Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cast Some Light And You'll Be Alright

I went through a period of time after reading my last book where I didn't have any money to buy any new books and I just wasn't in the mood to reread any of my other books. I was looking forward to so many new books instead!
So this week my long-awaited book came out - The Ocean at the End of the Lane! Neil Gaiman never disappoints in terms of content. He spins such wonderfully epic tales that draw you in and make you forget the rest of the world. That being said, I spent $25 dollars for a book that had less than 200 pages. And I'm not saying that it wasn't worth it, but for a person who generally lives on bread and water, twenty-five dollars is a little ridiculous.

The next day I started reading The Kite Runner, per my decision in the last post to start reading books with more depth. My mom and I walk 6 miles almost every morning, and I spent the next morning walking around the park, struggling not to cry while I told my mom about story that I was reading. Since I hadn't finished reading the book yet, I also told her how I hoped the book would end. Ironically, the book did end in the situation that I had wished for, but it was not at all how I had hoped it would be. It was easily one of the saddest books that I had ever read and at the same time one that I just could not put down.

On a sidenote: I really hate waiting for books to come out in paperback.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

We're Spinning Circles

I finished reading a book today that I started reading back in January but stopped reading for a number of reasons. I saw the book while standing in the Chicago airport, wasting time until my six hour layover would end. I read the back cover of the book, read the first chapter, and then put it back down and walked out of the little airport bookstore.
When I got home from Chicago I bought the book on my nook and began reading it. Will Schwalbe wrote The End of Your Life Book Club, starting with the diagnosis of his mother: pancreatic cancer. She is only given six months to live, but the book follows their family through the next two years of her battling her fatal disease.
Will and his mother, Mary Ann (Maryanne) Schwalbe, start their own book club, using time spent in doctor's offices and waiting rooms as their time to discuss their books and to give each other feedback. Originally I stopped reading this book because I just knew what was going to happen, his mom was going to die. And I cannot stand reading books like that; I have a hard enough time dealing with the nightmares that I have of my own mother some day dying, I didn't want to have to read another's experience with it. But I think that I also stopped reading it because it made me feel very insignificant. Maryanne devoted her life to other people. She gave to charities, she traveled to faraway countries, she welcomed refugees into her home again and again to live. In short, she made me feel very inadequate. She was bad enough, but it seemed like her family was filled with go-getters and overachievers and people who
I've always wanted to be one of those people that goes to third-world countries and teaches children how to read and to bring them the joy that books will give you. And every time that I've ever thought about doing it, I've become filled with the fear that something would happen to my mom while I was gone, and that I would miss time with her.

I wish that I was the kind of person that wrote down notes while reading books, because there are so many different things about this book that spoke to me and so many parts of the book where I just had to pause and turn into my pillow and cry for a minute. It's a wonderful book.

And it also has helped me decide to expand my interest in books. I love me some Sci-Fy, and I just love Young Adult books, but very rarely do I branch out from what I know. Will and his mom read so many books that just have...depth, and I think that that's something that I normally shy away from because then it seems more like work and less like reading. But I think it's something that I'm going to do. A friend recently pinned something on Pinterest, 65 Books You Need To Read in Your 20s, and I think it's something that I'm going to seriously try to accomplish. I have roughly 5 1/2 years left of my 20s, and I think it's something that I can accomplish. And that I should accomplish. My life needs some depth in it; I can't just keep watching Mulan every day of my life on the Disney channel while reading Neil Gaiman books.* **

*Ironically, Neil is on the list.
** I'm not actually watching Mulan right now. Right now I'm watching Mission Impossible.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Things Go Hazy.

Holy Balls, y'all. So I had yesterday off from work, and so around 5 o'clock  I sat down to read Pathfinder, AND THEN I FINISHED IT. That's over 600 pages. In one day. I finished reading a little after midnight and immediately went to sleep.

Orson Scott Card has a tendency to challenge the fuck out of his readers and their attention spans. Now, I'm kind of the poster child for ADD, so sometimes Card makes me want to bang my head against a wall and then cry. He's so demanding. And he's one of those authors where I'm always like, "what the hell does that word even mean? where's my phone? I need to google this word. And then look at all of the different websites that give examples of this word. Oh, look at that puppy. What was I doing??"  And then eventually I get back to reading the book. But he is always so worth it. His books are amazing. The last Card book that I read took me days because it was so complex and demanding and exhausting that I just couldn't stand to read all of it at once. I couldn't do that yesterday though because I had to know who Rigg's dad was!
Oh, wait, backstory:

Earth is going to implode or something like that and so they send out a ship to find a new planet to inhabit. This dude, Ram, and a whole bunch of robots (who apparently look exactly like humans? Which made me think of David from that stupid movie, Prometheus, where EVERYONE DIES in the end) go out into space and them time jump what is supposed to be light years into the future, but by accident they somehow go back into time and then also, somehow, the ship is duplicated 19 times, so that now there are 19 ships instead of one. So anyway, they land on this new planet and while all of the humans, including Ram, are in stasis, the Expendables (robots) set up borders around the planet, making up 19 different colonies and then making it to where none of the humans would even know about the other colonies, and also making it to where the Walls that separate them from each other make a person go crazy when they go close to them.

