An Invitation to Read

"No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books." ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I never thought of books as companions, but I love that expression. They are companions. They bring different worlds and friends into your life that you would otherwise not meet. They bring you joy, they make you laugh, they make you cry and sometimes they make you really think. I just recently packed up my house and moved. In my house I had several bookshelves full of books. I thought that since I was moving it would be a good time to downsize my book collection. I would like to say I am embarrassed by the fact that I only got rid of about 14 books, but I'm not really embarrassed by that. I love books! I will, however, refrain from telling you how many boxes and boxes and b o x e s of books I ended up packing. I guess it was hard for me to give up my companions.

I love books of all kind - well, let me rephrase that, I love books of almost every kind. I will not and cannot read "romance" novels - for me those are a waste of my time. My favorite kinds of books are historical novels - I enjoy history. I also enjoy the old classics - Moby Dick, Anna Karenina, The Count of Monte Cristo, etc. In them I find another world. A world wherein the people have a high intellect and the books are written as such. I have found lately that there is a lot of trash out there. And by trash, I mean books written in such a way that the language and the ideas have been "dumbed down". Authors no longer want us to think for ourselves - they want to simply spoon feed us what is going on and not give us the freedom to discover for ourselves what lies hidden deep within the story.

For example, the opening line of Anna Karenina says: "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Rather than just making a statement that "this is what the book is about", Tolstoy makes more of a philosophical statement about happiness. It is up to us to determine whether or not that statement is true and to come up with our own conclusions as to what that statement really means. That is what I love about books - don't spoon feed me, let me think, let me use my imagination.

However, there are times when a good laugh-out-loud I don't want to think book is in order. Sometimes I just need to escape from the troubles of the world and dive into a world that makes me laugh. I read a book called "Sleeping With Schubert" that did just that - it made me laugh out loud! The title is a little deceiving, and I was a little nervous to start reading it when my friend gave it to me and said, "Here, read this - it will make you laugh". The premise of the book is that Schubert suddenly inhabits the body of a woman and causes her to go from a no one to a someone in the world of music. I still think about some of the lines from that book today and laugh. The idea of this happening is totally preposterous but being a musician a lot of the things said in the book are things that I have experienced. This book brought into my home a friend to share those experiences with - a friend that reacted in a way that I wish I could react, but which reaction is totally unacceptable in society!

It's hard for me to list my favorite books...but here are some:

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein ( this book almost always makes me cry)
Scrambled Eggs Super by Dr. Seuss (loved it as a kid and still love it now)
The Book of Mormon, Old Testament and New Testament (definitely a must read)
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostovo
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
The Magician by Sol Stein

The Magician is one of those make you think and perhaps make you're head hurt books. It's a hard book for some to read as they find it a bit disturbing. It is a book I read in high school literature class. We had a choice between Catcher in the Rye and this book - I selected this book because everyone else chose to read Catcher in the Rye. I will never, ever forget this book- ever. It brought into my world characters that I had never met before. Characters that I was unsure as to whether I liked them or disliked them. Characters that thought in a way I had never thought before.

Well, those are a few of the books that have just left a great impression in my mind. In today's hectic world I think we forget to take the time to read good books. It is through reading that we can stretch our imaginations, we can educate ourselves as well as find comfort. Let us not forget to take time to explore the many different worlds and inspirations contained in the pages of good books.

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." ~Charles W. Eliot


mNm said...

I LOVE all the book ideas! And I appreciated your point about reading that challenges and makes us think. This can be applied to so many outlets as TV, ipod music & podcasts...

And last but not least....CALL ME!!!!

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