Monday, January 7, 2013

But Wait! There's More! (The Eclectic Reader, Part 2)

There was just too much to say last time in my post about books, so I'm going to keep on talking. I hope you are dazzled by the insights you receive from my thoughts!

When I read a book I enjoy, I look for other books by the same author. Nothing brilliant about that. But I also look at the reviews written on the very first pages of the book or the front or back cover. You know, those promotional notes written by other authors that tell you in a couple of sentences how lovely or articulate or groundbreaking (or whatever) the book is. As I read the reviews I jot down the books written by the reviewers. I've had the joy of discovering many books I'd never have thought to read if I hadn't met the author on the back of someone else's book.

Our pastors often mention books in their messages. So do radio preachers, leaders of seminars and classes, interesting guests on the radio or TV. National Public Radio (NPR) is a great source for finding out about amazing books! When a catalog or magazine arrives, I check it for books that pique my interest, then dash to the computer to see if the titles are available at the library. Sometimes my husband, Tom, tells me about an author he's reading and friends on Facebook mention books from time to time. I've even called in to a radio station and won books once or twice. I take advantage of every opportunity I can to find new authors.

I remember a conversation years ago with a group of women about books. "What are you reading these days?" asked a retired librarian. I blinked back tears as I told the gals that I hadn't read a book in a long time and didn't know if I'd ever be able to again. My boys were young and apart from the picture books and Bible stories we read with them at home, I simply didn't read. The women assured me that one day I would read again, but I didn't really believe them.

As the boys got older we began to read chapter books at dinner. We read adventure stories, fantasy, biographies, missionary stories, humor, even a little satire. We were still reading together as a family when they were young teens.

As they grew they became great readers. And I began to read more myself. I discovered Jan Karon's Mitford series, set in the North Carolina and peopled by friends I still think about many years later. I've read most of Francine Rivers' books, intricately woven biblical and historical fiction. Mindy Starns Clark's Million Dollar Mysteries were a nice balance of mystery and romance, as was her Jo Tulip series. I was finally able to stories by Bodie and Brock Thoene, books that focus on the creation of the state of Israel and introduced me to characters that became my friends. They are prolific writers and weave some of their characters through several series.

I have enjoyed the stories of George MacDonald, an author, poet and Christian minister whose life spanned most of the the 19th century. His writing is clever and winsome, his characters exhibit character, and good always wins in the end. Reorganizing a bookcase the other day I discovered MacDonald's trilogy, The Curate of Glasgow, unread, on a shelf. It's now in my queue for books to read.

So is Lynn Austin's Gods and Kings, Book One of her Chronicles of the Kings series. The series is among Tom's favorites -- he's read a lot of biblical fiction and this is a series he especially enjoyed -- so when I found this one for fifty cents at a used bookstore, I snatched it up.

One day I was at the Lynnwood library, waiting for one of my kids. I decided to look for some books, but I didn't have anything in mind. So I went into the fiction section and started browsing. The catch was that I told myself that I could only look at the books on the third shelf down. I moved from section to section, scanning the titles until I found something that sounded interesting. I'd pull it out, look it over, and put it in my pile or returned it to the shelf, then move on to the next section. Rather unorthodox, I suppose, but it entertained me for thirty minutes and it brought me hours of reading pleasure as I read through my finds.

I've written several posts about other books and series I've enjoyed. You'll find them by typing "books" in the query box on the top bar above the blog's header. (While you are looking for the query bar, you can also click on "More" and a list will drop down to give you ways to share my post with others. Just thought I'd mention it!)

I'm always looking for good books, and I suspect many of you are too, so why don't you take a minute and let us know what you've enjoyed. We'd like that.

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