Sidebar: I was attempting to google the name of the movie with the aliens (which is Prometheus, but I couldn't remember the name of it) and so I just googled 'alien'. Which gave me THIS:
Horrible as it is, I've seen that movie.

ANYWAY. The book!
All the while, Card is also telling us about present time, which is eleven thousand years in the future from where Ram is now, which is actually eleven thousand years from where he used to be BEFORE he time jumped (get it?) on this new planet where this kid, Rigg, just learns that his dad died (but not really, because he lied, because he's really an Expendable and he can't die. I KNOW) and he has set out on this trip to go and meet his sister that he never knew about. Oh, and Rigg can change the past, and see the paths of other people from all other times, and his sister can make herself invisible. And his only friend can move through time. And he's this back woods boy who grows up with this dude who he *thinks* is his dad (but isn't!!), out learning how to trap animals and crap, and then suddenly he becomes this lost royalty who had been kidnapped when he was young.

It's EXHAUSTING to read. But it's so worth it.
Really, stop reading this very complicated post that isn't doing any good for Card, and just go and read the book.
Which, by the way, is the first book in a series.
Feel free to take a stab at what I'll be doing today.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

For All The Words That I've Never Understood, I Know.

So I finished reading The Princess Bride today, while sitting on my couch, listening to Pandora, watching the weather channel and having all of the curtains pulled back so that I could watch the rain fall/be aware of any tornado activity. Sometimes my own actions remind me of the simple fact that each individual has a different style of learning and reading. For me, I do not like to sit in a bright room that is can-hear-a-pin-drop silent; if I could pick the perfect condition to read I would have to say that it would be laying in bed with all of the lights off (or at least dimmed), listening to some quiet music, and cuddling with my animals. And sometimes I like to have the television on.

Anyway, enough about all of that. The point is that I finished my book and that I was not unpleased with it. It did not take my breath away, but I think a lot of that had to do with having already seen the movie more than the actual talent of the author(s). I like books that suck you into their world and that give you enough detail to let you feel like a part of their world but not too much detail that you feel like all you're doing is reading background information. I like it when I feel like I'm part of the book instead of on the outside, just reading it. And it's not that Goldman didn't do a good job of that with what he had to work with (because he really didn't write the book, he just abridged the book that Morgenstern wrote) and it was a very entertaining book. It was also a very entertaining movie, and I think that while reading it, the flashbacks that I kept having of the movie interfered with my ability to truly get lost in the story. It's unfortunate, but not all of the books that you read can be winners.

There's a part of the story where Goldman stops and has a flashback of a conversation between him and his father when he was younger (which they also do in the movie, which I think is really cool), where his dad tries to skip a part of the book and Goldman makes him go back and tell him why and that's when he finds out that Westley dies. The words that Goldman uses to describe how he felt really resonate deep down within me, not just because I've also felt this way before, but because I've also felt this way before about a book. I'll just type it out for you:

"...and I buried my head in my pillow and I never cried like that again, not once to this day. I could feel almost my heart emptying into my pillow. I guess the most amazing thing about crying though is that when you're in it, you think it'll go on forever but it never really lasts half what you think. Not in terms of real time. In terms of real emotions, it's worse than you think, but not by the clock."

His dad comes back into the room and asks Goldman if he wants to finish hearing the story or if he wants to be done with it and he says, "Let's hear the murder. I knew I wasn't about to bawl again. Like Buttercup's, my heart was now a secret garden and the walls were very high."

His emotion towards the story just blows me away, because I have felt that way about a book before and I know how hard it is to put those emotions aside and remind yourself that it's not even real life and that, of course, you can get up out of bed and keep on going through the day. But it's hard! Sometimes it's so hard to remember that what you are reading isn't real life, because it becomes real life to you. Those characters are your friends and those places are your second homes and when bad things happen to them you feel it just as you would if something in "real life" were to happen. Sometimes it's even worse, because there's nothing that you can do about it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Loved You First When We Were Children

Random conversation with my mom, the third grade teacher:

Her: "I read a lot of good books to my class last year. You'd love them."
Me: "YES!! Let me borrow them!"

Status: Functioning adult.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Because Of What Haunts Me.

