I dig books.

In fact, sometimes I think I’m not discerning enough because I enjoy books almost without exception. Some I enjoy more than others. Some keep me reading late into the night, even though in the back of my mind I know that babies will wake up at the crack of dawn regardless of whether mommies have had their minimum requirement of winks. The best books have me missing subway stops, walking into walls, and turning off the ringer on my phone.

With almost three decades of readership to my credit, I trust in luck and the universe and good reading friends to get the right pages into my hands at the right moments. Perhaps that’s why I rarely end up with a book that I think has been a waste of my time. I am one of those people with stacks of books all over the house – on the nighstand, the dresser, the dining room table, and in my mailbox – in whose worlds I just can’t wait to wander.

The books I love would not all be considered literary. Certainly I have read my share of great books, stories for the ages. But, as a girl, I devoured predictably written romance novels in which the girl in question has to choose between the handsome, inappropriate (read: poor) rascal and the handsome, eligible (read: wealthy) gentleman. (Spoiler alert! She always chooses the rascal.) If I woke up early on a Saturday morning, I might tuck away one or two of these novels before breakfast. I still like to read that way, when others are asleep, devouring a story in one great bite.

My mother told me on multiple occasions, “You have to read a lot of junk so that you can recognize the good stuff.” I think there’s some truth to that. But I don’t agree that “junk” only serves to provide contrast to high literature. “Junk” can be darn entertaining.

A particular pet-peeve of mine is books with female characters that cater to the stereotype of a woman who is void of all interests beyond styling her hair and catching the right guy. I love female characters who are smart, funny, struggling, and strong. I love female characters who have to make hard decisions that go beyond weighing the gentleman against the rascal. I especially love books with strong female characters that are written with young girls in mind, because girls need as many examples of realistic, interesting girls as they can find.

I’ve published my own lists of books for strong girls at Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations. Check them out, and see what you think. I plan to update these often. Very fortunately, the world is chock full of wonderful books that belong on these lists.


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