My taste in books can hardly be considered highbrow; I like reading novels, biographies, humor and historical fiction. I read books that everyone was talking about three years ago. I have a stack of magazine subscription cards scribbled with titles of books that I read about in magazines and hear about on TV that I mean to read but probably never will.
My favorite books are varied and decidedly not intellectual, though I dream of rattling off poetry and having real discussions about literary figures, real and imagined. In the movie Sabrina she says that her father became a chauffeur so he’d have more time to read. That thought has never left me; what a wonderful, simple choice. He probably read things like War and Peace and Moby Dick and others I can’t think up on the spot because I am not a literary genius.
When I was a kid I loved Judy Blume. I read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing over and over; I truly identified with Peter, who was a serious kid and a little curmudgeonly at nine years old, just like me. And who lived in New York City, to boot. Then came Margaret. Are you there God? Good Lord, this girl had issues. And I had every one of them too. From questions about religion to the anticipation/terror of puberty, I read this book and saw myself on every page.
I also loved this book not on any class reading list called Anna to the Infinite Power, about a girl who finds out she is the product of a cloning experiment.
In high school I fell in love with Holden Caulfield. The Catcher in the Rye was one book out of ten I was expected to read one summer break before hitting the ground running in an advanced placement English class. I read and re-read Catcher, but never got around to reading the rest of the others. I had to inform my teacher that I didn’t get the work done over the summer and started school that year in a regular English class, wistfully watching the AP kids walk into their classroom, the classics under their arms and filling their brains.
I spent the rest of high school reading Sassy, Seventeen, and YM magazines.
During college and grad school, I rarely read anything that wasn’t assigned, though I blew off one whole day of work and office hours sobbing through The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard. I also swiped my mom’s Rosamunde Pilchers over breaks and found a home in Coming Home. That book is beloved and I read it at least once a year until my daughter was born. Haven’t heard of it? It’s because it’s not a literary masterpiece.
These days I re-read in anticipation of a sequel or movie release, as in the case of all the Twilights and Harry Potters. My latest re-read was Life of Pi, also one of my current favorites, and despite the many, many OBVIOUS hints I’ve dropped to my husband that I want to see this movie, I still haven’t seen it.
I also re-read Catcher recently, where I realized what a creep Holden Caulfield really is.
Atonement, The Alchemist, Water For Elephants, Ken Follett’s epics, anything by Chelsea Handler, David Sedaris or Anita Shreve; these are my favorites these days, and while they may not be classics, the more I read, the more favorites I find.
What are your favorite books?
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