I’ve been thinking about how my reading tastes have changed over the years beginning from my childhood love of books. We had only three television stations where/when I grew up in Western Colorado. We didn’t spend a lot of time in front of the television, so did games, played outside, and read.
The first time I remember falling in love with words and books was in fourth grade. My teacher, Mrs. Foster, used the entire last three months of the school year reading us books. I remember the wonderful stress-free time, gazing out the window, listening to her calm melodious voice reading from L’Engle (The Wrinkle in Time, Dr. Doolittle, Little Women & and couple for the boys (something about pirates). Mrs. Foster died that summer and the parents talked about it in hushed tones–something about cancer–and I never forgot her and never got over my love of books.
I graduated to books I found in the school and city library; Nancy Drew and then the Hardy boys; numerous other series and random books. During this time, it never occurred to me that there was a person behind these books–an author or authors. That came later and I became intrigued with the idea of actually writing a book. It took much longer than I would have imagined to make that happen.
Later on I moved on to more moody types of books; Edgar Allen Poe; Dickinson; Little Women, and yes–series romance books (although it didn’t take–I’m not very romantic).
I moved on to poetry, Sylvia Plath (although I was disappointed in her demise), Virginia Woolf and various other female authors.
These days I like series mysteries as they are predictable and easy-to-read (not so easy to write, I’m finding). I love non-fiction too and especially biographies (mostly auto-bios–I like to hear it from the horse’s mouth).
There is nothing like a book to carry you away–a movie might do it, but reading allows you to put your own images beside the words.
Colorado is rich in wildlife, including many varieties of birds. I’ve put out bird feeders for years and have gotten familiar with different species: raptors such as varieties of hawks, blue jays, flickers and woodpeckers and many other species.
I started watching the Boulder Osprey Cam this year and continued (through this COVID19 crisis). It’s a good stress-reliever (as is listening to music). The Boulder Osprey nest resulted in two babies this year. Here is one:
So…I continue to surprise myself with new interests, and now bird-watching is one of them.
Anxiety levels are up, we are all restless; it’s hard to concentrate through the news (that seems to change each day), the uncertainty, and the heightened emotions that this situation has caused.
I’m trying to read more; I’ve load my Kindle with five new books and I’ve ordered a couple of hard-back books to read. So far, I’m half-way through one book. My husband has read probably ten. He seems to be able to turn off the outside noise and deep-dive into a book (and also his work). He also reads more than anyone I’ve ever known.
I’m trying that strategy, but so far I have to force myself to turn off my favorite “binge” shows and read–or write.
Some of the books on my Kindle: Traps by Mackenzie Bezos (I admit I’m curious about how she’s doing); Dark Paradise by Tami Hoag (nothing like a good thriller written by a woman); Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima (president of Sisters in Crime Colorado); Get Real by Westlake (a caper); Pest Control by Fitzhugh (a good comedic caper); various non-fiction books about Colorado; some freebies like Gone With the Wind; numerous others that I may not get to.
Every day is a new day, a new opportunity to read, to write, to garden, to talk to my loved ones, to try a new recipe… so much I should be doing.
written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.”a great work of literature”
During these days of COVID19 quarantine, I have read with interest a lot of “what are you reading lists.” I see some people are reading old classics such as Moby Dick or classic romance such as Jane Austin novels, some new “litarary” novels such as “Little Fires Everywhere.” I don’t see many people confess to reading comic books or easy-read romance novels.
I’m reminded of an incident when my youngest daughter was in Junior High and was instructed to produce a book report for her English class. Hers was a Stephen King novel she happened to be reading. I okayed it, simply glad that she was reading. The report came back with a “not-a or b” grade and a comment that Stephen King does not write literature. I fumed about it for a few days, and discussed with my daughter, but I think to this day that literature is in the eye of the beholder. Anything to keep youngsters interest in reading (with boundaries, of course).
I’m confessing to reading series mysteries (a favorite genre of mine), with a couple of “literary novels” sprinkled in. By the way, my favorite romance novel is Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. But, I may read a few “trashy gossip magazines” if I come upon one, or even a comic strip.
America is still in the grips of the COVID19 “disaster.” I’m optimistic that we’ll come through this and eventually all be better off, but it’s going to take time.
Some things that are comforting to me:
Reading –some books I’m reading now (rereading Where the Crawdads Sing) and for “popcorn” reading, C.J. Box mysteries–also books I’ve bought for my Kindle by Sisters in Crime writers (hoping to learn a things or two).
Cooking. Esp noodle dishes, (no bread–I’d eat it all), salmon dishes, mexican dishes & this new recipe my daughter gave me for “funeral potatoes,” which has hash browns, sour cream, cream, onion and lots of cheese.
Keeping up with children and grandchildren.
Helping my husband get through this–he’s a business owner and loves his office, and now goes in by himself as his employees work at home.
Realizing how lucky I am and my family is. Gratitude!
I hope this finds you and yours healthy and happy!
When I first started writing, I wasn’t sure what genre I wanted to write in. It’s been a long experiment and I’ve learned a lot not only about writing, but about people, travel, myself and life in general.
I wrote and found a publisher for my first book–a self-help book for teenagers. Shortly after that, I began dabbling in writing fiction. I was confused at first about what kind of book I wanted to write. I’ve always read mysteries of all kinds, but soon found that I didn’t know there were so many sub-genres of mysteries. Cozies. Hard Boiled. Thrillers. Gothic. The list goes on. I knew I would be a lousy romance fiction novelist. I’m more cynical and I like to put things in order, and since I read mystery, that’s how I chose the genre. I admire popular women’s fiction writers and literary writers, and although I love reading those books, I don’t see myself writing one.
I’ve started (and not finished) about four novels. The one I’ve gone public with is Murder On Heartbreak Ranch, which is a series (so far two). In the process of sending my manuscript out for critique or publishing, I got feedback about what kind of book it is. It’s not romance. Not quite a cozy mystery. Not a thriller.
As I write my first blog for this website, I am “self-isolating” (with my dear husband, DH) and resisting the urge to shop, eat in restaurants (which are closed anyway), get much-needed beauty treatments, etc.
I’m hoping and praying for a cure (or at least a widely available vaccine), but in the meantime, am trying to use the time wisely by working on writing, on reading and also catching up on streamed video (by far the easiest of all to do).
I’m also following an eagle cam (Big Bear Eagle Cam) and a Colorado Osprey Cam (Boulder Fairgrounds Osprey Cam), which is live-streaming straight from nature. Some of the lessons that these wild birds teach us are: resilience, perseverance and living day-to-day. I’ve watched as some of the bird couples suffer the loss of eggs due to freezing, predators or just bad luck. Still, they persevere and rebuild–stick together and do it all again. They work as bonded couples, taking turns building the nest, housecleaning, caring for the chicks and bringing in food.
True, these birds are guided by their very natures and by instincts imbued into their DNA by thousands of years of those that came before them, and true that they do not suffer some of the emotions and thought-processes that we humans do, but still–we can learn a lot by watching them.