Saturday, February 11, 2012

"So Many Books, So Little Time."

I am very blessed to be a teacher-librarian. When growing up, I used to play ‘library’. I still have my books from my childhood, and some of them have a piece of paper affixed to the front inside cover where I use a Scrappy-Doo stamp in order to check the book out. But never did I think that I would end up in that profession.

Some of the first series I remember reading are ‘The Sweet Valley Twins’ and ‘Nancy Drew Files’. I remember how exciting it was to go to the book store and get the next book in the series. (Back in the good ole days when a paperback only cost $3.00.) I still have these books, and had hoped to pass them on to my little girl someday, but at the moment it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, but I digress.

One of my favorite phrases is, “So many books, so little time,” by Frank Zappa. That is totally the case with me. I have never been a fast reader, and I remember one occasion when I was in high school and I was assigned to read Where Eagles Dare by Alistor McClean. I spent a Sunday reading in order to finish that book in time for school. At first I wasn’t really into Where Eagles Dare,  but when I took that Sunday to read, I ended up really enjoying the action and espionage. The other book I especially remember reading, and enjoying, that year was The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas.

During my senior year of high school we were able to select what genre of literature that we wanted to focus on in our English electives. I chose Mysteries for one quarter and Science Fiction for the other. I had always liked Nancy Drew and other mysteries as a child, so I was excited for this class. I remember being introduced to the great Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot in The Labors of Hercules and The Clocks. Agatha Christie wrote such intriguing mysteries, my parents and I rented some Agatha Christie movies, including: Evil Under the Sun (Poirot), Death on the Nile (Poirot), and They Do it With Mirrors (Miss Marple), and I’ve been an Agatha Christie fanatic ever since (especially anything dealing with Poirot). My Science Fiction class also introduced me to authors that I had never read before, including Arthur C. Clarke.

When I decided to get my masters in Curriculum and Instruction in college, I got to take many children’s literature classes. In one class we were required to read a minimum of 70 books during the semester; we needed to include picture books, chapter books, nonfiction, and multicultural books. Since I was so excited to do this, I started reading during the previous summer and read over 150 books by the end of fall semester. I enjoyed this experience and read some fun books, including: Pippi Longstockings by Lindgren, all of Patricia Polacco’s books, The Borrower’s by Norton, Kevin Henkes’s books, Bedknobs and Broomsticks by Norton, Summer Switch by Rogers, The Tale of Despereaux by DiCamillo, Crispin by Avi, Elijah of Buxton by Curtis, and many others.

As an adult reader I gravitated toward cozy mysteries and forensic mysteries. I know it’s cheesy, but I find it so relaxing settling down to read a Murder She Wrote book. I grew up watching Jessica Fletcher solve her weekly mystery every Sunday evening. So perhaps it’s due to the nostalgia, or maybe it’s because I find it a fun read, but whatever the case I collect all of those books. I’ve always loved books - I love the smell, and the accomplishment I feel after reading a book. I have over 1,000 books in my collection, and I think the majority are mysteries.

My most prized books are my Harry Potter books. I was in my early twenties when someone told me that I had to read these books. I must admit that I was skeptical. In my mind I thought that no book can be that good. So after a few other people suggested that I read this series, I borrowed the first four books from a friend. After reading the first few chapters I was hooked and ran down to Costco and bought the first four books in hardback - and if you know me I never buy hardback books. I furiously read the first four books in the Harry Potter series in a matter of days and then of course was disappointed because I had to wait for the fifth book to come out. I luckily only had to wait a few months. On the night the fifth book came out I went to the midnight release party at Hastings. I promptly bought my book around 12:05 and raced home to tear into the newest book - I read until after 3:00. Lol.

I am also a fan of forensic mysteries, especially ones written by Patricia Cornwell and I enjoy James Patterson’s detective mysteries. But I have to admit since becoming a teacher-librarian I mostly read Young Adult books now, and my cozy mysteries have taken a back seat. I do enjoy the Young Adult books I’ve been reading, but I think I need to take some time and read some of mysteries again. Which brings me back to my favorite quote that rings so true for me. . .“So many books, so little time.” Happy reading, and may all your reading experiences be pleasurable. :)

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