Welcome to A Few of my Favourite Books!

Hello and welcome to my book blog! I’m nervous and excited to be starting this.

First off: my name is Carolyn and I work in a library.

Second: I love a lot of classic novels (Marcel Proust and Jane Austen are my favourite authors), but lately I’ve realized that genre fiction is a lot of good fun as well. So I like to mix it up and read a lot of everything. Last year I had a mystery binge in the spring and a poetry extravaganza in the fall.

Over the last two years I’ve also read all of In Search of Lost Time (by the lovely and neurotic aforementioned Marcel Proust) and I’m with Henry James on this one, it is a case of “inconceivable boredom associated with the most extreme ecstasy which it is possible to imagine”! But, as I say, I love Proust anyway and have already started rereading Swann’s Way, the first volume. (I’ve also been rereading the Harry Potter books at the same time and in their own way both books are comforting friends.)

My first memory of loving reading a particular book is when I was 10, curled up in my bed that was built into the wall (with the roof sloping down above me and the cubby hole at my feet) in our old farm house, reading a book I’d found in on one of the basement library shelves, about heroic horses and dogs. It had a tattered spine and a plaid cover, with a horse and a dog in cameo frame. I was stirred and moved by the story of Alexander the Great’s horse going into battle against the elephants in India and Chips the war dog going after a machine gun nest.

Soon after I went on to read The Swiss Family Robinson and was thrilled with the tree house, the boy riding an ostrich in a race! I read everything I could find after that and when we moved to the city, went to the library on my own every week, coming back with my arms full of yellow Nancy Drew hardcovers. When I was 20, a friend introduced me to Jane Austen and I was scandalized that no one had ever mentioned her in all my high school English classes.

I went to university shortly after and decided on a multi-major in English, History and Drama. (Literature is what I love most, but I’m also intrigued by all the fascinating stories out of the past in History and I love the creative community in theatre. So I couldn’t quite go for only literary studies, although I’ve often had second thoughts about that choice and would love to go back for more English courses.) I wanted to get high grades (the intention was to get into the Education program and actually have a sensible career), so I told myself no reading for fun was allowed. I was introduced to the wonders of Virginia Woolf and many other things that filled my mind with exciting and jostling ideas, but by the time I was accepted into the Education faculty and then began student teaching, only to find that it really wasn’t for me, I was deeply depressed and stressed.

I took time off from university and after a few frantic months, realized I had to stop with the success planning and do something I loved: read. For fun. That summer I began going to the library, looking for comforting and happy books that could help me through. I also started keeping reviews of those books in a notebook. I’ve always loved writing university essays (and writing in general) and so the reviewing of the book, discovering and sharing my opinion of a book, even if only with myself, is almost as enjoyable as actually reading.

A few years later, someone told me about blogging and I was instantly excited. I had finally gone back to university to finish my degree in a more relaxed way and I found the online community to be so supportive as I finally started taking a few writing classes and continued to read for fun. Ever since then, I haven’t been able to stay away from blogging. And I don’t ever want to stop reading for my own personal enjoyment again!

So thanks for reading and welcome. I look forward to meeting you and to writing about a few of my favourite books.

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4 thoughts on “Welcome to A Few of my Favourite Books!

  1. Book Psmith says:

    Welcome to book blogging! I have enjoyed reading this post and getting to know a little about you. What a great first memory…don’t you just cherish those earliest reading memories? I had an opposite experience in college…where I read to much outside my assigned reading but luckily I found it enhanced my studies and often filled in during those courses that were just too boring for words:) Like you, I did not meet Austen in high school either and I don’t even remember studying her in college. I did not have the best experience with her P&P but I do have two more of her books on my tbr list for 2010. Best wishes for your blog!

    • afewofmyfavouritebooks says:

      Thanks for coming by! In my last year of university I took fewer courses and read more and found it did enhance my time there, trying to rush through one of the best experiences of my life just to get the best marks was a bit silly. Since university, I kind of look at my reading as a way to continue my studies in a more self directed private way. There’s a great book about a girl who didn’t go to college, but just read and wrote a lot, called The Day I Became An Autodidact, that encouraged me to think of it that way.

  2. Book Psmith says:

    Just wanted to drop by and let you know that after I read your reply to my comment, I immediately ordered The Day I Became An Autodidact. It has arrived and I just read the first couple of pages not wanting to make the commitment to read the whole thing since I am already dipping in and out of Miss Read’s Country Cooking…but I can’t put it down and so Miss Read has been set aside for now. Thank you for directing me to the book.

    • afewofmyfavouritebooks says:

      Wonderful! I found that book in the Education Library of my university, I guess meant to be a guide to high school students, but it really helped me when I began to realize that the conventional career route wasn’t going to work so well for me. It’s so funny and sweet and I loved all her stories about other writers who stayed home to read. That plus 84 Charing Cross Road (and Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach about a woman traveling alone in Europe) is my favourite nonfiction. I really ought to have my own copy!

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