Read All About It

I’ve always been a voracious reader. As a child I was definitely one of those “get your head out of the book and go outside” types, as opposed to the “put down the bat and come read for twenty minutes” type. I could spend long, delicious hours, devouring books. My first favorites were The Happy Hollisters. These were a series of children’s mystery novels featuring a plucky, yet sensible group of brothers and sisters, who would somehow stumble upon a mystery wherever they went, and would also somehow solve it by the end.
I’ve reread these books as an adult and realized they all basically had the exact same plot, with a different locale or theme. What I loved about them in addition to their perfect manners, and happy little lives, was that they went to cool locations to solve their mysteries, when they weren’t luxuriating at their lake house with their perfect parents and their dog, Zip. Basically written as they were, they taught me about Switzerland, houseboats, sled dogging, and Indian totem poles, all while solving the mystery du jour.
As a young teen, it was Nancy Drew, all the way, all the time! Again, featuring the pluckiest of heroines, I would revel in Nancy’s adventures. A step up from the Hollisters, with Nancy I travelled to the circus, and saw the world. Nancy and her super cool pals, Bess and George, plus her hunky boyfriend, Ned Nickerson. I rode in the backseat of her kicky convertible coupe all through my early adolescence.
My love of mysteries hasn’t abated, and my taste is for cozy, genteel mysteries. I have read every Agatha Christie many, many times. Every Ngaio Marsh, every Georgette Heyer. Basically, if there’s a country house, especially an English country house, and murder most foul has occurred, I have read it! It’s my idea of comfort food.
This summer I have done a tremendous amount of reading, with this extra time on my hands. At the end of another soul sucking day of looking for work, it’s great solace to cuddle up with a dog on each side and a book in my hands. Note that I still say book. As much as I love my Kindle Fire with a passion that dares not speak its name, given the choice, I’m still going to opt for the old school printed version. There’s definitely something extra to holding the heft of a good book in your hands, with the faint familiar scent of paper perfuming your mind and memory.
That said, I would say I could have used the Kindle while reading Under the Dome this summer. I haven’t reached for a Stephen King novel since the days of The Shining, but I was drawn in by the miniseries and wanted to see how the book compared. 900 pages later, I would definitely say that, as usual, the book was far superior, although I didn’t like how it ended. But, great characters and a suspenseful story, Stephen still knows how to weave a tale.
Most recently, I have been reading The Casual Vacancy, by my much beloved J.K. Rowling. Her first adult book, I had passed on it when it was published, after reading negative reviews. I love Harry Potter more than is reasonable, and I didn’t want in any way to taint that love with disappointment. But after reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, the book she wrote under a pseudonym before being outed, I was intrigued. The Cuckoo’s Calling is an excellent book. Not a cozy mystery, but a riveting and page turning mystery, with great characters. I understand it is the first in a series, and I look forward to the next one.
The Casual Vacancy, on the other hand, has been a big letdown. It’s well written, Rowling certainly knows how to develop rounded characters, but I just have not enjoyed it at all. I’m almost at the end of the book, and I realized last night, I am not enjoying the story, because there’s not a single character I like or relate to. I think that’s the essence of a good book for me, not just a well-conceived plot, but I have to be rooting for someone, to care about what happens to them, in order to have a passion for the story.
I’ll finish the book, I usually do, but it will be a relief when I turn that final page. And then, likely as not, I’ll pick up an old Christie, or even take a visit with my old pals Nancy, Ned and Bess. It will be like a mental sorbet, to refresh my palate and ready me for the next reading adventure.
The End, for now

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One response

  1. antoniofernandez221 | Reply

    Really awesome read. Great writing too. Thanks for sharing you love of books. They are wonderful.

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