Readin’ – My 50 Book Challenge

One of my favorite and longest lasting hobbies is reading. I have loved to read since I was a little girl. I used to “borrow” books from my parents and neighbors and read them late into the night. The woman across the street used to read a lot, especially romance novels, and she gave me permission to read anything I wanted so long as I returned the book to her shelf when I was done. I’m not sure how my parents would have really felt about that if they knew some of the bodice ripping stuff I was reading at a very young age.

I collected books and read every Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery I could get my hands on. I used to save my money and, rather than get candy, I would buy a book. When I got older, I passed these books on to the daughter of a woman who I worked with since she loved to read, but they couldn’t afford to buy books for her. She wanted to pay me, but I simply asked her to pass them along to another young girl when she was finished with them. I sometimes wonder where those books ended up, and when I see these in antique malls, I look to see if they might have belonged to me at one point in time.

In grade school, the county library system sent a Bookmobile for children to check out books. Many schools did not have libraries then and there weren’t as many library branches as there are today. This was how we were introduced to the library and card files that used the Dewey Decimal Classification system.

I remember going through a biography phase where I read every single biography written about women that was available on the Bookmobile – Catherine the Great, Cleopatra, Joan of Ark became role models of strong women to me.

SLC Bookmobile

I read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood when I was a young girl. Suspecting that if I asked permission to read it, I would be denied, I simply took it from my father’s bookshelf and read it. I also read Helter Skelter and The Exorcist and reading them didn’t scare me. I was, however, terrified watching the movies and walked out of The Exorcist.

In college I went through my science fiction phase – it was escapist literature for me. Adams, Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein, Tolkien. This love of science fiction would evolve into my current obsession with dystopic, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic literature. And I am currently re-discovering science fiction authors that I missed in the decades since college.

I may be one of the few people who loved the reading assignments in high school and college. I would actually really read the books completely and not just skim them or try to find notes to use to fudge about them in class. In fact, I would read my kids’ assigned novels with them when they were in high school. I loved that the reading lists contained not only the “classics” that I had read which focused on white, male European and early American authors, but expanded to include women authors and those from other cultures, too. Among my favorite novels are A Tale of Two Cities, The Grapes of Wrath, and Moby Dick.

As I moved into adulthood and started a career and a family, I continued to read a lot. But my focus moved away from fiction to other books and newspapers and magazines and really whatever I could get my hands on. And, of course, the Internet opened up an entirely new way to get information and my reading fix.

I read books about how to be successful in business. I read books about having a good marriage and how to be a good parent. I took a 4-year Biblical Studies program through the University of Dallas and not only studied the entire bible, but read a lot of material about it as well.

I read to my children and have amassed a collection of favorite children’s books that I hope to share with grandchildren some day. DSH, the kids, and I will often quote to each other from some of these books –Good Night Moon, Chrysanthemum, The Piggy in the Puddle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar to name a few.

My children have acquired a love of reading from me and for that I am grateful. During their YA reading stage, they would let me know which books they thought I should read and which ones I should not read. We all read the Harry Potter books together and then shared our love of the series watching the movies.

And, as anyone who knows me at all can guess, I have an extensive library of books about cooking and baking.

I love my hard copy books, but I also love using an e-reader and going to the library and reading on the computer. Two summers ago, I listened to some audio-books as I traveled across country with my sister and my niece and nephew.

Bookshelves (2)

You can say that I am a non-denominational reader – not just in type, but in genre!

This year I have challenged myself to read 50 books. I have read 21 so far which means that I am at 42% of my goal and 7 books ahead of schedule. I am on Goodreads which is a “user-populated database of books, annotations, and reviews”. It’s like a Netflix for books rather than movies. I love that the site gives you Recommendations, too, and I can see what my friends are reading and what they think about what they have read.

I do write reviews and always try to share what I found that was positive about whatever book I am sharing. I don’t really like people who just write reviews to pick things apart so I always try to balance what I write to share shortcomings (as I see them) as well as what I liked, too.

In our fast paced world, I think sitting down to read a book has become a luxury that people think they can’t afford to make. Think again! I am truly enjoying getting back to reading for fun and welcome recommendations!

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