"A grief inexpressible over a loss unendurable"  Charlotte Bronte

My son, Joshua Anderson, took his life on March 18, 2009.  Since then, I have been on a grief journey that is chronicled in his blog,  www.rememberingjosh.blogspot.com.  Curiously, this has given rise to another journey which this blog will cover - a reading journey.

I have always loved a good book.  My definition was pretty specific. It had to be a fast read, a real page-turner.  Moving plot, engrossing story, believable characters.  Mystery, suspense, drama, romance, spy, thrillers - as long as the story moved quickly, I was happy to read it.

My reading was strictly for pleasure.  I wanted books that took me to another place.  I read quickly and skimmed the "boring" parts.  A very impatient reader.  Not appreciative of well constructed sentences or paragraphs.  I only wanted to read that which moved the plot forward.  Everything else was superfilous and unnecessary.

My habit was to read at night before going to sleep.  The problem with this, however, was that I retained very little of what I read.  So much so, that within a couple of days of finishing a book, I could not tell you the names of the characters or the basic plot.  In one ear and out the other.  But that was okay since it was all for pleasure anyway.

Then came my personal 9/11.  The day I found our youngest of four, our seventeen-year old son, dead.

Since that day, reading was no longer just for pleasure. It became necessary for my survival. I looked for books that helped me cope with his death.  This has taken me to new genres - ones I would never have looked at "pre-Josh".
  • survivor of suicide books
  • how to journal books
  • parental bereavement books
  • on suicide
  • memoirs
Here is a list of books that have helped. 

From writing in a personal journal and on a public blog, I see the impact of words.  I have a greater appreciation and respect for authors  who can evoke feelings and emotions in a few short sentences. Who can use words to describe scenes so clearly that as a reader, you feel like you are there.

I was a Biology major in college.  I despised English in high school and stayed away from all literature/writing classes in college except for the required one.   As a result, regretfully, the breadth of my reading is narrow.

Now, I am ready for a change.  I want to expand my reading horizon, by using lists like 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die.  I want to be a more thoughtful and discerning reader.  I want to become a better writer and the best way to do this, is to read.

I intend for this blog to fulfill several purposes: store book reviews and ratings, record favorite quotes, be a web journal to chronicle what I am learning from books, authors and writing, and finally, be a place to house book lists such as my reading log and books TBR (to be read). 

I expect to learn the following: a love of words and how to use them, who are my favorite authors and why, what makes for a good book, which genres I prefer and lastly, more about myself.

It is January 18, 2011, exactly 22 months since Josh has left our family.  My reading and writing have been a life preserver - I could not have survived without them.  I am actually excited about what adventures await me in books and look forward to chronicling them in this blog.