A Bit Of Silver And Grey

In the last couple of years my reading material has been fairly unchanging. It’s been the likes of John Sandford (love his work), Carl Hiaasen (cannot get enough of it) and some new authors I came across courtesy the Kindle store. Amongst them Jana DeLeon stood out because while her work wasn’t “hardcore literature” it wasn’t silly fluff either. It was a humorous and quite likely an accurate look into the lives of people in a small town on the bayou in Louisiana.

Each character is well-fleshed out without cutting corners and being lumped into a group of hicks and rednecks who keep chewing tobacco and spitting on the ground. I mean stereotypes only take you so far after all.

The chief amongst them are two old ladies who were counterintelligence back in ‘Nam and came back home without anyone having cottoned onto their true colors. Over the years they’ve become older, more idiosyncratic but are still sharp as tacks and quick on their feet…most of the times.

I’m mentioning the old people here because in the books I’ve grown up reading, old people are relegated to a secondary status. It’s the cheerful grandma who bakes cookies or the grumpy grandpa who eventually gets the sulky teen to realize some truths about life. But these characters are not always flesh and blood. They are bit players. They add flavor but in a restrained manner.

The other series of books which recently caught my attention are by Amanda M. Lee about a family of witches who live in a small town in Michigan. Notice the small town motif? They have a great aunt at the helm of the family and while she’s not an evil witch, she isn’t above bewitching things to punish others or to get her own way. Whether it’s selling her home made hooch (again something in common with the old ladies of the bayou) or growing “glaucoma medicine” aka pot, under the eyes of the law, or wanting a pet pig she’s a character all by herself and rightly so.

The eccentricities that the old people can lay claim to because they’ve seen their share of things in life are nothing short of mindboggling to banging your head against the wall in frustration-types. And you just can’t make them back down and play ball with the rest of the lot. Not in real life and not in stories either.

Am glad that this segment of people have found their representation in books because we’ve had enough of rosy cheeked grandmas and fairy godmothers. We haven’t had enough of crocodile-walking, bike-riding, dentured women who can’t read without their bifocals and can down moonshine with the best of them!

Go silver!

You Are What You Read…

Red reads “interesting” things. He reads fiction, non-fiction and plenty of things that ‘thinking’ people seek out.  Am far more pedestrian and I think I know the answer to that as well…let me just pull up my virtual couch as I hark back to my childhood for the insight.

When I was in 5th grade, our class teacher was very passionate and stringent about our reading habits. And with the baggage that came from being from part of a race that’s been persecuted and vilified throughout history; she exposed us to books which left a lasting reluctance in me seeking out thinks which were a “heavy” read. And I don’t mean tomes necessarily. I mean books which made a 11-year old year child in a foreign country sad, restless and not quite content.

Books, in my family, are a gift for all occasions. Toys will come and go but books will sustain. The kind of books I was given ranged from folk tales, mythologies and even things which helped me do school projects (thank you Barnes&Nobles for your books on the Roman civilization). And for the most part they all had a common thread running through them; they were fun to read or they entertained at some level.

When I read Friedrich, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Number on my Grandfather’s Arm or Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry I had too much to process for my pre-adolescent brain. Books that were fun to read aka Pippi Longstockings, Anne of Green Gables series, Judy Blume’s works or Harriet the Spy et al were still good to dive into but the somber tone struck by the Holocaust and the stories of racism especially during the Great Depression has made me wary of anything that seems even remotely “serious”. For the same reason I seldom seek out the dramas in movies either. Red runs towards drama and I veer towards stuff that’s the White Chicks ilk.

I am a semi-closeted romance book reader, the HEA notwithstanding. I like reading Regency stuff; having been introduced to Georgette Heyer and her peers by my godmother. The thing with the lighter kind of reading material is you can pick it up, put it down and not go off into raptures or trip into a long, winded thought process and still enjoy it. I need to feel entertained at the end of it all. Not necessarily feel like I came away with more stuff to chew on.

My favorite authors for the past few years have been Jonathan Kellerman, Jana DeLeon, John Sandford, P.J Tracy, Rick Riordan. Their works aren’t creampuff by any stretch of the imagination but they are all aces in the entertainment segment.

So that’s me then…a Regency-romance, police-procedural, mythology-geek, serial-killer book loving mom who is currently giggling through The Adventures of Captain Underpants and groaning through the Geronimo Stilton series. And it’s true now as it was 30 years ago..if I have a chance, I’ll pick up a book or the Kindle over most things and just lose myself in it.

To sum up in the words of the great Stephen King, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 

Image result for books gif