Books…

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Books… One of my most favoritest things in the world. Curling up with a good book has always been one of my most favoritest things to do. (Yes, I am aware that I just used a made-up word twice.  I feel that if I keep validating it by using it, then perhaps I can make it a word… like “ain’t”.)  For a while I really wanted one of those nooks or kindles… until I realized that I would hardly use it. Because part of what I love so much is the experience of reading a book.  Literally turning pages. The smell of a brand new book, or the smell of a really old one. Not to mention that any book, regardless of it’s cover, is a thing of beauty to me.

I have books stashed all over my house, and use them to decorate quite a bit as there is almost nothing prettier than a book, but the built-in bookshelf in my living room has to be my favorite display space.  Just looking at it makes me happy.  It holds some of my favorite books, some that I thought I would share with you… in no particular order…

1. Where the Sidewalk Ends – Shel Silverstein – “Inside everybody’s nose, there lives a sharp-toothed snail.” These are the first two lines of my favorite Shel Silverstein poem.  A poem that I recite to my three-year old when I catch her picking her nose…   I have read this book, and other Silverstein books over and over (The Giving Tree gets me every time) from the time I was in elementary school.  Every time we had to memorize a poem for school, I picked one of his because I had almost all of them memorized anyway.  Now that I have kids, it’s a book I can share with them.  It’s always such a cool thing to be able to share something from your childhood with your own children.

2. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll – My grandparents had a ton of the “classics” at their house.  Treasure Island, Black Beauty, Heidi… I read them all multiple times.  But my favorite was always Alice. I would take this book to my favorite tree in their yard, climb up to the nook that fit me just right, and spend the whole day up in the tree reading. Imagining myself as Alice. She has always been, and will always remain, one of my favorite literary characters…

3. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins – Yes, I know I am following up one of the most beloved children’s classics with a piece of pop-culture… But… This book was so good. As a series, I felt like it lost it’s luster towards the end, but the first book was wonderful.  I have never in my life so badly wanted to live in a post-apocalyptic society where I had to fight for my life in a death match.  In my opinion, a good book takes you to a different place.  It makes you feel as if you are a part of the story.  I read this book cover to cover because I felt like I was Katniss – and when it was over, I was a little sad I had to come back to reality.  That’s a mark of a good book…

4. Hard Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World – Haruki Murakami – Murakami is one of my all-time favorite authors. Hard Boiled was the first book of his that I ever read, and I instantly fell in love with it – from the opening lines, describing something as simple as an elevator with such clarity and mystery… you just have to know where that elevator is going. I have yet to read a book of his that I didn’t love, and I’ve read just about all of them.  Perhaps it’s because each book feels like just another adventure of the same character, or perhaps because in his books the most ordinary people and places are turned into the most beautiful and interesting…

5. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities – Albertus Seba – Not all books are made to be read.  Some are meant to be appreciated for their true beauty.  I’m a big fan of coffee table books, and this one is the granddaddy of them all. Seba’s illustrations from the 1700’s of marine life, insects, and creatures from his own imagination are absolutely beautiful.  The colors, the detail, the time that you can tell he put into each and every one, hundreds of them… I coveted the book for years before finally getting my own copy when Taschen re-released it (therefore making it much more affordable), and it might just be one of the things I would try to save if my house were on fire…

6. Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut – Vonnegut fans might shoot me for saying this but, I’m really not a huge Vonnegut fan. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read just about all of his books, it’s like a rite of passage for anyone who likes to consider themselves a true “reader”, but I’ve never really loved a Vonnegut book… with the exception of this one. I loved this one, and it’s the book that helped me to gain a true appreciation for Vonnegut’s other books. However, I’m realizing as I’m reviewing my list that there’s a bit of a theme with my favorites, many of them involve the world ending in some form or fashion.  (Imagine that – the crazy zombie lady having an obsession with the world ending…)

7. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card – I have my brother to thank for this one. Despite the fact that I am a die-hard Star Wars fan, the sci-fi genre was never one I had really gotten into… But my brother who also loves books the way that I do (and reads way more than me) gave me this to read.  And I fucking loved it.  It was amazing. It turned me on to other authors that I otherwise would have missed, like Isaac Asimov. So – thanks again bro, for that one…

8. Hearts in Atlantis – Stephen King – This may be my all-time favorite book… ever.  In middle school I was a Stephen King and Dean Koontz junkie.  I read anything and everything by the two of them, but I think Stephen always had a slight edge with me.  By college I had moved on to other authors and hardly read books by either of them anymore, but something about this book made me pick it up…  This is so cheesy, but the book just called to me – “Read Me”…  I sat in the book store and read the first four or five chapters, took it home, read some more, went to class with the book in my backpack, read some more – I couldn’t put it down.  It was so unlike anything else Stephen King had written, yet so Stephen King at the same time.  I wish I had the words to describe how good this book is… How much it meant to me… All I can say is – “Read It”… In fact, it may just be time for a re-read for me, too.

So – there’s my eclectic, yet not-so-eclectic list.  By no means is this a full list of favorites – just a small sampling.  I’m always looking for a good read, so please share if you’ve got one…

-Shan

3 thoughts on “Books…

  1. in no particular order with the exception of the cather in the rye (best book ever), of mice and men, slaughter house five, anything calvin and hobbes, tortilla flat, the giving tree.

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