Grit Blogs > The Open Book

Life Between Pages

By Jean Teller, Sr. Assoc. Editor


Tags: J.Butcher, S.Butcher, Abu-Jaber, Sandford, McCaffrey, Hooper, Miller, Lowell, Robb, Roberts, Barr, Horwitz, Evanovich, Connelly, Pearson, Coel,

Bookcase1“I cannot live without books.” —Thomas Jefferson

My world revolves around words. Writing is enjoyable, and it’s a major source of job satisfaction. I find something magical about a great movie script or the dialog on a television show, when well written. However, writing’s second in my book.

I live to read.

The old adage could be paraphrased to fit my life perfectly: I live to read and I read to live. If I don’t read something – anything – for enjoyment for a few days, I get a mite cranky. Somewhere in my bag you can always find a book, usually fiction, and often there are two. It depends on how close I am to finishing one.

I remember my younger sisters’ exasperation when one of them would be forced to stand directly in front of me or shake me or shout in my ear, all because I didn’t respond to a call for dinner or chores. My concentration is amazing when I’m reading. Too bad the rest of my life doesn’t enjoy that level of focus.

My youngest sister tells me I’m the only person she knows who finishes a book, puts it down and immediately picks up another to start.

Another adage works for me, as well: Too many books, too little time. Every room in my house contains books, and, while it feels at times that the books are taking over, I’m not sure I can cull any titles. The books aren’t just part of my home, they are part of my identity.

Bookcase2One shelf contains my “to-read” books. There are quite a few, including Jim Butcher’s White Night. It’s been there for a while, and when I went to pick it up, I realized it’s been too long since I visited Harry Dresden and his magic-filled Chicago. So I decided to start the series over. That’s what’s in my bag right now – Storm Front, the first in the Dresden Files. Jim's latest is Small Favor, but since I collect most of my favorite series in paperback, White Night is the newest on my shelf. Oh, and Shannon Butcher, Jim’s wife, is also an author. I’m looking forward to her third romance, No Escape.

Before Storm Front (this time around), I finished Origin, the latest from Diana Abu-Jaber. A friend recommended it, and it was a totally absorbing mystery. While it’s a bit different from my usual reads, it is one I would definitely recommend.

Some of my other favorite authors are John Sandford, Anne McCaffrey, Kay Hooper, Linda Lael Miller, Elizabeth Lowell, J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts), Nevada Barr, Tony Horwitz (one of the few non-fiction writers in my library), Janet Evanovich, Michael Connelly, Ridley Pearson, Margaret Coel, …. OK, I’ll stop, for now.

I’d love to hear what titles are taking you away from the everyday world. You’ll hear a lot about what friend finds its way into my bag in the days to come. Oh, and we’ll talk movies and television, too, I’m sure, and whatever else makes an impact. Welcome to my world!

jean teller
9/9/2008 8:31:49 AM

Hi, Mary K - nice to hear from another bookworm! I adore the Tempe Brennan books, and have all the paperbacks, which, of course, I have to read as soon as they find their way into my hands. I understand about the panicky feeling, in fact, I'm in it at the moment! Life's been hectic and reading is at the bottom of the list at the moment. Wish I could get myself to utilize used book stores and the library!


mary k.
9/5/2008 12:35:07 PM

I've obviously never met your youngest sister, since I, too, pick up another book immediately upon finishing one. Reading for me is much like breathing -- automatic, and I get pannicky if I can't do it! Fortunately, I don't become attached to the books I read -- I trade them at the local used book store for MORE books! I guess that's where my frugality and passion for reading intersect. Since we seem to have very similar taste in authors, I highly recommend Kathy Reich's Tempe Brennan series.


jean teller
7/2/2008 1:21:58 PM

Kris, I've heard of T.A.Barron, now I'll have to read T.A. Barron! Thanks for the hint. Oh, and a spreadsheet sounds like a wonderful idea! Bill, so good to hear from you! Regional authors would be a good addition to my library, particularly those from Big Sky Country! Thanks!


bill kiley
7/2/2008 12:47:09 PM

Dear Jean: I've always known you as an editor, but I should have known you'd be a heavy reader too. In my 80 years on this planet I have never met a really interlligent person who wasn't also a heavy reader. I recommend some Montana writers, like Rick Bass, and also James Galvin's great "The Meadow," in which he describes a cowboy whose horse bolted and took him fcr a frantic ride: "Bob was pretty thoroughly sanded down, not hurting bad anyplace, but hurt nog bad everyplace." I also love Oscar Wilde's "Be yourself -- everyone else is already taken." Regards, Bill


kris bethea
7/2/2008 10:19:46 AM

I'm really excited about reading your blog! I love books and I'm always on the lookout for new authors! ;) Now, I just need more time to read!! I completely agree, "Too many books, too little time." I just finished T.A. Barron's "The Great Tree of Avalon" series. http://www.tabarron.com/ Now I'm trying to decide what to read next. Plus, I have to constantly keep myself apprised of all the various authors who are writing a series of books, for when their next books are published. (I really should make a spreadsheet or something).


jean teller
7/1/2008 4:39:38 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, Hank. I'll check out those authors. I really need to watch the clock when I read before bed - I've spent too many late nights with the thought "just a few more pages" running through my tired brain.


hank will_2
7/1/2008 3:15:17 PM

Hey Jean -- I love that you are a prairie-person and a reader. My older sister was often lost in a book ... especialy when chore time came around. I enjoy reading before going to sleep, but sometimes the book just keeps me up instead of helping me unwind. My favorites include: Jonas Agee, Susan Power, Larry McMurtry and Charles Darwin.