Reading for Pleasure Again

July 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Australia, Mental Health, Reading | 2 Comments
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My Forties and Early Fifties

This is my fifth article on my love of reading. My earlier posts can be found here, here, here and here.

I didn’t read as much once I went back to working, firstly at odd jobs and then as a casual supply teacher. For the next fifteen years I was busy with my new partner, making a new life and earning a living. We lived in Dubbo NSW for six years, and then went to the Northern Territory. There we both gained permanent positions teaching with the Department of Education.

Ampilatwatja, community, shown from the air, is here twice the size as it was in the early 1990s

Ampilatwatja, community, shown from the air, is here twice the size as it was in the early 1990s

There, along with 3-4-hour drives into Alice Springs over mostly dirt roads, bush excursions and overnight camping in our swags, I read when I could fit it into my 12-14-hour working days. I loved my work and the people in the remote indigenous community schools where we were sent. However, it could be emotionally and physically draining, and reading way one way of revitalising my energies.

Second-hand Bookshops: We stayed in the Northern Territory through the 1990s. During those years, when we made trips into Alice Springs, we both found new authors as we browsed the second-hand bookshops. We would take a bag full of books with us on the 330 km drive back to Ampilatwatja (for 4.5 years) and, later, 130km to Hermannsburg (for over four years). We would also bring books from other places in NSW after visiting our families in school holidays.

The Potato Factory

I really enjoyed Bryce Courtenay’s African stories The Power of One and Whitethorn. His The Potato Factory, set in London and Tasmania in the days of transportation to Australia, was good too, but not so much its follow-ups. I read several others of his books, but found some of them too rambling.

I love anything to do with humans in pre-historic times, so I quickly became taken with Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series, especially the first few. They are set in the Neolithic era; with a detailed background on climate, foods, art and possible cultural and religious beliefs. The first in the series is The Clan of the Cave Bear, which I believe was turned into a rather poor B grade movie. The book deserved much better treatment!

Clan of the Cave Bear

From there, my partner and I discovered the People of the Earth novels of Kathleen O’Neal Gear & Michael Gear set in pre-European America. The first of the series was People of the Wolf, with lots more following. We devoured each one as we found them. I collected all the Gear and Auel books, and I have read both series at least three times so far. Whenever I get another of the books, I re-read the previous ones first to re-establish the characters, context and story, before delving into the new one.

People of the Wolf

I have read most of James A. Michener’s epic books, many of which take you from pre-history to modern times in a particular location. For some reason didn’t particularly like his Pacific island titles, but my favourites were The Source and Alaska.

the-source -james-a-michener

In mid-1998, due to health problems, we sadly had to leave the NT. I then had lots of time for reading and I took full advantage of it. I continued with the several book series I have already mentioned, plus crime and murder mysteries and forensic investigation novels. I had discovered Dean Koontz whilst I was in the N.T. and I read most of the books he’d written before about 2002 – I could only afford used copies. However, I didn’t take to Stephen King, and only read a few of his novels.

Dean Koontz Lightning

I loved Edward Rutherford’s Sarum, but it is only recently that I have acquired copies of two of his other titles, London and Dublin. I have yet to read them.

Sarum -Rutherford

As some of my time was taken up writing my family history, I had plenty of research to do. This included reading books and on-line sources about England in general, and Lancashire in particular, in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as local histories of my birth town, Oswaldtwistle.

My reading tastes have widened through the years, and I am always on the lookout for other authors and other genres to add to my eclectic library.

Lost in a book somewhere

Have your reading tastes changed as you aged or found new books? Are your interests the same as they were, say twenty years ago?

© Linda Visman


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  1. Lovely selection of reading here Linda. Time is a barrier to getting stuck into a good read yet to be a writer one must be a reader. A timely reminder to nurture both loves. Great post 🙂

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