“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ― Stephen King
I have used Fridays to recommend books that I have read and hope you will also enjoy reading. I thought as I am trying to recharge my blogging it made sense to explain my thoughts behind the Friday posts.
First, I don’t think of these posts as being critical reviews. Having written a book, I now understand how hard that is. All writers deserve a positive nod for bringing a book to publication even if you hate what they have written. Only once since I wrote MacCullough’s Women have I been tempted to critically dissect another writer’s work. I definitely would not have had anything good to say about that book. And that book has sold 60 million copies.
I was not one of the gifted kids. I didn’t start school reading. I was a ‘bluebird” in the first-grade and began with “Dick and Jane” like thousands of other public school children in the fifties. By the time I was ten, I read anything I could get my hands on, much of it adult reading. I went toe-to-toe with my sixth-grade teacher, Sr. Helena Regis, who insisted I could not have read Gone with the Wind. I had — the first of six times. I was the kid whose parents often said, “Get your head out of that book.” Quite simply, books were my world.
I have always been fascinated by series, beginning with The Bobbsey Twins. I think this is because I am so reluctant to let beloved characters go. I suppose that’s why I am writing a series myself.
I usually read between two and three books a week. I have been doing that all my adult life. I also re-read books I love. I have read across genres: light, dark, horror, classical and dystopian. I find myself no longer drawn to the dysfunctional or the sinister, although here and there I will make an exception. I have just finished reading The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian. The world we live in seems dark enough to me today and I enjoy escaping into my less fraught fictional worlds. Most of my time now is spent reading either women’s fiction, which is what I also write or memoir. Over the next few months, I hope to share some of these stories with you.
What do I think is the best book I have ever read? Without hesitation, my answer is the book I consider to be “The Great American Novel”: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The only novel Mitchell wrote, Gone with the Wind was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1937.
If you haven’t read it, you simply must.