What I’m Reading

IMG_4271At the end of the year, I post a list of everything I read, but I think it would be far more fun (and potentially generate more dialog) to talk about what I’m reading a couple times a month.

So, here goes.  So far in January, I’ve read:

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill–  This is a ghost story, but a really, really cool ghost story.  It’s about a guy (Jude) who buys a ghost on an auction website.  It’s a horror story, of course, but what makes the story so interesting is that it’s about interesting people.   The author focuses on the characters’ reactions to what’s going on, and he does a great job of showing how relationships change under stress.  The ghost made it scary, but the ghost was integrated so seamlessly into the story, that I believed it could all happen.  This is one of the best (and most unique) ghost stories I’ve ever read.

In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume– I have fond memories of reading Judy Blume from my childhood.  Blubber and Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret were pretty much required reading for a girl growing up in the 80s.  I’ve read a few books as an adult, but they haven’t had the same magic.  In the Unlikely Event is based on something that happened in the author’s life, in which there were multiple plane crashes in her hometown in a two month period.  This book is about a group of characters and their lives.

My primary criticism of this book was that there were just far too many characters, and the book kept switching point of view.  I read it on my Kindle, and it was somewhat hard to keep track of everyone and how they were related.  I read it, I liked it, but I wouldn’t buy it.  If you like books about people and how they react to events, it’s a good book, but it’s definitely not at the top of my list.  I like books where I can connect with characters, and with this one, we went broad, but not deep.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen–  I’ve read this book 3,467 times before.  Okay, maybe not that many, but a lot.  It gets better every time.  Published in 1813 (200 years ago… yikes!), it’s about Elizabeth, a witty young woman, and Mr. Darcy, a proud and reserved man.  They have a series of run-ins and misunderstandings.  Throughout the book, they both mature and come to a better understanding about themselves and the price of making assumptions.

I read this one cover to cover about once a year, but I have paperback and Kindle copies of it, so sometimes, if I’m bored, I pick out my favorite passages and reread them.  I love the romance, the portrayal of the time period, and the language.  The language is beautiful without being overbearing.  Often, in literary fiction/ classics, the language becomes so “beautiful” that I have no idea what anyone’s saying.  Not so with this book.  If you’ve never read it, go out and buy it right now.

If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Books That Influenced Me

SsScMUrJDZI-n72NIHYBrwE-mediumI’ve always loved reading, and loved the power of a good story.  My grandmother used to tell me stories to my heart’s content.  She used to tell me the story of “Snow White and Rose Red,” which was different from the Grimm’s Fairy Tale version.  My parents read Cinderella to me more times than they care to remember.  There are some stories and some books that stick with you forever, and here are mine.

1.  Orange Oliver, The Kitten Who Wore Glasses, by Robert Lasson- I remember this book appealed to me because Orange Oliver couldn’t see anything, and others made fun of him just for that.  I always championed the underdog… cat… 🙂

2.  The One in The Middle is the Green Kangaroo, by Judy Blume- I only remember this one because it was the last “kid’s” book I read.  I was home sick from school, and my mom brought it home for me.  When I got through it in pretty much no time at all, my mom told me that she wasn’t buying me any more kid’s books.  It was adult books from there on out.  Which brings me to…

3.  Watchers, by Dean Koontz-  My favorite Koontz book and ironically the first one I ever read.  I picked it because it had a picture of a dog on the front, but I was hooked.  This book is probably the reason I fell in love so much with horror and suspense.  After Koontz, I started reading Stephen King and John Saul.

4.  Watership Down by Richard Adams- I was on the waiting list for a book in 6th grade, and I really don’t remember what the book was about.  The librarian handed me this book instead and thought I might like it, even though she thought it might be a little big for me.  It wasn’t.

5.  Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton-  A friend of mine bought me this book, and then I never read it.  Years later, I picked it up at a flea market (not realizing I already owned it) and loved it.  This is the book that introduced me to the alternate universe idea, because in her universe, vampires and shapeshifters are just part of every day life.  No explanation.  It’s just business as usual.  At the time I read this, it was a revolutionary idea for me.

I’m sure there are more I’m not thinking about, but these were the 5 off the top of my head.  What books most influenced you?