Four books are hard to choose when you have well over 600 books in your personal library. ((This does not include the children's books.)) I just averaged them. I'm honest to God just as shocked as you probably are. I averaged about 50 books on each shelf (I counted two shelves of the 13). Holy Mother. That is a lot of books. A LOT. People, where did I ever find time to read even half of them??? I've been a self proclaimed book devourer for most my life. At Logan's age, I was that pasty white child hunkered down on the front porch with her nose in a book. In High School, I was the girl constantly reprimanded for reading anything (and everything) other than the reading material of that class period. When I was flying, you could find me in between galley duties crouched over the counter guzzling a pot of coffee soaring through chapters or doing a crossword. I love to read. I love the act of it, the smell of the inky paper, the sound of the spine breaking as all but make out with the words.
When the Husband moved in with me, he brought his own book collection with him. It was small at first, but we rebuilt it with books from his childhood picked up at secondhand bookstores and memberships to book clubs we could barely afford. Our love for serial authors like Koontz and Evanovich overflowed onto the floor outside of milk crates pilfered from my job as a Barista. Once we moved into our own place after I started flying again, we also were able to move my bookshelves that my Father had made for my sister and I into the apartment... and we realized we were in trouble once we had to start stacking them IN the bookshelf as well as on top... and beside... and on our side tables and every surface we could find. I began collecting first (or as close to first) editions of classics and children's books during this time as well. We struck gold when my Grandfather began redecorating his Den and he gifted his bookshelves to me. So now we have the two bookshelves my Father made and the two my Grandfather made. Now I need the Husband to make two more... and we'll probably end up needing a Study lined with shelves if we ever move out of here.
Before Lo was born, the Husband would read "The Hobbit" to my stomach in hopes the boy was listening. Seeing as the child is as "comic book nerd" stereotype as it gets, I dare say he succeeded. His love for reading isn't nearly as strong as ours, but there's still time (and hope, lots of hope.) Lillie on the other hand... Neither of us read to my stomach during her pregnancy, but with as sick as I was with the morning/noon/night sickness, I spent a lot of time lounging with a book in my face hoping to God I didn't barf before I could finish a paragraph. Halfway through the pregnancy I became absolutely terrified that I wouldn't be able to find the time to read once she arrived. I began to read faster and with a hunger I'd never felt before. That child was born for story time. As an infant, we would read to Lo AND her in our bed before putting him to bed in his room, afterwards she would get a separate story just for her... because she WANTED one. It didn't matter if it was "Hop On Pop" or "National Geographic," the girl loved her some words. We weren't the least bit surprised when she started talking at 5 months. Granted it was, "Wow" and "Whoa," but they were words all the same.
Like her parents, the young gazelle eyed her papery prey from a distance before lunging in and ripping it's guts out. She still has issues with getting too "passionate" with her little library. We both have a small communal cry together as I attempt (poorly) to tape the pages back together.
Little Me, attempting to read to my baby sister. She had no appreciation for the fine art of language. Thanks to my parents and Grandparents, I learned very early to enjoy words, even if I kept most of them to myself.
So... um... what was this post about anyways? OH RIGHT, 4 books. Just 4? Really? I'm kind of insulted, but we can talk more about other books some other time. SIGH. One of my greatest memories is of my parents reading to me at night, and many of the books I read to my own children were from that same collection. The book that gets me the most excited though is "The Secret Garden." I can. not. wait. to read this to Lillie. Why? Because I know that she will love it just as much as I did. My God-Mother sent me this book as a gift. I'm not even sure if there was an occasion for it or not, I just remember closing my eyes and listening to the words wash over me and seeing the garden for all it's glory in the colors of my mind. And yes, I do still have this exact copy waiting in a safe place for the day I can share it with her, as I do the following 3 books as well.
E. E. Cummings was my first "dead guy" crush. I discovered him in High School and fell in love with his butchered grammar and drove my Mother (an English Major) completely insane by refusing to use punctuation or case determiners for YEARS after. I still, cliche or not, covet this bracelet as it is one of the most romantic poems I've ever read... also... I'm not the biggest fan of poetry. Just his. Poetry in general, much like chorus concerts and amateurs attempting ANYTHING, makes my skin crawl with physical embarrassment. I don't have any particular reason why I feel that way, I just always have.
Around the time that I began to lose my own innocence, I discovered this book. It was one of the "required readings" for my class and I read it in one night. I could not put it down. Unlike most of my fellow students, I thoroughly enjoyed every last one of the books on our "required reading" lists. I cried when Piggy died. I SOBBED. Oh, FYI, that was a spoiler. OOPS! "Lord of the Flies" might also be one of the reasons I tend to be on the more "subservient" when it comes to Government. I know, I KNOW! But... I'd much rather not watch the news and not know what's really going on in the world right now. Knowing the latest political scandal or about the most recent war outbreak literally breaks me out into hives. Just tell me where to stand and serve when needed, thanks. I'd much rather enjoy my children and be ignorant to the world outside of our little bubble, than paranoid about the world and completely ignorant of those in my own home. Wow, this post just got weird. Next book!
I don't ready schmutzy romance novels. I just don't. I would rather drink a bottle of Elmer's glue than sit through a Fabio covered novel. So, when my Mom would bring a BAG of these books to the beach with us, I literally wanted to die in her presence. PLEASE DON'T BRING YOUR SMUT TO THE BEACH, IT IS A VERY PUBLIC AND VERY FAMILY SITUATION... OMG KILL ME NOW. There's no real literary meat to them, it's fluff. FLUFF I SAY! So when a coworker pushed and pushed and all but read "The Time Travelers Wife" to me, I may or may not have shrugged her off about it for the first few months that she begged me to read it. And then I did... and my life changed. Again. This was romance! This was romance that did not make me want to hide in my closet feeling ashamed for having read even a few pages! Miracle upon miracles! These are the types of romances I like reading about. Unconventional, surreal, slightly (if not completely) unbelievable... sometimes even science fictiony so long as there are no aliens or probing of butts, I'm there.
That's my list. My 4 book list. I'm still freaked that I only had to pick 4. There are so SO many more books I could have added, but again... another day.