I read everything. I used to joke (ha!) that I read toothpaste tubes – but secretly, it wasn’t a joke – it was true. Growing up, while otherwise occupied, I would grab whatever was within my reach and read the label. I was fascinated with trying to work out the pronunciation of the fancy ingredients.

For the pure enjoyment of the task, I read. I love words, and I am fascinated with the way authors and writers put words together and paint pictures in my head. The person who said, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” perhaps never read a poem. Still, doesn’t it mean the reverse is true? “A thousand words are worth a picture.” I like pictures, but I prefer a thousand words and the crinkle and smell of the page. Do I get lost in the stories themselves, in the craftsmanship; who doesn’t love a good story?

Although last month would not prove it, I have a tendency to read quickly. I chew through books much like The Very Hungry Caterpillar*. Sometimes, like now, I have more than one book going. I also tend to follow authors, sometimes obsessively, who give me that “something” that I can take away from the experience. That something could be as simple as an interesting observation, a well-crafted characterization, good plot development, it almost doesn’t matter. If it made me think or pause to reflect, I’ll likely try them again.

As for genre’s, well I’m a bit all over the place. Having majored in English, I have a lovely foundation of the classics and would consider Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare among my favorites, but they are in company with Louis L’Amour, Walter Farley, and Marguerite Henry, with whom I spent my childhood. I have an immense appreciation for the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres, with artists such as Patrick Rothfuss, Jonathan Renshaw, and Christopher Paolini, who hold places on my shelves alongside greats such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Orson Scott Card. Then there are the YA and children’s stories – Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, Laura Ingalls Wilder, John Flanagan, and L.M. Montgomery. I feel like I’m name dropping. Yes, they are all my friends.

These friends and I regroup now and then. I frequently re-read. To give you an idea, my best friend gave me a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling. I chewed that story up, and then re-read it. Oh – but wait – there’s more. Since the second book was coming out, I re-read the first – again – just prior to getting my hands on the second. Then the third book was coming out, so I re-read the first and then the second…

…nuts? Yes, yes I am.

I did that for all seven books. When I received the seventh book – finally – I read it, in thirteen hours. Straight. I then proceeded to re-read it.

…a fan? Yes, yes I am.

I don’t have a reading circle – in no way do the people with whom I work read the way I do, nor do they read what I do… there was one, once; he left. Therefore, I rely on three sources to aid in the building of my reading list. I rely on simple awareness, which includes all of the books I want to read, but which are not necessarily new. My best friend, who still provides excellent suggestions, especially of current works, and Luck – hunting and pecking my way through shelves or the ‘book store’ on my e-reader.

I have found many an excellent writer by mere accident, Hugh Howey, Jonathan Renshaw, Suzanne Collins, John Flanagan, to name a few. You might recognize Suzanne Collins from The Hunger Games, but my first introduction to her works came before I ever read that series. I discovered Collins through her youthful adventure series, the Underland Chronicles, which I found blindly in the Kindle Book Store. Thanks to my best friend, I was introduced to the world of Harry Potter, Michael Grant’s Gone series, and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. From simple awareness of literature and what’s out there, I have read Anna Karenina and yes, War & Peace (talk about trying to work out pronunciation). I have a long list of books that I want to read such as Orwell’s 1984 or Animal Farm, Kerouac’s On the Road – trust me, it is a long list – and I can’t wait.

I read everything. There’s not enough time in a 24 hour day to read what I would like. I read what I write…I think that’s important. If a person is going to write, that person had better like what they write – be able to read it over again – through each editing phase. I read what I like; I don’t always like what I read – but I am loyal – to a fault. Sometimes it takes a little orientation to get into a particular story. I find I am not always able to just dive into some pieces without a little effort. It took me five chapters to get into Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and I can’t necessarily just pick up Dicken’s Bleak House without a little initial concentration, but oh, it is worth it.

Read. Read everything. Read anything.

© L. Rose
*Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Copy3). New York: Philomel, 1969. Print.

As always, I welcome comments and feedback. Thank you for reading. I encourage you to leave a comment and let me know, what are your favorites? ~ Linda