Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Joy Reading

I've FINALLY made some time for a bit of joy reading this last couple of weeks, and it's been great! We're talking not for school, not for pregnancy, not for gardening, not for informational purposes what-so-ever! It's been a long time for me...

The first one was John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. I was interested in this because 1) I remembered enjoying The Grapes of Wrath, despite its daunting thickness and being a class requirement- both of which are usually major turn-offs for me, and 2) because it's about the Monterrey Bay area, which is just south of my previous abode and a place I did get to visit before leaving. I really had no idea what it was going to be about, and even still, I'm not quite sure if the book had a "point" per say... (this is one of my major literary flaws- always searching for some kind of point) but I loved it! I laughed out loud on several occasions, and wish I had the same way with words as he, so I could fully express my amazement at his creativity and quip. And let's not forget that the mere 181 pages is also a plus- it leaves you willing to read more, instead of dreading the last n pages like my next read.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. I've been meaning to read this for quite some time- ever since my AP European history class when we had to chose 2 books from a list to write a book report on. This was in my top 3, but I ended up ruling it out because it was the longest of the three. (You are beginning to see the depth of importance this shallow criteria holds for me.) A very depressing read, yet well-done. I really felt for the characters and felt despair right along with them. However, I was amazed and annoyed by the socialist propaganda in the last third of the book. It's funny that with all the blurbs and mentions of the book I've come across thus far, I never suspected this unwanted surprise. If you ever decide to take on this morose story, feel free to stop reading once the protagonist sits in on his first socialist meeting. The rest of the book just redundantly lectures about how great socialism is without ever explaining how it would bring about this allegedly resultant utopia.

The third book was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I thought it was a nice feel-good, easy read, but not much more than that. I read this for my Relief Society book group, which made me think about The Alchemist from a more religious perspective. It's funny how easy it is to turn things into metaphors for your own agenda, when clearly Coelho had no intention of writing for a particularly LDS audience... but there almost is a parallel between the Alchemist and God, from an LDS perspective. Anyway, I think I may be interested in some of Coelho's other writings when I run out of things to read, even though I'm still not clear as to why The Alchemist was an international best-seller.

My current read is called The Wednesday Wars by Gary D Schmidt- another book group read. It's very light-hearted and an easy-read and I'm enjoying it quite a lot so far. The main character is very believable and I feel like I can relate to how he thinks a lot. Maybe that's not such a good thing- seeing as how he's in 7th grade. Perhaps I'll come back and review it more thoroughly, since I'm still only 50 pages in.

Anyway, I'm trying to compile a list of books for me to read- especially since several people have mentioned to me that nursing a new-born takes a lot of time the first few months, and the only thing you can really do simultaneously is read. My list currently contains some of those classics that everyone is usually forced to read in high school that I never did (To Kill A Mockingbird), and ones that I would like to re-read that I think I may be able to appreciate better now (A Tale of Two Cities). I'd really like suggestions from anyone that has any. I'm really up for any genre at this point- trying to keep an open mind. And yes, even if it's a long one, as long as you promise that it's really good, I'm willing to give it a shot.



Lindsay B said...

I agree with you on The Alchemist. I was left wanting considering its status as "International Best Seller". Oh well.

As for suggestions...I'm not sure what you've already read, but I do suggest that you read "I Am Legend". It is very short and gives a totally different perspective (not scary).

Other recent faves of mine are The Good Earth and The Fountainhead.

aart hilal said...


I'm a big fan of Paulo Coelho! You will love this! He's the first best-selling
author to be distributing for free his works on his blog:

Have a nice day!


Jay McCarthy said...