I can still remember when I began reading. Upon coming home from kindergarten the first day of school, I remember telling my mother how disappointed I was that we had not yet learned how to read. I truly felt we were behind schedule. My mother, who used to read to me each night before I went to bed understood my strong desire to read on my own. At that moment, she took it upon herself to help my education out by letting me read some of the stories at bed each night.

Jeff doing homeworkBefore the end of the school year, I was well on my way to reading on my own. By the time I started first grade, I was already reading well above my grade level. Throughout my school years, I remember always being in the top reading group. Reading became a passion of mine and a release from the daily grind associated with everyday life.

I attempt to read several books simultaneously. I have found that I am able to have deeper concentration and understanding of the storylines if I am involved with multiple books at the same time. Usually, I am drawn to fictional novels. I am mostly interested in novels that have strong characters or stories that show a character which has to overcome some form of insurmountable problem or predicament. I have several authors that I generally read.

Tom Clancy is an interesting author. I have read all of his fictional novels. I read one of his military books but did not enjoy them as much as his novels. I find Clancy's books to be highly technical and at times that detracts from the story line. His later books, especially Executive Orders and Rainbow Six tended to be darker than his other books. The story lines of these two books dwelt in depth with Ebola and I found they drew too much similarity to each other.

His later effort, The Bear and the Dragon was an interesting book but I found it predictable. I was also disappointed that some of his sub-plots and stories were fragmented and not tied together well. Perhaps I am expecting to much after The Hunt for Red October and Debt of Honor. These two books flowed well and all the story lines and characters tied together nicely. Clancy has seemed to succumb to the philosophy that you can make up for poor writing with sheer volume. His later efforts have been much longer yet the story suffered.

John Grisham is another author I have read extensively. Again, Grisham's first effort, A Time to Kill, was by far his best. His books follow much of the same plot lines with a lawyer struggling against the corruption of his profession but he always seems to find new and refreshing ways to present this to keep the reader coming back. Grisham seems to be an author trying to escape the label of a law stories. His first attempt to break away from this format was The Testament. It was an interesting endeavor which was his entry in the save the planet genre. Although I thought is was one of his weaker efforts, I find that the message of that book stayed with me longer than with his others.

I began reading Robert Ludlum while at college. One of the few bright spots of being gifted was that I did not have to study much. This gave me more time to read novels than most students. The first Ludlum book I read was the Matarese Circle. This book was so well written that I became an instant fan. I also thoroughly enjoyed his Bourne trilogy where we watched the character progress and evolve. His books are always well thought out and thorough. His characters seem quite real and feeling which helps draw the reader into the story.

I began reading the Harry Potter series with my children when they arrived. After hearing all of the hoopla surrounding this series, I decided I needed to see for myself what all of the hysteria was about. The books read very quickly and I found myself going through the entire series in 10 days. The story lines were well done and I would definitely recommend these books to both adults and children alike. The characters are likeable and believable. Well to the extent that you can believe in magic and witchcraft. The stories themselves are relatively harmless and they have created a positive influence in children reading more. That alone is worth the price of the story. As all of JK Rowling fans, I will eagerly await the next Harry Potter saga.

I typically find myself going through a novel per week as I devour story after story. If you would like to talk about literature, ask about a book or would like to suggest a book or an author, please contact me.