Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Books in Our Lives

Jefferson:  "I cannot live without books."
When I did the series on favorite children's books and ask readers of the blog to share the favorites from their childhoods, I was inundated with so many replies that it took several blogs to share all of your favorites.  Last week, I invited readers to share their favorite adult book titles, and only a few of you replied.  Since I know that so many of you were eager readers as children, and because educators believe forming the habit of reading in childhood will develop active adult readers, I expected to be inundated with adult book titles.  I'm disappointed, but I did receive some great replies!  

One of my foreign followers  loves reading history, so he began by admitting that he doesn't read much fiction.  However, he does like John le Carre (1931-    ) spy novels and named The Night Manager as his favorite.  He also enjoys Westerns, naming Ernest Haycox  (1899-1950) and, especially, Jack Schaefer (1907-1991) as favorites.  He warned against trying to take the easy way out by seeing movies based their books--pale imitations, in his opinion!

Edward Bellamy
I have another friend who enjoys mysteries and travel books, neither of which appeal to me.  She has shared some wonderful suggestions outside those genres that I have loved.   Our friendship really took root when we discovered we both had read The House by Otowi Bridge by Peggy Pond Church (1903-1987).

Two people responded to my call for favorite adult books by telling me we share a favorite.  LS chose To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1926-2016), which I think every aspiring lawyer should read.

SGR agrees with me about East of Eden being our favorite among John Steinbeck's novels.  She is a voracious reader and declined naming a specific favorite among all the books she loves.  However, she did share a favorite from  among books recently read, and her recommendation came with three reviews and an interview of the author as attachments.  Yes, she has tempted me to read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (1964-    ).

Life is too short to read all of the books I'd like to read, so I enjoy recommendations from friends who are readers.  Recently, JD recommended The Sympathizer, which I mentioned in last week's blog.  I would never have read it without his recommendation, and I'm so glad that I did.  In turn, I recommended All the Light We Cannot See, and he tells me he enjoyed it.

I do believe what we read shapes who we are, and for that reason I find no pleasure reading books that are no more than a way to pass the time.  Researching my manuscript about Isaac Werner, I felt that I came to know him from the books he chose to read.  He also led me to books being read during the populist movement, so that I came to understand what inspired and shaped working class people of that time.  Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward (1850-1898) was so popular that Bellamy Clubs, whose members sought to implement some of his futuristic ideas, were formed around the world.  Mark Twain (1835-1910) is still popular today.  Other books that he owned are no longer read, but I appreciated the immersion into that era that reading those books gave me.

Thanks to those of you who shared "the books in your lives!"

No comments: