What does reading mean to me?

It is my “ME” time. I do not want to be disturbed when in the process of reading. I will even make excuses not to go out, so that I can simply snuggle up with a good book and be transported to another world. 

“Reading is a door to a world of wonder. Open it and find beauty, intrigue, mystery or life’s lessons.”

I love opening this door, and indulge on the beauty of the written word. Books without pictures are my absolute best because they allow me to see, smell, taste and touch the elements, characters and all that makes a book and let my imagination run wild.

Though I like my reading space to be comfy accompanied by a glass of good wine or slab of chocolate sometimes, I can read anywhere and everywhere, except in the lavatory. In fact, sometimes I would come back from the shops and immediately find the nearest comfortable chair as soon as I get home, and start reading. Grocery bags or whatever else I bought will be forgotten by the doorway or on the floor until such time I can’t tear myself off the book

When I come across a book I enjoy, I find it hard to take breaks in between readings. I have to try hard not to rush it, hold on to every word, reluctant to turn pages because I don’t want to get the end.  

To name a few of my bookaholic tendencies:

  • I take a book everywhere I go (even when picking mushrooms from the forests, e.g. mushroom book for reference)
  • I get a book hangover because most times I stay up late at night reading
  • I’m on first names basis with the staff at the local library
  • When I buy a handbag, I always make sure it’s big enough to fit a book (I prefer hard copy books than any Kindle, Sony, NOOK, etc.),  call me old fashioned but I just love the smell of a book, the older the better.

It’s been said that reading enhances thinking. It stretches and strains our mental muscles. It hits our narrow, delicate, intolerant views with new ideas and strong facts. It stimulates growing up instead of growing old. In other words, reading develops us. It takes us through the virgin territory we wouldn’t otherwise discover.


So to you writers and aspiring writers out there, thank you for the gift of the written word. It allows me to enjoy someone else’s craft, to see a picture of other lives, places, time whether real or imaginary, and sharing of experiences with others.

Now, I’m looking for inspiration from you fellow readers. What book would you recommend, whether fiction or non-fiction:

  • that made an impact on your life?
  • that affirmed or made you regret a decision?
  • you learned a valuable lesson from?
  • inspired you to do something you wouldn’t have otherwise tried?
  • made you laugh out loud to the point of tears?

Inspire me.




37 Comments Add yours

  1. 68ghia says:

    You ask difficult questions K!!
    I can’t say that I’ve ever changed my life because of what I read in a book, not consciously so. or done something I read in a book. Or even felt that my life whould be different after reading a book. I read a book about eagles once and since then have tried to be more cognisant of my impact on nature. Stephen King’s books have stopped me from letting my foot hang off the bed 😉 And I use quite a few of his sayings in my day to day life.
    Janet Evanovich and Terry Pratchett never fails to bring a smile to my face, and in the case of Mr Pratchett, I can look at the world with laughter.
    When Colin Dexter killed off Morse, I cried – felt like an old friend had died.
    I never read non-fiction, and if I do, it has to be a subject that interests me completely, otherwise i find it boring. Biographies – not a chance. I need to live my life the way i need to, not the way somebody else is living theirs.
    Sometimes though, when I read a half decent romance book, I will cry because of the loss you feel so keenly – all the things you want but can never have – because life is different in reality 🙂
    And my best reading time is in the bath or on the loo 😉

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      :-), I didn’t think the questions were difficult. Thank you for your response and I have noted the books you recommended. But reading in the bath or loo, chicka! How do you manage that? Loo, especially is just too clinical and sterile that I just get on with the business I have to do there and get out. I, unfortunately don’t have a pleasure of a bath, it’s not a standard feature in Finnish bathrooms and would be difficult to read in sauna:-). And yes, I love all genres except for horror (they give me nightmares:-).

  2. Unfortunately I don’t consider myself to be terribly well read even though I do read quite a lot but not the “right stuff.” So I can really recommend anything, but I’m sure you have a few books you could recommend Cocoa? 🙂

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Come on Hope, there is no such thing as the “right stuff”. As long as you enjoy the book, it is the right stuff for you:-). So, tell me more about what you read. Yep! there are few books I could recommend, maybe I will do a post about them at some stage:-)

  3. Peripatetic Eric says:

    I’m not a fast reader but I always have a book going. This is just the first book that came to mind (and I just woke up) and it is The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux. It was the first travelogue I read and the possibilities of intriguing journeys fascinated me and inspired a lifetime of travel. I like the way books smell too. 🙂

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Oh Wow! thank you, I just quickly browsed what the book is about. I love reading travel books. My husband and I have been talking a lot about doing the Trans-Siberian Railway travel in the near future, we just need money and time:-). I appreciate your recommendation.

