Books and the Places they take Me
I published my first post in May 2011 and with that fulfilled a dream of many years and although I love writing I often struggle to find something that touches me. WordPress and more importantly a handful of friends I’ve left into my secret, are always encouraging and the wonderful Daily Post email occasionally leaves me tingling and full of inspiration and such was the case with ‘The 5 Most Important Books I’ve Ever Read’. Now before we go any further I have to say I’ve bent the rules slightly and selected seven. Oh, I know there’s no rules in writing, well maybe a few, the obvious being grammar, plagiarism and common decency. But I’m a master at creating rules for myself, so forgive me for indulging myself. I couldn’t imagine my list without these 7 and to contemplate the 5 most important would have left me dithering for another several weeks if not months. And trust me I don’t need any encouragement to procrastinate.
I started this post sometime back and life did what it ultimately does and got in the way and my good intentions was left to moulder away in my drafts. Now I find myself with a great deal of time on my hands, and I’ve struggled greatly the last few weeks with very distracted thoughts and unproductive actions with one exception, reading, snuggling down into my bed or a cosy chair and losing myself in another world, lets just say it’s been my lifeline.
Of course the first book I reached for was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and for me it’s always been my great friend, my comfortable pair of shoes and my cuddly teddy. I’m a willing and happy companion in the travels of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield and company. This is a book for the child in all of us and I love reconnecting with her. Tolkien created The Hobbit as a bedtime story for his children and I imagine myself curling up and listening to him speaking and it takes me back to my own childhood when worries were few. And for a brief moment in time all my current ones dissolve too.
Of course we all remember the required school reading lists, and classics and critically acclaimed be damned, some of them were mind numbingly dull, and like all teenagers, I bucked, thank god for film adaptations I say. Of course film adaptations aren’t always sympathetic or even accurate and I was often left trying to explain myself. Sorry about that, Mr. Campbell. Until I came across To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I grew up in a home where reading was encouraged, books were ever present, but my passion for reading was ignited because of this book. I can’t explain why this book touches me so much, perhaps we just connected, maybe the right time and the right place as they say. But this I know, I always finish it with a satisfied smile and think ’till we meet again’.
Awareness by Anthony DeMello was a recent find, it was recommended to me about 2 and bit years ago and I’m forever grateful it was. His words are full of wisdom, but he’s tough and doesn’t pull any punches. I think when I first read it, I likened it to being mauled by a loveable floppy-eared puppy, and that pretty well still fits. I listen to his audio tape of the book and his voice is wonderful, the laughter, the joy but always the words and thoughts come back to me and I continually strive to find my own awareness. Dare I say it, it’s become my bible.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I’ve read all the books in this series and I’ve preferred the storyline to some of the later ones more, but the first is hugely important to me. I first read this book some 3-4 years after it was published and it came to me at a time of great heartache. My youngest child had recently been diagnosed with a chronic life limiting disease, which left me grieving, angry and full of self blame. My beloved father had died suddenly and my husband had been diagnosed with cancer. I felt like I was in hell. This book transported me into the world of magic and Hogwarts, and took me out of my own for days on end. A breathing space, a place to hide and recharge myself.
To the wonderfully delicious offerings of P.G. Wodehouse and his Jeeves and Wooster stories. His turn of phrase, his glorious caricatures and comic genius. The derring-dos of Bertie Wooster, his bungling aide to friends and run ins with various aunts and his man Jeeves are a pure joy and a enormous treat. Read often and enjoyed always.
Now I’m not a chick lit kind of girl, but I do enjoy a bit of romance from time to time and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen certainly fits the bill. The feisty Elizabeth Bennet and the brooding Mr. Darcy. And at the end of the page when the eyelids are flickering I picture Mr. Darcy as portrayed by Matthew MacFadyen walking across the field towards Elizabeth (we’re on first name terms) coat open and flapping in the breeze, crisp white shirt, breeches and riding boots…………………..Mmmmmm…………………….. ……………..Ahem.
And finally The Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I love all the Sherlock Holmes books, but this is the book in which we’re introduced to Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes. Through the eyes of Watson, we get to experience their new found friendship and discover the eccentricities of the wonderful Holmes, and of course their first case together. A great story in itself. I can while away endless hours reading these adventures.
So, are these my most important books, definitely. These are the books that have reinforced my passion and love of reading. But more importantly they’re the ones I reach out for again and again and again.