“It’s called reading! Top to bottom, left to right… a group of words together is called a sentence. Take Tylenol for any headaches…Midol for any cramps.” – 4 Books

Oh, how I love that movie. It may, in fact, make my list of three movies…but that’s for tomorrow. Today is all about books. This is going to be tricky for me, because I’m what you would call “a reader.” My mom is a librarian, and growing up she would bring home boxes of books during the summer for me to “test read.” Most kids would like summer for the obvious “don’t have to go to school and can instead run around outside or go to the pool all day” reasons. I looked forward to the boxes of books.

As a grown up, one of the first things I did in every town we moved to was get a library card. Scott was a witness for this. When we lived in Pittsburg, we were within walking distance of the library. (This turned out to be doubly handy, since we couldn’t afford Internet at the apartment for awhile.) When we moved to Clemson, our first day in town was spent driving around and setting up utilities…and getting a library card. Then we moved to Greenville, and I discovered the joys of a “big town” with multiple library branches. Ah, yes. My typical MO is to walk in, pick a shelf at random, and grab 3-5 books that appeal to me by cover art or title. Back in the pre-LilRunr days, I could read up to five books before they were due back at the library.

The only problem with this random method of reading is that I have a hard time remembering which books I’ve read and whether I liked them or not. I always talked about adopting Running Buddy’s overly organized (but highly effective) system of using spreadsheets to track her reading habits, but I’ve never managed to get started.

Anyway. At some point I need to get to a list.

Look, a list!

  1. 100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This book is crazy. It falls into the category of “magical realism” that is popular with many Latin American writers and that  (in my opinion) Marquez pretty much owns. I spent most of the book thinking, “ok, this is really well written but very odd.” I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not, but by the time I got to the end I wanted to give the book a standing ovation. “Oh, wow! That’s awesome!”
  2. Flabbergasted, Ray Blackston. This was one of my “picked at random” books that I read not long before Scott and I were to move to South Carolina. When I started reading and discovered that it was set in Greenville, I felt like it had been placed before me on purpose. It’s also one of the best works of Christian fiction I’ve ever read. That genre tends to feel a little awkward, unrealistic, and predictable to me, but Blackston’s book has plenty of humor and believable characters.
  3. From the Corner of His Eye, Dean Koontz. I know Scott expects to see this title in the list somewhere. When I find books that I really like, I’ll read them repeatedly. I especially tended to stick with re-runs during grad school, when I had little opportunity to read for pleasure. I’d tell myself, “OK, you can read for 15 minutes while you eat lunch.” If it was a book I’d read 100 times, I could put it down when the time expired. A new book, however, always begs me to finish “one more chapter.” Too dangerous when thesis deadlines loom. I had no idea Scott even paid attention to what I read until, one day, I was reading during a study break (with the cover of the book down on the table, so all he could see was that I had a paperback) and he walked by me and said, “From the Corner of His Eye, Dean Koontz.” Wha? “You read that all the time.” You noticed? “You read it ALL. THE. TIME. How many times have you read that?” I don’t know. I like it! I still do. It’s a little creepy at times, but there’s a theme of love and hope throughout that I really enjoy. Koontz is an author I usually enjoy. The “Odd Thomas” series, “By the Light of the Moon” and “Seize the Night” are good, too. Unfortunately, my old paperback has disintegrated, so until I get a new copy I won’t be able to read it for the 211th (possiblyexaggerated?) time.
  4. Oh, man. The last book. Envisioning Information, Edward Tufte.  Not a novel this time, but one of the books I bought in graduate school. It’s a book about information design, and Tufte argues for rich, complex, beautiful displays of information. His books are filled with examples (both good and bad). It’s an amazingly pretty, inspiring book.
P.S. Six megarunr points for the first person who can name the movie from the quote in this post’s title.
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