How do you choose what you want to read? Do your choices change from day to day? Mine do. I just downloaded a half-dozen books on my kindle. Everything from a new authors first book to Pickwick Papers by Dickens. I have a very eclectic taste in what I read. Yet, no matter how many modern books I read, intend to read, plan on reading, I always go back to the classics. I am not an expert on the classics. I really haven’t read most of them. I just love the ones I have read and often reread them over and over. I very seldom read a book because it is on the best seller list or ones that are highly advertised all over. I usually go for the books that no one has heard of yet.
Like many readers, as a young child I only read one type of books. If the main character wasn’t an animal I wouldn’t read it. Then in about 6th or 7th grade I had an English teacher that I hated. He was always making mean sarcastic comments, I was that really shy quiet scared kid trying to hide under the desk. Anyway he made us keep a “file” of all the books we read. We were required to read so many for his class. Unlike now days there were no points or whatever, we just had to write down the title and author. Midway through the class he started taking us in small groups to the library and made us take out books that we would never have looked at normally. I learned to love all types of books. He picked out an Agatha Christie, Louis L’Amour, Dickens and Asimov. That year I read mysteries, westerns, nonfiction, science fiction, fiction of all kinds for the very first time.
It was eye-opening. Many of them I didn’t like at the time, I reread some of them years later and loved them. Now I read anything and everything. I think the classics should be, at the very least, read with a mind to when they were written. They are the best view we have of where we came from, the lessons learned through time, the changing times and dangers our world has gone through. They may be bias, prejudiced and a bit simplistic to our way of life and thinking but that is where we all came from. Those are our ancestors.
Over the years I have had other English teachers that pushed me further in my reading, Siddhartha, was one of the pushes that still confuses me. I’ve read it several times and even had to do a verbal test on it. The teacher said I understood it perfectly, which totally confused me because I had no clue what I had read. He then made me read Steppenwolf, again I passed the test but have no idea to this day what that book was really about.
It was about this time in my life that I started reading “War and Peace”. Now over 40 years later I’m still trying to finish that one. I keep going back to it but for some reason I can’t finish it. It’s great, I enjoy it but for some reason I always get side tracked by other books.
Even though many of those books confused me but they made me think. They made me stretch my reading until I became the reader I am now. I love books. I love reading. I read everything from classics to paranormal, science fiction to nonfiction, fantasy to reality, the only thing I don’t do is read paranormal or other spooky type books in October. Any other time of the year is fine but I hate Halloween, it scares me so I read fun books or favorite children books in the month of October. Or if I’m having a particularly bad October I reread Dickens “Tale of Two Cities” or “Great Expectations” although that book scared me the first time I had to read it. It was in middle school and reading about Miss Havisham burning in her ancient wedding dress scared me to death. It was a long time before I read that one again. Now it’s one of my favorites.
Now I read scary books at Christmas time, Christmas books during the summer, and everything else in between. So how do you choose what to read and when to read it? Who or what influenced your reading habits?