DAY 21, MAY 22, 2018
The Dream Police Combing the snakes in his head Reading a book in his bed Getting ready for the night to begin Waiting for daylight to end David Byrne
I think the thing I love most to do is read. PBS is running a series called The Great American Read. The public chose 100 favorite books. You can learn about them, read them and cast your vote for your favorites. They will present the number one favorite after the votes are in. I have read only 37 on the list and agree that most deserve to be on the list. Several of my all time favorites made the list. The link to the PBS page with the list is here: http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/home/
My top 15 favorites are in the list below. I could not condense it to 10 and even 15 was quite a chore. To pick a favorite is a real challenge. I love them for their difference, for the time they filled in my life and how they mattered at different times in my life. Could I pick Love Story because I read it so many times as a 12-14 year old and even knowing the outcome, would cry my heart out? Could I pick The Stand which I read many times because I literally could not put it down and carried it with me wherever I went in hopes of getting five minute breaks throughout the day where I could get in another page? Or Lonesome Dove which I would not have read had a friend not insisted and because the characters will stay with me forever and because I will read it again and again? Perhaps Memoirs of Cleopatra because it is BIG and I like a big book and it stays on my shelf and is reread when most others are passed on because of course, they need to be shared? How about A Little Life which broke my heart and even after I finished, did not want it to leave my hands? Or one of my most recent favorites, The Goldfinch which won a Pulitzer Prize, sold over 3 million copies and this reader thinks is a fabulous story but has many critics dissatisfied? Maybe Beloved because of how incredibly it affected me? I had to periodically put it down, give it little breaks or be broken.
I love a book to take me away. I love a book to make me cry so hard I feel like I can’t stop. I love a book that makes me laugh, teaches me something, stays with me for days after I have finished. I love a book that I never want to end. But the reason I read is most definitely to escape into another’s world. When I finish a good book, I turn it over, I read the back, the front, the acknowledgements, I can’t quite accept the end of a story. I frequently hold it to my chest and just appreciate it.
In the PBS series, various people are featured who talk about how books changed them or even saved their lives. How many on the PBS list have you read? How many from my list have you read? Did one change you? My goal is to read the 63 on the list I have not read.
As I look over my list, I think, if pressed, I would have to say The Stand wins as my all time favorite. It is a book that absorbed me so thoroughly I felt as though I was living in the story. When I read this book, hearing someone cough actually gave me pause and I had to remember, “it is just a book.” I love the good/evil struggle. I love the language and how easy it is to fly through the pages. I love that it is a BIG book!
To leave you with a quote was almost as difficult as choosing my top favorite books. There are a few here that resonate with me:
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin
“Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.”
― Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies
“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”
― Mortimer J. Adler
“Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.”
― Nora Ephron