Books, Books and More Glorious Books!

Tonight a friend of mine and I were discussing books that we read in our younger days, and could actually remember and it started me thinking about the importance of books and the role that they have played in my life. I have always loved reading there is no doubt about that, however I was never really fond of being told what I had to read. It always seemed that what I was interested in never coincided with what we were being assigned to read in school. If we were told to read Oliver Twist, I wanted to read the Lord of the Flies! It really was like that all through high school and college. The first time I really had a class that interested me in what we read had to have been in High School with Mrs. Long and English V Humanities. The groups of us in that class were readers, and we really had some great discussions. Sometimes I miss having discussions about books. All too often now people do not read and truly have no clue when I make a reference to something within the wells of the printed page

As I begin going over the hill I realize that there are so many more books that I want to read. It really is refreshing to be scampering through the woods trying to evade Long John Silver one week to saving the world from nuclear war the next by finding the Red October. I really do enjoy re-reading alot the books that I read as a kid and truthfully, I find I still enjoy them as much now as ever. Books like the The Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, Freddy Goes to Florida all hold a special place in my heart as they do many of us. These are the books that taught us how to dream and imagine things. Then we got to Catcher in the Rye sitting on those hard pews at old Pencey and hearing that kid fart in right there in the church. Books were the tool that helped many of us realize who we were and gave us the facts and experiences to decide what we were going to be. We learned a lot about life and love from books. Who could ever forget Imogene Herdman playing Mary in the Christmas Pageant or her little sister Gladys? They are still a staple of my holiday season every year as I laugh and remember all of the pleasant memories that those words not only created but bore witness to over the years. Now that we are in the digital age and carry our e-readers with us, and I have jumped on this band wagon heavily. I have Nook and Kindle both and about 8000 titles between them, but there is still nothing better than the feel and smell of a new book. I still buy real books to though; I just do not have the space to buy all of the ones I wanted until the e-readers came about.

I also have found that the classics seem to be more important to me now than they ever have been. If I had to pick one author that has impacted me more than any other I am not sure I could do it. I have learned and experienced so much from so many that I would be hard pressed to choose one over any other, but I do have my favorites, the wit and common sense of Mark Twain, the local color of Joel Chandler Harris, will Br’er Fox ever eat Br’er Rabbit? Books help remind us of where we have been and they are a compass that point us in the right direction when we try to figure out who we are and what decisions we need to make. Walt Whitman once said, ““You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, not look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the specters in books. You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, you shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.” And I have learned that. Books have taught me how to live, laugh and love. I guess it really all boils down to why books and reading are important. Books are a tangible, valuable record of our world and the worlds that we dream about. History, the stories of civilizations long gone and ancient languages forgotten are somewhere in a book. Books are there so you can learn, imagine and sometimes escape from the world around you. There is nothing like sitting down with a new book, the pages crisp and fresh, and reading about a love story, or a horrible murder. Books are an outlet for many people. For some it is their way of expressing their imagination. Writers create so we can read and let our minds take us to a different place, a different time, maybe even a different world. For others, books are an escape. When the world gets to be too crazy and you need to escape you can pick up a book and forget about the world around them. Books are so many things. They are knowledge, with knowledge comes wisdom and we can all use a little more wisdom in our lives. I am so thankful I can still read, without my books I would be lost. I can’t say enough about reading & I feel so sorry for those people who can’t share the printed world, because I am still revisiting old friends and making new ones regularly.

My Top 25 Books (no order)

  1. Youth in Revolt and all the others that followed C.D. Payne
  2. Tom Jones a Foundling by Henry Fielding
  3. Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
  4. The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Trilogy J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. About a Boy Nick Hornby
  6. Complete Works of Mark Twain (I know that is a lot of books but they were all bound in one and it is hard to just pick one Twain book.)
  7. Wills Choice Gail Griffith
  8. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Judy Blume
  9. Ordinary People Judith Guest
  10. A Salty Piece of Land Jimmy Buffett
  11. Fool Christopher Moore
  12. American by Birth Southren by the Grace of God Lewis Grizzard
  13. A Song for the Asking Steve Gannon
  14. To Kill a Mocking Bird Harper Lee
  15. Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  16. The Stand Stephen King
  17. Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
  18. The Color Purple Alice Walker
  19. The Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman
  20. Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
  21. Oliver Twist Charles Dickens
  22. Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes
  23. The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank Erma Bombeck
  24. Jaws Peter Benchly
  25. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

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