Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Happiness is...a good book!
So, I probably spend 80% of my time reading on any given day...no lie. Work consists of various tasks, all involving books; reading them, shelving them, choosing the best ones for displays and story times, critiquing them, foisting them off on the unsuspecting and/or eager public. I spend time following a bunch of book blogs and reading review magazines like School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly or perusing Amazon, Barnes and Noble and GoodReads and adding more and more and more titles to my own To Be Read list or suggested titles for the library where I work. I write book reviews for an online database. I have a stack of 8 or so full-length books waiting patiently for me at work, along with a stack of 20 or so picture books. And to fill my grown-up need (which almost always takes a backseat to my love of children's lit) I have 4 or 5 books next to my bed, alongside my scriptures, that I work through when I get a chance (usually at the expense of a good night's sleep!)
And when I'm not flipping through the pages of a book I can be found surreptitiously reading gossip magazines in the checkout lane, shampoo bottles in the shower, cereal boxes at the breakfast table, facebook posts and emails, billboards...pretty much anything with letters! But books are always my first love.
Sometimes I read a book because I can relate; to the characters, the situations, the emotions. Sometimes I read a book because I can't relate at all; they take me to new places, introduce me to people and circumstances I would probably never have the opportunity to experience in real life. I find comfort and validation in the familiarity. I find knowledge and expansion in the unfamiliar. I become a more well-rounded person because of the books I read. Even in a book I don't like or can't finish (which doesn't happen very often, I have this sick compulsion to always power through) I find something I can glean from it; what I don't want to become or how not to write or just a supreme feeling of gratitude that my life doesn't resemble what I've just read.
Because my TBR pile is so enormous I often have a hard time convincing myself it's okay to re-read a favorite. (Especially when my list of favorites is almost as long as my list of books to be read!) But there are a few that I come back to over and over again. Like a good friend or your favorite pair of jeans, there is nothing like the perfect book to boost your spirits or hug you in just the right places and it's one of my goals this year to make more time for hugs!
Ideally I'd like to make a book spotlight entry once a week or so as I get more into this whole blogging scene. But for now, here are a few of my favorite books in no particular order. These are the ones I turn to when I don't want to take the risk of reading something mediocre, when I need a pick-me-up or a guaranteed cry or to have my faith in the world restored or to simply get lost in someone else's world for awhile.
Another classic and it seems a little cliche to mention it, but I really do love this book. It's life changing. This is one where I will never know what it's like to experience the things these characters go through, and yet the themes are universal and powerful. The characters themselves are so multi-faceted and rich that you long to know them in real life. And while I am often torn on the book to movie phenomenon as so rarely do the movies measure up to the written word, this is one where I think the film version was spot on and spectacularly done. Who wouldn't want Gregory Peck as their father? (Love you Daddy! :)
Caldecott Award this year, and deservedly so. It's precious! (And lest you be turned off by such a saccharin word, read it and then tell me what you would call it.) It manages to be charming and sweet without being saccharin. An elderly zoo keeper comes down with a cold and his animal friends venture to his home to take care of him the way he always cares for them. My favorite is the little penguin but they all have their appeal. A wonderfully simple tale of friendship with pitch-perfect illustrations. If you have young children you must read this book, right now! (I implore you!)
Well, I could go on and on and on but it's past 11 and with my luck I will not have the snow day I'm hoping for tomorrow, so look for more to come. But I'd also love to hear feedback from you, dear readers. (And I do have readers now! What an awesome feeling to know that I'm not just typing away for the great void out there!) Do you consider yourself a reader? Why/not? Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite go-to books? I'm always looking for more suggestions, my list can never be long enough! Now, I'd like to say that it's off to bed for me, but I'd be lying. I've got a book to read!