I have always loved reading. When I was young I actually used a flashlight under the blanket to read late into the night. The biggest problem I had was finding books. As I got older I was concerned about reading books that didn't express the values I was trying to embrace. During my teenage and college years I mostly read classics that were assigned for classes. I enjoyed them but Shakespeare and Dumas are not exactly casual entertainment.
It wasn't until I was married with children that I discovered a book genre that I really enjoyed. My husband had been deployed and read the first four Harry Potter books while there. When Order of the Phoenix was published, he sheepishly admitted that he was eager to read it. Long story short, I read the books too and was hooked.
I wasn't satisfied to wait for the last two books to be published. I went online and explored the local library for Young Adult and Children's books that looked interesting. I discovered a world of books that fueled my imagination and made me excited to read again. I was staying up late to finish a chapter or turning off the TV because it was too distracting (Sacrilege!)
A few years ago I started a Goodreads account and was amazed at how many books I had read. (feel free to check it out sometime) I have also been amazed at how some of those books have stayed with me. Here is a list of just a few books that I still think about and would recommend to others.
1. Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. This is the first in a series that I have truly enjoyed reading. It is fantasy fiction but not what you would call "high fantasy". There is a lot of insight and philosophy in these stories that I appreciate greatly.
2. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. This is the first in a series, also. The story is a little slow but it is short. When I reached the surprise ending I thought "What just happened?" So I read it again. The subsequent novels have the same meandering style with a sudden;y satisfying ending.
3. The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I know, everyone is in love with Twilight but this one is really good. It is painfully slow but the ideas that are presented are still fresh in my mind three years after I first read it. (Plus I love Science Fiction!)
4. The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. When I first started this book I didn't think I would like it. But the story is wonderful. I can see why it received a Newberry Honor.
5.Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. This is a very interesting book. It explores why we do what we do, like naming our kids or joining gangs. I found it very interesting.
6. The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson. This book frustrated me when I read it. I can't explain why exactly, maybe the author's voice differs from mine. But I think about the story often. I read it years ago so I guess it made quite an impression on me.
7. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. This is definitely a dark story. I still feel same chilling creepiness I felt when I first heard it (I listened to it on CD). It is about some crazy twins. I think of it more now that there are crazy twins living across the street from me! What appeals the most is the way she talks about books and reading. I found her descriptions very poetic.
8. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I first heard of this book we a movie was made a few years ago. The book is nothing like the movie. Still, it is a very good story about obedience and free will.
9. Heidi by Johanna Spyri. You may be like I was and think "I know that story, I don't need to read it." You would be wrong. It is so touching. Even if you read it as a child, read it again. It means something different when you are a mother.
10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. My all-time favorite. It has everything; romance, heart ache, mystery, terror. It might require a little more effort but it is so worth it!
I hope you have a chance to read a few of these. As I said, these are some of my favorite books to read for pleasure. I could add many other books for many reasons. And I have a list a mile long of books I want to read. Even if these are not your kind of books, I hope you can find some books that you enjoy. Reading is one of the greatest pleasures in life.