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?