I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.
When I started this challenge, I made two rules for myself: 1) No Harry Potter books; and 2) Only one book by Jane Austen and it can only go in one category. I did that because I could answer almost every single one of these with either a Harry Potter book or a book by Jane Austen. But ruling them out makes this a lot harder for me. That’s especially true in this case since I’ve read every single book written by Jane Austen almost every year since I was about 25 (and I’m now 39+++++++++++ ....) and I’ve read all of the HP books many times as well.
I was tempted to choose The Hobbit: Illustrated Edition - J.R.R. Tolkien or one of the LOTR books. I’ve read those many times. There’s also the Harvard Lampoon parody of the LOTR series, Bored of the Rings: A Parody - The Harvard Lampoon. It’s a silly, kind of stupid parody, but I’ve read it so many times I can quote it in my sleep. And it is (or was, it’s a bit dated now) hilariously funny despite being juvenile and stupid.
Instead I’ve decided to go with a nonfiction book this time. This book played a large part in forming the direction of the first 30 or so years of my life. I haven’t read it since then but while I was trying to decide which book to use for today’s challenge last night, I looked up at one of my bookshelves and there it was, standing out on the shelf saying, “Remember me? You used to love me. You used to read me over and over.”
Iberia - James Albert Michener
I really did used to love this book. If I read it again, I’d probably fall back in love with it. This book is the reason I toughed it out through four years of Spanish in high school including AP Spanish and got to the point where I was dreaming in Spanish and writing my English papers in Spanish first and then translating them into English before I turned them in. As a result it's the reason I have some knowledge of English grammar, spelling and punctuation. It’s the reason I majored in Spanish in college. It’s the reason I’ve attempted to make paella. It’s the reason I spent five years of my life working as a travel agent, so it’s also the reason I’ve been to England, Jamaica, and Hawaii and the reason I almost moved to Denver, Colorado. It’s the source of a few hangovers from drinking Spanish wine and lots of dinners made up of tapas. It’s played a part in probably a third or more of the major decisions I’ve made in my life. I first read this book my freshman year in high school when it was required reading in Spanish class. I probably read it 6 or 7 times between then and the end of my career as a travel agent.
Okay, here’s the punchline of this story: I have never been to Spain!
I was all set to go during my first year as a travel agent but something came up and I didn’t get to go. I thought another opportunity to go there would come up, but I got sick of being a travel agent after five years and moved on in other directions and to other things and never read Iberia again.
There’s a Kindle version of it now. Even though I still have my beloved paperback edition that I no longer re-read, I am so tempted to buy it.