Back when printing was justing starting to become a viable way to share information publishing companies came up with the bright idea of publishing short novels on cheap paper for mass distribution. Those novels were usually mysteries, westerns, or romances, and they were called Penny Dreadfuls, because the stories weren’t always what we would consider literature. They were stories for the sake of having stories. They were the kind of novels that I love most.
I call them trash novels, because the content is pretty predictable and when you’re done, it doesn’t hurt your feelings to toss the book it he trash. I read a lot of those these days. Quick and easy mystery and suspense books that aren’t stellar in content or character. I love them because it’s easy to fall into that world for a short while. It’s a break from reality.
I can’t honestly say that’s all I read, though. While it’s my favorite leasure activity, reading those trash novels isn’t on the top of my list. Instead, the books on my nightstands are a pretty eclectic mix of what’s going on in my life. Both of my nightstands hold piles of books that fall generally into three categories: Christianity, Fiction, and Non-Fiction.
Christianity is the guiding force in my life, so I’m often reading through something that helps me build my faith. The Bible is my top choice, and often the one that I read the most. I wish I could say I read it every day, but the truth is, I don’t. It’s still more used than any book I own, and I have more copies of the Bible than any other book I own. Also on my Christianity reading list right now are a correspondence theology course that I’m working through very slowly, Lee Stroble’s The Case for Christ, and several Bible-study-type books.
Fiction is my reading love. I love to read. I love to become part of a story. I even love to create stories, though I’m no where near as good with that as I am with reading them.
When I turn to fiction, my first choice is usually suspense. If there’s an element of romance, all the better. But I’m not a picky reader. I’ll pick up just about any fiction book I get my hands on when I have enough time to slip away into another world.
Growing up, I was a military brat who spent a lot of time on a military base overseas where the choices in activities were limited. Without books, I’m pretty sure I would have wasted away into nothing. I learned to love the classics first. Wuthering Heights, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy were some of my favorites. From those I moved to horror, romance, suspense–whatever I could find to read. Librarians in whatever town or school I happened to live in always joked with me that there was nothing left in their library for me read.
Non-fiction is a necessity. In my line of work (I actually do write non-fiction books for a living), I’m always learning something new. So, there’s always a variety of non-fiction books on my night tables and every other surface in my house. I’ve learned over the years that I can learn anything I want to learn if there’s been something written about it. As a result, I’m a fountain of worthless information on a variety of topics that probably have no bearing anywhere but in my own life.
Currently, I’m tackling these two monsters: Googlepedia and Windows 7 Secrets. Both for a project that I’m working on, and both massive tomes of information. Should be fun! But for me, that’s what books are about. No matter what I’m reading, I’m getting something out of it. A lesson, an adventure, or just plain fun. And as an author, that’s the most I can hope others will get from my own books.