A recent news article was bemoaning the fact that children ‘these days’ don’t own books. Teachers and other experts were interviewed who stated that kids preferred information it was presented in electronic format and implied that this meant they didn’t read much. The Scribblaire isn’t so sure though. It’s rare to see a young person without some kind of electronic device in front of their face, which suggests that they might be reading something pretty much all of the time, which should be encouraged shouldn’t it?
The Scribblaire was lucky enough to get an e-book reader for Christmas, which has rekindled (pun intended) a passion for books. That’s not to say that I had stopped reading of course. I read all the time. But my Kindle (other e-book readers are available!) provides such a rich source of reading material direct to my hand, without having to plough through shelves of books in a shop or wait for something to be delivered in the post. I’m currently addicted and feeding my habit with complete abandon.
This blog isn’t really about technology, although The Scribblaire loves a gadget. It’s about reading fiction and how to decide what to read. So if you prefer a ‘real’ book, that’s fine with me.
As a child (which is going back a bit) I liked a bit of escapism. Enid Blyton (especially the Famous Five) and Grimms fairy tales were my staple diet. The Scribblaire’s reading habits were formed early on and to this day I stick to themes (the same author, similar subjects) until I have exhausted them or got bored and am ready to move on to something else. I’ve been thinking about some of my favourites and thought I’d share some with you (see below). I’d be very interested in whether you share my views, or whether there’s anything else you’d recommend (and why).
- The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit JRR Tolkien – the best book(s) ever written (IMHO). I only read these because I accused an old hippy of reading it because it was a cult book and that it couldn’t possibly be as good as they said. He rightly challenged me and now I’ve read it too many times to mention.
- Anything by Tolstoy but especially Anna Karenina and War and Peace (I’m serious, its a great book)
- Possession by AS Byatt – which led me to read loads more by her
- The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splended Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
- All of John Irving’s books but especially A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Cider House Rules. One of my favourite authors ever.
More recently read:
- The Book of Human Skin, Michelle Lovric. A weird but compelling combination of history and magic.
- Steig Larsson’s Millenium Series – although I only really enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. The 2nd and 3rd books were a bit slow moving I thought.
- The Island, Victoria Hislop. Great holiday reading, especially if you’ve been to Greece/Crete/Spinalonga
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The first book I read on my Kindle. A great novel relating to American civil rights in the 60s which is a theme I’m interested in. I’d also recommend I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- I loved Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Berniere although an even better book by him is Birds Without Wings
Books I’m downloading later today:
- Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
- The Thread, Victoria Hislop
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak