This is a guest post I did for my friend's blog last year. I thought I'd re-post it here for anyone who may be interested:
The 5 W’s of Reading
Who got me started on my path to being a lifelong reader? That would be my mother, Pollyanna. (see earlier guest post if you’re not familiar with that reference) Mom was a devoted booklover long before I came along, and she was determined that I would love books too. This is one of the few things we didn’t fight about when I was a teenager. Some of my earliest memories are of Mom reading to me- Little House in The Big Woods was one of our first books. I also still own most of the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books for Young Readers that she’d bought in the hopes of piquing my interest.
Why do I read? With so many amazing things out there to discover, why wouldn’t I read? Books have been my escape from boring classes (not that they had anything to do with me failing Algebra II), a refuge from horrible periods in my life (most of high school, to be precise), and a way to go places I might not get to visit otherwise. I found my way to the back of the wardrobe with Lucy, sailed on the raft with Thor Heyerdahl, danced at Almack’s with countless Regency romance heroines, and went to the stars with the crew of the Enterprise. I’ve learned to cook odd dishes, found new uses for household items, and laughed myself silly at the family antics of authors like Erma Bombeck & Teresa Bloomingdale. No matter how awful my day has been, I can lose myself in a book and suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad.
When do I read? Basically, any time I have unavoidable down time- like waiting in lines, or at the doctor’s office gives me time to read. I read before I go to bed at night, and on my lunch breaks at work. (and occasionally when I should be working) my days off, I divide my time between reading and cross-stitch, with breaks for meals & shopping. (and praying for the housework fairies to show up so I don’t have to put my book down and clean the litter box/bathroom/laundry, etc)
Where do I read? Everywhere, really. At home I have a spot on the end of my couch with a LED lamp that shines over my shoulder. (it’s also my cross-stitch spot) I put my feet up on the recliner and settle down with a book or two and a cat or three. Bliss. I also read in bed (with a clip-lamp on my headboard, for extra light and so my lazy butt doesn’t have to get up and cross the room to turn off the light if I’m ready to sleep) on lazy days or nights when I can’t sleep. I read in restaurants when eating alone, and long lines. (Thanks to the good friend who bought me a Kindle, waiting at the DMV to renew my license this year was almost pleasant) I read on planes, but not in cars/on buses/subways. For some reason, the latter three give me motion sickness when I try to read on them.
What do I read? I’d like to say EVERYTHING! However, that would be a lie. The librarians at my branch love to see my reserve requests roll in- they say I read the most eclectic assortment of things they’ve ever seen. (I tell them they ought to see my mother’s list. Hee!) While I can’t claim to read everything- I have something of an aversion to religious themed books, self-help, and nearly anything ‘written’ by celebrities- I do read a wide variety of things. Right now it’s mostly mysteries & Regency romances, with the odd fantasy and humor writing thrown in. I’ve become rather enamored of steampunk in the last year or so (Gail Carriger is one of my favorite authors in that genre- an unconventional British heroine with a fondness for tea, werewolves, and vampires!) and I don’t care much for holidays, but find myself fascinated by books about British holiday traditions. I’m something of an Anglophile as you might have guessed, so I also tend to read books by British authors or that are set in Britain.) I love comic strip collections-Bloom County, Two Lumps, and Unshelved are of my 3 favorites. I like children’s books with beautiful pictures and/or funny stories. (The Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems crack me up) I love a good vampire story, but sadly have read a LOT of bad ones while looking for the good stuff. Charles De Lint and Bill Bryson are two other favorite writers, along with Jen Lancaster.