If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. -Toni Morrison, novelist, editor, professor, Nobel laureate (b. 18 Feb 1931)
Every reader has a unique sets of tastes in books. I like mystery novels with great characters and minimal violence. (Yeah, I know, it’s some sort of oxymoron to have a taste for books that have their genesis in violence but not want violence in them.) Louise Penny, Donna Leon, and Laurie King’s odes to Sherlock Holmes are great examples of this type of book.
There are gems of the 19th century that I read and re-read such as Jane Eyre, the Forsythe Saga, Age of Innocence, Middlemarch, and absolutely anything ever penned by Jane Austen.
I love well-written books about nature such as the Outermost House or Botany of Desire, PrairieErth and anything by Robert MacFarlane.
Generally speaking, I find fantasy novels too much alike but there are a handful I love such as Watership Down, all of Tolkien, the Gormenghast Trilogy, the seven Harry Potter books, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell.
There are great nonfiction titles such as West with the Night, All the President’s Men, Anthony Lukas’s Nightmare, How the Irish Saved Civilization, and just about anything by Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell, and Karen Armstrong.
My pronounced attachment to books is based on their authors’ ability to transport me into another realm whether it’s understanding the chicanery of Richard Nixon, journeying through Middle Earth or walking the still-wild places of Great Britain.
But if you gave me just a few words to explain what I really WANT from a book, it’s this: A collection of words that entertains, informs, makes me feel and think in a way that gives me the sense of being one with the author. And since my reading time is pretty much confined to just before I go to sleep at night, I don’t want anything that roils my dreams.
Hence my prohibition about too much violence in mystery novels.
In spite of the longish list I have here, I find this type of book somewhat difficult to find. Part of that is the fact that I write so I’ve become very picky about what I ingest when it comes to words.
Badly edited or badly produced books just set my teeth on edge.
This is part of the reason why I created my Carding, Vermont novels. I know there are other folks with similar reading tastes to mine so I wanted to add to the collection of (hopefully) good books to read on their bedside tables. I have a hunch that Toni Morrison has the same issue when it comes to what she reads which is why we all get to read Beloved.