26 January 2012

too fond of books

As a librarian and a writer I, naturally, am also a reader. I was that weird kid who spent her recesses holed up in the school library and over Christmas break would take full advantage of the fact that we were allowed to check out something, like, 25 books instead of the normal 2. My living room is "Alice in Wonderland" themed, "Gone With the Wind" has been an obsession favorite of mine since I first read it at 13 and I tackled "Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix" in a single night (true story).

In school I always read ahead, even when we were told not to, and then I'd sit there in class, nodding smugly as the teacher hinted at things to come in later chapters.

I read "Macbeth" for the first time in 8th grade. For fun. (Although that might go a long way in explaining why, of all the Bard's plays, I chose to adapt that one.)

I spent years with my nose literally in a book. If I wasn't reading said book than I was writing it.

That obnoxious girl you hated 'cause she was a total teachers pet in English class? That'd be me.


Being an adult, finding the time to read as much as I did when I was a kid has proved difficult, although I do benefit from having the luxury of a job that essentially pays me to do just that. So I decided to sign up for the GoodReads 2012 Reading challenge, setting myself a goal of 50 books. I'm probably selling myself short on that one, as I think I was close to 60 last year. But, on the other hand, in 2010 I only read 25. It all just depends.

However, I did decide that just a set number wasn't enough. See, over the past few years, I've come to realize that I have a habit when it comes to picking out books. Specifically, I don't read enough non-fiction and I read way too much contemporary fiction.

So I decided to take the challenge a step more by issuing two very simple rules that I would have to adhere to throughout the year:

1) Half of the books I read must be non-fiction (my plan is to alternate).

2) Of the other half of [fiction] books, half of those have to have been published at least 50 years ago, so before 1962. (I realize that doesn't seem that long ago, but for me it sadly is when it comes to literature.)

Easy enough, right?

Actually, I'm off to a very good start: The first book of the year was "Neverwhere" (a birthday gift from Lindy Loo who proved how well she knows me since I adored this book) is fiction. That was followed by the biography "A Beautiful Mind" and right now I'm re-reading "Jane Eyre."

Of course, this is where you come in Dear Readers, as I am in need of suggestions. Another habit I have is that I tend to re-read the same books over and over again. The way I see it, life is too short to spend it on bad writing. Despite the fancy degree in library & information science, I am not the type to walk into a library and pick a book out based on the synopsis on the dust jacket. If it's not by a beloved author or part of a familiar series or came recommended by someone I trust, then chances are good I won't ever read it.


But, see, I trust all of you which is why I am asking you to suggest books for me. While I do perhaps limit what I read, I don't limit what I'd like to read. That is: fiction, non-fiction, biography, historical, mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, whatever, I really do like it all, so lay 'em on me!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

7 comments:

  1. I'm not sure whether you're open to young adult novels in addition to the more "mature" books on your list, but I've really enjoyed a few YA titles in the last few months.

    You might try Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society or Ransom Riggs' MIss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

    It's also worth mentioning that if you enjoyed Neverwhere that you ought to try American Gods also; I actually much prefer it to Neverwhere. Also in the realm of adult books, you may like Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja, but it's definitely a darker read.

    No matter what you choose, report back what books you loved so that we can all get some great recommendations!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know what kind of books you are into but I suggest The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, and The Pink Carnation Series by Lauren Willig.

    Also if you haven't read Jen Lancaster, you need to read all of her memories right away!

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  3. Jacquelynn: It did occur to me after posting that I should have mentioned that I do enjoy YA, so thank you for the recommendations!

    Coyote: The Pink Carnation series is one of my favorites, although I am a few books behind. I'll have to get back to reading them :)

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  4. From one librarian to another:

    For fiction, try The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, and if you like Neverwhere, try Neil Gaiman's other books. He's my favorite!

    I second the recommendation for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

    For nonfiction, read Salt by Mark Kurlansky, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and Hungry by Crystal Renn. Hungry isn't fine lit, but I still find the behind-the-scenes info about the modeling industry very interesting. Most importantly, when I finished the book, I felt good about my body. :)

    Hope you like these!
    xoxo Jen @ stuffjendid

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  5. Jen,

    Margaret Atwood is, hands down, my favorite author and "Oryx & Crake" is my favorite book of hers. I so love finding other people who appreciate it as well :)

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  6. Why am I not surprised? That's just another reason for me to like you and your blog. :)

    A few years ago, my friend Orion asked Margaret Atwood to sign a copy of The Handmaid's Tale this way: "Dear Emily, say yes." This is how Orion proposed to Emmy. I am so jealous!

    ReplyDelete

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