For the Love of Books

I spent the better part of 2012 and 2013 reading Young Adult novels. I am of the strong opinion that there’s no such thing as a “bad” book to read. In my opinion, any kind of reading is better than many other things you could be doing. So I had no shame or embarrassment about focusing on Young Adult. Some of the best books I’ve ever read have been in the genre as well as some of my most favorite authors. And I will continue to read Young Adult for as long as the high quality stories continue to be told. This genre is exploding at the moment and I am thrilled about that for both myself and my son.

However, I was disappointed that I couldn’t find any General Fiction books that held my interest. Each of the ones I picked up seemed to be full of horrifying acts or deeply depressing plots. And, in early 2012, I had vowed not to read anything super-depressing anymore. This meant that (with very few exceptions) I couldn’t find a single non-young-adult book I liked to read. My struggle continued for a long time and I was starting to lose my faith in books. I couldn’t understand if it was the books or me. Would I never enjoy them again?

Since I still read a lot of novels, I wasn’t deeply worried about this but it became a nagging question at the back of my mind.

And then, suddenly, a few weeks ago, things shifted again. I was reading some of the upcoming books for my book club and I read Seating Arrangements (which was okay) and Where’d You Go, Bernadette (better that the other one). And then I went to the next one which was March by Geraldine Brooks. March had been on my list for a long time but I hadn’t managed to read it. To be honest, I sort of dreaded it because I knew it was historical fiction and thought it would be slow-going.

It wasn’t at all.

I read the whole book in a day and absolutely loved it. And, I’m not sure why, but it reignited my desire to read more. I then read Life After Life (quite interesting but also sad at parts) in a day. I decided I wanted to go back and finish the Delirium series (i love this author but the series left me a bit empty) and then read The Great Gatsby in preparation for the movie. As well as Lean In (very interesting), The Dinner (quite unusual), Before I Go To Sleep (also unusual, made me think of Memento but not as good a story), and The End of Your Life Book Club (absolutely magnificent). I also read Wonder for another book club (absolutely excellent.)ย All in the last two weeks.

And now I feel like I can’t get enough. It’s like all the books I’ve been putting off, and wanting to read at some point, are calling to me and I must read them all right now.

I went through Amazon’s Book of the Month lists for the last two years and some of what’s been on my to-read list forever and made a list of books that I plan to read while I am in this wonderful place. Here’s what’s on my list at the moment (in no particular order):

  1. The Sound and the Fury (haven’t read since high school and determined to re-read)
  2. The Woman Upstairs (reading right now)
  3. The Reconstructionist
  4. Middlesteins
  5. Caleb’s Crossing
  6. Ready Player One
  7. A Discovery of Witches and The Shadow of Night
  8. The Dog Stars
  9. The Mirror Chronicles
  10. The Vanishers
  11. Defending Jacob
  12. DaVinci’s Ghost
  13. The Flame Alphabet
  14. Office Girl
  15. The One Good Thing
  16. The Thief
  17. Shine Shine Shine
  18. An Uncommon Education
  19. Wild
  20. Magic Hours
  21. The Empty Family
  22. Flatscreen
  23. The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman
  24. The Violinist’s Thumb
  25. Me Before You
  26. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece
  27. Gorgeous
  28. How Literature Saved My Life
  29. The Humanity Project
  30. Beautiful Ruins
  31. An Invisible Sign of my Own
  32. Why We Broke Up
  33. Mr. Fox
  34. The Interestings
  35. Lake
  36. Illumination
  37. The Weird Sisters
  38. Sweet Tooth
  39. NW
  40. The Signal and the Noise
  41. When It Happens to You
  42. Light Between Oceans
  43. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
  44. Seraphina
  45. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
  46. In One Person
  47. The Magicians
  48. The Family Fang
  49. Rules of Civility
  50. The Leftovers
  51. Girls in White Dresses
  52. The Art of Fielding
  53. The Orphan Master’s Son
  54. Moonwalking with Einstein
  55. Behind the Beautiful Forevers
  56. Delicacy
  57. The Age of Miracles
  58. The Beginner’s Goodbye
  59. So Good They Can’t Ignore You
  60. Steal Like an Artist
  61. The Red House
  62. Binocular Vision
  63. The Scorpio Races
  64. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
  65. The Burgess Boys
  66. Carry On Warrior
  67. The Disappearing Spoon

Yes, I know it’s long. I also know ย it contains several Young Adult titles as well as some Non-Fiction and some Mystery and whatever else. But I love this list. It seems more like me: a variety.

If you’ve read any of these and have strong recommendations (either positive or negative) and/or if you haven’t but have other great recommendations please do let me know. My book postings on Thursdays are a bit behind so you won’t see these mentioned for a while but they will appear eventually. And let’s see how many I get to while this lovely, savoring mood is still with me.

