Absolutely every time, without fail, I see The Jane Austen Book Club, I want to read all of the books in the order that they read them in.
Now, I can’t really do that because I’m reading Sense and Sensibility for one of my book clubs this month, and that’s one of the last books they read, and there’s no way I could read them all this month before I made it back to Sense and Sensibility. But I did watch the movie last night, and it’s renewed the sense in me to read all of the books. Now, I haven’t read all of Jane Austen yet. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice (I’d have given you permission to hang me if I hadn’t), as well as Northanger Abbey, but it’s been awhile. I want to read them all together. I feel like there might be a certain amount of… what’s the word… I can’t think of the word, but good feelings is the general idea. Anyway, I’m working these books into my impossible schedule. It’s happening.
No, that’s not the title of a book. Or, it might be, but I’m not talking about a specific book right now.
I’ve found that I’ve been wanting to read so many big books and critically acclaimed books and popular books, that they’re all getting clumped together and in result I’m not wanting to read any of them. Except the Harry Potter books. It’s a dark day the day I’m not in the mood for the Harry Potter books.
Honestly, I’m in the mood for something quiet right now. I know I’ve signed up for all of these things with bookclubs and what not, but I’ll just have to catch up, and maybe give up a couple of them.
Anyway, I’m not quiet sure what quiet book I want to read right now. Certainly not anything super acclaimed, and not anything too out there. Just something quiet and short. I’ll be on the hunt.
P.S. My posts are getting shorter because I’m gearing up for Camp NaNoWriMo. Most of my writing energy is going towards the outline, so I don’t have much else to say when I finally make it here. I’m determined not to disappear, though!
I spent the weekend doing my read-a-thon with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I don’t mind long books, but I remember when this book came out when I was a kid and being totally mind blown at the jump in length between the third and fourth books. And they just kept getting longer. Not that it was ever a bad thing with the Harry Potter books. Anyone reading them just wanted more and more. I know I did.
I’ve got so many books on my plate right now, though, and they’re all big books. Infinite Jest, Anna Karenina, this book, a couple of others… I need to stop signing up to read books with my book clubs. I’m getting so behind. It’s really overwhelming. I think I’m going to have to go through the books I’ve signed up for and just choose one, because there’s no way I can do them all.
It’s a big one. Like, really big one. I’ve been trying to finish it for months. One of my book clubs wants to start reading Infinite Jest, and I want to read it with them, too, but I’m telling myself I can’t start it until I finish Anna Karenina. I just can’t. I can’t possibly take on two huge books at one time. It’ll just take me that much longer to finish both of them.
And I’m actually liking the book. I’m a little over halfway through it, and now that I’ve got the good translation (Pevear & Volokhonsky), I’m really liking it. This was the first book that introduced to me the differences in translations. I mean, it makes sense. Different words in different languages can be translated in all sorts of different ways, but because I so rarely read books that have been translated from their native language, I just never thought about it. So I bought a copy of Anna Karenina years ago, not even thinking much about it. And it was hard for me to get into. Like, really hard. It wasn’t so much that the story was bad or anything, just the language was dry. (I can’t remember the name of that translator right now, but she’s pretty famous for having the worse translation of the book. All you have to do is google it.) And then, one of my book clubs decided to read this book this past winter. There was a whole argument thread dedicated to the different translations. A few people like the other woman’s translation better. I don’t happen to be one of them.
Here’s a hint. The bad translation (in my opinion it’s bad, anyway) is always the cheaper one at the store. It’s a classic case of you get what you pay for. The new translation cost me $20. The bad one cost me $8. Yeah.
The story itself bounces around between a bunch of different characters, which I’m not usually into, but I’m not minding it so much. I’m finding it interesting that the only two characters that haven’t interacted with one another are Anna and Levin. It makes me wonder if they ever will (no spoilers, please). A part of me thinks they will, and the other half thinks that this may be a kind of character train, where this person knows that, but the two people on the ends are the only two people who never see each other because they’re so far apart. The only example I can think of this right now is the movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You.’ Most of the characters knew each other, but the two characters on the ends didn’t know one another existed. I can’t remember who the characters on the ends were because it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the movie (I think Scarlett Johansson’s was one of them). Does that make any sense, though?
Anyway, it’s a big book, so I need to get back to reading.
I actually own half the series in paperback and the other half in hardcover, so yeah.
A few weeks ago (or something like that, I’ve been having a hard time keeping track of the passing of time), I realized that while I grew up with the Harry Potter books, I never read them all in order, like one right after the other. I just read them as I bought them from the store, or as my parents bought them from the store for me, rather. They’ve remained faithfully on my bookshelf through the years, though, while other have been put in storage under my bed or in the attic or closet or anywhere else that isn’t really on display.
Wow, I need to get some new bookcases…
Anyway, I was looking at them, and decided to go ahead and read them all again, in order, one after the other (or mostly, a couple of books for book clubs have gotten in the way).
It’s like reliving pieces of my childhood. The nostalgia is real, guys. And I’m only on the third book.
I don’t really know what I can say about Harry Potter that people don’t already know, so let me tell you a story. Well, actually, two stories, both of which happened on the same day.
A friend of mine and I took a trip to Universal last year (the one in Orlando), and Harry Potter World was basically our top stop. The second you enter it, though, you’re surrounded by fanatics and stupid people. It’s pretty much an either or, as long as you’re not counting the actual park workers. We were walking over the bridge you can see the castle from when we overheard some girl ask in all seriousness, “So, that’s where they filmed the films?” Yes, they filmed the entire thing in Florida.
