Friday, July 13, 2012

Just Call Me Book.

I have a relative who, when he was a child, played with a certain brand of toy car so much that his parents changed his name to that kind of car.  They actually, really, legally changed it, I believe.  If not legally, he has gone by this car-name since childhood.  Thankfully, my parents didn't do this, or my name would have been "Book." I used to devour books when I was a kid.  At one point, my parents gave us a dollar for every novel that we read, which didn't last long because clearly I did not need any extra incentive to bury my nose in a book!  I would gobble up even more novels to earn money to buy more books ad infinitum.  I remember my older sister begging me to come outside in the summer and play badminton with her, but instead I would tote around my portable bookshelf with about twenty books so I could reread all my favourite parts.  I jest not; I made the mini-bookshelf at vacation Bible school one year and it was a dream come true for me.  I continued reading for enjoyment until my university days, although I would like to believe that I tempered my bookish ways with other interests as I matured.
As an English major in university, I read for four and a half years straight.  I must have stopped to eat meals because I am still here and without any major nutritional deficiencies.  There were courses in which I just couldn't keep up with the reading requirements.  I remember sitting in my Chaucer final exam next to my future brother-in-law, who was also in that class, thinking "Oh.  I did not read this part of the Canterbury Tales.  Right."  I looked over at him (not at his test paper, worry not) and hoped he was faring better than I was.  I'm sure he did; we would often get the same grade after I spent ten times longer writing the same paper.  Sharp mind, that one, and thankfully a good guy.  It was somewhere around that time that I stopped reading for enjoyment.  I couldn't keep up with what I was supposed to be reading, so I certainly didn't have time to read anything else for fun.
Somewhere along the line of years since then, I suppose I'd forgotten how deliciously fun it can be to loose oneself in a good book.  I hope to re-engage the literary world and spend less of my "free" time on Pinterest, pinning projects that I'll never finish, pictures of houses that will never look like mine, and ideas for kids that I'll never get around to and just make me feel like a subpar mother.
I'm on Goodreads now to get suggestions, but let me know if you have any suggestions of your own!  Here are some of the latest books that I've read and enjoyed:

Harry Potter Series: I know, it's scandalous, right?  A pastor's wife should not be reading this witchcraft and wizardry business.  I once took quite the finger-waving-raised-voice tirade from a peer for my appreciation of J.K. Rowlings' work.  Curiously, many who take issue with the Harry Potter series fully embrace C.S. Lewis' Narnia series.  Both are allegories about the battle between good and evil...just sayin'.

The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins: I wrote a brief snippet about these books in this post.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they transformed the first instalment in the series into a movie.

Room, by Emma Donoghue: My mom recommended this book to me a while ago after she read it with her book club.  When she gave me the gist of the disturbing premise of the book, I did not want to read it because I have enough worrisome scenarios that try to gallop through my mind every night before I go to sleep. The story is told from the perspective of a five year-old boy who is being held captive with his mom.  The focus of the story is the world that his mother has created for him in what would be, to our senses, the most horrible of settings.  Don't allow the fact that the voice of the story is a five year old boy; he has a very advanced vocabulary and it does not distract from the work at all.  The author is so masterful at creating characters, that I find myself wondering for half a second at times how each of the characters is doing these days.

Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.  This book made me wish that I was a slower reader so that I could have stretched out my enjoyment of this story.  The story is told by several different characters over the span of many years.  It begins with a birth story in India, and a courageous mother who places her daughter for adoption rather than allow her to suffer the same fate as her first daughter, who suffered a fate all too common in cultures in which sons are highly favoured.  Little does she know that her daughter will be adopted a world away, by doctors in America.  It's a beautiful, achingly sad story infused with enough hope and insight to make in an enjoyable, though at times, unsettling read.

Currently on my night-side table: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle, and Still Alice, by Lisa Genova.  Any suggestions?


3 comments:

  1. Hmm... I know someone who'se got an extensive Goodreads list you could check out! ;)

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  2. Okay...so um, I was the same way. My mom stopped buying books for me by grade 4 b/c I'd finish them in two hours. And then I also stopped reading after university. Burned out on less than engaging reads. How sad is that? Seriously - university profs really need to work on maybe fewer reads that are more engaging. There's more power for your punch there. Anyhow, Secret Daughter was great wasn't it? Love the Potter books too...and what's even worse is I read Twilight which kept me completely and totally hooked!

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  3. Totally agree about university reading. I have a hard time remembering anything I even read during that time period, and there are so many memorable books out there that could be chosen.
    I'm chagrined to say that I was taken in by the Twilight books too! Arggh, embarrassing, but I think we're in good company. There's just something about them that is so compelling, and I can't quite figure out what it is!

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