Sunday, January 1, 2006

About Me

My name is Lauren, I'm in my mid-30s, married to a man who buys me books instead of flowers, no kids, two awesome dogs and a house that resembles a library.

I don't remember learning to read. My mom says it's because she started reading to me when she was pregnant. Most of my childhood was spent reading, getting in trouble for reading when I should be doing chores or school, forcing my brother to re-enact my books when my mother tossed us outside to "get some fresh air" - although I suspect it was more so she could have a moment's peace - and begging for just one more book at the school book fairs.

In high school, I hid from the bullies in the library, using books to help control the fear and loneliness. I took two years of AP English and discovered Shakespeare, Hurston, McCaffrey and Cather. I read when my parents fought and I read when I cried and I read when I didn't know what else to do.

In college, I discovered used book stores and inter-library loans. I also received life-altering advice from a cranky, wonderful, old art history professor. She commented my writing was terrible and I needed to read more. I responded that I read 3-5 books a week, and she said, "Then you're reading the wrong books." She was correct. Taking her words to heart, I expanded my narrow book choices to include a sprawling range of subjects, prose, authors and genres.

Within a few years, my meager collection of books expanded to fill 50+ boxes when I moved from Florida to Virginia to get married. My reading suffered a bit as the husband and his video games drew me away. But I discovered blogging and realized that book talk filled more then half of my posts.

At the start of this blog, I resolved several things:

1. To maintain a blog dedicated solely to books.
2. To review EVERY book read.
3. To use reading as a way of teaching myself to be a better writer.

The third point is perhaps of the most interest to you. I am always open to suggestions regarding books to read & review, but because of that point, I am picky about what I will act on. This is because I am reading with purpose now, not just gobbling books with no discretion.

Genres / Subjects I Read:

Biographies (Women in History, Missionaries, First Ladies, Women in Science)
Islam, Middle Eastern History, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan
Islam and Women
Travel Accounts (1850-1950, women travelers, humor travels)
Pirates, Sailors, Explorers (female sailors and pirates, 1800s sailing)
First Nations History
African-American History
Christian Non-fiction (Classics, Prayer, Missions, C.S. Lewis)
Christian Fiction (Extremely Selective)
International Fiction (writers from India, Central Asia, China)
Classics (women authors from 1700-1950, short stories, Persephone Books)
Mystery (Golden Age Detective, Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Peters, short stories)
Science Fiction (Military, Vintage, Romantic, Giant Fighting Robots)
Manga / Graphic Novels (Female-centric, Superheroes,)
Fantasy (short stories, female leads, female authors)
Literary Studies (history of women in sci-fi/fantasy, how to write, grammar, women in fiction)
Children's (Classics)
Humor (Calvin and Hobbes, Observation Humor, Sarcasm)
Young Adult (Newbery, Fairy Tales)
Non-fiction (Food Studies, American History, Pop-Culture Studies)
Women's Studies (History, Scientists, Pop-Cultures, Fashion, Literature)
Florida (History and Fiction)
Gender Studies (Homosexuality, Religion, and Male)
Woman and Christianity
Marriage, Sex and Romance
Picture Books (Classics)
Other (Classic Horror, Art/Art History, Evolution)

Genres / Subjects I Do Not Read:

Modern Horror / Thriller / Mystery / Suspense (Think James Patterson)
Self-Help / Pop Diet
Current Events

Thanks for coming along!