Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The joys and stresses of reading

I read an interview with Bill Gates in the New York Times this week that revealed that he reads about 50 books a year. He also has a blog where he reviews books that he has read, which was a surprise to me. I know he's a smart, interesting person, but I never thought of him as a book person. He reads pretty heavy-duty books and reviews mostly books that he likes rather than writing negative reviews.

That led me to think about my own reading. I do a lot of reading, too. Over the winter break, I caught a cold and laid around the house for a couple days mostly just reading. In spite of being sick, spending so much time reading was wonderful!

I read a lot of novels, some just for fun, some for a book club, and some because they sound intriguing. Mysteries are a favorite along with historical fiction. I also read a fair amount of nonfiction of various genres. I like biographies and history especially, but I also read books about education and music.

The book club selections are often the ones that cause me stress. Some of the club choices have been wonderful and I'm so happy that I discovered a particular book because I had to read it for book club. Wonder was one of those books. Also The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. Me Before You. The Year of Wonders. The Other Wes Moore.  Other books I wished I hadn't wasted my time reading and still others I just couldn't finish. Following Mr Gates's lead, I won't name them, but there is a certain pleasure in rippiing them apart in a book club discussion. I'm currently reading The Nightingale and I'm finding it somewhat stressful since I know things are going to continue getting worse for the characters. It's World Way II after all.

I like historical fiction because it's a window into the past - a way of seeing what life was like at different times rather than just learning about the big events that shaped the time. On the other hand, when I choose a book to read, it's for me and I don't feel the need to make myself miserable reading a book I hate or that makes me lose sleep. I know I'm not the only one who has trouble sleeping when reading a disturbing book.

But mostly reading is a pleasure, the best kind of entertainment. I read every day no matter how busy I am. It's a way to relax, to recharge.

I'm on Goodreads, if anyone wants to join me there. What books do you recommend?