this post is my contribution to the roundup from AllisonO's O My Book Week. i've never done anything like this before, but thought it would be fun to play along. =)
books! where to begin? i've always been a bookworm, but have found myself through college reading less and less for my own personal enjoyment. =/ quite a bummer.
when i was a kid, a picture-book-age kid, my favorite book was Make Way For Ducklings. ducks were my "thing," and i liked that the story was all about them. the illustrations are charming and i love the way ducklings line up behind their mother. boston was also a familiar place, since we visited family there often, and i liked that you can go to the boston public garden and see the statues of the duck family (usually with masses of children clambering all over them). loved it!
as i got older, i read everything. everything. i remember in seventh grade, going through the middle school library and pulling out novels at random, and remarking to the librarian in surprise when i finally read a book that i didn't like. =) i loved the little house on the prairie series in later elementary school, and started getting into sci-fi and fantasy through junior high. those were my escapist books--magical worlds and profound philosophical and scientific thoughts. i read/devoured/loved A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels by madeleine l'engel, The Golden Compass by philip pullman, c.s. lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy by j.r.r tolkein, and j.k. rowling's Harry Potter series.
looking at my bookshelf now, i find my personal books gathering in a few distinct categories, and that amuses me: cookbooks, christian books, classics, fantasy, and what i call "doctor" books. not all the cookbooks are mine, but between the husband and i we have 15, two of which are devoted entirely to soup, two just to pie, and one solely to brownies. =) similarly, most of the christian books aren't mine, but those that are--my bible and The Irresistible Revolution by shane claiborne--are much loved. interestingly, both were gifts from friends--not the "i got you a present!" kind of gifts, but the "you haven't read this? i must give you a copy!" kind (thanks char!), and fulfilling in the way that only good books can be. most of my fantasy books are still back at my parents' house; my husband's science fiction--good stuff, classics like The Hitchhiker's Guide books and Dune and Ender's Game that i am just now getting into--fill a shelf. i have a surprising number of french classics (and even some in french), including The Count of Monte Cristo, Les Miserables, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. my "doctor" books include a vast rang of topics that somehow relate to want i want to do with my life--engaging titles like kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains, gawande's Complications and Better, ehrenreich's Nickle and Dimed, menchu's I, Rigoberta Menchu, perry's Population: 485, and mother teresa's A Simple Path as well as more academic texts like The World Food Problem, An Introduction to the U.S. Healthcare System, How Many People Can the World Support?, and Sana! Sana! Mexican Americans and Health.
i love books. i love reading. i love how browsing someone's bookshelf can tell you a lot about the person they are. i love the way a talented author can construct a world and characters so enticing that you are irresistibly drawn in. i love the way a talented author crafts their words, with meaning and sound and even aesthetics on the page all coming together in a thing of beauty. (side note: the first time i read Love in the Time of Cholera by gabriel garcia marquez, i hated it. i found the characters immoral and unappealing, not something i was at all interested in. someone convinced me to give it another shot...and i loved it. there is beauty and fluidity and elegance in his words--and that's just an english translation! one of my life goals is to improve my spanish to the point that i will be able to read the original. i also own One Hundred Years of Solitude--didn't care for it nearly as much, but i'll certainly be giving it another chance.)