Sunday, June 8, 2014
June is the month of the Book-a-Day challenge. Thank goodness one is not required to read a book a day, but to name a book that corresponds to that day's prompt. I've been doing the challenge on Facebook. You can find the month's list of prompts here. Following is a recap of my answers for the first week.
June 1: Favorite book from childhood. LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Fascinated by the whole notion of being a pioneer and living out on the frontier, I gobbled up Wilder's books. I still remember many scenes and details: Laura receiving an orange for Christmas, Pa fiddling, maple tree sap hardening on the snow. My love for historical fiction started with these books and has only strengthened through the years. I'd love to write a pioneer book one day like Ann Weisgarber's THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF RACHEL DUPREE or Willa Cather's MY ANTONIA.
June 2: Best bargain. All the books I've gotten from our local library book sale. Residents donate used books to raise money for library purchases and improvements; twice a year, the library hosts a 3-day sale. Hardbacks go $1, trade paperbacks for $0.50. Each sale I come with at least 15 books. You would not believe the titles you can find, both recent releases and old favorites! I still can't imagine buying a $30 hardback and donating it as soon as I'd read it, but I'm glad people do. As an author, I feel a bit guilty buying used books, but the money is used to support the library and strong libraries help all authors by promoting reading. Plus, if I really like a book, I will request that the library buy that author's latest work. Favorite books I've snagged from the sale are THE ENCHANTRESS OF FLORENCE by Salman Rushdie and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden.
June 3: One with a blue cover. I couldn't narrow this one down...three of my favorite books have blue covers: THE PROMISE by Ann Weisgarber (British edition), THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI Helene Wecker, and COLD MOUNTAIN by Charles Frazier. All three wonderful, compelling stories!
June 4: Least favorite book by favorite author. GAME OF KINGS (LYMOND CHRONICLES #1) by Dorothy Dunnett. I had a very hard time getting through this first volume of the series. I found the language difficult, the history obscure, and the plot hard to follow. I'm glad I didn't give up, though, because by the end of the book something clicked and I devoured the next five volumes and Dunnett's Niccolò series as well. I adore her work, but even when I went back and tried to read GOK a second time, I still had trouble with it. I wonder how many readers give up on this book and then miss out on the rest of the immensely intriguing and well-written series. Maybe it's best to start with the Niccolò books, which are much easier to get into, and then go for GOK.
June 5: Doesn't belong to me. My father-in-law is a booklover, so I often raid his shelves. In fact, we usually give him books as birthday and holiday gifts, and I've been known to give him books that I myself would like to read (ahem). Two I've borrowed recently are EIFFEL'S TOWER by Jill Jonnes and MAYFLOWER by Nathaniel Philbrick.
June 6: The one I always give as a gift. I don't have a stand-by gift book; I usually try to find a book that corresponds to the recipient's interests. I love wandering around the bookstore trying to find the perfect match! If I'm not certain, or don't have enough time, I buy bookstore gift cards, especially for children. Two books I've recently given as gifts were WIND, SAND AND STARS by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and THE NAME OF THIS BOOK IS SECRET by Pseudonymous Bosch.
June 7: Forgot I owned it. I went through my bookshelves the other day looking for an answer for a previous prompt and found MANY books I'd forgotten I owned! Among them are UNDERWORLD by Don DeLillo and THE CORRECTIONS by Jonathan Franzen. Need to read them soon.