Ever since I learned how read, I’ve been a passionate avid reader. Memories of trips downtown with my Dad that resulted (if I was lucky) with a visit to the best bookstore in Umeå – Åkerlunds bookshop (today they are under the ownership of a large store chain) and if I was even luckier – I got a new book. Fairytales with push-outs, a new Kitty novel…..whatever tingled my fancy:-)
Between the age of 7 to 18, every Saturday found me at the Library of Umeå, exchanging one bag of read books for one unread. The only problem was that when I had read everything worth reading in the kids and youth department at the age of 12.5, I was not allowed to move on to the adult/grown up rooms. By some mysterious reason you had to be 13 to be allowed in there and in my desperation I went through books that wasn’t my fancy – like the Black Beauty series ;-o
So on the day of my 13th birthday I presented myself (really not needed since the librarian knew me by name) at the front desk and finally was let into the hall of mysteries. The hall was round (yes, was – today the library resides at a different, more modern location), multi tired. It probably was smaller than I remember, but to my 13 year old memory it was huge. Oh my – what a grand new world! I literally plowed through the Pearl Buck series, all of Dennis Wheatley devilish ones, Daphne du Maurier, Helen McInnes, Leon Uris – you name it I read it. Somewhere in my 20th I even read Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Günter Grass 😮
And the passion for reading has stayed on and expanded over the years ever since and thanks to my Dad, in my early 20th I started to read all Anglo-Saxon novels in English. I had resisted all through my school years, why bother when there was practically good translations? Well – Dad had several books I was interested in – Modesty Blaise (the novels, not the cartoons) and James Bond and non of them was to be found in Swedish. One day I said to myself, what the beep, grabbed the first MB and a lexicon and that was it. After the first ten books or so, I could let go of the lexicon and has never looked back. In fact, today I detest reading a translated novel, they are often poorly executed and one can hear the correct English words in your inner ear….boooring!
Thinking back over my reading habits, I’ve covered a lot of different fields – although most of them have been fiction, except for a nice little library on quilting, cook books, gardening ones and some on essential oils and perfumery – both traditional and botanical. Asian, martial arts – ninja, 80th chick lit (like all penny Vincenzi, Barbara Bradford’s, Vera Cowie and such) , James Clavell, everything Anne Rice (even one of the racier ones ;-9) – I think I love the Mayfair Witches books the most. Ken Follet, Robert Ludlum….I could write a mile long list of favorite authors and titles.
Some in the fantasy genre (which I didn’t really discover until the last couple of years) like Philip Pullman Tracy Canavan and Maria Snyder. There have been books that really annoyed me, like the “Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” series by Steven Donaldson back in the late 70th early 80th……now that was a character that would have me gnash my teeth in frustration – utterly wimpy and hopeless, just complaining all the time…..And do you remember “The Clan of the Cave Bear”?? Everone and his mother raved but I simply didn’t get – they walked and walked, came to a rock walked some more…..so boring you could faint. Books that never hooked me (like the now popular A King of Thrones series), books that bored me to tears (One day by David Nicholls. I even have some books in my-unread shelf that I never managed to get beyond a chapter or two, no matter how many times I’ve tried – like The Best of Everything or A reliable Wife…..
Since Swedish tax system is what it is (makes everything too expensive) I order most of my books from Amazon UK (now when free shipping applies to us poor Swedes too, it is very affordable to do so) and I buy nice little pile each time. Hmmm, I think that I spend as much money on books as I do on quilting stuff ;-o The thing is – our library (as my experience with most Swedish libraries) do carry books in English, but seldom new and interesting ones and I don’t know of anyone who to swap with, so I buy them and therefore – my bookshelves are nowadays bulging.
Many times when ordering from Amazon.uk I take a chance, mostly based on their recommendations and most of the times it plays out very well. Like the pile of books I ordered and saved for this years vacation – among them where three exceptionally great reads: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Oh my what a lovely and moving read – about the dog Enzo and racing dad...I think I cried during the entire last chapter.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana – about the strength of a woman and how to make the world a better place for many women and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I do know it was on President Obamas reading list for the summer, but honestly – I bought it before that was public.. Just wonderful and moving. Oh I just loved The Help, yet another novel about verrry strong women and the Shack and ………;-)
Right now I’m trying to get “into” the latest of Trudy Canavan’s “The Rouge” and a Swedish author – Ann Heberleins “Ett Gott Liv” (a good life), but they both refuse to open up LOL. The latter is so piled with references and quotes that my mind boggles. I think that for me it’s like this; when I’m really into reading, my creative level is at low and I don’t sew much and when I create/sew my mind have a hard time focusing on reading unless it’s something very catching and exiting. And these two books are neither, I think I need a high octane suspense thriller, like something by Matthew Reilly.
Until I find something like that, I’ll go to bed reading “All about Machine Arts”.