Reading

2015 – a reading Round-up!

Like most writers, I am an avid reader. or rather, I try to be. This year on Goodreads, I pledged to read 40 books and I made my goal with some to spare! Some books were hardly book length (more like short stories), but I counted them all. Especially since I don’t count the fanfic reading I do on goodreads ;). I don’t finish anything I don’t really like, so if I finished it and it’s listed below, I enjoyed it. Here are the snapshots of my Goodreads list!

 

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Okay, Ravenwood is my OWN book. It still counts! I read it, like, 12 times while doing edits.

What stuck with me:

The Success Principles [Non Fiction, self betterment]– I feel like this is a book I will continually return to and re-read as I progress. I really enjoyed this book and felt empowered while reading it. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY OWN SUCCESS! If I work hard, I can do it!

Dead Mountain [Non Fiction, true story, mystery] – WOW. What a story. ALL TRUE [with some speculation tossed in]. This was a book that I TOLD EVERYONE ABOUT. a true story about a group of hikers that died in Russia in the 1960s. Amazing story. Has tickled my brain re: Infrasound.

Dark Space [M/M Romance, Sci Fi]- THIS ONE HAUNTS ME. I read a couple Lisa Henry books this year and HOLY GOD. she is SO GOOD. Her narrative voice is amazing and PULLS YOU IN. I felt like I WAS HER CHARACTERS. I read it in one day and then cried happy tears when I saw Henry had just released a sequel.

The Riddle of the Labyrinth [Non Fiction, true story, languages]– Another amazing story, this time on the decipherment of Linear B. WHAT COMMITMENT. Unbelievable. I can’t even focus on a book sometimes so reading about the effort and time these people put into deciphering an unknown language is truly fantastical to me.

Reflections in General – As a reader I am HUMBLED by the storytelling abilities of the books I’ve read this year. Shirley Jackson, Dean Koontz, Lisa Henry… I’m in awe of their ability. I hope my own writing grows and that I get better as I go!

What am I reading now? – I’m currently working on The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon. Having struggled with depression for most of my life, I was amazing and gobsmacked by some of Solomon’s insights during a Ted talk. I immediately picked up his book. I’m also re-reading Fingerprints of the Gods. I read this one in 2007 and really enjoyed it. With a trip to Peru coming up this year (29 WEEKS AND COUNTING), I wanted to re-read to refresh my mind. Just as engaging the second time around. I’ve pledged to read 50 books this year, including writing 2, so I guess my decision to give up almost all television was a good one.

Happy reading!

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Reading Classics – Jekyll and Hyde

I decided to read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the other day, and as I did, I felt sad that I was technically ‘spoiled’ for the book. I mean, is there anyone that isn’t? Jekyll and Hyde have become part of our lexicon, along with Dracula and Frankenstein and as I read it, I found myself kind of sad that I couldn’t experience it for the first time without knowing what the mystery was.

I tried to imagine what it would be like to read it when it was first published in 1886 but it was so hard to separate my knowledge of the basic story from my reading experience.

I still really enjoyed the book! I just wish that I could have read it without knowing the ‘big surprise.’

 

Jane Eyre Readalong – Jane as a child

As I mentioned in my previous post, I quite often forget the beginning of Jane Eyre when she is a child, focusing mostly on her time at Thornfield when I think about the book.

However, the beginning of the book, as told from Jane’s younger self, is very powerful. I think we get a better sense of Jane and her surroundings because of her youth. Maybe it’s because we assume children are more truthful, or lack the artifice and intelligence to dupe us. But there is definitely something more tangible about how Jane suffers emotionally and physically during her life with the Reeds. In particular, I was struck by this sentence:

“For me, the watches of that long night passed in ghastly wakefulness; strained by dread: such dread as children only can feel.”

That sentence really stuck with me. I regularly have nightmares and always have and while there are some from my adult dreaming life that scare the crap out of me, I don’t know that any of them have stuck with me as much as those from my childhood. There was something different about being afraid as a child – maybe it’s because you’re smaller and less able to protect yourself and lack the reasoning that’s often required to pull you out of your fright.

 

 

Jane Eyre – Readalong!

Gentle Reader, I have started reading Jane Eyre again.

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Jane Eyre was, is and will always be my favorite book. I love it. I love reading it, I love thinking about it, I love to stare at it. I love to own a paper copy and an e-copy. I even own a copy in French. I don’t know why. I just… had to have it. I thought I would blog about it as I read it, and I invite anyone that wishes to do the same to join me.

 

Though I’ve read it many times, I’m always surprised when I start reading it again that I’ve forgotten exactly where it begins. I suppose I expect it to begin sometime at Lowood, the school where Jane is sent. But of course, the narrative starts before that so we can see Jane’s life living with her aunt, Mrs. Reed. We learn so much about Jane’s surroundings from this introduction. Her isolation, her fiery spirit and the constant onslaught of abuse from her cousin. I’m immediately sympathetic to Jane from this beginning. I think the thing that hits me the hardest is how matter-of-fact the entire set of characters seems to be about Jane’s treatment. The servants and the family think this is all fine and acceptable and that leaves me, as the reader, wanting to rally even more FOR Jane.

 

Reading this book again is always like coming home after a long day, putting on my most warm and comforting sweater and curling up in a corner next to a window. Outside there is a grey sky and I’m warm and safe, with a hot cup of coffee. That’s the feeling this book gives me.

 

If you’ve never read Jane Eyre, I cannot recommend it enough. If you HAVE read it, I invite you to join me and read it again!