I like many different things, I seem to easily develop a strong attachment to things I like, and cherish them, as I would people. I guess I never outgrew the animism phase from the pre-operational stage of cognitive development. Coupled with that, I tend to have obsessive tendencies, meaning that when I like something, I like it to the bare bones, down to its core, until I can’t and eventually don’t, like it any longer. I guess I grow bored with it, or burn it out more likely, having pursued it until I just couldn’t do so anymore. Books are some of the things I like, I obsess over and collect. Yet, even though I do have more books than one person will ever need, my thirst for the knowledge and adventures they hold is neverending. I doubt I will ever bore from books, quite the contrary, they feed my yearn to learn and thus I keep coming back for more.
Because, I’m in this transition period this academic year, on which I will share with you my reflections in a later post, I currently have the luxury of time. It is incredibly fulfilling to be able to have time to pursue what one truly enjoys. And I, truly enjoy books and reading. Because of work and pressing responsibilities, I had lost my reading habits, as many other hobbies I enjoy that have been set aside for lack of time, reading for pleasure was not at the top of the list of things to do when being idle. Technology and other device related distractions seem to have taken up my free time of late. But last year I resolved to take on reading again and joined a few book club sessions at work. That’s when I rediscovered audio books and purchased a subscription to Audible.
On a road trip to Miami, from Chicago, in 2013/2014, Mike and I listened to The Devil in the White City, and another Erik Larson book entitled In the Garden of Beasts: Love, terror, and an American family in Hitler’s Berlin. Both absolutely enthralling stories. Highly recommend them. We had borrowed those audiobooks from the library and listened to them on our way there and back. It was a wonderful experience that we shared and bonded over, and made all those hours in the car so much more enjoyable. At that time we also listened to City of Scoundrels: The 12 days of disaster that gave birth to modern Chicago by Gary Krist, which I think was when I discovered I truly enjoy fictional history as a genre.
So last year, when I revamped my love for reading, I was drawn to audiobooks again. It’s a bit weird to talk about a story from a book that one has not truly read but listened to instead. Yet, I love listening to books, I think even more so than I love reading them. The intonation allows for the character’s emotion to come out loud and clear when a story is read, and I truly enjoy that. I discovered this when I listened to Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, which is read by the author… such a treat!
Last year I listened to all of Liane Moriarty’s books. I still haven’t seen the HBO rendition of Big Little Lies, but I truly enjoyed the book. I read or listened to rather, The Husband’s Secret, What Alice Forgot, Truly, Madly, Guilty, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, The Last Anniversary, and Three Wishes. Loved them all and discovered a line of Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, that I have come to love, because of the predominance of very strong women characters.
I also listened to and enjoyed: The Girl on the Train by Paul Hawkins, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, The Good Girl by Mary Kubica, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, and My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry.
More recently, I discovered Kate Morton’s books. I think I have read them all so far: The Lake House, The Forgotten Garden, The Secret Keeper, The Distant Hours, and the one I just finished today: The House on Riverton (or The Shifting Fog). It’s bittersweet finishing a book; one gets so enthralled by the story, we are not but left wondering about the characters, what they might be up to, what will happen to them next. But the story is over, and it’s time to move on to the next wonderful literary adventure, which is where I find myself now. If you have read any of these books and have loved them as much as I have, perhaps you might have some recommendations for me for future reads? As you can see, once I find an author I like, I go about reading everything they have written, that is available. So perhaps, you can recommend a writer and not just a book?
One of the drawbacks from audiobooks is that you can’t highlight to then re-read favorite passages. They sort of get lost in the digital world. So in order to keep, for posterity, favorite lines, and some of them are just too precious to lose, I stop the audio and write them down. Here are some quotes from Kate Morton’s books I have kept as mementos:
“Happiness in life is not a given, it must be seized.” Saffy Blythe – The Distant Hours
“Reluctance to begin is quick to befriend procrastination.” Grace Bradley – The House at Riverton
“Time is the master of perspective, a dispassionate master, breathtakingly efficient.” Grace Bradley – The House at Riverton