Friday, June 16, 2017

Comfort Reads - History Past and Present

by Shirley Hailstock


I write contemporary novels, but back in the day, I was and am still a history buff. I could answer the entire column of history questions on the old Jeopardy program.





I'm also good with numbers and dates, (math minor in college). This came in handy with the timeline question on exams. I even remember the date of the Friendship 7. (That was spaceship that took John Glenn up in 1962.)




So you would think that all this looking backwards would endear me to comfort reads-- going back and revisiting ole haunts, plots, characters and stories.

Nope, not me.




Comfort Reads is a concept I don't subscribe to. There are so many books and so little time as the saying goes. 





I'd rather read a new book than re-read a past one. This doesn't mean I don't understand the need for familiarity, for knowing what the outcome will be in a novel. I read romances and I expect a happily-ever-after. So I know the hero and heroine will overcome all obstacles in their way and find love.

This also doesn't mean I have a TBR (to be read) pile and no keeper shelf. Like all readers, I have both. And both could fill their own room.





The keeper shelf gives me comfort without re-reading. As I look over the titles and remember the characters I befriended and who allowed me to share their world and their adventures, I feel the same warmth as my friends who pull down a story to re-read. I can participate in discussions on the Bridgertons, the Madaris's, the billionaires and their babies.



My TBR pile hides gems that I only need to open a cover to find. 




I suppose the point of all this is we love to read and books hold wonders for us from visiting other worlds to finding a kindred spirit. And on that note, on my keeper shelf is Morning Glory by LaVryle Spencer. I love this book so much I won't read the last page, because I never want this story to end.







What's on your keeper shelf? What special book do you re-read year in and year out?

As always, keep reading...

Shirley Hailstock

16 comments:

  1. Definitely Gabaldon's OUTLANDER. My go-to book for comfort and sometimes writing technique. I haven't read MORNING GLORY which is now on my TBR pile.

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    1. I got into storytelling with Gabaldon's book. Loved the way she could craft a story. I also got to read Outlander in it virgin state. Back when we had compuserve and Diana was posting chapters of her WIP.

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  2. My strengths were maths and sciences, so I'll have to remember not to get into a discussion about history with you! :)

    I read Morning Glory a looong time ago. You just prompted me to put it back on my TBR pile!

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    1. I remember the story in great detail and while I love the book, I'd read something new, but have the warmest thoughts for the characters I befriended in a book I've read and loved.

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    2. I have strengths in math and science too. I was a Chemistry major with a math minor in college. I guess we all get gifts in things, mine was the ability to remember dates.

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    3. Great! We can chat about math and science . . . and favorite books! :)

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  3. When we renovated a few years ago, I took the opportunity (ok, husband pushed me to it) to downsize the book shelves in our bedroom. My criteria were: will I read this again and does it hold any sentimental meaning for me? So many books went to charities but I did keep my faves, which included "The Last Policeman" trilogy by Ben Winters. I haven't read "Morning Glory" but really must. We authors do like to talk books, don't we Shirley? Thanks for this post - it reminded me how important those two piles of books are and will use that reasoning the next time my husband hints at downsizing again.

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    1. I have a huge bedroom, but a few years ago I had to remove the bookcases. They were making the bedroom a library. In my dream house, I have a library that's bright and airy and has comfortable chairs for reading.

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  4. I think I've read everything by LaVyrle Spencer. There are a couple of her books on my keeper shelf, which is tall and wide and also includes keeper boxes because all the books won't fit. The books I've re-read the most are Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and The Count of Monte Cristo. In romance that would have to be Jude Deveraux's Highlander series.

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  5. I've read all of LaVryle Spencer's books too, and I also have keeper boxes.

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  6. I've read all of LaVyrle Spencer's books, too--more than once (except for the last three or four.) I do re-read even though I agree with the "so many books, so little time" adage. Re-reading's like an evening with girlfriends--one of my favorite things. I enjoyed your post, Shirley.

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    1. This makes me want to go find a LaVryle Spencer and read the blurb, just to refresh my memory of the story. Her books are in a keeper box.

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  7. I seldom reread books, but I do keep them until something finally prompts me to pass them on--sometimes simple lack of space. I noticed that years ago I'd started collecting most novels written by some RWA "luminaries," like Barbara Delinski, Susan Wiggs, and Barb O'Neal, and a few other of my favorite authors. I finally thinned them out, but there's something about certain authors who have an aspirational quality for me. I admire their work and their careers. I think that's why their books are like companions--and even touchstones. This post got me thinking! Thanks, Shirley.

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  8. I don't reread as much as I used to. When I think about it, it was right about the time I took up writing that I gave up rereading. I have read Pilcher's Winter Solstice several times, and many Agatha Christies. To me, one hallmark of a great story is when you think about the characters from time to time and wonder what they're doing now, just as you would any interesting people you've met. I'll have to put Morning Glory on my TBR pile.

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  9. I don't care to reread much either, although I have found myself starting a book and not realizing for several chapters I've already read it! Sometimes it's interesting to reread a book you read in college, or even earlier. Funny how differently things impact you depending what stage of life you're in.

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  10. With so many wonderful books out there, I rarely reread. I do make exceptions for Gone With The Wind and To Kill A Mockingbird. Thanks for the LaVyrle Spencer reminder, I used to read her a lot in college.

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