Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Starts with Me Realizing I'm Not 13 Anymore, But I am Still a Complete Nerd.

I just finished reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time. Y'all, what was wrong with me for so long? How had I heard about this book my whole life and written it off as uninteresting?

Actually, it's because when I was 13 and going through one of my first (but not last, or even most obnoxious) "intellectual" periods I bought a copy of Northanger Abby. And read about 20 pages before nearly perishing of boredom. Then rented and tried to watch that Alicia Silverstone version of Emma or whatever it was that was out about the same time. I was bored to tears and decided Jane Austen was boring.

But Austen books are free on the Kindle, and people I respect have always said how much they love her, so I gave it another shot. Y'all she's FUNNY. Like genuinely funny.

Sadly, I'm still not into the early "feminist" literature I am so supposed to love. You know the type I mean. Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" and the suchlike. Still don't find that interesting.

What can I say? I like funny. I like Wodehouse and Gaiman (and Austen, apparently. Seriously, who knew this? Who?). Sometimes I like a little mystery (totally addicted to Sherlock Holmes stories and Allan Carr and I'm dying to read "An Instance of the Fingerpost"). Uh, generally historical mysteries because there's so much more thought involved in figuring out whodunwhat. But occassionally the modern mystery will slip in there too. I don't particularly care for a lot of melodrama. I do admit to a fondness for John Irving (although 1. what is up with the bears, John? and 2. Why did Hotel New Hampshire need to exist? V.C. Andrews pretty much exhausted the incestuous sibling love mine, I thought) and Wally Lamb. I also adore Flannery O'Connor, so apparently I also like the grotesque. I definitely like gothic. I like Wilkie Collins and Jane Eyre and Turn of the Screw and wailing ghosts and dark stormy castles and crazies hidden in the attic. Sometimes I like non-fiction. I liked "In Defense of Food" and "Fast Food Nation". I'm curious about Karen Abbot's "Sin in the Second City". (Aside to my husband: No, I still do not want to read Money Ball. But thank you for asking. Again).

But I never can seem to like things that are about anything or anyone "coming of age" or whatever. I'm halfway through Portrait of a Lady and not likely to get any further. I'm not terribly interested in biographies.

I do have some Charles Dickens to give a second shot (although, as I recall, Dickens was paid by the word and it shows, so that might take awhile or be saved for situations where there is absolutely nowhere else to go). I'm going to try Edith Wharton again. And I definitely have two more of Austen's novels to get to.
But right now I'm going in for some H.P. Lovecraft. I already know I like that.

Thank you for reading this totally pointless post about What I Like to Read. Oooh! Maybe my next post can be about "What I Did For the Summer" or "What I Want to Be When I Grow Up"!

Also, y'all feel free to get your recommendation on in the comments. I always like that. Open my mind people!


  1. Pride and Prejudice is the best!! You also have to try A Tale of Two Cities. That book made me want to be a writer. SO good.

  2. I love Pride and Prejudice. What the hell is wrong with you? Seriously. 'Bout time.

    My other favorite Austen is Persuasion. Though come to think of it, that might be the only other Austen I've read. I think I have Sense & Sensibility and Emma on my shelf somewhere that I need to get to. (Also, because I like to be right, it was Gwyneth Paltrow who did Emma, not Alicia Silverstone. FYI.)

    In that same general genre in my head... Wuthering Heights is one of my favorites, I actually read it twice back to back, partially because I had to write a book report on it and partially because there is so much I missed the first time. It's a complex, fucked up story.

    Also, you told me you were going to finish Portrait of a Lady because you equated it to me and if you don't finish it, how will I know what becomes of me?! Just kidding, I ordered it on Amazon. Geez, do I have to do all the work here?

    I have one Edith Wharton down (House of Mirth), I can't remember my original verdict but I think it was decent, I have another one waiting. I adore Gaiman also. I acquired my first Wodehouse but haven't gotten to it yet.

    I'm a big fan of memoirs/humor, as I'm sure I've mentioned, so, um, that's mostly where I've been lately. That and YA novels are my new kick, because I think that is probably the genre I have the best shot of actually writing in, so I'm just, you know. Researching. Or something. I dunno.

    I forget what else I was going to say. I should examine my bookshelf but it's in the other room and that would obviously involve getting up. So. Sorry. Maybe another time.

  3. Holy shit, that was a long comment. Sorry.

  4. A Tale of Two Cities is definitely on the reading list, because I've heard good things in general. I also have Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma on the list to be read. Then I found some Louisa May Alcott mysteries I never heard of before.

    Gwyneth Paltrow. Gotcha. I didn't pay much attention to the movie in general so I couldn't remember.

    The only thing I'm not digging about the Kindle is how hard it is to re-read things. I mean, I know its got a bookmark function for marking things I might want to come back to without having to go through the whole thing. But I mean, the problem I'm having getting through Portrait of a Lady is that when I get several pages beyond something I'll think, Wait, 3 pages ago it said something completely opposite right? But its hard to get back to the spot in question. Also, fair warning on Portrait of a Lady...there's way more telling than I generally like. Like saying so and so is witty without just showing that character engaged in witty dialogue.

    I might re read Wuthering Heights, but I recall hating it quite a lot, so we'll see about that. You'll have to do some fancy talking to convince me.

  5. Y'all apparently I'm Michael. I guess he was logged in last. Whoops.


  6. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Cool, dark, gothic, mysterious post-WWII Barcelona awesomeness. Definitely recommended if you haven't read it yet.

  7. I have purposely not commented on this post so far, because I would write the world's longest comment - my list of favorite books is obscene.
    Not the books. Just the list. :)

  8. Okay, I came back to try and give you some amazing reading titles! that I talked a big game I can't think of a single thing. And I teach English for a living.

    It's all the pressure! I'll look around and be back later.:)

  9. You might this post is pointless but I seriously took notes for my reading list. And now that I know Jane Austen is free on Kindle I am going to check it out. I did read her in college because I was an English major, but I found it boring even then. So maybe I'l have a reawakening. Or something.

  10. My absolutely favorite Austen is Persuasion. Hands down, best love letter written ever.


    Also? Once you watch the Colin Firth version of Pride & Prejudice, you can read the book over and over again and think about him and his sexy cravat and then boom! it's suddenly soft core porn.

  11. Based on your love of Flannery (LOVE her) and Sherlock Holmes (I love him too) and your love of twisty-turny mysteries, I recommend Sophie Hannah's books. They are a series, and there is some slight melodrama, but it's not overt. And the mysteries are really good and interesting and often grotesque (although not in the nearly-absurd manner of O'Connor) and always totally engrossing. Start with Little Face because that's the first one. I started with the second or third. I really wish someone would tell you wish comes first.

    Anyway, it doesn't really matter because the "series" part is very small.

    Also, I haven't read much Dickens but I loved Great Expectations. It has some very unaccustomed moments of hilarity (well, Dickensian hilarity).

  12. I know! I used to hate her, too. Then discovered she's for sure brilliant. You know who else is funny and brilliant? Nabokov. READ Lolita. Anti-feminist wonderfulness!

  13. I actually really like Lolita in that way that makes me really confused because I SHOULD NOT be SYMPATHIZING with pedophiles. On the other hand, that is how you know its good.