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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Reading to My Heart's Content

Two of my greatest pleasures include the anticipation of starting a new book and savoring a good story that I’ve just read. Often when I have a new book, I don’t dive right in and read randomly. I have to set the mood. I usually wait till I know I’ll have enough time to really get into the story and time to enjoy reading. Most often I start a good book early Saturday morning just when the weekend starts. I like reading in bed with a mound of fluffy pillows behind me, a cold or warm drink (depending on the weather) by my side, my hubby in the next room tinkering with his computer (which means at least an hour or two of uninterrupted reading!), and a leisurely day ahead with no obligations whatsoever. I can literally spend the whole morning reading and probably the entire day too (if not for my hubby wanting to have lunch or something else needing my attention). But for those few hours, I can get completely lost in a book.

And then, when I am down to the last few pages of a good story, I deliberately slow down and relish what I’ve just read. I go back and read my favorite parts, look at any appendixes, epilogues, prologues, etc. – in a way sort of trying to prolong finishing the story. I often go online and only then do I read other readers’ reviews and editors’ comments. I also particularly enjoy going on the author’s website to try and see what he or she was thinking (feeling or going through) when the story was written.

I know what I am about to admit may make me sound geeky but I've been known to prefer browsing a bookstore than shopping for clothes and shoes. I've been known to spend my allowance and hard-earned money on pocketbooks and novels. I've spent vacations simply enjoying a good book and would think nothing of spending my coming time-off from work indulging in a good book and staying at home. Is that TMI (too much information!?) Here's one more, there have been several times I've actually picked reading a book over attending a party or going clubbing with friends. HUH! GASP! WHAT???!!! (I know, I know, this now means I no longer just sound geeky but have officially crossed over to the geek-side! =) Well, if it makes me one then I'm proud to be one =) Haha.

I’ve been lucky that the last few books I’ve read have all been pretty good (with the exception of a few). I’m not a particularly picky reader and I don’t really have very high standards. My only standards would include a good story, a well written novel, and an author that knows how to keep his/her audience wanting more. I think that a book that is not written well and that drags on forever would be a poor seller even if the story starts off as good. And that a mediocre story can be sold with good writing and the audience anticipating more. Therefore all 3 of my criteria would have to go hand-in-hand.

Just to share a few recent books I’ve read and what I thought of them:

FIVE STARS (Loved them! Definitely going on my all-time favorites list! - which means they would be read and re-read countless times.)

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson - *****

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini - *****

Between Two Worlds by Zainab Salbi - *****

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - *****

FOUR STARS (Really enjoyed them and would definitely read them again! )

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - ****

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl - ****

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood - ****

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer Lee - ****

THREE STARS (Pleasantly entertained but not blown away ... would probably read them again if I were bored and in-between books)

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - ***

The Jane Austen Bookclub by Karen Joy Fowler - ***

The Difference a Day Makes by Karen Jones - ***

Wicked by Gregory Maguire - ***

The Good Earth by Pearl Buck - ***

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - ***

It Must have Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten - ***

TWO STARS (So-so. Will only read them again if I am ever stuck on a deserted island and have nothing else to read).

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd - **

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemerovsky - **

As Luck Would have it by Joshua Piven - **

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell - **

Miranda Blue Calling by Michelle Wright - **

ONE STAR (Hours of my life I will never get back again!)

There are a couple 1-star books ... but they are really hardly worth mentioning!

And of course my list of all-time favorites list:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum

But more than just loving to read, one of my dreams is to one day have the time and luxury to write a book. I don’t think it would be an autobiography since I hardly think my life is all that interesting! But I’d like to give fiction writing a shot. Since I seem to have a knack for story-telling and can keep my nieces and nephews captivated with made-up fairytales, maybe I’ll start with a children’s book and work my way up!

2 comments:

jol said...

During my younger years, I actually enjoyed reading a book rather than watching a movie with the same title. But my enjoyment pales in comparison to yours. I want to encourage you to write a book as you got the talent to place young readers under your spell. Your children's books will be best sellers!

pikachu said...

I hope I can read some of the books you mentioned.