  4. twoscamps says:

    Two months ago one of my favorite authors died. His name was Bryce Courtenay; he was born in S Africa and emigrated to Australia. “The Power of One” is in my humble opinion one of the best novels ever written. The theme is about overcoming obstacles….”Peekay” is one of those characters that will make you laugh and make you cry. It’s been many years since I read the book but it has stayed with me.

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Hei twoscamps, so sorry about passing on of your favourite author. May his soul rest in peace. Now, that would be an interesting read. Even though the South African story or history is very familiar to me, I would still love to hear it from an Anglo-African point of view. Thank you for the recommendation:-)

  5. adinparadise says:

    Wonderful post, Cocoa. I love all of Jodi Picoult’s books, and am at present reading Kate Atkinson’s ‘Case Histories’. Blogging takes up far too much of my reading time. 🙂

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      I love Jodi Picoult as well, have read some of her books. Will checkout Kate Atkinson, thanks AD. Well, tell me about blogging taking too much time. It is addictive, but luckily I still prefer to read more than writing, though I still prefer to write than talk if that makes sense:-)

      1. adinparadise says:

        Perfect sense. We are an unsociable lot. aren’t we? 😀

  6. footsy2 says:

    Too early for inspiration but for sheer escapism and entertainment am reading Harlan Coben. Love his stuff.

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Thanks Footsy, I’ll check him out:-)

  7. mikibee100 says:

    I read for escapism…away from my life I suppose. In that genre I love thrillers, but also read lots of chic lit.
    I read a lot of gospel books, my favourite is Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince. I go back to it all the time for inspiration. BTW, my dream for MOST of my life is to to go on the Trans Siberian Railway. Please, please if you do go, send us pics!!

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Thanks for your input Mikibee:-). It sounds like a book to inspire and also take stock of what you’ve been blessed with and be grateful.
      Yep! Trans Siberian is on our to-do list, it’s a matter of finding time and money, of course:-)

  8. Those are great questions! I have been reading so much brain candy lately I have a hard time filtering to the good stuff.
    For hilarity, I love Christopher Moore, such silly satire but I read A Dirty Job on the train to work and couldn’t stop laughing – it was embarrassing really, I think I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t breathe. For gentle treatment of issues and ending happy I like Sarah Addison Allen with her magical realism. Also hilarious was Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet. A tiny bit weird but fascinating would be Jonathan Carroll – some crazy stuff in his books usually and they mark a certain time in my life. Marcus Zuzak’s The Book Thief and I am the Messenger – amazing, teaching me to look outside of my own life and think about how my actions affect others…
    On another note, I need to read The Power of One! My friends named their son Peekay, I didn’t realize it was from that book.

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Hei Eliza! Thank you so much for such great recommendations. It seems like me, you read quite a variety of books. Awesome:-). I like the way you explained what you get from reading them, e.g. laughter, dealing with gentle issues, weird, fascinating & teaching. Looks like I’m going to be very busy with reading.
      Am also glad you found a book from the comments here that you’d like to read. When you done reading it, I would like to hear why your friends chose the name for their son – no pressure take your time:-)

  9. optie says:

    Gosh cocoa we could be twins. I am also never without a book, magazines don’t do it for me, short articles just annoy. I like to get my teeth into a good book and escape into another world. I have been on a reading binge over the holiday season with more reading time on my hands. I am just finishing The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas and loving it. If you like historical fiction may I suggest Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth which is the first in a trilogy. And his Century Trilogy that starts with Fall of Giants. I have also enjoyed Edward Rutherfords’ London, Dublin, Ireland and New York. I have fallen in love with my Kindle and am totally converted. No heavy book to hold on to and no need to wear my specs, I can just increase the font size instead. Happy reading in 2013.

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Wow! we could be twins indeed:-). Short stories don’t do it for me either, with magazines I do quick browse on-line (checking latest trends), but a book with a full story I cherish. It is so nice to hear from other people who are passionate about reading. Ken Follett is one of my favourite authors and I have read some of his books but have not gotten to Fall of Giants yet. I will certainly check out the others you mentioned. So many people are sharing the joys of Kindle, maybe just maybe I will convert in the near future:-). Thank you Optie and happy reading to you too.

  10. ledrakenoir says:

    I was run over by a runaway mobile library when I was 6-7 years… 🙂 🙂 😉
    – and since I’ve neen a bookworm… 😉

    Joking aside, there is an insane amount of interesting books and many genres – there are constantly new to the list, but we should not forget the old classics – some are also good to read again after a period of some years – so we will find new aspects stored in them… 🙂

    Alexandre Dumas, Ken Follett, Gustav Wied (danish), Isabel Allende, John Steinbeck, Ernst Hemingway, Richard Ford, Jan Guillou (Swedish), Emmanuel Carrère (french), Henrich Böll (german), Orhan Pamuk (turkish), Amor Ben Hamida (tunisian), Émile Zola —– and on and on and on… 🙂

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Ha!Ha!Ha! very funny:-)

      True, classics are a treasure. Those that I have I make sure when I lend them out to family and friends that they return them. I will even make an excuse for a visit just to check and possible fetch them in case they have forgotten to return after reading. Crazy I know:-)

      Anyway, thank you for the recommendations. Goodness me, I’m going to be more antisocial with all these books:-). From your list, I’ve read Ken Follet, Alexandre Dumas and Ernest Hemingway. Thank you and happy reading to you as well.

