I adore reading. Granted, there have been seasons where reading has been an utter challenge (hello, newborn babies!), but overall I view it as I do air, water, and pie. One of life's true necessities.
I really like all sorts of books, but I tend to gravitate towards some form of historical fiction. I got to wondering why I like historical fiction so much better than modern-day. For one thing, if it's well written, it's a great lazy-gal way to learn some new contextual history. If you love to travel, it's a much cheaper way to see the world than an airplane ticket. And also ... I think it's because I can imagine myself as a character set in the past. Somehow feels possible. But modern day? Such an effort to imagine myself as a single young woman with an art career and a penchant for strolling the beach for sea glass ... or a wizened retiree whose decided to take up kick-boxing, dog-training, and opera. It just doesn't work for me.
And as for favorites? On average, I read probably a book a week and then promptly forget the name of it. I'll remember it if you reference the title, but I'm horrible at instant recall on my own. However, I did just finish The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and I looooved it! So clever (a crime-solving 11 year-old girl, 1950's England, w/ a penchant for chemistry and poisons) and I laughed out-loud at some of the witticisms and thought processes of the main-character. I've just started in on Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and have great hopes. I try to keep back-up reads on the shelf that I've picked up at the thrift/used-book store. I'm always on the lookout for vintage Grace Livingston Hill (But not the cheesy-covered reprints of the 90's! I'm a firm believer in judging a book by it's cover.).
And book finding tips? Amazon is a great resource. Find a book you like, look it up on Amazon and see what other titles are purchased by customers who like the same book. And pay attention to the ratings! If it has 4-5 stars and is rated by 30 or more people, it's usually a good bet!
After you've got your title(s), get online with your local library and order up the book. If they don't have it, do an inter-library loan. If your local library network doesn't have it, WorldCat it. WorldCat is a library service that most libraries in the country participate it. For no fee, (although, you have to be willing to wait a bit for it) I've received books from libraries in Texas, colleges in North Carolina, and seminaries in Colorado. (The service is a great resource for hard-to-find Christian titles!) Don't know how to access WorldCat? Call up your library. They are nice there.
And finally, magazines! I love magazines! My favorites are Real Simple, Sunset, Martha Stewart Living, In Style, Health.
What About Travel?
If I had buckets of money lying about, I would travel, travel, travel. My most favorite thing ever. (It's right up there with pie.) I love new places, new people, new food (!!!), new cultures, new vistas. Adore it. I took a European-blitz during a summer in college and have never been the same since. It had a profound effect on me.
Travel widens my view of the world. Gives me a deep appreciation for God's creation and plan for his people. Teaches me to value the differences in customs, cultures, faces, joys, and struggles. And reminds me that we are not so very different from one another after all. We are all just people who are trying to figure out life and, at the end of the day, all still need Jesus.
So. Where would I go tomorrow if I could? I'd go just about anywhere, to be frank. But I would love to see Greece and Turkey. The colors, the culture, the history, the food, the music, the biblical connections, the architecture ... yes. That sounds grand.