My good friend, Shonda, over at The Knowlton Nest, featured her 5 favorite books last week. She wrote about one each day for the week. I thought it was a fantastic idea, but wondered how in the world would I narrow it down to just 5 books. Reading is a passion of mine and I've had so many books that I have loved over the years, I think it wold be almost impossible. But, I promise to try. A few years back I began making reading goals for myself each year. It began just as a simple challenge to get me back into reading, but it has grown in to a must each year. I get excited about trying to beat the goal each year. I started simply with 50 books the first year. A book a week was doable. I met that goal easily, especially with summer vacation in there. The next year I increased it to 100 books. I met that one as well and I think I ended up reading about 130 books that year. Since then, I didn't know if I could really devote the time to read more than that because I did have a job, a husband, and a house to take care of. So, I changed my goals a little bit. I started tackling presidential biographies. I know - Nerd alert!! But, I did this for a few reasons: 1) I was a teacher who taught American History and I wanted to know more than the surface level knowledge that a child could discover in a textbook. I wanted to be able to throw in an interesting tidbit now and then. 2) I felt like I didn't know enough about the founding fathers of our country and the foundations our country was founded on, so I began reading with the 1st 4 presidents. I'm still working through this list, but I've been reading the last 4 presidents this summer. I'm reading very objectively and I'm trying to read unbiased biographies instead of autobiographies. I'm trying to keep my political feelings out of it and reading from strictly an objective point of view. VERY DIFFICULT!!
Anyway, back to favorite books! I'll start with a book that I've read every summer for the past 10 years - except for this one!
The movie was always a favorite, but I had never read the book until I found it on The Friends of the Library shelf for $1 in Juneau, Alaska. There was LOTS of time to read in Juneau during the winter and this book kept me sane! When the rain and the snow set in for weeks, I escaped to the Old South with Scarlett and Rhett! The movie does not do the book justice!! I think the thing I love most about this book is the fact that Margaret Mitchell did not even want it published. She began her career as a writer as a columnist in an Atlanta newspaper. Mitchell broke her ankle and ended up being bedridden. Her husband bought her a typewriter and she began writing the manuscript. When a publisher came to town, she hastily gave the manuscript to him (he kept it in a suitcase it was so large) and then changed her mind. But, it eventually was published in 1936.
Every year I read Gone With the Wind, I discover something new. I still love the scene where Scarlett demands a new dress, but the only fabric available is the curtains. I laugh when I think about Mammie wearing a bright red petticoat under her workclothes. I cry when Tara burns, and I admire the sheer determination of Scarlett as she swears no one will take Tara from her again.