I'm sure I've written about my obsessive relationship with books before. I have hundreds of them. A stack over a foot high is on the floor beside my bed. I spend 3 hours a week working at the library mostly so I don't have to pay late fees (which would break me) - okay that's not the real reason, but it's part of it.
The strange thing is that I rarely finish a book. And I rarely read fiction. I'll read the introduction and maybe a few chapters of a book before another book catches my fancy and I'm off in another direction. Sometimes I'll come back to the first one, but most often not. Library books go back almost always only partially read. I've come to the point now where I skim through many books and just read the parts that stick out to me.
And I'm fine with this pattern. I used to think I was being lazy or somehow not doing the books justice. I take a different stance on it now and figure that whatever it was I was supposed to get from the book, I got from whatever I read. If I need more of it, it will come back to me when I need it.
So it is odd that in the past 3 weeks I have read, cover to cover, two different books. One non-fiction, and one fiction.
The non-fiction book was called "Proof of Heaven". I have a rather obsessive interest in life after death (Heaven, the other side, whatever you want to call it). This book was written by a neurosurgeon who was in a coma for a week and spent the time on the the other side. Called a Near Death Experience (NDE), what he experienced was far more that that in my estimation. It was a really good book. Not only did he talk about what he experienced, but also about what his family went through while he was in the coma. Not a long book, but well written and it sucked me in.
The non-fiction book I just finished reading this morning. The tears have left a salty tightness at the corners of my eyes. It is called "Secret Daughter". Written by an Indo-Canadian (Shilpi Somaya Gowda) and published in 2010, this novel was a touching, well-written journey through the lives of an Indian girl, the mother who gave her up, the father, their son, and the American couple who adopt the girl. It touches on adoption, loss, grief, joy and the extremely different cultures of North America and India. It also conveys the importance of family - and the fact that family has nothing to do with blood relations.
It's strange that I rarely read fiction. The few novels I have read in the past several years have been very good and entertaining. It's not that I don't appreciate fiction - love a good movie (or British soap opera masquerading as historic fiction - damned Downton Abbey that I'm addicted to and have now finished watching Season 3 and am hooped until Season 4 becomes available). And yet I don't seek out fiction books.
Any suggestions to others that are particularly good?