Friday, November 26, 2010

Favourite Things Friday: Reading and Books

Story is one of the most serious intruders into the heart.Jane Yolen

I love to read. I've always loved to read. It is wonderful to let a book take you to places you've never been before, to explore new ideas, to meet new people, to live a new life. I love reading so much so that in college one of my three minors was English Lit. But when I got to the 400 level classes, I was in over my head with all the required reading. I could have made it work if I didn't also have homework for other classes, a job and, most importantly, social commitments. Everything kind of suffered, and I often went to class without having all of my reading finished. It was really stressful trying to balance, because I wanted to read, understand and enjoy everything I was supposed to be reading, but there just weren't enough hours in the day. When I quit school {three semesters short of graduating :wall: }, I took a break from reading. For five years. Mr. Bug {who is always reading} wasn't even sure I could read :lol:.

My big reading come-back was the Harry Potter series; it was my first book obsession. Which is ironic because I didn't really like Sorcerer's Stone the first time I read it :lol:. It was December of 2001 and Sorcerer's Stone had just come out in theaters. I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie because books are always better, {except in the case of The Time Traveler's Wife, which is one book I wish I could un-read}, and though I finished it, I didn't really enjoy it much. At the time, Mr. Bug had to travel frequently for work and ended up having to stay over a weekend, and so feeling sorry for himself that he wasn't home, he went to see Sorcerer's Stone without me. I put my copy of Harry Potter on the shelf and didn't give it a second thought. Late in the spring of 2002, I picked up the DVD and couldn't believe how magical Harry Potter's world was. I decided to give Sorcerer's Stone a second chance; I read it again and was completely enchanted. Goblet of Fire {book four} had just come out in paperback, so I picked that up, along with Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban {books two and three}, and my love affair with Harry Potter began. When Order of the Phoenix came out a year later, I re-read books 1—4 and Mr. Bug picked up a copy of book five for me at midnight. Two years later, I re-read books 1—5 and then I went to Wal-Mart just after midnight to get a gallon of milk and a copy of Half-Blood Prince. And two years after that, I re-read books 1—6, dressed up as Professor McGonagall, went to the release party, arriving an hour-an-a-half before midnight to enter the costume contest hoping that would help make the time pass faster because I couldn't wait to get my copy of Deathly Hallows.
{My collection of hardback 1st edition Harry Potter books}
Somewhere between Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows {circa 2008}, I discovered that I liked hardback books. Mr. Bug is paperback all the way, and considering his appetite for reading and his dislike of the public library system, paperback is definitely the more economical way to go. But I like the way a hardback book handles the love an attention and re-readings I like to give my books. I had HP 6 and 7 in hardback but the rest of my books were in paperback {although I'd bought book 5 in hardback, I'd given it to my mom and she bought it for me in paperback when it came out}. I had first editions — which aren't too hard to come by — so I went in search of first editions for books 1—5. I found what I was looking for on eBay. The prices were reasonable, but aside from book 5 {which is in better condition than my books} their conditions were only fair. I'm wondering, now, if I could have found new copies of them still circulating somewhere in a bookstore :confused:.

And I'm not exactly sure how to fit this in, but if you're a Harry Potter fan, check out these funny posts.
Lord Voldemort's Inbox
Severus Snape's Inbox

I'm the sort of person who likes to be busy all the time; I multi-task whenever possible, and since reading excludes any other activities, I'm particular about what I read. I've developed a funny sort of habit. I like to read what is familiar to me; books I've read before and enjoyed {as suggested by the number of times I've read through the Harry Potter series; it is more than I indicated above}. That way I know I won't be wasting my time. So, it is unusual for me to read something new. But two years ago, I picked up another book obsession. No, I don't think obsession is the right word. Addiction is more accurate. Which is an interesting thing because I was so hesitant to even read these books. I'm talking, of course, about the Twilight series. I kept hearing, It's the next Harry Potter. That put me completely off, because nothing was going to replace Harry Potter for me.

In the spring of 2008, I bought Penelope on DVD and there was a trailer for the upcoming Twilight movie. I recognized the male actor as "that kid who played Cedric Diggory in Goblet of Fire," and was intrigued by the chemistry between him and the female lead. So, I bought Twilight, and the sequel, New Moon in paperback. And they sat on top of my chest of drawers for a few months. Mr. Bug picked them up and read them. He said he thought that I might like them. Little did he know :mischief:. A few months later, Breaking Dawn {the fourth book in the series} came out, so I picked that up, as well as the third book, Eclipse {both in hard back}, and Mr. Bug read those too. Then all four books sat in a neat little collection on top of the chest of drawers for another couple of months.

When I finally got around to reading them, these books made a big impression on me. I read the first one in three days, pausing to go back and re-read favorite parts {which is unusual for me — I like to read start to finish}. Then I read the next three books in the next three days, averaging about four hours of sleep a night and stopping only to feed the Little Bugs cold cereal or ramen noodles for dinner. And I became one of those fans :rolleyes:. Completely obsessed. So obsessed that I'm {slowly} making a Twilight quilt. And while I'm talking Stephenie Meyer books, I also have to mention, The Host. It is a really great read.
{My Stephenie Meyer collection; the New Moon special edition is autographed}
Fablehaven is another fun series, although I'm not quite as obsessed with these books. My sweet friend, Jenna, gave us the first book for Christmas a few years ago. We read it aloud to the Little Bugs and have enjoyed each new volume in the now finished series.

