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List Six: A Reader to the Core

March 26, 2010

The other weekend I was out doing some browsing in a few vintage stores when the proprietor of one turned to me and suddenly asked, “Are you a reader?”

I gave a small chuckle and replied that I was indeed.

He nodded and said “Not to be offensive, but you look like you are probably a reader.”

I told him that no offense was taken and that, after all, isn’t it better to look like something you are as opposed to something you’re not?

The incident stuck with me, first off because it was just a bit strange in a surreal sort of way, and also because it brought back a memory from Christmas. When Mike and I were up visiting my parents, my mom received a parcel from one of her brothers. It contained a DVD of some old family video clips of my Opa, my mom’s dad, who had passed away about a year and a half ago. It was a very emotional watch, of course, but it was also fun to watch these old family moments with Mike and with my family again.  In these clips a pattern started to emerge around the figure of me on the screen. A shot of Christmas at Opa and Oma’s when I was 8, and me opening a present to reveal a book which I promptly started reading aloud to them. Another shot when I’m 12 and out at their farm for a visit with my sister, my cousins are fooling around in the foreground, and I’m reading a book in the background. Another Christmas when I’m 16, curled up in a chair with my nose in… you guessed it… a book. Do you see where this is going?

Honestly, I knew I liked reading, but seeing how OFTEN I was doing it was, well, a bit of a surprise. It just hadn’t crossed my mind, I suppose because to me reading is just natural. I can’t even remember all the books I’ve read, the good ones, the bad ones, the ones that changed my life or opened up new passageways for me.  The public library in the town I grew up in used to have a reading competition of sorts during the summer for kids in elementary school. I would literally read HUNDREDS of books in those 2 months, not huge Tolkein sized novels, but lots of Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, LM Montgomery, mysteries and any other multi-chapter book I could get my hands on.

So, in honour of my many years of reading books, here is a list of some of the ones that most shaped my life (in no particular order).

–  The Last Battle by CS Lewis. This is the last book in the Narnia series, but it was actually the first book of it that I read. I read it in Grade 4 for a book study and couldn’t put it down.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein. Another book read for a bookstudy, and another book that opened up a whole new world for me. It lead me to read The Lord of the Rings which is still one of my most favorite books.

A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle. At the time in my life when I read this book, everything fit. I felt so much like the main character that this became a book I read so often when I was sad. I knew the book so well that eventually I didn’t need to read the whole book, just the parts that I liked best.

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. I love Anne, I always wanted to be Anne, to see all that magic in the world… but sometimes I fear I’m too much like Mrs. Lynn.

The Agony and The Ecstasy by Irving Stone. When I saw the Sistine Chapel, I thought of this book, and of the struggles of Michelangelo and it brought me to tears.

The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I’m not sure how well know this book is, but I think most Canadian students had to read it at some point in time. I really loved it and certain parts of it still come to mind at random times.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I read it in half a day, and the shock of it, the amazement at it, the sadness of it all, held onto my mind so long after I read it.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It opened up a world of books I’d never thought I would like but found out I did. It was my first foray into the classics.

I could really keep going on and on, but what about you dear readers? what books have moved you and shaken your world? Or what books do you find yourself randomly remembering at the oddest times? Do share, I love to hear about books, new and old.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Hannah permalink
    March 26, 2010 3:38 pm

    I am still searching for a copy of a Winter of Fire. But I am totally hooked on the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. She has created the PERFECT MAN. You must read them. In order.

  2. Ashley Erin permalink*
    April 16, 2010 8:58 am

    The Perfect Man? Isn’t that an oxymoron? (Just kidding! Mike, you’re not reading this right?) My interest is peaked! I shall have to look it up!

    And I’ll keep an eye out for any copies of A Winter of Fire that might be in used bookstores here for you.

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