” If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ― Stephen King
I was the kid whose father was always telling her, “ Get your nose out of that book and go play.” I didn’t start school knowing how to read but I caught on pretty fast.
I fell in love with books, immersing myself in the goings on of The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and The Children of Green Knowe, and children’s classics like Black Beauty, Lad a Dog, The Five Little Peppers and Little Women. By the time I was in the sixth grade, I was racing though adult novels scandalizing my teacher, Sr. Helena Regis, by reading and quoting from Gone with the Wind. Simply put, I read as easily as I breathed and I still do.
I read almost anything: romance, mystery, mainstream, YA, fantasy, and biography. I admit to not being drawn to science fiction or horror. After scaring myself witless reading Salem’s Lot, I no longer read Stephen King. It’s only very recently that I have given myself permission to not finish a book. At this stage of my life, I have come to realize that life is too short to waste time reading books I don’t enjoy.
I am that slightly wacky lover of books that is known as a re-reader. I know this doesn’t make sense to some people but if you are also one of those, then you completely get it. I have a special place in my heart for books that quite simply make me happy. I go back to them when I find myself becoming jaded. Lately, I have read a lot of Young Adult (YA) books that are about dystopian worlds that tend to be dark and full of peril.
This week I turned once again to an old favorite by a writer whose work I discovered more than thirty years ago, Mary McMullen. She wrote nineteen mysteries that fell into a genre called “domestic malice”. They are not long, can be characterized as “light” and are now dated (they are a lot like the television series Mad Men) but her descriptions of people and places are to be relished. McMullen drops you into a world of East Coast privilege centered around New York, Connecticut and Philadelphia. Here is an excerpt from Prudence Be Damned, the book I just finished reading.
Long ago, he had heard Rob complain to Jane, “Why does Ma have to look like a picture in a museum or something? Why doesn’t she look like everybody else?”
“Since when is everybody else what everyone wants?” Jane asked in confused defense
Entering and exiting from the conversation, Devore had said to Rob, “I’m sorry that I failed to provide you with your idea of a mother who’s just folks.”
You can find Mary McMullen’s books on Amazon and also in many libraries. If you like the world you saw on Mad Men, I think you would enjoy them.
Are you a re-reader? Is there a book or books that you return to like an old friend?