It is impossible to list all the books I've read and loved. Anne of Green Gables and The Wizard of Oz both certainly deserve a mention. Shakespeare and Jane Austen are among my favorite writers. And these books sit on my nightstand, mostly to look pretty. I got them for Christmas a couple of years ago; they are leather-bound hardback editions of their complete works, with gilded-edged pages. But I know what are in those books and love them. I bought a few paperback editions of my favorite of Shakespeare's works at the used book store so that I didn't have to tote that gigantic tome around with me if I wanted to read a favorite. And I've given Anna Karenina a whirl. The writing flows nicely, but I haven't gotten far enough into the story to get caught up by it, so it sits, patiently waiting for me to get back to it.

Jane Austen was quite an amazing writer. She wrote what she knew and it is still relevant today. Of all her female characters, I love Elizabeth Bennet best. She was strong, she knew her heart and she didn't let the conventions of the time dictate her path. I love it when she tells Mr. Darcy, no, because he totally deserved it. And even though things work out in the end and he is fairly dreamy, he's not my favorite of Jane Austen's male characters. I love Mr. Knightley from Emma best. He is always Emma's friend and always has her best interest at heart. And for another funny post, check out Elizabeth Bennet's Inbox

This is another favorite collection of books. Both of the Little Bugs have small bookshelves in their rooms, filled with great stories. I bought these Classic Starts, condensed versions of classic novels, at Barnes and Noble as a way to help LadyBug develop a love of reading. We started with The Prince and the Pauper, her favorite story, which was so wonderfully retold that I had to have the entire collection {although I discovered with a quick peek over at B&N that there are a few new volumes}. We've read Dracula and Frankenstein and Robin Hood and The Story of King Arthur and The Three Musketeers together, with expectations of many more great adventures together.

Today's post brought to you by:


Shay said...

I read a lot books by the same author, including the Harry Potter books. Ive never read or seen Twilight. (I'm probably the only person in the known universe to admit to that too)

I love reading. I read every day.

Thankyou for sharing some of your favourites. I think it's wonderful that you're trying to instill a love of reading in your kids. So many people dont think it's important. It really is. Books transport us to other worlds in a way the internet and technology never can.

Sarah Craig said...

I've read lots of the same books (although I just don't get Jane Austen!) But I notice you didn't list Gone With The Wind - if you haven't read it, you really ought to - it's a great book!

Michelle said...

I share your passion for reading--but I almost never read the same book twice. There have been a few exceptions though. :-) I read every night before I go to sleep.

Since Mr. Bug is a paperback reader, if he is interested in swapping books, he might consider checking out:

Marie said...

harry potter rocks!!!

I rediscovered my local library several years ago ... I was on a spending freeze (too many books and too much fabric) ... and I won't read it unless it's a hardcover ... the big print comes in handy to! he he (must be all that sewing)

Kate said...

Harry Potter and Jane Austin are all time favorites. But I'm with Mrs. P. on the Twilight series, I could not get into the first book, so haven't read any of the others either. My daughter tells me I'm nuts, it's her absolute favorite series (but she's asked to read my copy of "Pride and Prejudice". We'll see how that goes.)

Great FTF post! Thanks for sharing.

Marg said...

A lovely FTF Elizabeth. I love to read, unfortunately absolutely nothing else gets done if I'm reading a really good book. I now read when I'm on holidays. I was on holidays when I read the first 4 HP books , and then waited and waited for the next books to come out. Last year's holidays when I was staying at a friends house, between my daughter and her daughter they had all the Twilight series. I read all 4 books in about 3 days. Staying up until 2 in the morning and reading as soon as I woke up. I loved the Host too.
Lately I've been reading Jane Austen and really enjoyed it. One book I am not enjoying, I am really having trouble finishing it, is Eat Pray Love.

Paulette said...

Great post, Elizabeth! I admire your appetite for reading and your favorite book collections. It seems to take me forever to make it through a book because of a wandering attention span and/or heavy eyelids. Maybe if I read other than at night when I'm sleepy!

Shevvy said...

I'm a big HP fan as well. I didn't bother with them until I saw the first film and then got hooked. The audio books by Stephen Fry are incredible. Expensive, but a great investment.
I have read Twilight and seen the films, but they don't do a lot for me. I want to give Bella and Edward a slap most of the time!
Compare Bella to Elizabeth Bennett!

Baa-Me Kniits said...

Great FTF! I read and love to read and yes nothing else gets done if I have a great book! I visit the library a lot these days and read their recommended selection and have found some interesting reads that way. Philippa Gregory writes brilliant novels about The Tudors, all the intrigue and plotting of Henry the Eighth and his wives :-)

pinksuedeshoe said...

I'm totally a hardbacks kind of girl. Scott and I used to go to the bookstore all the time when we were dating and newly married (they had comfy chairs, everything you could ever want to read and free air conditioning!) I love our collection of hardbacks that remind me of that time. Now, if only I would read them all...

Jennifer Lovell said...

I'm curious as to why Mr. Bug doesn't like the public library system. Sometimes I dream of getting locked in the library : ).

I'm going to have to look into those Classic Starts books for myself and the kids. I of course love all of your other favorites too, though I've always thought Shakespeare was too far over my head ; ). I enjoyed this post!