for me. I wouldn’t be opposed to someone grabbing a copy of one of the books and paper clipping the good parts though.
Last week, I reached an all-time low with regards to books. I was in the middle of a book and it sucked. Like a junkie needing my fix, I started looking around for something better to read. At the very same time, a Facebook friend posted something like, “Harlequin Romances ain’t what they used to be.” Oh really, I thought… so I did a little surfing and came across several interesting sounding categories. I might have to dig in, just for fluff reading of course. The minute Fabio goes ravishing some violet-eyed, raven-haired chick with heaving bosoms, I’m out.