In celebration of R.E.A.D. in America Day, tell us about what you're reading. How is reading important to you? What would you recommend to others?
OK, so I couldn't resist this meme...
I have been inhaling books of late. Since I rediscovered Lois McMaster Bujold for the first time (I'll explain later) I have been eating up her books. Since the 2nd of September, in fact, I have finished one book every five days. (Yes, I do keep a record of what I read, why do you ask?) Alas, I now have only 2 more books to read in her Miles Vorkosigan saga (not including the pre-pre-prequel, Falling Free, which I'm sure I'll buy soonish and read). If you like science fiction and haven't checked out Lois' books, I suggest you try Shards of Honor or, if it goes too slow for you, The Warrior's Apprentice. These will definitely books which I will reread. My favorite is always the one I've just finished. (That would be Komarr today.) I've also started one of her fantasy novels, Paladin of Souls. It's my purse book, so it takes a bit longer to read than my bedtime books. (I have suffered a lot of insomnia of late thanks to Lois - many's the time I'll be reading well past midnight.)
I was a voracious reader when I was a kid. I was often reading books in advance of my age group. I often shunned TV or other entertainment for reading. But then I discovered TV shows that worked for me (The Tomorrow People being the first). So as I moved into my teen years, I wasn't reading as much as I had been. I was still buying lots of books, but just not getting them read. I still have Troll Book Club books which I've not read (though those are dwindling now as I finally get to reading them). I bought those when I was in elementary school! I joined the Science Fiction Book Club when I was a teenager and bought many books, few of which I ever read (again, until lately). As the number of books which I read dropped, so did my speed for reading.
When I started college, however, Virgin came out with The New Adventures of Doctor Who (NAs). I was able to recapture some of the fervor which I'd had as a child while reading the NAs. I remember waiting months at a time for books to arrive from the UK (ah, 1-800-TREKKER, you were my savior) and then I'd have a glut of 4 or 5 books to read, which I'd inhale. However, the NAs were about the only books I was reading, other than textbooks for college.
When Virgin lost their license, I tried reading the BBC published books, but I just didn't care for them as much. Indeed, I stopped buying them after awhile and there are still several in my collection which I've yet to read. Apart from the Harry Potter series, Discworld series, and Murder, She Wrote series (hey, I *like* Murder, She Wrote), I still wasn't reading a whole lot. However, I was still buying books.
In 2001, just before summer began, I made a pact with myself. I swore that I wouldn't buy a new book until I'd read 10 that I already owned. A local bookstore going out of business over Memorial Day weekend, however, put me behind by 30 books. Still, from June 4, 2001, I've been recording the name (and date) of each book I've finished reading. January of 2006, I made a few goals for myself including read for 30 minutes every day. Although I haven't kept up with all of those goals, I think the 30 minutes read thing has become something of a habit.
Building my library has certainly helped with that reading goal. Sitting here in my comfy chair and reading while listening to music is lovely. Especially when one of the kitties comes to visit. (My lap, alas, is currently bereft of kitty.) Indeed, I've been able to, since 2006, read more than 50 books in a year. I've already crossed the 50 book mark this year and will, if I keep up my current rate, be in the 70s.
So, you may be wondering how I could rediscover Lois McMaster Bujold for the first time? When I was in high school (a junior, I believe) my creative writing teacher held a workshop for aspiring writers. She brought in a published author, Lois McMaster Bujold, to lead the workshop. I remember being impressed with the workshop, though I hate to say it - I've forgotten pretty much everything she said. Still, a few months later, the Science Fiction Book Club had a book containing her first two novels for sale. I bought it, of course. And as with far too many books I bought in those days, it sat around unread.
This summer I was making good progress through my already owned books. Soon after I finished H Beam Piper's two Fuzzy books, I picked up "Test of Honor" - the two book compilation (Shards and Warriors). While reading Shards of Honor I was thinking "this is a nice standard science fiction novel." I was disappointed to discover that the second book wouldn't follow up on Cordelia and Aral (the leads in the first book) but rather their son Miles. But I read The Warrior's Apprentice anyhoo. And damn, but I loved it. Miles Vorkosigan, son of Cordelia Naismith and Lord (Count) Aral Vorkosigan is a wonderful character and I've been enjoying reading about his exploits. Lois has a wonderful sense of humor which winds throughout her books. And her characters are very enjoyable (whether Miles is there or not). So I've been eating up her books ever since. And it feels much like it used to when I was a kid and I read continuously.
I love reading. :-)