It’s freebie week for Top 10 Tuesday — we get to pick any topic we like. Since I like to read, and I assume you like to read, I thought I’d make a list of ten books about people who like to read. So if you want to read where to read about readers, read on.
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen — Catherine Morland loves Gothic romance novels, and has a hard time recognizing that her real romance will be quite different.
If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard?
- 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff — Helene is an American television writer who establishes a deep friendship with the staff of a bookstore overseas.
I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest. The day Hazlitt came he opened to “I hate to read new books,” and I hollered “Comrade!” to whoever owned it before me.
- Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse — Jeeves is well-versed in poetry, while the upper classes seem to have converted a great deal of education into very little wisdom.
“Who’s the Blessed Damozel, Jeeves? I don’t seem to have heard of her.”
“The heroine of a poem by the late Dante Gabriel Rossetti, sir. She leaned out from the gold bar of heaven.”
“Yes, I gathered that. That much was specified.”
“Her eyes were deeper than the depths of waters stilled at even. She had three lilies in her hand, and the stars in her hair were seven.”
“Oh, were they? Well, be that as it may, Gussie said she made him sick.”
- Matilda by Roald Dahl — Matilda Wormwood escapes from her horrible family life by reading everything she can get her hands on.
“Did you know”, Matilda said suddenly, “that the heart of a mouse beats at the rate of six hundred and fifty times a second?”
“I did not,” Miss Honey said smiling. “How absolutely fascinating. Where did you read that?”
“In a book from the library,” Matilda said.
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery — Anne is another one, like Catherine Morland, who gets swept up in the romance of reading (although Anne favors poetry over Gothic romance — probably preferable given her age at the beginning of the series).
“I just feel like studying with might and main,” she declared as she brought her books down from the attic. “Oh, you good old friends, I’m glad to see your honest face once more – yes, even you, geometry.”
- To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis — Both protagonists are great readers, but one favors Three Men in a Boat and the other’s a great fan of Lord Peter Wimsey.
Verity’s Lord Peter’s and Monsieur Poirot’s problem was always that they had too many suspects. I had never heard of a mystery where the detective didn’t have any.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee — Scout Finch is a great reader. Perhaps that’s why she’s able to see things in a way that others in her town cannot.
Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
- Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire by J.K. Rowling — Yes, they’re mostly schoolbooks, but Hermione Granger shows us all that it can be useful sometimes to be friends with a huge nerd.
“Aren’t you ever going to read Hogwarts, A History?”
“What’s the point?” said Ron. “You know it by heart, we can just ask you.”
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury — Guy Montag has the biggest fight on his hands of anyone on this list when it comes to reading (although Matilda doesn’t get a free pass either — remember when her father berates her to just watch the telly?). We get to see Guy discover the pleasure of reading and realize how much he values it.
The books are to remind us what asses and fool we are. They’re Caeser’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, “Remember, Caeser, thou art mortal.” Most of us can’t rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends. The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book.
- The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde — Thursday Next has to be well-read to do her job as a literary special operative, so the whole series is a testament to her prowess as a reader.
[...]Reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the smell of a warm summer’s breeze on their face, they should reserve as much praise for themselves as they do for the writer – perhaps more.
I like books where the characters read because it gives us a hobby in common — and isn’t learning someone’s literary tastes one of the quickest ways to learn something meaningful about him, in books or in real life?