Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Favorite Books? Oh My!

Okay, I have two confessions to make here.

One is that if I could remove two words from the English language they would be "should" (don't even get me started) and "favorite." When my kids were little they would always ask me what my favorite this or that was. "What's your favorite color, Mommy?" For what? Shirts? White. Walls? Never White! "What's your favorite food?" For what meal? "For dessert?" Hot or cold? Lunch or dinner? In summer or winter? I'd avoid it any way I could. Luckily, I had a boy and a girl so that when they asked about "favorite children" I could say which was my favorite son and which my favorite daughter!

I simply don't do favorites.

Second confession: I don't retain well. No matter how much I adore a book when I'm reading it (and I never read books that I don't adore--I just pass them on), when I'm done, I'm done. So to list my favorites . . . Ugh! That word again!

Oh, gosh! I've just realized I have a third confession. This one has to do with my mother, who was an avid reader, but this has nothing to do with reading. My mother had what we thought of as a very strange affliction. When she spoke with anyone who had an accent, she unintentionally picked it up and replied in the person's accent. Now, this could be very embarrassing because if you didn't know her, you'd think that she was making fun of you. One time she. . .but I digress.
(And while I am out there, digressing, I'm thinking that I really will have to give that problem to a character somewhere along the way. . .) Anyway, when I read, I think I pick up the "accent" of the author. Once I was writing a book and reading Pam Morsi at the same time. It was the one that took place in the Ozarks, I think. At any rate,one of my characters, who'd been doing just fine up until this point, suddenly admitted she couldn't read and started saying ain't. Sooo...I don't read when I'm actively writing, which is nearly all the time.

All that said, who/what do I like?

In no particular order:

  • LaVyrle Spencer, whose books led me to write romance, especially Years
  • Alexander McCall Smith's First Ladies Detective Agency Series. His simple truths appeal to me
  • Legal Thrillers, maybe because I'm married to a lawyer
  • Books in the Next series, because I'm not twenty anymore but I'm not dead yet, and the heroines in these books feel real to me
  • Diet books, because I always think that this one will hold the key to those five pounds I'm always trying to shed
  • Gardening books because winter lasts a long time in Upstate NY

There are probably loads more that I am forgetting. I love being swept away, forgetting I'm on a plane, or down with a cold, or worried about something. I love the act of reading, of cracking a new spine and feeling the pages in my hands.

I LOVE TO READ. And to write. I love the world we escape into together.

Stevi Mittman


Sabo said...

I also do not retain. However, when reading a good book, it is read almost constantly until finished and when I'm through, I'm through! Pass the book on to a friend who will enjoy it also.

Stacia said...

I must confess, I get sad whenever I let go of a book that I loved. I might let someone borrow it later but I must have it back. My hubby is trying so hard to break me of this habit because our shelves and our attic are just overflowing with books. I promised him though, that once I get closer to finishing writing my own books, I will hold contests on my website & give away some of my old books as prizes.

Maureen said...

I blame my children for frying my brain but remembering favorite books is also a problem for me, especially if I've never read the author before.

Pat Cochran said...

To Stevi in response to winners email
received today: Do not apologize,
nothing comes before your new grand-
child! I speak as the grandmother
of nine beautiful grandchildren, whom
I love dearly. Enjoy your new
grandchild!!! God bless!

Pat Cochran

catslady said...

The more I read the less I retain lol. A lot of titles blend into all the others so that I have to take a list with me so I don't rebuy the same book and don't get me started when they change covers.

Joyce said...

The really great books I read are like old friends. You don't throw away a friend. Unfortunately I have about 12 boxes of old "friends" and my dh wants me to get rid of some (all).

Joan said...

I am an avid reader. I don't always remember what I have read once I have finished a book. I have read too many good books to name one as my favorite. My family teases me about my reading so much. They say I have enough books to open my own book store.

tam said...

Stevi, LaVyrle Spencer is the first romance author I ever read. I read all her books, then from there I went on to others. I now have over 500 romance books. I just can't seem to pass one up. I love reading and finding a new author I haven't read before.

RubyD said...

I much prefer reading a good book to watching television, and have read a great many over the years. (my teachers used to chase me outside during recess becasue I always had my nose in a book) Also have a problem with letting go of a good book, and keep them to be read again.

Carol said...

It's impossible to remember all the books you read and as you get older, it gets even harder! lol

Auriette said...

I have your mother's affliction! When I was 4 years old, my dad was stationed in Scotland, and my mom said when I played with my Scottish friends, I had a Scottish accent, and when I played with my American friends, I had an American accent. When I came back to the States, my mom used to have me "say something Scottish" to demonstrate my accent. Well, the kids at school said I talked funny (probably because they had southern drawls and I didn't), so I refused to ever use the accent again. I've become more aware now, so I'm not *real* obvious, I don't think, but still, when I've had friends or co-workers from up north, I've picked up bits of their accents, and everyone tells me that when I talk to my parents, I pick up their "thick southern drawl" (although I don't think it's so very thick).
Anyway, I'm glad I'm not the only one.
As for the retaining books -- I used to be really good at remembering characters, plots, and titles -- movies or books. I'd make fun of my mom for not knowing if she'd read a book before, just from reading the back cover. Now that I'm older, I understand.

peeperatiel2000 said...

My daughter is in the " What's your favorite?" Stage and it drives me nuts! And is she ever going to learn any more words to Ba Ba Black Sheep then Ba Ba Black Sheep??

As for not retaining items in a book, I've found that down the road (usually after I get rid of it) I remember some small snippet and must have the book back. That's why I've started keeping all of the books I read. Unless it really was bad or boring. And I keep a spreadsheet with the title!

K. Anne said...

I have that same problem with the accent thing! It's never intentional it just happens. I have told my family and friends to just smack me so I know that I am doing it. Lol.

The kids bug me for favorites as well. And most of the time I don't have a favorite in the particular category they are asking about. This stuns them. Apparently they don't understand sometimes you may enjoy a wide variety of things so much that you couldn't possibly pick a favorite because you enjoy them on the same level, but for different reasons.

deseng said...

Oh gosh sometimes I can retain a lot of books and then sometimes I can't. I think it depends on how tired I am when I am reading the book.

I have all my favorite authors saved on a shelving unit here in my bedroom. It is my happy room where I can go to select a book to read.

I have a TBR pile that is close to 50 books right now. When I see a book that looks interesting I can't pass it up. Alas, that is the reason for my ever growing To-Be-Read pile!