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Guest column | Jim Aylward

Joy of reading never gets old

Summer is the time to do some reading. Kids are out of school, but need to keep an interest in books. Adults go on vacation and lot of them like to simply go to the beach and enjoy a good book.

When I lived in Brooklyn years ago, my next-door neighbor would visit, look around and say, "All these book. Dust-catchers!'' And, I would say, "I like books.''

Today, no matter what season of the year, I am still surrounded by books. I still read thrillers and stories of suspense. I appreciate good novel writing. It's not easy to do. I tried it once and didn't quite make it.

And, despite today's mechanized way of reading via a Kindle or other digital gadget, I still believe there is nothing like sitting quietly in a wing chair with an actual book. You enjoy the jacket, the author's photograph and biography and those first words that promise escape.

I recently read a wonderful novel by Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones, that was published in 2002. I read the opening lines about a 14-year-old girl telling of her murder and I was hooked to the ending that was just as surprising as the beginning.

There was a time when I thought women writers could only write about romance. I've changed my opinion. At one time, I acquired a leather-bound set of novels by Faith Baldwin. My mother read Faith Baldwin. Years later, when I opened one, I found her writing to be hilarious. She knew rich people and their foibles. She made every word interesting. For some reason, all her heroes had red hair and ugly/handsome faces. And, there was always one woman who could only be described as rhyming with rich. But, what fun to read Faith Baldwin, the star of the 1940s.

Today, I read books I buy at the libraries for $2. Thank you Friends of the Library. I read first novels by unknown writers that you can get from a $1 chain store for a buck. The fact that it's a writer and the book is part of the leftovers from the publishers doesn't bother me. I've found many wonderful creations this way.

I also read books in my own home library that I haven't read for years and have completely forgotten. The joy of reading a book already read.

I believe I've read all of John Grisham's novels. I'm always up for a new novel by Harlan Coben, Lee Child or George Pelecanos. They produce thrillers with a jolt of comedy. They're fast-paced, filled with short chapters that make you want to turn the next page. The novels of Robert B. Parker always featured chapters of just two pages and a job for every thrill. I've read them all.

Short chapters for passing a long summer day.

Dust-catchers? Sure. But, I just knock off the dust and start reading again.

Avid reader Jim Aylward, of New Port Richey was formerly a nationally syndicated columnist and radio host in New York City.

Joy of reading never gets old 06/13/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:41pm]
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