Books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past. The reason why men lived, and worked, and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives. ~~ Amy Lowell
I think the kind of books one reads says a lot about the person. I prefer reading nonfiction as I’ve found there really is no comparison to the realities of life. I love reading about real people and events. I love history, the people, places and things that brought us to where we are today. They’re great teachers about how to react to — and deal with — our todays.
Lately I’ve turned to reading some fiction as well. I think it could help me become a better writer and — as I’ve written before — friends have suggested there’s a book inside me, somewhere that needs to come out. Fiction or nonfiction, I’m not sure that hidden book’s nature. I’m not sure even if it will ever come out, beyond what you find here or in my personal history that will someday be shared with my family and a few close friends. Whether fiction or non, books take you places your feet can’t go.
Right now I’m half-way through Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars. It’s a book published last year of four short stories “psychological chillers” in a paperback numbering 560 pages. That comes to roughly 140 pages per story. I’ve always included some of King’s movies as my favorites, so I thought I couldn’t go wrong reading a few of his short stories. So far, so good.
I’ve been a prolific reader through most of my years, even more so as an adult. Other than the Dick and Jane books that were widely used to teach us the fundamentals of reading as a child, and the other children’s books common in that day, the first big book I ever read was The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Its plot centers on the conflicts of a young boy who struggles with, among other things, strained relationships, and the death of his childhood companion. As the boy matures he is faced with having to kill his long-time pet Flag, raised since a fawn that had grown into an adult deer. I read it when I was about nine years old, give or take a year or two, I can’t recall exactly. The 1938 novel won the Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into a movie in 1946.
Sometime later in about 1964 my mother bought a complete set of the highly regarded Encyclopaedia Britannica. 24 volumes as I recall. I think it was a combination of her recognizing my interest in reading, as well as the skills of the door-to-door salesman that led her to make that purchase. In those days, and especially for my mother, it was a substantial investment that after interest, as I recall, cost her close to $1000, possibly more. Annually she would buy the Book of the Year which kept the set up-to-date with the latest developments. I devoured those books for many years, used them for my school work and learned a lot. About the same time I was nominated a member of the National Geographic Society. Back in those days that’s how it worked, you had to be nominated by another member/subscriber. It came as a gift from my best friend and for many years after I read every issue of The National Geographic and like the Britannica couldn’t get enough of them.
The first lengthy biography I read was the hardback version of Dwight Eisenhower’s At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends. It became the inspiration for the title of this blog. It was the beginning of my insatiable attraction to learning more about those who came before us. Since those days I’ve read hundreds of books and collected an extensive library along the way.
Amazon.com has a really nice feature. The site allows us to create our own lists of books we’ve read, recommend or whatever. It also allows the same for DVDs etc. So far, over the years I’ve created eight lists. Each deal with various interests of my life. Until now, I’ve never shared them with anyone. All are lists of books except one which lists my favorite movies. (The films one enjoys also say a lot about the person.) There are more interests that come to mind and maybe I’ll add another one or two lists in the future. Among the eight is one titled Recently Read Books. Most of the individual listings include my comments. Some of the lists need updated. Take a look, see what you think. Create your own list(s) and send them my way. Like I said you can learn a lot about a person by the books they read. Here’s the link.
Finally I even have a Wish List on Amazon, another one of it’s great features. A list of some of the books I’d like to see in my Christmas stocking this year, if anyone’s feeling particularly generous. 🙂
As always, thanks for stopping by and spending a little time here.