Friday, April 30, 2010

In Review

Hello there, and welcome to another installment of Has it Really Been a Month Since I Last Posted. Because that is what I think every single time. Where exactly does the time go? Oh, I know, it is wedding season, that lovely time of year when I can't even call my soul my own. The Blessed Brides seem to think that I belong to them, 24/7.

Anyway, on to my subject. Do you like to read? I do. I am a voracious reader. Don't get me wrong, I won't read just anything. I am (sort of) discriminating in my tastes. Though some people may like a good trashy read, I myself usually pass.

Why do we say that? I, myself? I mean, it is really redundant. It isn't as though one would say "I, yourself" or "I, himself", right? Although, perhaps one might. Once upon a time, long, long ago when I was still in college I had a friend named Ai. Prounouced "eye". I was telling my roommates something about him one day, and I started the story thusly. "I was sitting next to me on the couch..." they heard. What? "I was sitting next to me on the couch..." Confusion reigned. You were sitting next to you on the couch? I don't get it. "Oh! Haha. No, AI, as in the person who lives across the street, was sitting next to me on the couch!" Oh! Laughs all round and I carried on with my story. Which I don't actually remember at this juncture' the point being that one might indeed say, Ai, himself.

You know, we had a lot of oddly named people in that complex. A guy named Amerik and a girl named America. A guy named Tuna (I think his given name was Ryan) an apt. of guys named Larry, Moe and Darryl, but we called him Curly (and he was).

But, I digress...

Do you like to read? There was a meme going around on Facebook for awhile of the top 100 books that people ought to have read and the deal was that Americans had in general only read around 30 of them. I had read 80 or so. I likes me some classic literature. A lot. But, I also like some good, dorky fantasy as well. Hook me up with The Belgariad and The Mallorean anytime. Then there is the be all and end all of literature, which is classic fantasy! Does it get any better than this? I think not! T.H. White's The Once and Future King is a delightful book from cover to cover. The Lord of The Rings? Awesome. It is true, I am a sucker for a good fairy tale, I cannot deny it.

I get my street cred by reading Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope. If literature can have street cred, something of which I am not sure.

I have been asked before what is my favorite book, and truthfully? I do not know the answer to that. I love books. Here is a partial list of several faves, as I cannot pick just one.

Mary Stewart's Crystal Cave Trilogy-best King Arthur books, hands down. Although they are about Merlin.
The aforementioned The Once and Future King-yeay King Arthur!
Gone With the Wind-I love Scarlett, that is one hell of a woman.
The Chosen and The Promise by Chaim Potok. I would recommend anything he wrote.
Harry Potter-of course
The Emily Trilogy by L.M. Montgomery. I also love the Anne books, but the Emily's are definitely the fave. Much darker.
Emma by Jane Austen-although I like all of her books.
Anything by Anthony Trollope-so entertaining!
The Forsyte Saga
John Adams by David McCullough-so fascinating.
Jeeves and Bertie novels by P.G. Wodehouse-absolute howlers.

That is a short list of books I love. I could go on indefintely.

Then, there are books I don't love. What are they, you ask? Sit tight and I shall tell you.

I do not like modern smut, though I won't turn down good 18th or 19th Century smut, since it generally isn't actually smutty. Well, except maybe Lady Chatterly's Lover, which I have not actually read.

I do not like Gothic Romances. Jane Eyre? Blech. Wuthering Heights? Ugh. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall? No, thanks. I think Gothic Romance is not romance, it is idiocy. I do not care to subject myself to it, thank you very much.

I also do not like badly written sequels by person's other than the author of the previous books. Take for example, Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With the Wind. Dear heaven above, was a worse book ever written? Of course, I read it. I wanted to know what the author did with Scarlett. It was plain a couple of chapters in that she DID NOT understand the character of Scarlett, which she proceeded to butcher in the most heinous manner. Margaret Mitchell must have rolled over in her grave.

