OUCH! This is a really freaking hard one. I have to pick just one book? Hell, one genre for one book. I read voraciously. I devour 3-4 books a week on busy week. On a slow week I pour through 6-10 books easily. I read books on ancient peoples and languages and ways of life. I read books on my current research subject. I read to my daughter. I read for pleasure. I read to absorb new and interesting knowledge about all sorts of things. So asking me to pick one book that I loved is like asking me to pick a favorite star on cloudless night.
How about this. I will pick a selection from a book I loved. A poem of sorts if you will. I choose Lewis Carroll, “The Jabberwocky”. Now, yes there is an entire story going on when this piece comes up, but it is a tale all it’s own. It seems, at first glance, not much more than sheer gibberish. Yet it tells the tale of a young prince going out into the world to make a name for himself. He is warned of the dangers of the world that he may face. He is told of the fight to come, and yet he rides out on his mighty steed and faces the big bad monster anyway. And at the end he comes back to his father with glory and honor. If you’ve never read the poem by itself, or not all… Please take a minute to read it. Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll.
Of course you are wondering why I would pick a poem out of a book and call it my greatest love. When I was in Junior High I had to memorize a poem and perform it in front of my class. The winner of that reading got to perform their piece in front of the entire school. Then the winner of that went on to state competition. It was a great thing if you got selected by your school. My mother taught me Jabberwocky on the way to school one morning and it stuck with me. Very long story short, I won first place for my performance. I still have the plaque with my name on it and everything. It may have been my first push towards writing my own tidbits. Who knows. But to this day I can recite it from memory. My daughter begs for it before bed at least three times a week. When I am stressed and need to slow my mind, I recite it to myself. Just last week, while I was in the hospital I recited that poem over and over to calm myself. It is something so familiar to me and so close to my very being. Each day we must, each of us, slay our monsters in form or another. And at the end of the day, sometimes, if we are lucky, we come home to loved ones who celebrate our hard won trials as well.
NOW… a book I did not love. I wish I could say that I have never come across a book I didn’t at least like. I would love to say that each book I read had some redeeming value. Unfortunately, life is not fair and neither is reading. I’ve read some books that made me want to pull out an editing handbook and beat the writer with it, my own work included.I’ve read books that made me realize that my dream to be internationally published was actually achievable. And I’ve read books that made me want to run from the publishing universe all together. My least favorite book of all time so far has been a book called, “The Haunted Vagina”. It is written by Carlton Mellick III. I wish I could say that this book was fascinating or that it was funny. I know a good amount of people find it quite enjoyable in fact. But for me it was a painful read. I could not get past the first few chapters and even those were pure torture. But to each their own I suppose. I know that this author has several books published and each of them are about as bizarre as the one I happened to have the misfortune of reading. But please, don’t take my word for it. Go to Amazon and read it yourself. Perhaps “The Haunted Vagina” is exactly what you are looking for.
How about you, my readers? Any stories that you go back to time and again? Any book that made you run screaming?