Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sept 4th, What I'm Reading

I've loved reading my whole life. I was an English Lit major, and if that didn't totally burn me out for good, I think I'm set. I'm not that fast of a reader, and my interests are a bit all over, but I still usually have a couple books that I'm trying to get through at a time. Here's my current reading list:

"Sabriel" by Garth Nix
I'm only into chapter 3 at this point, and so far it's pretty interesting. There is a lot of terminology that is unique to this book, so getting things straight is sometimes a chore. It has pretty good reviews on GoodReads and Amazon, so I finally decided to see for myself. It has to do with a girl named Sabriel who has learned from her father certain kinds of magic - specifically to keep the dead, well, dead. She can go into "Death" where there are several different gates along a river, all of which is quite interesting to read. It makes me think of the alternate plane that wearers of the One Ring from LotR go when they have the ring on. I don't even know where this story is headed, but I can't help but think of how I would translate the scenes into film. There's also a map that helps enormously:
Fictional maps are so cool!
So far, Sabriel is only at the Perimiter Wall, heading into the Old Kingdom.
I'm liking the story so far, but it is a little confusing. Also, I can't be sure of the time period. There are colleges, cabs, phones...So it seems modern enough, but it doesn't have the "urban fantasy" vibe at all.
We'll see where this book goes...

"Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
I say that this is still on my reading list, but in reality it's also sitting back on the bookshelf. I really like what I've read so far, and I haven't abandoned it, it's more like on hiatus... I'm reading the unabridged version, and I'm underlining the parts I like with a red pencil, and there are literally marks on every page so far. There's a lot of profound insights into human emotion and character and thought. I WILL finish this book someday!

"The Return of the King" by JRR Tolkien
I am actually listening to this one on audio. I've never read it before, but I've seen the movie so many times. I'm actually glad I saw the movies first - while the writing is nice and I actually LOVE the history sections, I feel like there's not much tension while reading or listening to the books in the Lord of the Rings. Great and Epic battles are in a single chapter and, to me, not that epic feeling. I'm glad that the films made the battles and wars huge and exciting, it really helps me to enjoy the books more. I especially love how vivid the descriptions of places are. Minas Tirith from the movie looks just like it's described in the book, and it's wonderful! I'm about a quarter of the way through this title.

I've also finished a few things lately, and here they are:

"The Shunned House" by HP Lovecraft
This is/was the very first thing I ever read by Lovecraft, an early 20th century horror author. I bought the complete works a few months back, but I wanted something to read on my kindle that was free, and The Shunned House was at the top of the list.
Anyway, I took my sweet time reading this short story (it's like 50 pages in print) and I really liked it. The atmosphere is so rich and the writing is beautiful. I guess I've read too much modern horror ('modern' being the Fear Street's from the 90's...bad example), but Lovecraft's style makes me think of the great classics, not horror at all.
The very end of the story was a little bit of a let down, but the ride was great. I could just picture everything he described, from the street outside the house, to the fungus growing by the hearth....I'll definitely check out more of his works.

"Will Grayson, Will Grayson" by John Green and David Levithan
This book was described to me by a friend back in college, and last week I finally got around to reading it. I was not able to sleep one night, so I began reading it on my kindle. I read half of it in just one sitting, which is impressive for me. It's about two high school guys in different towns who don't know each other at all, but they share the same name. The two meet by coincidence and the rest of the school year is heavily affected by their meet-up. At least, that's what reviews say. I didn't think it was that amazing of a book. The first 6 chapters or so are quite easy and get pretty interesting, but after the two guys meet, a different friend named Tiny becomes the focus of the book, as told by the two Wills.
There was some interesting characters and tons of really horrible language and teenage romance, and by the end of the book I just thought "meh." I felt like it had a very similar vibe as "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which will be a dream come true for some people, but I wasn't too amazed by the end of either book.

"Shadyside Snark" by AM and LK Stine (Code names for sure)
Okay, so this one is not much of a book, but rather an entire blog.
I discovered this blog about a year ago when I got some old Fear Street books and wanted to read a review of them. What I found was this awesome blog that made me laugh and snort and giggle with every post.
The authors of the blog are sisters who went through and blogged a recap of EVERY R.L. Stine book up to about a year ago. They love/hate his books and their reviews and recaps were SO hilarious.
Shadyside is the town in which all the Fear Street books take place, and reading the hundreds of recaps made me question my tastes from when I was in middle school: the plots are so contrived and the characters are shallow and abusive relationships are every girl's dream, etc...
Anyway, I spent an hour or so one day copy/pasting every post and its comments into a Word doc and later I sent it to my kindle. It was a joy to read, even more than reading the books they recapped.
Reading all the recaps and the tropes that happen in all the books and about the shallow but endearingly dumb characters inspires me somewhat - I want to write a musical based on the Fear Street books. It would be a total comedy with elements from many of the different books and would be a hoot for a very specific group of people :)

Well, that's my "reading and recently read" book list. If you've read any of those titles, I'd love to hear what you think of them.
See you tomorrow!

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