When I was a kid, my little sister would annoy me so much when she’d read a book that she really liked to then end and just flip back to the first page and start reading it again. I always thought: If you already read it, no matter how much you enjoyed it, why in the world would read it again? Especially if you just finished it?
I’m going to make my retired-teacher mom and my retired-passed away dad really happy right now: I love to read. I love reading great novels and short-stories and if I’m reading for my own enjoyment (which is why I’m usually reading), I stick with fiction. I kind of have to make myself read the few non-fiction books that I get through.
The problem is that, like many things, I’m pretty picky. I have a hard time finding things that I really like. I’ve read most novels by Stephen King, a lot of Orson Scott Card, a lot of Steinbeck, some Arthur C. Clarke, I’m a big fan of a fiction trilogy that few people have ever even heard of by Franky Schaeffer, and of course, Lord of the Rings.
I think part of the problem is that I’ve read some really incredible books and when you finish a great novel, mediocre novels are horribly stifling. One summer a couple of years ago, I read Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. I couldn’t find anything to read for a couple of months after that.
So, I’ve actually started becoming re-reader. When I found Ender’s Game a few years ago, I was blown away. It’s an short, easy SciFi novel (IMHO: for people who don’t even like SciFi) that I’ve read at least 3 times now. I read all it’s sequals which I didn’t find nearly as enjoyable, but earlier this year, I read Ender’s Game again and found myself even re-reading two of its sequals.
Anyway, I just finished Stephen King’s new novel, Lisey’s Story, a couple of weeks ago (and if you want to argue with me about Stephen King being a great american author of our time, I’ll be happy to smack you) and have had a hard time finding anything to read since. This week, I’ve been subbing in a classroom that doesn’t require full attention, and I knew that they’d be taking a test today which meant ultimate boredom/fight-to-stay-awake time if I didn’t find something good to read.
Finally, I decided that it’s been a couple of years since I’d read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, so I threw it into my bag to go to school today.
My sister gave me a copy of this book for Christmas probably close to 10 years ago saying that she’d had to read it for one of her literature classes and she thought I might like it.
This is my favorite novel that I’ve ever read. My problem with reading it today while students were taking a test was suppressing laughter as I burned through the first 70 pages!
Now I have to be careful. I suggest this book to people all the time, and I know that I often overblow it so that their expectations are so high, that there’s no way it can live up. However, I just have to say this is a GREAT book! It has an incredible story with wildly vivid, amusing, striking characters. The interplay of relationships is so tender and funny and sweet and series of events are startling at times, outrageously comical at other times. And to top it all off, it has the most incredible, cohesive ending of any novel I’ve read. period.
So, I’m not telling you it’s the best novel ever written. I’m just saying that it’s my favorite. And I’m just excited about reading it again and I wish that I could find more books to love a fraction of how much I love this one. If anybody ever still reads this blog, feel free to leave me some suggestions. Remember: Novels.