Just Any Book Won’t Do

On Facebook a couple of days ago I asked friends what books they loved, but would NOT recommend people read during a pandemic. I started the conversation off with a couple of my personal favorites.

First on my list is The Stand by Stephen King. Every now and then I reread King’s tale of a biological weapon unleashed on an unsuspecting and unprepared world. The weapon, in the form of an awful disease nicknamed “Captain Trips” wipes out all but about 4% of the population worldwide.

Of course, being vintage Stephen King, supernatural forces also come into play. As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough. Every time I’ve read the book I’ve ended up with either an upper respiratory virus or a digestive illness, and become fairly certain that I’ve contracted Captain Trips. I definitely will NOT read it in the near future.

Another book I enjoyed and will at some point reread once we’re past the current crisis is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Her novel follows several individuals who have survived a rapidly spreading disease and are trying to make their way in a new kind of society. Multiple story lines explore how different characters cope with the initial panic, the decimation of the population, and the aftermath of the pandemic years later. It’s well written, creatively imagined. and thought-provoking. I just can’t read it right now.

There are a few more I could list, but I want your best DON’T READ RIGHT NOW BOOKS. These should be books you really like, but probably would just ramp up anxiety if read right now. And I’m changing my mind even as I write this. Maybe you LIKE to read books that parallel our current situation. I’d like your thoughts, as well. Ready, set, go.

And as always, Peace, people. Stay well.

Read it Again, Ma’am

I read all the time. If I could no longer read for some reason I’m sure I’d wither away and die. Oh sure, I could listen to books on tape, and I suppose I could make do, but there’s something magical about the way a reader interacts with a book that a recording can’t replicate.

My taste these days runs to science fiction/fantasy, but I’m always looking for some new delicacy regardless of genre. And then there are my favorites. These are books I’ve read more than once, and for someone like me who’s always looking for the next literary thrill this repeat reading is the highest compliment I can pay a book.

So what select books are among my repeats?

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is number one. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve delved into the world of Scout Finch, and I read it at least once a year in the fall.

2) Stephen King’s, The Stand, is a close second. The epic tale of good versus evil still gives me chills, and I become suspicious of any sniffle or cough, certain that Captain Trips is about to wipe out most of humanity.

3) A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, comes in third, and I can’t really say why. There’s something about this coming of age story that draws me in. My heart aches for these boys on the brink of manhood and all of the pitfalls awaiting them. If I pick up my well worn copy when I’m dusting or otherwise moving stuff around I can’t help but begin reading it again.

4) I’ve read all but one of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series multiple times, having read the series from the beginning every time a new book in the series was released. So I’ve read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone seven times, while I’ve only read Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows once.

I’ve recently added a new book to those deemed worthy of a rereading. This book, The Whistling Season, by Ivan Doig, is the first book that comes to mind when a friend asks for a recommendation. So when I didn’t have a new book in the queue, I thought it might be time to remember why I recommend it so often.

The Whistling Season is set in Montana in 1909. A widower with three sons takes on a housekeeper whose ad, “Can’t cook, but doesn’t bite” intrigues him. The widower and his sons get much more than they bargained for when Rose and her brother, Morrie come into their lives.

This book is an homage to education and the one room school house, and to a time when life was a bit slower, but no less complicated than it is today. The language is incredible and the story so compelling I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to reread it.

Those are mine. What books have you read repeatedly? I’m always looking for my next favorite. Looking forward to suggestions.

Peace, people!

Leaving

Carefully he tucked the snowflake patterned flannel sheets up around her chin.

His flattened palm against her forehead confirmed his worst fears.

As he explained where he was bound she concentrated on a spot above and to the

Right of his head where a piece of molding had torn loose and dangled listlessly.

Her wandering gaze concerned him, but he dared not turn his face from hers

As she wondered how long the house had been in such a state of disrepair. 

Days? Months? Years, perhaps? Why did it matter now that he was leaving?

In spite of his reassurances, she knew she’d be gone before he returned.

“Coward,” she thought and continued contemplating the plaster. 

Any time I’m sick I imagine this horrible scenario in which I’m left alone to die. Thank you, Stephen King for planting this morbid idea in my head.

  

 

Twice as Nice

Second Time Around

Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?

Generally when I’ve finished reading a book I’m done with it, regardless of how wonderful or well-written it was. There are two books, however, that I’ve read multiple times and will read again: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Stephen King’s The Stand.

To Kill a Mockingbird should be mandatory reading for every citizen of this country. If one ever doubted the existence of white privilege Ms. Lee spells it out in this tale of racism and heroism in a small southern town. 

King’s The Stand is the most frightening book I’ve ever read. Good and evil literally battle for dominion of the earth in this post-apocalyptic thriller. Often I joke that I read portions of it with my eyes closed. 

In both cases movies have been made from these novels, and I believe a remake of The Stand is in the works. By all means watch the films, but the books are worthy of reading and reading again. 

Note: I’ve also read all of the Harry Potter books numerous times, but I’d already broken the prompt’s rule and didn’t want to go to Daily Prompt prison.

Peace, people.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/second-time-around/”