I have had a lifelong love affair with books and magazines. I began reading when I was quite young, around 5 years old, and it became my passion, which has never waned. The excitement of a new book that I've been looking forward to is still there for me, and I follow certain authors and wait anxiously for their newest releases. Some of my favorite writers include Alice Hoffman, John Irving (two of the most memorable characters in fiction - Garp and Owen Meaney), Pat Conroy, Ann Tyler, and Richard Russo, just to name a few.
I have a fairly narrow scope of books that interest me, which sometimes I try to change up, but it generally doesn't work. I never read biographies or autobiographies, except on rare occasion, as I find them a little slow and predictable. However, I love a good memoir, especially if its funny - David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs come to mind, with their dark humor and families filled with insanity. Recently I read Tina Fey's memoir "Bossypants" and laughed out loud. My main interest is contemporary fiction, the newer the better. I love Magical Realism (Garcia Marquez, Alice Hoffman, and the little known Nicholas Christopher) and I also love stories of quirky and odd people (Wally Lamb, Mary Gaitskill). While I was in college, majoring in English, I read a lot of the classics - John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Cheever, William Faulkner - and though I enjoyed them, especially Steinbeck, they didn't really hold my interest the way contemporary fiction does.
Books are a reliable and available companion, no matter where I am or what I'm doing. As I was growing up, when things got complicated and I moved from school to school far too often, I would turn to my books - and my Archie comic books and Mad Magazines - to keep me company while I waited to feel like I had a place in the world again. I was never unhappy when I was reading. I would read in bed, in the car, in the bathtub, at the dinner table, anyplace I could.
My idea of pure torture is to be on a plane with nothing to read.
In a good news/bad news way, I read really, really quickly. Sometimes too quickly - a good book can be finished far too soon, and then I'm ruined for a while for any other books. The most recent novel to do that to me was Ann Patchett's "State of Wonder." It took me almost a month to pick up another book.
One of the best things about the empty nest is having long stretches of time to read as much as I want to. I have to admit, the distractions of the internet and tv can eat into that free time, but still, when I dive into a book, it's difficult to get me to come up for air. My kids and Peter all allowed me that escape - even when my kids were toddlers, they would leave me alone when I was reading the LA Times in the morning. It was actually pretty remarkable.
As I continue to blog, I'll share some of my favorite books with you from time to time. If you love to read, like I do, let me know and we can compare notes. I'm always looking for people to connect with about my passion for a good book!
The Leftovers by Tom Perrota
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (reading currently!)