  11. diannegray says:

    I’m never without my notepad and pen, Cocoa! Writing has changed my life and opened it up to a whole new world. Without readers, my time would be in vain. I LOVE readers – keep up the good work 😀

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Hei Dianne, I LOVE writers too:-). I guess both writing and reading opens up a whole new world. As I said before I have huge respect for writers. Keep writing my friend and I’ll keep reading:-)

  12. Lisaman says:

    Hey CocoaR… How are You doing.. Happy 2013, Loads of laughter, good health and love.. I hate kindles too.. Nothing nicer than a real book.. I inherited a bookshelf when i got here and have read practically every book on the shelves.. I love detective novels the best.. The Larsson girl withTattoe books are good. Trying to read Tolstoy, war and peace right now. Love the complexities and intrigue of those Russian authors. The characters and their thoughts in the books just blow my mind.. Brothers kazamarov… You need peace and quiet for those books.. When a book has a great story line I read far too fast and leave out sentances just to get to the end and then I regret I read so fast!!!

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Hei Lis! So good to “see” you, I was beginning to wonder where are you:-). Thank you for the New Year wishes, and I wish you also all great things this year and always. Impressive books you are reading, The girl with a dragon tattoo is waiting to be read. Tolstoy is one of the best writers that have graced this planet. One of my favourite quotes by him “Everything I know…I know because I love”. Take care and happy reading:-)

      1. Lisaman says:

        Love that quote by Tolstoy.. Just been accross to Brighton and bought books betwwen 1 and 2 pounds each from the heart foundation..

  13. totalhealthwealth says:

    Hi, 2013 is here for catching up on reading ti
    We bookaholics love ME-time.
    I,m reading on Viincent van Gogh right now.
    Teasers on my blog.me!

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Yep! ME-time is important, it gives us time to reflect:-). Vincent van Gogh – an impressive read. Happy reading.

  14. I have to avoid books because, once I pick one up, I tend to read to the end, which means through the night. I also like to read like you, taking in everything – no speed reading this side. Very dangerous if you’re expected to do anything the following day.

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      I can relate, picking up a book can be dangerous indeed. Reading tends to keep me away from other things I enjoy, e.g. Blogging. Now I have a lot of catching up to do:-)

  15. I feel like you do about reading. I once had a boyfriend who couldn’t understand that I’d rather stay home and read than go to a party. (Introvert vs. extrovert, I know now.)
    I can’t think of a book that changed me, other than Where the Red Fern Grows when I read it as a kid. But the best book I read last year was Prayers for the Stolen. Really opened my eyes about the dangers in Mexico.

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Yep, that’s life of an introvert for you:-). Maybe I should get my hands on Prayers for the stolen, recently read A Concise History of Mexico for study purposes, now I’m interested in learning more about the country. Thanks the mention.

  16. aj vosse says:

    The last book I read was Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. I read it because it inspired a short story I was writing. 😀

    That story was one of 13 I submitted to a publisher. I’ll send you a copy… that way there will be easy, natural breaks when you can take the bags to the kitchen… and pour another glass of wine before you begin the next tale! That, of course, is if you even get past the first story without throwing the book on the fire!! 😉

    I love the idea of the handbags having being selected so they can hold books!! So… you don’t have everything plus the kitchen sink in your bag… you have everything plus your library in your bag!! o_O

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      You don’t mention! You have a book of short stories? Please point me to the point of sale, Amazon, etc.? I would love to read your book, and if you are even willing to send a free copy, I’ll take that. Please send to cocoar34@gmail.com when you have time. I’d appreciate:-)

  17. 76sanfermo says:

    My problem is that not only I read a book , but also “swallow” it and literally absorb its pages…entering the story as if it were a new indispensable air supply…..
    Then I forgot most of the titles ( but not the authors!) so I never can suggest or mention to other people what I’ve liked so much…
    Love this post and agree with you in every detail…..

    (Thanks for the follow , by the way!)

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      You sound like a voracious reader, indeed if you ‘swallow’ the book pages:-). I’m so pleased you enjoyed this post. Nothing more pleasant for me as a blogger than receiving a comment on a post I wrote years ago, a sign that it’s still relevant. Much appreciated!

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