Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Re-Readable Books - A Top Ten List

I love to re-read books. There’s nothing better than picking up a book for the second, (or third, or fifteenth) time and entering the author’s world afresh. I read quickly, and sometimes I miss things. Or I’ll forget something in between readings. And depending on what’s going on in my life, I may discover entirely new meaning in the story.

I remember reading C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when I was eight. I LOVED it. Escaping to a world where animals can talk? And magic is real? Just by hiding in a closet? Perfect. I read the whole series at least ten times. There was absolutely no part of my mind that searched for Christian references.

When the movie came out a few years ago, I bought the series and read it again. It amazed me to see what Lewis had hidden in the pages. And this time thinking all the while of how my children will enjoy the story, not just enjoying the story for itself.

I read for entertainment. If a part of a book doesn’t catch my interest, I’ll (*gasp*) skip whole pages to get onto the good parts. Sure there are millions of really good books out there. But only books that entertain me (or speak to me in some way) qualify as re-readable.

I recently picked up a book (let’s just say it’s from an insanely popular vampire series) for the second time. My daughter is reading the series, and I wanted to refresh the story in my mind. Sadly, this book (and series) does not qualify for re-reading status. It’s killing me. Too much mooning. The heroine is driving me insane. Not to mention the fact that I don’t like the casting of the movie, and all I can see are the movie characters when I read it. I don’t have a lot of time to read anyway, so it’s being shelved.

The fact that a book I enjoyed so much the first time (and yes, I REALLY loved it the first time) could be so un-entertaining the second time got me thinking. What are my favourite re-reads? And why are some books re-readable? Hence the list.

So—Ta da! Here are my top ten favourite re-reads of all time (in no particular order):

1. Harry Potter (1-7) by J.K. Rowling—Do I need to expand on this? Fantasy, excitement, brilliant entertainment. Sure there are a few parts I skip through, but for the most part I could re-read these books twenty times and not get bored.

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen—I love, love, love the snippy, barbed dialogue in this book. Who wouldn’t want a Mr. Darcy to rescue them? So romantic. And to top it off I really like both movie versions (BBC and Hollywood). Sigh.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte—Again, romance at it’s best. A few parts are skippable, and I want to shake Jane when she’s hanging out with St. John. Or slap him. But still, I could re-read it yearly.

4. The Narnia Series (1-7) by C.S. Lewis. I’m proud to admit how many times I climbed into my closet as a child, hoping to be greeted by a faun.

5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick—This book gets me in the gut. Very entertaining. Even the third time. I’m eagerly awaiting book three.

6. Are We Having Fun Yet? (16 Secrets to Happy Parenting) by Kay Willis and Maryann Bucknum Brinley—This one you may not have heard of. It is an AMAZING guide to parenting. My copy is dog-eared and well worn. Kay Willis, may she rest in peace, is my hero.

7. Dragonsong by Anne MacCaffery—Another escapist’s dream series. I love Menolly. And dragons.

8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy M Montgomery—I have to admit, I tried to read Anne when I was ten, and had to put it down. I think Anne’s dialogue was just too much for me then. Now, it’s charming.

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins—Seriously. This book is so incredible on so many levels. Ethics, romance, drama and entertainment. I love it. Cover to cover.

10. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares. I can’t remember who recommended this book to me the first time. I know I begged my book club at the time to discuss it. And I’m looking forward to discussing it with my daughters in a few years. A feel-good series for teens and up.

So there you have it. I’m sure I’ve missed some. And don’t think me shallow for the lack of classics or deep philosophical books. If you agree, disagree, or think me a wacko, feel free to comment. I may come up with more and do a revised list later. I’d put the Bible down as one but I’ve never read it cover to cover. And my own manuscripts? Well they’ve been read a million times, but I can’t recommend them to you, as they’re not published. Yet.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

New Post on HorseFamily

I've branched out! I'm now a guest blogger on Horse Family Magazine, an online magazine for horse lovers. My first post is just an intro of sorts.In future I'll be posting on more physiotherapy related posts, diabetes in riding...and (cross your fingers) the trials and tribulations involved in buying a farm. You can find my post here:



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Life. In Six Words.

On Monday evening I was dropping my daughter off for an extra-curricular activity at a local school. While standing with her, my eyes drifted to the bulletin board in the hall. There was a double page spread from a national paper stapled there, and a whole bunch of white paper sheets with what looked like mini-poems on them.

Intrigued, I walked over and checked it out. The article was on ‘Six-Word Memoirs’. Basically, boiling your existence into a short, six-word blurb.

The memoirs on the bulletin board were amazing…

I am a sneaking ninja. Stealthy.

Six Siblings Make a Girl Tough!

Father died young. Grew Up Fast.

Working Janitor. My ambition lacks ignition.

And on, and on. Some of them were just lists of traits…Loving, Working, Sleeping… things like that. Some of them were full sentences.

I’ve since searched the internet—turns out this is quite a phenomenon. Magazines, newspapers, and news channels across the world have done articles on the six-word memoir. There are even books on the subject. So I'm a bit behind the times.

Anyway, as I was driving home Monday night, daughter safely ensconced in her activity, my mind whirled. Could I do it? How could I turn all of the things I do into a six word bio? My life is a neverending series of hats—I wear a different one every hour.

I couldn’t get it out of my head. Even while I was falling asleep that night the words were rolling through my mind. I help. I heal. I work, play, laugh, cry, push, hold, write… I’m a mother, a wife, a physio, a horse-holder, a diabetes nurse, and a shoulder to lean on.

And then it hit me. Everything I do involves building someone else up. My success is their success. My triumph is a good A1C. An A+ on a test. A patient rolling in to the clinic in a wheel chair and walking out his own feet weeks later. A military man standing at the front of the parade. Even in writing, I just want to share. I want to make you, the reader happy.

My six-word memoir?

Success doesn’t always mean coming first.

For me anyway. My success is standing in the wings. It makes my heart sing. Yah, I might have cheated a bit with the contraction. But I think that’s me in a nutshell. I haven’t been ‘first’ at anything since high school. But I’m content with where I am right now.

What’s yours? I’d love to hear it. Leave it in the comments. Or maybe make one up for someone else you know. Give it a try.