Using “Young” Wisdom to Pick my Next Book!

Is it possible we were smarter as kids then we are now? It’s not only possible it’s the truth.  Granted, as kids, we did not have all the life experiences that bring more common sense and obvious solutions.  We can make a batch of brownies without a chocolate explosion in the kitchen but the reality is I listened more to my heart when I was eight years old.  I knew what I wanted as a toddler ( even if it was unreasonable) and at eight.  I didn’t give two hoots about what I was suppose to wear, what the latest fashion was or if my belly was too big or my thighs were too chunky.

Given the era I grew up in the input from outside sources was limited to my parents, grandparents, older siblings (my sister was especially embarrassed by my fashion sense) teachers and my friends.

I had a second grade teacher who encouraged us to express ourselves through creative writing.  She wasn’t concerned about grammar or spelling or what subject we chose. She made the writing time more appealing than recess.  We couldn’t wait to get going on our stories.  It instilled in me a love for not only writing but reading as well.  I still have my box of writings with crayon illustrations.  A true treasure.

I was a voracious reader as a kid, it slowed down in my teen years and came to a screeching halt in college when I was forced to read textbooks that gave sawdust a run for its money in being interesting.

Lately I have been doing more reading in an effort to reduce the number of books in my house, to offset the crummy weather and no where to go pandemic boredom.  Also my pandemic pudge needs to go, so book in hand keeps hand out of mouth or so I am hoping.

It has been so interesting  to see what books I am choosing to read or maybe what I am not reading.

I could choose from one of the many  Pulitzer Prize winners, best sellers or a book from one of the endless celebrity book clubs made famous by Oprah. And yet those types of books rarely work for me.  I tried twice ( real book and audio) to get through “Olive Kitteridge” , a Pulitzer Prize winner, and I just couldn’t do it.  I could not believe it won that prestigious prize. Best sellers can also be great but when they are really awful I wonder how many have been “sold” but never read.

As far as the books go from the celebrity book clubs I am often puzzled  as to why they would choose a certain book.  I tried to read some of Oprah’s selections but honestly I found the ones I chose to be dark and dreary.  I actually purchased “Lovely Bones” and read it .  It has the distinction of being the only new book I have ever thrown out.  It was so disturbing I could not give it to a friend to read.   I was not going to be responsible for wasting someone else’s time with such a creepy book.

I have learned not to post about a book I did not like on social media. Okay..maybe I just did in that last paragraph but I will risk it. People take their book loves very personally and if you dare to say you didn’t like it they act like you said their kid was ugly.  Wow!  Then they will plead with you to try again.  If I have to struggle to get through the first 50-100 pages then it is a no go.  Try again?  Probably not.  Life is too short to read books that I  don’t like no matter how many people love them.

So back to my wise and wonderful 8 year old self. 🙂  I have fond memories of climbing the winding stairs of the old library in our town.  Sometimes I would race up them to get to the children’s section.  I would plop myself down on the scuffed up wooden floor in front of the shelves and start looking, pulling out the ones that interested me, reading a few pages, putting it back or deciding it was a keeper.  Without lists, suggestions or book clubs I managed to pick out some gems:

  • The Secret Garden
  • Stuart Little
  • Caddie Woodlawn
  • Henry and Beezus ( actually anything by Beverly Cleary)
  • Harriet the Spy
  • Nancy Drew ( The Ghost of Blackwood Hall scared the pants off me)

 

Much like the imaginary friend I had when I was five, I now take my 8 year old self with me to the library, the bookstore or where ever I find myself looking at books which is just about everywhere I go.  Together we pick out books that I often can’t put down.

Trust yourself like you did when you were a kid.  Read what you love whether it’s  fantasy, romance novels, thrillers, classics, comic books or Sci fi.   What YOU love…nobody else has to love it. As long as it brings you joy than it’s the best book for you!

So here’s to you next best read…may it make your February days warmer and transport you to another time and place..a mini vacation pandemic style!

And as always..keep triing!  Jennifer

P.S.  If you want to know what I am reading you can find me on GoodReads where I sometimes ( tri) to list the books I have read.

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