(Ps: sorry I was too lazy to link each of them, but I am confident you can look them up if any of the titles sound enticing enough to you.)

I’ve had many hobbies throughout my life and I’ve loved them all, but the one thing I’ve never ever stopped doing is reading. Books are food for my soul. And this recent bout has felt more like coming home and slowing down and exploring all at the same time.

I’m grateful.

17 comments to For the Love of Books

  • Cheryl

    I’m grateful that I’m able to read more on my tablet and not read just chick lit or books with shallow plot lines. So thanks for this list, I’ll check it out. You might want to Charles Bukowski. David loves him and I’ve just bought one on the recommendation of the book store.

  • Sharmon

    My pile of books is so large right now at this moment that I had to vow to only buy 12 books in 2013…I will definitely look into this list when I make one of these precious gifts to myself!

  • I am a who done it kind of girl so any of those types of books are high on my list. I have 2 titles for you that might be up your alley. Moonlight Over Madeline Bay, and Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch. They are both pro women, an older age group, pre-menopausal in fact, a little fiesty. I just liked them for the easy read they were.

  • mel

    Yep that is a long list. I have been off reading this year and the ones I have read are in my comfort zone.

    I don’t want to read sad or upsetting novels either although I understand that they are some of the best books written. I’ve only read a couple on your list. The Great Gatsby which I agree you need to read before seeing the film and The Art of Fielding. I struggled with it but it was interesting. Although I’m a Brit we adore Baseball in this house! I will check out the rest of your list so thanks for putting it together.

    And so glad you are in the reading zone once more.

  • I’m feeling sort of in a reading slump right now as well. I’m glad you got over yours! I’m dredging my way through Sweet Tooth right now. Wanting to love it but not loving it but feeling like I MUST finish it to keep my Reader of Important Literature credential. (LOL.)On your list, I haven’t read Caleb’s Crossing (I actually have an ARC that is STILL in my to-read-soon pile!) but I loved all 3 of Brooks’s other books. People of the Book is one of my favorites! I LOVED The Weird Sisters, The Light Between Oceans, The Disappearing Spoon, The Age of Miracles, Seraphina, and The Scorpio Races. Couldn’t finish The Flame Alphabet. I’m excited to read what you think of the books on your list!

    • karenika

      was the The Light Between Oceans sad? I’ve been worried it will be too sad. As for Sweet Tooth, I say put it down. Life’s too short for reading stuff you don’t like. I normally love Ian McEwan but haven’t tried that one yet ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe you reread a story you love to get you out of the slump? I was thinking today that I should reread A Prayer for Owen Meany. I remember loving it but don’t remember as much of the story as I’d like so maybe it’s time ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tina W

    Yay for reading!! Me Before You, The Scorpio Races, and Seraphina are all fantastic and I highly recommend them. Defending Jacob is very well done. You might want to add these: Extra Virginity, A land more kind than home, A Grown up kind of pretty, The Raven Boys, and The Fault in our Stars (if you’ve not already read them).

    I think I’ll start working my way through your list.

    • karenika

      I’ve read The Raven Boys and The Fault in our Stars and loved both but not the others! thank you for the list!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ready Player One was great. I read The Age of Miracles and while I thought the premise was a fascinating one, it was just okay for me. I liked Wild in spite of myself (because I felt the author made so many bad life choices). It was an intriguing story.

  • Kim Edsen

    I just have to chime in and say I loved ‘A Discovery of Witches’. It was one of those I inhaled in a day and couldn’t wait until book #2 came out. Needless to say, I was disappointed in the 2nd book in the series (Shadow of Night). Maybe expectations too high? Not sure. Thanks for this list, I am also always in search of enjoyable literature that isn’t full of disturbing and sad details. Have you read ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain? It is a look at introverts/extroverts and the roles we play in society. Full of scientific references but also just really interesting anecdotes. I highly recommend it. Happy reading!

    • karenika

      thanks so much Kim! I watched her TED talk and wasn’t sure if the book would have much more than I’d learned from there. Do you think it’s worth the time even after watching her talk?

      • Kim Edsen

        Ok, so I didn’t even know there was a TED talk, so I can’t really give an opinion as to that ….off to watch it! Kim

  • My husband read Let’s Explore Diabetes out loud recently. I can’t get enough of David Sedaris.

  • Hi, Karen! These are classics rather than new, but have you read Where the Red Fern Grows? Also anything by Gary Paulsen, but particularly Hatchet. I also loved all of Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s books. Those are all young adult, possibly out of print. Check used book stores.

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