I do not like boring books, though I confess to loving books that others might consider boring. If it bores me, I probably won't finish reading it. Moby Dick, I am looking at you!

I do not like dark and depressing novels. Anything by John Steinbeck does not belong on my personal library shelves. So depressing. Yes, I get that he was writing about the human condition during a particular point in history, and yes, I get that things were dark and depressing, but that does not mean I want to read about it.

Evidently I am an escapist. Hmm. Intersting.

I do not like cheeseball romances. Nicolas Sparks. Ugh. Seriously. No offense if you like him. I just don't.

So, there you go, there are some of my likes and dislikes. I am a re-reader. Big time. I have a couple of shelves full of books that I have read countless times. Always good to fall back on when I haven't anything new to read. And it is hard for me to find something new to read. I don't often read newly published novels, because too many of them are so trite. I rely on the suggestions of friends and family whose taste I trust, my dad in particular. He has good taste in books and knows my taste, so I have a pretty good list from him. I have read some fairly obscure (now) books thanks to him. Here are a few good ones-

The Thorn of ArimatheaThe Egyptian by Mika Waltari
Quo Vadis (not really obscure, but, you know)
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (laughed my head off!)
The Last Grain Race
Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl (I think)
Ghost of Everest
The Silver Chalice
-Thomas Costain
The Last Plantagenet-Ditto
The Magnificent Century
A Distant Mirror

Hmm, that is all I can think of off the top of my head, but good reads, every single one.

Well, that about does it for tonight. Won't you leave a comment and tell me what books you love? I am always on the lookout for something new!


Ann said...

I'm a huge fan (figuratively speaking) of Elizabeth Gaskell, and I think the book I've re-read most is An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. I've been reading mostly non-fiction lately and absolutely loved Searching for Jane Austen by Emily Auerbach. I'm currently reading a collection of essays entitled The Body of the Queen: Gender and Rule in the Courtly World 1500-2000 edited by Regina Schulte, and have found it fascinating. Oh, and speaking of 18th-century smut, I recently read Tristram Shandy which I found suspect and confusing, but it wasn't until I'd finished reading it that I found out for sure it was smut! So many euphimisms.

lillysmum said...

Ooh, I love An Old Fashioned Girl! I haven't read that for ages, thanks for the reminder. Hmm, I will have to look up the other two books you suggested. And maybe Tristram Shandy. ;)

Jen said...

Ha! So, SHOCKINGLY, we have really similar taste in literature! I can't stand all that dark, depressing, boring stuff, either. Though, I know you like Fitzgerald, and I can't take him for the same reasons. ;) But I'll give you him and take the goofy gothic romances. Hee.

So because we're so similar, I'm lost for a recommendation. Let's see...what's the last good thing I read? How about Daphne DuMaurier? Read any of hers? I bet you'd like The Scapegoat or maybe House on the Strand.

Lara said...

I confess, I loved Anne, but have never read the Emily series. I will have to do that, because you're not the first person I've heard say they are better.

I'm in the middle of reading Emma for the first time. I don't really know how I missed it...

My most recent favorite book is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I don't know if it's trite, but I really enjoyed it.

The Whitaker Family said...

Nicholas Sparks, gag me!

I'm too lazy to make up a list for you-- sad. I'm sorry... If/when we get together next I'll bring one with me (if reminded)-- how's that? ;)

About that... I thought I got wind of something and then... nothing. What's up? Any ideas?

lillysmum said...

Yes, we need to get together as Jolene is moving soon!

Kaytee Postma said...

I have a friend, Tori, that lives up by you. I should have her email her list of suggested books. She is a fantasy and sci-fi enthusiest and she reads like her life depends on it so she's always got a revolving list.

I liked the Gemma Doyle trilogy. Interesting read.

kathbot said...

It's too late for me to think of a good list, but I will have to admit to liking gothic novels (and I did find DuMaurier's 'Rebecca' much in the same vein). Lately, I've been more on a science fiction kick, but I will think on this and let you know if I come up with anything.