Moving away from the travel snippets for today. Life can’t always be holidays and exploration, not on my salary anyway! There have to be other joys to keep us entertained and without doubt my favourite past time for a quiet day at home is to pick up a book and lose myself in it pages. In reality, reading is something I do every day. Without fail. Sometimes for many hours on end. Voracious reader would be an apt description if ever there was one. I am a devourer of words.
So what do I think makes for a good read? Personally, I love fiction. I’ve never really been able to get into non-fiction – I find them dry and bland, they just don’t spark my imagine. And part of the joy of reading, for me, is being mentally transported into some other world. I want to be able to visualise the world within the pages, conjure up the characters faces and get caught up in following their journey. Good character development is so important. There’s nothing worse than a story where the central character is one you can’t feel a connection to. You need to be invested in them, for better or worse, in order to care about the outcome. And that outcome has got to get there along a decent and engaging plot line. I have read so many books where the pace is slow and not much seems to be happening, you start to pin your hopes on a dramatic and unexpected twist that will make your persistence pay off, and then … it just ends! Like the author ran out of steam and gave up. I don’t mean to be overly critical, I recognise someone put a lot of effort into that piece of writing, but sometimes I end up feeling like I just lost a few hours of my life for naught. I love a novel that leaves me wanting more at the end. You know the feeling right? You finish that last sentence, put the book down and you just can’t let go of the story. It’s gone right through you, you’ve become so wrapped up in the characters and their plight that you feel the loss and absence of them once the book is over. Now, that’s a good read!
I can’t write about reading without mentioning the debate all us avid readers have – paper books or electronic books. It’s a tough choice. I like both, for vastly different reasons. I don’t think there’s any way to beat the feeling of a paper book – the texture of the pages, the beautiful covers, the smell of the paper. There’s something so authentic about curling up on the couch with an actual printed book. I’m equally fond of hardback and paperback, although some of those really big hardbacks with more than 1000 pages can put a strain on the wrists! And I will confess, I do judge a book by its cover. Walking through a bookstore in town earlier this week, surrounding by thousands of books, I only picked up the ones with a cover that was visually appealing to me. Most had a blurb on the back which didn’t spark any interest but some did & I add them to my wishlist to read. It really illustrated to me the importance of the cover – how many interesting books might I have overlooked because the cover was unappealing or off-putting? And then there’s the electronic books. I do own a Kindle, and despite my love of printed books, it’s the Kindle that I read on most often. Why? It’s simple. It’s convenient and instant. I churn through books pretty quickly, sometimes only taking a day to read one. If I have nothing else waiting on the shelves, it’s just so easy to download a new one to the Kindle and start all over again! There’s no getting in the car and driving to the nearest shopping centre (or mall if you prefer) to browse and buy. And there’s the price. It’s so much cheaper to buy an e-book than a printed one, and if you read a lot that’s something to consider. But a Kindle does lack the warmth and doesn’t give you the same pleasurable feeling as holding a book.
I had always planned to do some book reviews on my blog but for some reason I never really got started on them. In fact I’ve only done the one so far! It was on a series of books written by Australian author Owen Baillie, my review was based on the first three novels in a proposed nine book series. Book four has just been released in the last week actually and I’m right in the middle of it as we speak! I was also fortunate enough to be able to interview Owen about the trials and tribulations of being an author and, perhaps I’m totally biased, but it’s one of my favourite blog posts as it was great to get a look behind the books and see how the author’s mind works. Here’s the link if you’re interested in having a read: Author Interview – Owen Baillie
One challenge I do take part in every year is the Goodreads Reading Challenge. There’s not much to it – just set yourself and goal for the number of books you’d like to read in a year and go for it! I’ve hit my target for the last two years and am already halfway to this years goal. I guess it’s fortunate that I’m not too fussy about what type of fiction I read. I love historical fiction, thrillers, horror, action. Not a huge fan of romance, contemporary or scifi/fantasy but I’ll occasionally pick one up. Now, if you are a reader and are looking for some suggestions … here’s a few of my favourites (links are to the Goodreads blurbs on each). If you aren’t an avid reader – wow, well done on persisting with this post right to the end!!
Some all time favourites:
Some of top choices during the last 12 months (they weren’t necessarily published recently, just based on when I got around to them!):
So … tell me. Are you a reader? Do you have a preference for printed or electronic books? Fiction or Non-Fiction? Genre? Have you read any of the above or would you like to leave a few suggestion for books I might like to read next?
This post makes up part of my contribution to the April 2017 A-Z Challenge
For a list and links to my other challenge posts click here
For those interesting in revisiting my 2016 challenge post for R, here’s the link: Snapshot – RAMSES II AND ABU SIMBEL