Thunder vibrates our house, lightning flashes outside our windows, but I’m warm and dry inside. I’ve got my half-sweet chai tea in one hand and a dog-eared book in the other. I slump into my sofa and snuggle into a pillow, happier than a pony in a clover patch.
I’d promised this reading time to myself, after the dishes were done, cherries pitted and in the freezer, and my regulation four hours of writing/editing were finished. My book is my reward. It is my third time through it, but it’s exactly the escape I need nonetheless.
As I open the roughed up cover, I ponder about what it is that draws me to this book and a few others again and again. As a writer, I need to analyze the book’s charm. I dream that one day, someone will curl up with a book I’d written with the same affection.
Books I read come under two headings basically: books I need to read, vs. books I want to read. Of course, often the ‘need to reads’ combine with the ‘want to reads’, and when that happens, it’s fantastic. Most of the time though, ‘need to reads’ are educational non-fiction books on the writing craft, platforming (getting known on the internet etc.) or it may also be a bible study workbook. But for the time being, I’m going to discuss my ‘want to reads’.
Like my diverse taste in movies, my desires for books change with my moods. Sometimes I need a good brain-stumper murder/mystery that I can rehash for the next day or two, and sometimes I just want to ‘veg’ and be entertained, thank you very much. But both have one thing in common, I MUST enjoy or identify with the main characters. They are what pull me into the worlds, not the worlds themselves. Often the plot fades from my mind, but the characters’ personalities live on.
One of my ‘go to’ books for escapism is AIRBORN, by Kenneth Oppel. Not only is the setting fascinating, but the MC is engaging, likeable and slightly unpredictable. Matt Cruise, a teenaged boy, lives on a zeppelin-like airship. However, Pirates and strange creatures also inhabit the skies. Great Escapism that I highly recommend!
But I don’t always need a fantasy in order to escape. Another book I love to go back to is MEN OF STONE, by Gail Friesen. Gail has hit the mark with her portrayal of fifteen-year-old Ben. He must deal with a house full of females, painfully awkward moments with girls, and bullies that hound him day and night. Normal stuff, right? But Ben hooks me with his sense of humor every time I enter his world, a sure way to keep me coming back!
So, on a dark and stormy night, with your beverage of choice by your side, what book calls to you?
I haven’t heard of either of those books, but in reading your post I’m wondering…what is it that draws you to male teen protagonists? Do you have a son? Or a younger brother or something?
I have two sons, and I grew up with five brothers (including a male twin). My sister moved away before I can remember much of her. So I guess I more or less identify with male protagonists, plus I’m writing from a male protagonist’s POV. So it’s for research too. (The need to reads combining with the want to reads!) I do love a good book from a female protagonist though, and have a few. (Like some really good ones from my fellow scribs) But mainly I’m a bit of a tom-boy.
I haven’t heard of either of those but they sounds good.
I tend to be the same – sometimes craving a simple, fun read, other times craving something meaty and thought-provoking. But the ones I turn to time after time? Some of those have changed – I used to reread the Anne series regularly and LOTR but not so much anymore. But still the Narnia series (I’ve had my set since 1988 and they are literally held together with tape and love), Harry Potter, and a few of my favorite manga series.
Sparksofember, you sound like you have much the same taste as I do, so I think you’d really like to read Airborne and the rest of the series. My kids have stolen/borrowed all my LOTR books, so I just have one that is missing a few pages. Another series you may be interested in (my boys devoured these books) are the Artemis Fowl series, (a young genius who discovers a militant fairy world) or The Amulet of Samarkind, ( about a young magician who conjures up a demon, but one with morals and a delightful sense of humour) So there you are, your summer supply! Thanks so much for your comment BTW!
I keep meaning to read Artemis Fowl but the first book is always checked out when I go to the library! (And I hate to reserve it and take it from the kids if it’s so popular. lol Someday it will be there.) But while I was looking, I discovered the Larklight series by Philip Reeve (a new fave), the Septimus Heap books (I liked then but looking back, they give me a musty feeling) and Obert Skye. The first Leven Thumps book was checked out, too, so I read Pillage and found it very enjoyable.
I’ll look for The Amulet of Samarkand at the library tomorrow. It looks right up my alley. Thanks!
Hearing what you have read, makes me think even more that you’d like Kenneth Oppel’s trilogy starting with Airborn. I will definitely look into Larklight and I already have a few Leven Thumps books. Have you read Phillip Pullman’s books? (He and CS Lewis were pals) I know that he is known to be somewhat of Christian religion slammer, but if you look past his symbolism, the books are very well written. Christmas is coming, throw a few hints about an Artemis Fowl book, you’ll love it!
lol – my reading is all over the place and in almost every genre. But I do tend to always enjoy this type.
I saw the Golden Compass movie and was intrigued. But then I heard all about the controversy and I don’t know if I’d be able to get that out of my head enough to enjoy the books. The same thing happened with A Wrinkle in Time. I loved it and then I heard the new-age allegations and I couldn’t get them out of my mind enough to ever enjoy a reread…
Another book series I definitely plan to read after enjoying the movie adaptation is Ender’s Game. I figure if I enjoyed the movie *that* much, the books must be all that much more better.
(because I forgot to check the “notify me of follow-up comments” box. 😉
OMGoodness! Ender’s Game!! Fantastic books!! The whole series is amazing! They are to this day my son’s fav books of all time.
And I too heard about all the religious implications in Pullman’s books, but I figured our God is bigger than any hype so I just read them for the pure joy of the fiction and ignored the symbolism. That’s just me. But when there are so many other great books, why spend the time if it bothers you. 🙂