November 30, 2011

What Are You Reading?

I’m always tentative to talk about what I‘m reading. I think our taste in books, like art perhaps, is subjective. What one person may like, another may not. Not because the book isn’t good or bad or worth reading at all, it’s simply because it doesn’t fit that person at that moment, and that’s okay. Best seller lists tell us what’s hot, but I’m not always a big fan of reading what the masses are reading either. Or maybe I’ll add a book to my list, but I won’t read it for a long time….until I’m ready, and when I want to read about that particular subject or get immersed in its story. I didn’t read The Help until it was in paperback, and even then I waited a while. It’s now one of my favorite books.

I also like to read stories that relate to what’s happening in my life at the time. When I’m on vacation, I read stories that take place in the summer, preferably on a beach. When I need to escape, I like to read stories about faraway places I’ve never visited. And when I’m trying to improve my writing, or learn something new, I want to read books that will help sharpen my skills.

Right now, for instance, I’m reading The Christmas Note. It’s a story about two women who find one another and become friends when they both really need one. Its message is reminding me of the importance of friendship and reaching out to those in need during a time of year when needs are so great. (I read The Christmas Secret this time last year.)

Every Last One, by Anna Quindlen, is a heart-breaking novel but beautifully written. You will cry and cry some more.

I finally read The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan last month. After I saw the movie FIVE and then made my mammogram appointment, it just kind of fit. I need to know what I need to know and burying my head in the sand is not going to cut it.

And then there are times when I just want to read good writing, although food did play a part in these two particular titles. I like the Best Writing series, so I dug into The Best Food Writing of 2011, and chased it down with Will Write for Food. Both of them were delicious.

Bringing home a pile of books from the bookstore or the library puts a big smile on my face. I’ve just purchased Regis Philbin’s new book, How I Got This Way, and I’m looking forward to reading about his life and about the people who have helped him become who he is today. Sticking with the whole “Live” theme for a moment, his daughter, Joanna Philbin has written a trilogy that my oldest daughter raved about. And if you are a 40 or 50 something woman who is experiencing a different kind of change, I can’t recommend Kathie Lee Gifford’s book, Just When I Thought I'd Dropped My Last Egg, more. Some of her essays are laugh out loud funny.

My BFF is not a fan of any book that makes her cry. For her, reading is a complete escape from reality and must include a least one bodice ripping scene. This used to bother me to no end. I never understood how she couldn’t, wouldn’t read the books I was reading. I gave her a copy of Eat, Pray, Love and she gave it back. She loves the Twilight series and I think they need to remain on my daughter’s bookshelf, not mine. We don’t like the same taste in music or movies either—go figure.

The other day, I tried to remember just how many books I’ve read this past year. Some days I wish I’d kept a journal. Especially on the days I would get another book from the library and realized I’d already read it—years ago! Oops. Then again, I’m one of those people who re-reads books. Some of my family and friends think this is a complete waste of time. But I can’t wrap my brain around that either. Why wouldn’t you want to read a book you thoroughly enjoyed again and again? And so it goes…

Other titles on my nightstand: Three Weeks with My Brother, Writing Life Stories, a few more Christmas stories, and my wish list of other books that will take me well into the new year.


Louise Ford said...

This is the link to my book Weezie A Palm Beach Story. Every one who reads it seems to like reading it and it is a great gift for Christmas... Funny and full of a few life lessons on the way !! Happy Christmas !
Louise Ford

diane said...

Great post on books and our differing tastes. I also just purchased Regis' book to give to my girlfriend, we share each other's guilty pleasure of love for Regis. (not so much Kathie Lee) also waited to read The Help, loved it and passed it on to my 23 yr old daughter. Wanted to read Water for Elephants but was told the animal abuse scenes were pretty graphic so passed on that one. Probably missed a good read but, like your friend who doesnt like to cry, there are just some things I dont want to read. I buy a Christmas book every year to read during the month of December and try to finish it in time to pass it on to my girlfriend who also loves to read books that take place during the holiday season. It is just something to share with family and friends that doesnt have to be a big deal, just sharing. Thanks for putting it so eloquently.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you. I love to read a lot of books that a lot of people probably wouldn't bother reading. But that's okay. :o)


Kimberly Merritt said...

Thank you, Diane. I haven't read Water for Elephants either, even though I was told it's a "must-read". I'm sure it's a great love story, but I wasn't interested in the setting. And if you want to read really good Christmas books, I recommend any of Donna VanLiere's.

Thank you, Kay and Louise, too. Everyone's taste in books is different and we're all okay.

Italia said...

The Middle Place is a gift to us from Kelly Corrigan. Kelly is a witty, imaginative, and inspirational writer, who draws us into her experience as a young mother and daughter who discovers that she has breast cancer. As she journeys through the middle place, she leans on the experiences from her childhood, the love and faith of her family, and the strength of her dad Greenie who is battling cancer himself.
The book is about so much more than cancer. It is about growing up, realizing you are not in control, and finding a way to make sense of it all. You will truly be inspired by Kelly's writing and touched by her story.