Swooning for books – You are now entering Cainsville

To read, or not to read….

That would definitely NOT be the question for me, as it would be the difference between life and death!  I AM a reader.  I’ve been a bona fide reader since I was about 4.  Reading was my first love.  It is a love I learned from and shared with my mom, my Gram and my favourite Auntie.  All avid readers and lovers of books.   It pleases me to no end that my own children have come to love to read and that we can even share recommendations with each other.

I’ve been surrounded by books my whole life.  I grew up in the 70’s, without a TV (Brilliant, Mom!), in a newly blended family (a rarity when I was a kid) after being moved to a whole new city.  A shy, introverted kid, in a family situation that made people go “huh?” and ask too many questions, with no TV to distract me – books were my saviours!  And like they were a Knight in Shining Armour, I went weak in the knees and swooned for them.

There is nothing quite like holding a new book in your hands after painstakingly reviewing your options on the open shelf (library, bookstore, friend).  I don’t mean newly purchased, I mean new to me.  The anticipation of opening the cover and reading those first words is delicious.  Ooooo and if it’s the next installment in a series, that anticipation is simply cranked up a few notches.

Reading is more than escape for me.  Being introverted and shy, people automatically assume that I feel the need to escape my life in a book, but I’m as much running toward something as I am running away.  When I open my book, I sink into it, images flying around in my head as vivid as any TV show, and better – I am there!  A good author can bring a story to life when they have a willing reader.  A book is so much better at setting mood, scene and tension.  WIth a really well written book, I feel and smell along with my characters.  (smell, really??)

I wish I had stats to back up my next, ridiculous claim, but I would bet an extraordinarily high number of North Americans flip their TV’s on within 15 minutes of arriving home each day and it stays on until they go to sleep (or until the sleep timer shuts it off).  I say this with tongue in cheek as this is a description of my hubby’s TV habits….(maybe you understand now why I’m letting the stubborn voice win out for now!)  

For me, reading is a TV substitute.  I spend as much time with my books as another might spend with their television set.  Books are as much entertainment as information in my world.  I read a wide selection of genres, fiction and non, though I do have my favourites; who doesn’t?  But I’m not a limiter.

My favourite genre is currently fantasy.   Like my music I go through phases; I’m in a supernatural phase right now.  Everyone and their mother (sorry Cast ladies!) are writing their own Vampire or Werewolf story and I’m devouring them like a man who’s lived without water for too long.

I tend to read books in the Young Adult section more than those written for grown-ups.  I like a book with little to no sex thanks.  See, I am a grown up.  I can have sex whenever I want; I don’t need or WANT to read about someone else’s.  50 Shades?  Never even held a copy.  Reading sex text only gets your body thinking some hanky panky is coming along and, frankly, in the lunchroom at work is not where I want my lips and cheeks blushing, my labia swelling (that’s not comfortable to sit with!), my pulse quickening, my pupils dilating, or my nips popping!  OMG  That would be embarrassment in the extreme, so no thank you!

My favourite authors are Terry Brooks (Shannara fame) and Kelley Armstrong (Otherworld fame) and Sue Grafton (Alphabet Mysteries).  I would also give honourable mention to James Patterson, the Cast Ladies, and William Gibson.

The one thing I do try to stay as far from as possible are the books that get the hype.  You know, the Oprah Club books, the being made into a movie books, the dirty little secret books that get millions of women racing to the bookstore in droves when they wouldn’t otherwise pick up a book to save the life of their cat…those ones.  I like to avoid those ones.  Yes, I’m a book snob.

My favourite novel, that I can read over and over, is The Host by Stephenie Meyer (yes, of Twilight fame; it’s my secret shame).  I love that story so much that when I heard they were making a movie of it, I didn’t get pissed off!  Quite the opposite:  I did a countdown to launch date and then went to see it on opening weekend.  Ugh.  If you’ve seen the movie. please read the book!  If you haven’t seen the movie, skip it and read the book!  Like most movies made from books, it doesn’t even begin to touch on the magnificence of the written version.

In July, I was asked to be The Defender (you should be hearing a fanfare right about now) for our local library in an upcoming book debate.  Similar to Canada Reads, our local survivor-for-books will feature 5 books, 5 defenders and ONE WINNER!  Who said the literary world isn’t a shark tank?  The only stipulation to the books is that they must be written by a Canadian author.  Hello!

The other four books in the debate are stand alone novels.  Having read all four, they are typical “Canadian struggle” books.  I’ve chosen the book “Omens” by Kelley Armstrong, the first in her brand new Cainsville series.  What a delight that I get to defend a work by my favourite author.  I had to wait for my copy from the publisher because I chose it before it was even launched (yeah, you could think that was my sneaky way of getting an advanced copy).  They are classifying this novel in a whole new genre:  New Adult.  Exciting!

From the jacket:

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

Mmhmm!  Ya baby!  Though I will write a review in the coming weeks, I will say today that I enjoyed it.  It’s not earth-shattering good like Armageddon’s Children (Terry Brooks: consciousness altering!), but it is really good.  Another devour-in-one-sitting book!  In fact, my only criticism is that I have to wait until August 2014 for book 2!

So, now that I’ve got some actual followers (yay me!), I’m going to start posting more about the books I read in the hope of inspiring more reading in this world.  Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t love every book I read, though I’ve never been tempted to throw one across the room! (sorry, that’s a shout out to my favourite book blog writer; I’ve linked to her so you can see what I mean).  And if you are a follower who wishes I wouldn’t review books:  tough shit!  Dont’ read those posts.

Danielle

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