If any is needed.
I love to read. I’ll read just about anything – books, magazines, blogs, cereal boxes, junk mail…even the Podunk Suppository, when I’m in need of a good laugh or feel a burning desire to bathe in provincial ignorance. To say the local newspaper isn’t exactly a hotbed of unbiased, professional journalism is something of an understatement. Oh, the culture shock…
But I digress.
Mostly I read books, a passion Beloved and Darling Daughter both share. Two walls of our family room are literally covered in books, and our next large purchase in the way of furnishings will be custom-built bookshelves.
Before I met him, Beloved read non-fiction almost exclusively. Oh, he’d read everything Ayn Rand ever published, including her cumbersome novels, as well as a good many of Gore Vidal’s historical novels, but that was about it. And while I have introduced him to the likes of Stephen King and Jean Auel, non-fiction remains his chief source of reading material – because of that, we have books on such diverse subjects as economics, American History, philosophy, religion and quantum physics on our bookshelves.
I read my share of non-fiction, although it is mostly in the form of cookbooks (which are a marvelous source of information on other cultures), web development and associated software, biographies, paleoanthropology, medieval history, art and film, but to be honest, most of my reading material is pretty damn plebeian. I don’t read “mainstream” literature very often, although I own everything ever written by Stephen King, Jean Auel and J.K. Rowling, but most of the books I own are of very specific genres, and the authors I read reflect that: Robert B. Parker, J.R.R. Tolkein, Philip Jose Farmer, Anya Seton, Kenneth Robeson, Ed McBain. We do have a lot of the “classics” on our shelves as well, which simply means that when the kids are required to read them for school we don’t have to hunt them down (nor are they permitted to get away with Cliff Notes). We’re also fans of Shakespeare and have several volumes devoted to his works and the analysis of them.
Not that I’m claiming weirdness because I read – I’m well aware that I’m not alone in my love of books; it’s more a matter of what I read, which is sometimes pretty damn obscure…even if I am poised to read all of Stephenie Meyer’s teenage vampire novels (hey, you can’t pass up what’s being hailed as the “next Harry Potter”).
One of the reasons I’m only poised to read Twilight and it’s sequels is because of Beverly Lewis. The covers of her books claim she is a NY Times bestselling author, but I’d never heard of her until I moved to Ohio. Basically, she writes fiction (I suppose you could call them “romances”) about the Amish. I’ve seen her books on countless shelves in stores down in Amish country, where they are prominently displayed; in Podunk, she’s been relegated to the tiny “Christian fiction” section of Borders. Her books are a wealth of information about the Amish, who are absolutely fascinating…at least as far as I’m concerned. She also writes very well, and really knows how to tell a story. So much so, she has me – the least religious of people – picking up each new book in the Abram’s Daughters series, exclaiming things like, “Oh, I hope that bitch of a sister of hers gets what’s coming to her in this book!”
Probably not exactly in keeping with the steadfastly held Amish beliefs of forgiveness and pacifism.
And yes, I am ALL caught up in what amounts to an Amish soap opera. In fact, I finished the third in the five book series last night, and since I found myself out and about today at lunch, I decided to see if they had the remaining two on hand at the local Borders. They didn’t have both, but they did have the fourth, so I’m good for at least another two or three days (they’re very quick reads). While I was there, I picked up the first two Stephenie Meyer books – I’d have bought all four, but they were out of the third book in the series and I’m positively anal about things like that.
Checking out was interesting.
Clerk: Did you find everything you needed?
Me: Well, you didn’t have all of the books I wanted in stock, no, but you had enough.
Clerk: Oh, we can look for you – what did you want?
Me: The third in this series of vampire books and the last in this series of Amish romances.
Clerk: …Oh, well…I suppose we can check…are these gifts?
Me: No, they’re for me.
Clerk (eyeing me warily): Okay…(pushes a piece of paper and a pencil towards me)…just give us your name and phone number and we can notify you when they arrive…
Me: Nah, that’s okay – I’ll just check back in a few days; I’m still looking for “Nuclear Armament for Dummies” and the collected works of Anton LaVey.
I don’t know WHY he ran off like that…