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Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.

Today she asks:

“Do you have to carve out time in your day for reading (due to work and other obligations), or does your reading just happen naturally? (Question courtesy of MizB)”

I never really schedule my reading time.  Most of my reading gets done between my last class for the day and dinner; the time spent depends on how much homework I have to do, but I almost always have time to read for a little while at least.

If Ryan’s really into a book, it’s easier to get reading time in after dinner because we’ll sit and read together.

And, of course, I listen to audiobooks as well which allows me to sneak in “reading time” while I’m driving, knitting, cleaning, etc.  There’s not a certain hour of the day when I always feel like reading, so I’m glad I don’t have to try and schedule time for it.

What about you?  Share your Musings Monday link with me!

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Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.

Today she asks: There’s been some discussion on my blog this week about what should or shouldn’t make a ‘best’ books’ list. What elements do you think lands a book in that ‘best’ category? Think of your top 5 best books and tune in next week to see the collated list..

This is a tough one.  I hardly pay attention to “best books” lists.  If I were compiling one of my own, it would consider elements as the demonstrated writing skill, creativity, character development, ability to hold the reader’s interest, and ability to ‘stick around.’

I have a tendancy to like books that many people find boring or uneventful, because I LOVE character development.  I’d rather read a book that is entirely character-driven than even the most page-turning of thrillers with lame characters.  I like the language to feel like the author actually thought about the individual words, rather than just typing to get to the next plot-twist.  I like books where every sentence has a purpose, whether to illustrate something new about the character or just to more fully immerse the reader in the setting.  I always admire an author who can successfully give each character a unique voice without it being obtrusive.

When I read the ‘best’ books, I often put the book down on my lap, stare at it wonderingly and in silence, and take a few breaths.  I carry it around with me for hours or even days afterwards, not necessarily to refer to it, but just to have it.  Maybe to show someone.  But often because I’m just not ready to let it go.  And I bug my SO to read it until he caves.  Then we talk about it for days.  The ‘best’ books are ones that stick around even after I’ve put the book aside.

It’s hard to narrow my favorites down to five, but I’ll try.  In no particular order:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

And since I can’t leave them out, honorable mentions: Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell), Blindness (Jose Saramago), and Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston).