Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What I've Been Reading

You might have noticed that I haven't blogged in almost a week. Part of that is thanksgiving prep. I've had one hand in a mixing bowl since Tuesday. But I've also been reading.

I read a lot. In fact, my avatar is a picture of a woman surrounded by books.
This is pretty much what I really look like. Excpet my hair isn't this long and luxurious.
I was recently asked what I've been reading lately, and I wasn't sure how I should answer. First of all, I don't know how to count comic books. For example, I've been reading Invincible since 2005, but I'm not sure if I should say I've "read" it. Is it one long book that I've been reading for six years? Or does each individual issue count as a single book for a grand total of 97 books? I really don't know.
At 97 issues, that's a full day of my life spent reading Invincible. Time well spent.
Also, I'm a little hesitant to count books that I read with my book club. Unless it's my month to pick, I didn't really choose to read these books. I'm reading them as part of a group activity, and I'm taking notes. It's more of a project, albeit a fun and exciting one, than a means of experiencing literature.

Last month, we read The Descendants. Then we watched the movie starring George Clooney.
I love my book club.
The same applies to books I read with Amelia. I've read The Lorax hundreds of times, but it's not one of my books. Besides, I'm not really "reading" it any more. I've practically memorized it by now. I can tell the story of the Lorax in my sleep.
Yes, he speaks for the trees. I get it. Can we please read something else, honey? Mommy is tired of this one.
Finally, there are some things that I'm just plain old ashamed to admit that I read:

Don't judge.
I came across that last one by accident. Really. I'm not saying that I don't like a good love story. In fact, I used to have a regular gig reviewing woman's literature for a few websites. It was fun, but I eventually started to hate romance novels with a venegance. I hated the couples who met in an adorable fashion due to a mistaken identity or a misplaced dog. I hated the big misunderstandings that, in real life, would have been cleared up with a simple text message. I hated perfect heroes and over-emotional heroines. Most of all, I hated secret babies. When I quit reviewing, I vowed to never again read a book with a secret baby.

Then, I bought a couple of religious books and, before I knew it, Amazon thought I would like even more religious books. Soon, all of my Amazon recommendations were for books by people who had started their own religions in their garage or who thought the world was ending in 2012. And, to skew my recommendations in the opposite direction, I started downloading every free romance novel Amazon had to offer.

Most of them were horrible. The one above, The Best-Laid Plans by Sarah Mayberry, is the only one I finished reading from start to finish. And it wasn't bad. It wasn't going to win the Pullitzer prize but, as romance novels go, I enjoyed it. The heroine was 38, not a supermodel, and not overly emotional. The hero acted like a jerk at times. The couple met at work. There was no mistaken identity. There was no big misunderstanding. The baby wasn't secret.

I kept the book hidden in my cloud drive for a couple of weeks before I worked up the courage to buy another one of Sarah Mayberry's books. Then, I bought another. Before long, I was a regular romance reader again.

That was over a year ago, and now I've worked out a plan. When I've been reading too many serious books or too much Lorax and I need something fun and light to read, I grab a romance. I still stick exclusively to books by Sarah Mayberry. And I still keep most of them hidden away on my cloud drive. But, the next time you ask what I'm reading know that it's either this:

Or this:
And I'm going to try not to be ashamed of either one.


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