Books: I love ’em!

I am an avid reader. No, I am a voracious reader. I read every day, and have a widely ranging subject list for what I enjoy reading. From classics like The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, to paranormal romance of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, I read just about everything. I have been known to read the shampoo bottles in the shower, and any nutrition labels or information on food boxes while in the kitchen, just to have something to read. I think it’s a compulsion, I can’t ignore it. I have been this way since elementary school, but particularly by the fourth grade I had become obsessed, and I remember clearly what brought on this obsession with reading.

The beginning of my fourth grade year, my family picked up and moved across town, from lovely Willow Glen, to the horrible near East Side (not quite the far part of East Side, but close enough), and I left my privileged middle class neighborhood school for a  year round school, where all of a sudden I was a member of the white minority. I believe there were 4 of us in my grade. Maybe.  I eventually made friends, and found ways to entertain myself, but the very nature of a year round school can be quite isolating for a child. Instead of having a traditional summer vacation of three consecutive months off, students go to school for three months, then have one month off, and continue year round, hence the name. What is worse, the entire school is split up into four tracks that classes are placed in, so you may have a month off, but your best friend in the other fourth grade class is still in school, so what’s a girl with a wild imagination, and no one to play with, do? READ!

I’d like to take this paragraph to thank my grandma (also known as Gma), bless her heart, for finding something for me to do with my time while I was on vacation and visiting with her. When I bothered her, said there was nothing to do, or I was bored, she handed me a stack of V.C. Andrews books and told me to enjoy. Let me tell you something now, I was in the fourth grade, so 9 or 10 years old, and she handed me vivid and detailed romance novels. I may not have quite understood everything the books had in them, but I ate them up. It started my love of literature containing romance, horror and family corruption, and fostered even more thoughts for my already gloriously imaginative mind to play with. Thanks, Gma, you unwittingly created a little bit of a sexual deviant for me when to grow up to, and I love you for it. Thankfully, once my love of reading blossomed, I began to devour read other, more age appropriate books, such as The Babysitters Club and  Sweet Valley High, Bridge to Terabithia among other titles and series.

I really enjoy reading books that are a part of a series because I enjoy the character development, the continuation of story, the use of a familiar narrator, and having something to look forward to in the next book. I think I can reach back to elementary school with the Babysitters club, Sweet Valley High and Boxcar Children series to see where this love came from. I don’t mind reading a book that stands alone. There are many wonderful books I have read that were not a part of a series, such as Jonathan Tropper books, my favorites of which are The Book Of Joe, and This is Where I Leave You. I just can’t help being drawn into a series of books though, and I don’t mind, as long as the library stocks the next book for me when I NEED it!

My current stack of books is not far off from the romance novels of my youth. I just finished the latest book in the Merry Gentry series, Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K. Hamilton, which is about Faeries and other mystical, magical and mythical creatures being a part of normal society, among other things. It’s supernatural romance, violent and sexy in the best way. Laurell K. Hamilton also writes the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, which I am a huge fan of, and that lead me to read the Merry books after finishing the hmm, I think 19th Anita book in the last 6 months or so.

I also have a two new book series to begin in my stack of “to read books” by J.R. Ward. I am currently reading Lover Revealed, the 4th book of The Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I just finished Covet of the Fallen Angels series, though I like the BDB books a little more than Covet. Maybe it’s the vampires. I’m quite enamored with them. I read the Twilight saga last year (yes, I got caught up in Twilight, but I am NO Twihard!), then wanted something a little more adult, and moved on to the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, which True Blood the HBO TV show is based on. I  then picked up the Anita Blake series, and am now on to The Black Dagger Brotherhood, all vampire. I can’t get enough of the blood suckers and their supernatural, paranormal, metaphysical world for some reason. The Black Dagger Brotherhood books have different narrators and character emphasis in each book so far, so I can’t say it will be like the other vampire book series I read, but Twilight to Sookie and then on to Anita moves steadily in the adult direction, both in sexiness and in violence, which to me, says “real Vampire” more than sparkles ever will.

I enjoy non-vampire books too. I just keep going back to these for some reason. My next books to read are My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares, the author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (yup, read those too!), and The Life and Death of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood, which the movie Charlie St. Cloud is based on. I really like reading books that are turned into movies, it’s fun to see how a director and film house sees the book.

Books are my way of letting my over active imagination loose, to really get lost in a story. Reading is my absolute favorite, and most done activity. I wish I could write off the books I buy, like I do with hair products, but no such luck. I could go on, (and on, and on) about the books I like, but I won’t make this any longer.

What do you like to read? Do you enjoy series like I do, or do you pick books by the cover, a familiar author, or a subject matter that interests you?