My 888 challenge is not going as quickly as I would have expected. Even my daughter has commented that it is taking me quite a long time to finish "The year of Living Biblically." I think that blogging is taking up some of my reading time! One of the talents that I do possess is the ability to read more than one book at a time. This happens to me because I forget my book in the kitchen...and I am too lazy to get out of bed and go downstairs...so I grab something else off the shelf!
So far, the only books that I have finished are Romance books. I was not a reader of romances until recently. My first was "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. It was recommended by a friend at my book club. I didn't know it was a romance...and actually the book store where I purchased it, had it in the fiction section. It is a great book - historical fiction with a little time travel thrown in - over 800 pages - riveting story - I would highly recommend it. So...when I finished it, I had to find the sequel (there are now 6 books in the story with 2 more to come). Now, I looked at a different bookstore for the sequel, and I could not find it on the shelves. When I went to ask about it...they sent me to the Romance section. What?! I dont' read romance! All I thought of was Barbara Cartland bodice rippers. Well...let me tell you, Romance has come a long way since the '80's.
My mother will still say that romance books are drivel...and I will admit that I can finish one in a day...but it is wonderful escapism...and there is always a "happily ever after." This HEA is really important after reading books like "Cold Mountain," where I just wanted to throw it against the wall after reading it. **Spoilers ahead - if you don't want to know...move on to the next paragraph!** I mean, after journeying forever with the twists, turns, and setbacks of that novel, only to have the hero killed in the end - no thanks!
The genre that I don't read a lot of is non-fiction...and here I am reading two! For this type of book to work for me, I need it to either be funny or told like a story. I tried so hard to read "John Adams" by David McCullough, but I just could not get into it. It was just too dry and tedious. Recently I read "A Year without Made in China" by Sara Bongiorni about one family's attempt to go an entire year without buying goods made in China. The writer has a great sense of humor about her experiment and I like her writing style. Another non-fiction favorite is Erik Larson's "Devil in the White City." Larson writes in a story format with side by side tales - of the architecture world's fair in Chicago and the first documented serial killer in the US. Fascinating history!
I think my favorite non-fiction writers can be found in the travel section of the bookstore -- Bill Bryson and Maarten Troost. Most people have heard of Bryson and his travels around Britain (in "Notes from a Small Island"), Australia ("In a Sunburned Country"), the Appalachain Trail ("A Walk in the Woods") and the universe ("A Short history of Nearly Everything")...but not as many people have heard of Troost. He has written two books with a third coming out this fall. His first book, "The Sex Lives of Canibals" is not about sex or cannibals but about a couple's quest to escape from their mundane lives to something extraordinary - so she gets a job on Kiribati, a small island in the Pacific - and he writes about island life. It is a laugh outloud, pee in your pants, funny book.