For as long as I can remember stories have been a part of my life. When my sister and I were very little we would stay in the country with my grandparents sometimes so my parents could have a night out. We slept in my mother's childhood room. It was so dark and cold (they had a wood burning stove in the main room as their only heat source) but we were never frightened. My grandmother would pile quilts on the bed until it became difficult to move our scrawny limbs under the weight. And then she would lie in bed with us and tell us stories. The way she recited them aloud sounded like a song to me. She always used exactly the same words (we were quick to correct her if she misspoke) and had a lively lilt to her voice. It was fabulous. We never tired of her stories and asked for the same ones over and over.
When I was a little older I started to come up my own tales. I frequently would write plays for my cousins to act out which often included a winning personality named Booger-Nosed Beatrice. As they performed, I taped them on my super cool cherry red Panasonic tape recorder. If I couldn't find anyone to perform with me, I would roam the woods giving a major show to all the trees, birds, and flowers. Some things haven't changed.
Even now I am constantly reading. I truly love to read and, luckily for us, my husband and children do as well. As a matter of fact, I have been in a book club with the same group of girls for the last five years. We meet every month. It is something I look forward to with much excitement. We have all gotten to know one another so well (most of us were friends to start with) that we are able to speak our minds and opinions on a book without anyone being too shy to chime in. We have some grand discussions. And, in spite of our intimate friendships, it can still be quite surprising to hear who dislikes which book. Sometimes the best discussions are had when we all despise a book. It is also interesting to go into the meeting with nothing but disdain for an author's style or story only to have someone else's high opinion give you a new insight into the work.
Having said all this, it seems quite the rage for one to have a contest on her blog. So I am going to give something away; perhaps a pair of earrings (how about this champagne pair of faceted and biwa pearls?), a small canvas (maybe this one called Blue Curtains which i did today), or an altered cabinet card. I've not decided yet as I just thought of this contest idea.
Here's the deal: it's my turn to host my reading group next month. But I've not selected a book to read. The hostess always chooses the book the month prior to her hosting so everyone can pick it up and read it in time for the get-together. If you would like to see the sorts of things we've read in the past you can visit the web site set up by my friend Patti where she keeps a list of what we've read.
The contest part comes in this way...if you would be so kind, please post your favorite work of literature in the comments of this blog entry. If I use your recommended book you will win the prize. If I don't select anyone's book, I'll just draw a name and that person will win a prize. I will give you a couple tips, I won't choose a mystery (they're plot driven and not much fun to discuss) or anything too light (sorry Danielle Steele) or too long (we cap our monthly read at about 400 pages). But, if you have a book that you LOVE, do tell me about it. I'm always looking for something good to read outside of book club, too.