Later that day, after taking the Hogwarts Express to the other park where Diagon Alley is located, we were walking by the houses from the fifth book, the ones where Order of the Phoenix is hidden. The was this woman absolutely excited to take a picture on the stoop of the Order of Phoenix house, and she was not shy to let anyone walking by. Then she climbed the steps to the house next to it. It’s pretty obvious which house is the right one, too. It’s a different color, and Kreacher peaks out from one of the windows every once in a while. It was a serious debate between us whether or not to tell her. We finally yelled it as we were walking away, though I have no idea if she heard us or not.
Okay, so what kind of time capsule are we talking about? A big box? A small tube? Waterproof no matter what, I hope. And when will it be getting opened? 10 years? 20 years? 50 years? 100 years?
That kind of information changes what gets put inside. But for argument’s sake, we’ll just say it’s a waterproof box that’s going to be buried in the ground, to be dug up at least 50 years from now.
While I’m not entirely sure what I’d put inside of it, I know with certainty what I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t be putting in an iPhone or a computer or tablet. They’ll not only have better versions of their own, they’ll have our crap in museums, if anyone years from now even cares about that stuff. And don’t think that they won’t. You just know there’s a vault out there somewhere keeping the items of now safe for future spectacle. We live in a time where people have the means and manner to be obsessed with that kind of thing. They live in a world oversized time capsules. It’s almost cheating, in a way.
I think I’d want to put something inside that would mess with the people of the future. I’d want to put in something they wouldn’t expect, if there can even be expectations for a time capsule.
Maybe take a map of the subway system in New York and create a fake treasure map. Or maybe a fake diary describing the days of a serial killer. A print copy of Fifty Shades of Grey would really screw with their heads. “They read books printed on paper? They read books?” And that’s just the thought process that occurs before they read the book itself.
The writer half of me wants to leave something meaningful, though. It’s kind of a great story, if you think about it. A writer leaves a finished manuscript for a novel or a screenplay in a time capsule that doesn’t get opened until after the writer has passed away, and someone finds it in the capsule, and follows through with it. It gets published. The movie gets made. The writer’s name is continued on after death in a way that doesn’t happen very often, if at all.
Since I’m doing Sunday Funday, a part of me wants to also make Monday a themed day, too. I certainly don’t want to do it for every day of the week, but since Sunday is dedicated to games, maybe Monday can be dedicated for something else. Maybe books? I do read a lot.
It’s decided. You’re reading this as the thought process is coming out of me. No bars held. I’m going to come up with something on the spot…
Manic Monday is the only thing that’s coming to mind, and I’m not naming a theme for my blog after an 80’s (?) song. Don’t make fun of me, but I can only hear the song in my head. I can’t remember the decade it came from. Time lines and dates are exactly a strong suit of mine.
I think I may have to go do a google search on book terms that start with M, or rhyme with Monday. If there’s a word I’m looking for already stored in my brain, it’s completely eluding me.
Back. Nope, nothing was screaming out to me.
I’m going to call it Hardcover Monday. Because Mondays are hard and books have hardcovers. Yeah, not the best, but it’s a split decision I just made, and it’s staying. So yeah.
I might as well get on with it while you’re here.
My reading endeavors last week were all used on the Divergent Series. A great set of books, even if some people are getting sick of the genre already. I don’t care, I love it. For the people who aren’t into them, well that’s their problem, not mine. Anyway, I watched the movie while it was on HBO a couple of weeks ago, and though I don’t usually read the book after I’ve seen the movie, I made an exception.
I’m not going to get into the intricacies of the book’s plot or whatever. This isn’t review. This is me wanting to talk about the books. For me, there is a difference. But for anyone who hasn’t heard of this book while living under your rock or on top of a cloud or something, here:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
That’s the synopsis for the book. I’m about to talk about all three, but with no spoilers. Or as little as possible.
Honestly, I fell in love with the first two books, but am I alone in thinking the third one was a little weird (aside from the end, which I’ll get to in a minute)? It in part made me feel like the author couldn’t come up with anything else and settled on that scenario, but I was still on board. I’d grown attached to the characters, and even though as a writer it wasn’t the direction I would have chosen, it was ultimately her decision and I was going to respect that.
Then the end. I won’t say what happens. And if anyone reveals a spoiler in the comments, your comment won’t get approved, just so you know. Until I can find a way for spoilers to be hidden like they can be on Goodreads, I won’t allow them. I get that there’s an arbitrary time limit people believe in regard to spoilers and having time to read/watch/whatever before the world is allowed to speak without reservation, and in real life I’d probably join in with those beliefs. But this is the internet. Time is different here. And, well, if someone wants to know what we’re talking about, they’re a google search away from it. But right here, right now, it’s a moral low ground I refuse to step foot on.
But that end. I desperately want to call it a cop-out, even though I know that’s not what it was. But at the same time, just, WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? That entire journey for that? Seriously? The only thing that semi saved it for me (and let’s be real, that’s pushing desperately into overstatement) was the zip line.
Guys, it takes a lot for me to throw a book across the room and leave it there, walking away leaving it in a heap on the floor than I don’t make right almost immediately. It already takes a lot for me to throw the book in the first place (respect and awe and all of that). When it’s a library book that’s already going to take more than its fair share of abuse, forget about it. But I did that with the final book of this series. That’s how attached and how angry I got. It was difficult for me to pick it back up and finish those last fifty pages.
I’m actually struggling with returning it to the library now. Not because I want to harbor it, or because I did damage to it I’ll have to pay for (I didn’t, I swear), but because I want to spare anyone else from that ending. At the same time, I want people to suffer with me. On some level, that makes me like Tris, which makes me feel only slightly better. It’s nice to feel like a character from a book. That’s why we love the stories we do. We connect with the characters on some level.
I really used this first Hardcover Monday for a bit of a rage, didn’t I?