It's funny that as much as I love to read, once I was assigned to pleasure read for my Reading Process class, I found that I really didn't want to. I think it has something to do with the fact that now I was worried about what consisted of "pleasure reading". I like to reread books and that's why I own books instead of just checking them out from the library, but would I be counted down for rereading a book that I had already read twenty times? I didn't know, and it became very stressing to me. For days I would wander around my house (because I'm slightly unorganized and my books are EVERYWHERE [this is not even a joke, there is right now a book laying on the ground in my living room that has been there for months, for no reason]) looking for a book to read, and then wondering if I was supposed to stay with my current book or whether I was allowed to stop reading that one periodically to start another, more appealing, book. I just didn't know.
I started reading Pathfinder, but forty pages into it two people had already died (oops, spoiler alert) and I decided that maybe I should reserve this book for a time when I would have a few days off in a row so that I could completely focus my attention on it, because books that have a lot of death in them generally take a lot out of me mentally and emotionally and it affects the rest of my day, so I didn't want to continue reading and then take that with me for the rest of the day while at work, because work is also very taxing mentally and emotionally and I'm not stable enough to do both together. Don't judge. Also, sorry for the run-on sentence
So then I started reading The Book Whisperer, which was a class assignment in my Reading Process class and I found myself wanting to read past the assigned chapters, but I stopped myself because I couldn't decide if that was pleasure reading or just reading ahead in class. In general, I was starting to become agitated with this assigned pleasure reading, because suddenly nothing about it was pleasurable.
Today I finally picked The Princess Bride back up and forced myself to continue with my "pleasure reading". It was a little hard to concentrate at first but I stuck it out and found myself devouring the pages of the book.

There is a part where Princess Buttercup has a nightmare that she actually marries Prince Humperdinck and she's walking among the commoners when an old lady calls her out for choosing being Queen over having real love and she panics and that's when she wakes up and realizes that she was only dreaming. The thing about it is though, the reader isn't aware that she's dreaming and there for a minute you think, "The hell?! She marries him?!" (unless you've seen the movie and then you think, "WTF? THIS IS WHY I HATE IT WHEN THEY MAKE MOVIES FROM BOOKS") and then you find out that she's just dreaming and all is okay with the world. Except that it's not all okay with William Goldman and it's not all okay with ME.
William Goldman is all agitated about something and he rants about life not being fair and he kind of segues onto this rant about life and when he was a child and his neighbor, and you become sort of lost with what he's really talking about. The part of this rant that stuck out to me was in the very beginning, when he says that life isn't fair and that sometimes good people die, even in books when you're expecting happy endings.

This is such a huge thing for me, because I really dislike books/movies that don't have happy endings, or where something really awful happens (here's looking at you, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry), and I tend to shy away from those books as often as possible. Or at least I used to. There were years of my life where I refused to watch sad movies, or movies where good people die, or movies where good people die and then good people want revenge for the death of the other good people and then they go to JAIL (*cough* Law Abiding Citizen *cough*), and it started after I had to attend the funeral of my grandma;, she was the first person that I actually knew who would die - and she would be the first of many in the next few years. I was fragile and I couldn't handle books that dealt with the issues that I was really dealing with in real life. Books were my haven, my escape from real life, and I couldn't deal with how they suddenly spoke directly to the events of my life. What crap is that, books?! You are supposed to be the thing that I escape TO.

It's only been the past year or so that I've started reading novels that contain more..., death. I understand that life isn't fair, and that if all of the books that I read had happy endings then I would start to really hate my own reality. Obviously it still affects me and sometimes when I pick up a book and two people die within the first forty pages I have to put it back down, and save it for a day when I know that I can lay in bed and cry it out.

But really, TWO PEOPLE IN FORTY PAGES? It was like reading Game of Thrones all over again.


Monday, May 20, 2013

I See The Stars In Black And White.

This past week my best friend was induced and was in labor for over 24 hours. I brought my textbooks with me to the hospital to catch up on some reading but I quickly put those back in my backpack and instead pulled out The Princess Bride, by William Goldman.
William Goldman wrote both the book and the screenplay for the movie, so when I purchased the book (I know, why buy when you can get them from the library? I KNOW) I was confident that it wouldn't let me down seeing as how much I love the movie.
So far it totally hasn't. I'm at the part in the book where Princess Buttercup pushes Dread Pirate Roberts off of a cliff only to find out that he's really her beloved Westley, exactly like in the movie. I usually hate movies that are based upon books and generally refuse to watch them altogether (Twilight? Ugh, no.) but since I had already watched the movie I didn't see any harm in reading the book and I was right. The only real difference is that Goldman gives a little more background information and that sometimes he interjects little chapters where it is just him talking to the readers. It's interesting. 
I can't wait to find time to keep reading it.*

*Most likely I'll cancel plans with a friend or two in the next few days, fake an illness, and lay in bed with my animals cuddling up to me while I finish the book. I'm cool like that.