Here's what I read as a high school sophomore: The Door, Mary Roberts Rinehart; Letter From Peking, Pearl S. Buck; The Revolutionary, Schoonover; On the Beach, Neville Shute; The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck; Alas Babylon, Frank; Travels With Charlie, John Steinbeck; Doctor in the House, Gordon; Doctor at Large, Gordon; Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell; Up the Down Staircase, Kaufman; Failsafe, Burdick & Wheeler; The Trouble with Angels, Trahey; Mr. Roberts, Heggen; and The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Quite an eclectic mix. Back in the day when Portland students attended the schools in their own neighborhood, I walked about a mile to and from high school with my friends Kathy and Louise. I recall our lively discussions about GWTW during those treks, and our assessments of Scarlett versus Melanie. At the time, Kathy was convinced that Melanie was a wimp. I saw her more as the steel magnolia type. As for Scarlett -- I think she'd be a female Donald Trump in a more liberated era.
Having read The Complete Sherlock Holmes, I hesitate to see the new Robert Downey version of Holmes...since I hear it veers widely from the source material. Ah well, that's Hollywood.
Too bad several of the books from 1965-66 are hard to come by nowadays. Some are pure "feel good" stories, a couple were sharp political commentaries on the times.
Okay, so fast forward to 2009. I'm reading for escapism, curiosity, and the genre in which I write: Inkdeath, Cornelia Funke; Coraline, Neil Gaiman; Silks, Dick Francis; The Red Dahlia, Lynda La Plante; The First Counsel, Brad Meltzer; The Alibi Man, Tami Hoag; The Glass Dragon, Irene Radford; What the Dead Know, Laura Lippman; Seeker, Jack McDevitt; The Devil's Eye, Jack McDevitt; The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Alexander McCall Smith; The Miracle at Speedy Motors, Alexander McCall Smith; Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, Alexander McCall Smith; The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell; Survival, Julie E. Czerneda; Migration, Julie E. Czerneda; Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows; The Tomb of Zeus, Barbara Cleverly; What Angels Fear, C. S. Harris; When Gods Die, C. S. Harris; Why Mermaids Sing, C. S. Harris.
Predominately mysteries and science fiction/fantasy. Also several series.
Dick Francis and Tami Hoag get horses right -- he raced them, she competes at the upper levels in dressage. I like Alexander McCall Smith's atypical mysteries. I'd heard good things about Guernsey Literary and even had a copy on the shelf, but wasn't into reading a story comprised of correspondence. But I'm glad I took the advice of a friend and read the book. Sweetness was a pleasant outing with a very young detective protagonist and the beginning of a promising new series.
The Tomb of Zeus was a disappointment as an historical mystery. Not so, the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. I'm finishing up the fourth book in the series now.
I bogged down in Julie Czerneda's novels for some reason. I thought a science fiction trilogy about a British Columbia salmon researcher would be a hoot, especially since I worked with fish and wildlife biologists for 24 years. But my interest waned for awhile before I continued to the end. The last book of the trilogy has yet to be opened.
Don't know what I'll pick up next when I finish reading the current mystery. I always have to have a book in progress, even if its just placing a bookmark in my next selection. Maybe I should browse my bookcase of classics and more literary works for a change of pace.
Anyway...it's rather intriguing to review the list of books that piqued my interest in any given year.