Ever since I was a young child reading has always been important to me. I've always loved to just sit down with a good book and get lost in that world of stories for hours. I've always liked detective/crime novels; something about them has always drawn me. My favorite kind of books to read are series; I like to get to know the characters and their attitudes. One of my most cherished authors is Robert B Parker, who I was saddened to read recently passed away. His Spenser series were just amazing; about a witty somewhat smart ass private detective with a large heart and tough as nails. That's just one of the many many detective series I love to follow.
Then there's the CIA type books which I die for. There's a number of series of those I enjoy, including Stuart Woods' "Holly Barker" series. I love reading about government agencies as well as spies and oversees operations. Of course, it's all fiction; but who really knows what secret government agencies do in real life. I haven't read any non fiction books on this topic yet; when I think about, I don't really know why either, I'm sure I would enjoy them.
I recently discovered the legendary works of Charles Dickens. Over all the years I've been reading and the thousands of books in which I've turned pages, Dickens has provided me with one of the most entertaining, intriguing reads ever. I haven't read many of his books, in fact I just finished my second book by him. While his books are extremely long, they follow a complex plot and the writing is extraordinary. Sometimes, for me at least, when I have been reading a book before that has been set in a different century, I didn't really stay attuned to what was happening. Yet with his novels, I find it easy to stay interested through all one thousand pages. The whole story line is just so interesting and written so well that it's one of those books where you just don't want to put it down for a second. I just downloaded another book of his and am tingling in anticipation to start it; I just know I will be blown away all over again.
I used to literally spend hundreds, if not close to a thousand, dollars at a neighborhood bookstore, Kidsbooks. The staff there were amazing and I will be forever great-full to them for all the books they recommended that brought me countless hours of pleasure. They introduced me to dozens of series that I absolutely loved and couldn't wait to read the new one every time it came out. They had unlimited patience and were extremely friendly. Being a person who honest to god, cannot make up my mind, I would go there to get a few books and leave two hours later. I used to sit there and just read, sometimes half the book, before I decided to buy it. They never said a word. I went to author signings there, and remember waiting at midnight for the Harry Potter series to be realised. I have outgrown those types of books now and haven't been there in a few years, but they will always get a glowing recommendation from me for there amazing staff. I hope to bring my kids there someday.
The other category of books I want to mention is the cultural ones. I haven't read a lot of these, less than I like anyways, but when I do I am blown away all over again. First, how could I talk about cultural books without mentioning Bryce Courtenay. His often very long books are just incredible. Unique in the fact that most of them revolve around a main character who we meet when still a child and follow through until adulthood. Sometimes that just will be one book, often it will be more. I've read almost everything he's written and a few characters take two or three books to picture their lives. A good majority of his books are set in South Africa or Australia and centre around inner strength when faced with extremely unfavorable circumstances. They aren't light reading, and a few of them have almost brought me to tears more than once, yet he really portrays how amazing the human spirit is and how love always is with us. I could go through almost all his books just from memory, yet that would be a very long post, so I will just keep to the basic themes. Most of his books are set in the early to mid twentieth century, often either set around the first or second world war. Because of this, there is a good number of war scenes involving the main characters. He often finds a way to show the good in people even among such bad times. Suffice to say he's among one of the most, if not the most amazing writers I've ever read. I like books that deal with other cultures and religions. Just being able to see that humans are so diverse in every part of the world is always amazing. I haven't read as many of these as I like, but the few I have read have really opened my mind.
A few weeks ago I just completed reading The Holy Quran. While I am not a religious person and don't believe or pray to any God, it gave me an insight into a whole vastly different lifestyle. I won't say anything much on this topic for the risk of offending someone. It took me a while to get through, yet it was by far one of the most outstanding things I've ever read, whether I believe it or not.