Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Nine Book Experiences You Should Have Before You Die

by Holly West

I'm probably not the best person to write a post like this since I'm not nearly as well-read as I'd like to be. And given the crowd that frequents Do Some Damage, I'm definitely preaching to the choir. Still, I felt the need to reflect on some of the book-loving experiences I treasure most. Here they are in no particular order:

1) Develop a serious crush on a character.

My first literary crush was King Charles II as he was portrayed in FOREVER AMBER by Kathleen Winsor. It's no accident he's a featured character in MISTRESS OF FORTUNE. More recent characters that've enthralled me are Henry Winter in Donna Tartt's THE SECRET HISTORY, Benjamin Weaver in David Liss's series, and Frank Mackey in FAITHFUL PLACE by Tana French. 

2) Read every book in at least one series.

Out of all of the long-running series' out there, I've only read all of three: Sue Grafton's Alphabet series, David Liss's Benjamin Weaver series, and Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series.

3) Own a signed first edition of at least one of your favorite books.

I have a few, but one of the best is WHEN THE SACRED GINMILL CLOSES by Lawrence Block.

4) Troll used bookshops, eBay, or elsewhere for a copy of a favorite book from childhood.

Again, I've done this a few times but my best ever find was THREE WITHOUT FEAR by the late Robert C. DuSoe.

5) Pay way too much for that book.

I don't remember what I paid for it but it was in the $40 range. I know there are people out there who've paid a whole lot more for their favorites.

6) Stay up all night reading because you just can't put the book down.

My most recent book all-nighter was GONE GIRL.

7) Likewise, chuck your weekend plans and spend it reading for the same reason.

The first book I ever did this with (that I can remember) was KALKI by Gore Vidal. Most recently, it happened with JUNKIE LOVE by Joe Clifford.

8) Meet your favorite(s) author.

I've done this a few times now and it never gets old. One of the perks of being a writer myself.

9) Visit a city or country because you fell in love with it through reading.

I have two: London and New York City.

Help me out--I'm surely missing some great book experiences here. Tell me what else should be included on this list and I'll dedicate a follow-up post to the subject.


Kristopher said...

Great list Holly.

I remember when The Secret History first came out. I started reading it over the July 4th weekend and I skipped multiple parties and fireworks to finish that book before I had to return to work. There were fireworks aplenty in the words of that book.

As for additions to the list.
Buy multiple copies of your favorite book and give them to everyone: I did this when I first discovered Lois Lowry's The Giver years ago; I literally must have given away 20 copies of that book in less than a month. And now, may of those folks are going to see the movie version with me, so we can remember our obsession.

Al Tucher said...

The character crush that I recall most fondly was Liza Cody's Anna Lee, whose toughness lies in tenacity and endurance rather than ass-kicking.

Twenty-five years ago I read two hilarious crime novels by Kate Gallison. UNBALANCED ACCOUNTS and DEATH TAPE both used the Trenton setting long before Janet Evanovich got to it. I have since had the privilege of hanging out with Kate Gallison at several conferences, and she is a funny and charming as her books.

John McFetridge said...

Great list.

Holly West said...

I like your suggestion, Kristopher: Gifting multiple copies of your favorite book. I can't believe I haven't done that one.

I'm also tempted to include "get a book-related tattoo" on this list but I haven't done that... yet.