I like to read books and tell people about them and I like to write book reviews for this column. I often wonder if my taste in books is anything like yours and if you enjoy my book reviews. The main problem that I see with them, is that even if the book is tragic, my reviews are sort of funny.

I have always enjoyed writing book reviews.

It all started in 1950 when I was in the seventh grade. English was my favorite subject and in order to raise your grade a notch all you had to do was to read three extra books and write a book report about them. (I guess this was to prove that you really did read them).

Well either I was very smart, or the teacher was very stupid, but I made up three books, and got my grade raised from an A- to an A. My girlfriend and I stayed up late one night inventing three books complete with three different plots.

We used a ‘real’ author’s name to make it look authentic, in case the teacher looked up the author to check on us. My girlfriend liked horses, so one of the books was about a girl who lived in California on a ranch and had a horse.

I liked shopping, so one of the books was about a girl whose family had a shop and she got to work in it. Actually I think the story was sort of autobiographical, as my family owned a jewelry store and I had to work there sometimes when it was busy.

In fact I can remember every Christmas vacation spending almost my entire time at ‘the store’. I was the gift wrapper and counter cleaner. When I got older, I became a ‘saleswoman’, even though I was only sixteen.

Back to book reports. I have always had a ‘thing’ for books. When I was about ten I ran a lending library out of my bedroom. I had a rubber stamp with the date due and little library cards for each book. My clients were my friends, who came to my house and checked out books from my library.

I featured the entire Nancy Drew series, all the Bobbsey Twin books, as well as all my mother’s books from when she was a girl. She was a big reader and got me into it. In fact she belonged to Book of the Month Club and when she was done with each book, I would read it.

I doubt there were many ten year old children who had read Forever Amber. I used to put these books inside my scool books and read them in class. I had the fattest copies of Dick and Jane.

Some of my favorite books over the years are the ones by Jodi Picoult. She is a current novelist who writes about social issues. Some of her books are ‘In Her Shoes’, which became a movie, ‘Handle with Care’, and ‘Nineteen Minutes’. I think of all her books, I would have to say that ‘Nineteen Minutes’ was my favorite.

It was the first one of hers that I read. It is the account of the Columbine school shootings. It not only goes into the actual shootings, but covers the parts that one never hears about. That is the parents of the shooter and how they feel and what happens in their lives.

All of her books deal with very current events and problems in our society. There is usually a family deep in the heart of each book and one really can understand what each member is going through.

Another book I really enjoyed was ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ by Barbara Kingsolver. This is a story of a Baptist minister who is assigned to the Belgian Congo. He is sent to Christianize the natives. His wife and four daughters go with him, from their nice home in the United States.

In the Congo they live in a mud hut with a dirt floor. The stove takes wood to heat it, and between the bugs and the snakes, it is pretty awful. The wife brings some of her nice things with her, but it just seems ridiculous to set the table with china when the food is roasted ants.

This book takes place in the 50’s and is told from the point of view of the mother and the daughters. I couldn’t put it down.

Oh, why it was called Poisonwood Bible is because the father never quite got the Congolese language right and the way he said Jesus Christ, was actually the way the people said The Poisonwood Tree. This was a tree about ten times more poisonous than poison ivy.

So, I guess what I am saying is that all my life books have played a big role. I always have at least one book ‘going’. One of my favorite shopping spots is in Barnes and Noble.

Now that I have a Kindle and can read in bed in the dark, I have expanded my reading even more. All I have to do is adjust the color of the page to black with white writing. Voila.

If I really want to ‘read with my eyes shut’. I just put on a book from Audible and listen to a bedtime story. I enjoyed Gone Girl this way. That is a terrific book, whether you read it in hardback, on your Kindle or Nook, or choose to listen to it instead.

And it always amazes me, when I mention a book I enjoyed, just how many people say, “I never read, I just wait for the movie”.

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