Sunday, January 20, 2008

Intellectual Giantess

Because there's nothing new to watch on tv these days Due to my intense desire for continued learning I've found myself reading more than usual at night. And I'm actually a little surprised at my turn in literature preferences. I mean I consider myself a fairly learned individual. I have a degree from a decent university and studied history (silence Tessie!), Russian, and dance (useful!). I've played in a number of symphonies across the country and one in Europe. (Do you like the build up? The intense need to justify what's coming next?) So really it's not like I'm sitting around all day building Lego castles and banging together pots and pans. Oh wait. Anyway, I've always liked to read. I enjoy the classics but don't love them. I'm not giddy at the thought of 6.3 seconds to myself so that I can run to finish All Quiet on the Western Front (unless that's one of your favorites in which case... no. not even then). I did quite enjoy Anna Karenina (this version please) and Cyrano de Bergerac will always be a favorite (digressing) but I would be a big fat liar if I said that reading books that "will forever stand the test of time" keeps me up at night with a flashlight under the covers. (What you don't still do that?)

I've read a couple "recommended" books these past few weeks and after about a hundred pages was clawing at my eyeballs. Love in the Time of Cholera? Am I twelve? Do I just not get it? Do I have the attention span of a sea-monkey? I got half way through it and could.not.go.any.further. Cold Mountain. Same problem. I just read The Russian Concubine (loved Memoirs of a Geisha. thought hey! maybe same same? no. not maybe same same.). LAME. Lame. Lame. And more lame. Sometimes it feels that these authors are writing merely to put words on paper. Lots and lots of pretty words. Why say something in four lines when one can stretch it out into seventeen pages? Again. I'm twelve. And apparently I'm okay with it.

So I've discovered that some of my favorite reads of late are actually in the youth literature section. I know. Not one word.

I won't lie, I loved Harry Potter. Read em all. I love the Chronicles of Narnia series and Lord of the Rings (even before the movies. oooh!). These authors write the best stories. It's all about spinning a tale and taking you to another place (one where you actually want to be. none of this incest/opium/rape crap. not to say that I don't enjoy a good adult novel, but hell sometimes I read to get away from all the heavy heavy) .

And so here are my recommends. Two thumbs right on up. Read em to your kids/with your kids/under the covers by yourself at night.

- The Bayern Series and Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (I'm ordering Book of a Thousand Days tonight!) These are great great books for girls (maybe boys? maybe that's pushing it.).

- The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer (okay so this one comes with a disclaimer: while Hale's books are beautifully written and after reading Bayern you could easily talk about her use of imagery and prose and use all sorts of hoity-toity words to discuss your reading experience... Twilight not so much. but i couldn't put them down. (again twelve) but it was so fabulously deliciously fun that i don't even care.)

I'm starting The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

And now it's your turn. Spill it.


Tessie said...

SHIT! I knew there would be someone who majored in history! Heh. It was actually a reference to the infamous "Jed", who was a history major. We had some heated "discussions" on the topic. ANYWAY.

I recommend The Thirteenth Tale, which I finished a few weeks ago. Not a kids book, but has a classic feel without being BORING AS HELL.

Swistle said...

I'm re-reading my way through all of Maeve Binchy's books. I lovvvvvve them.

Jess said...

I felt the same way about Cold Mountain. UGH.

Anyway, books I like: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Anonymous said...

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, and The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger by Lois Lowry.

liso. said...

i am missing you. hope everything is okay.

Bea said...

I've got Twilight on my nightstand - I'm just waiting for the right time to start it.

I loved The Goose Girl but found Hale's Austenland to be almost embarrassing to read.

Kristin.... said...

Oh man, I'd love a good read. I haven't read anything in awhile that wasn't a kids book. I suppose I could start Harry Potter again. Nah, I need something new. I.Could.NOT.Read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (loved the movies, but the books just about killed me, much to my husband's chagrin)