Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reading books for children.

I am a fast reader. I think most people, most Americans anyway, feed their families, wash the dishes, then settle down for a couple of hours of TV. In the same amount of time that the average bear takes to catch up on 30 Rock and American Idol, I can finish a book. If it's terribly thick, maybe it'll take me a night and a half. I know the librarian thinks I'm nuts for checking out 10 books at a time, but if I only checked them out one at a time I'd have to come back everyday.
Have you heard of Goodreads? It's a site that lets you keep track of what you've read, and then you friends your friends and you can see what they're reading too. Slightly Orwellian, but honestly very handy. I can't count the times I've known I read a book on a subject but couldn't remember what the hell the book was called. Our library system refuses to keep a list of what you've checked out in the past, so Goodreads is what I've been using.

Yesterday Laurie King friends-ded* me. I know this is a marketing move, that her publisher or agent said, "Hey, you should join Goodreads and friends your fans", but a little part of me squeed with delight all the same.

Then, right after the woot, I realized if I friends-ded her she'd be able to see what I read. I read a lot of books meant for children: young adult, juvenile and picture books. True, the picture books I usually check out for the girls, but not always. Young adult fiction is my favorite. It's heavy on the story, easy on the introspection. You rarely have to wonder what the hell the author's point is.

Modern adult literature, on the other hand, wears me out. I get seriously annoyed when the author obscures their point in flowery or random language. Is not the point of writing to communicate? Dear James Joyce, if it takes a group of people 13 years to read your book, doesn't that indicate you've failed? There's a difference between tickling someone's brain with the possibilities inherent in a subtle grouping of words and bludgeoning their lobes with a purposefully obtuse tangle of them.

Adult novels also wear me out with their grimosity. How does fiction serve as an escape when it's some fun-house view of your own troubles and angst? When I read The Story of Edgar Sawtell the ending broke my heart. I had come to the book prepared, because everyone compared it to Hamlet, and we all know how that ended, but since it was an American author** I expected him to pull out the happy in the end. Nope. I still get angry when I think of that book. I'll readily admit the value of such things, and credit the artistry involved, but when it's all over it doesn't matter how masterfully the piece rendered me to despair, I'm still despairing. Yuch.

This is one of those areas in which I'm trying to grow. I try to check out at least one grup book when I get my weekly stack o books, but the truth is it's always the last book to be read. I also frequently cheat by reading adult fiction that possesses my fave qualities: a good yarn and a happy ending. Baby steps, I suppose. Appropriate for one who delights in reading baby books.

Send me an email if you're on Goodreads too,

*This post is full of made-up words. That's how I roll, especially with the problems I'm having word-finding. Be glad you don't live with me, as the requests for "things" and "thingies" are driving my family mad.
**ephelba's law of movie endings goes like this: If the movie was made in America, the ending will be happy. If the movie was made in France, the movie will end in tragedy for all. If the movie was made in China everyone will die except for one character, who is left to contemplate the balance of tragedy and justice. If the movie was made in England the ending is a crap shoot. I fully credit Loon and Simon for contributing to the discovery of these laws. Haven't watched enough Italian, German or Spanish movies to be able to offer an opinion there, and although I have enough data to come up with a Japanese law, I haven't yet synthesized it. And yes, I realize I was talking about books, but in the example given I was hoping the law could be expanded to include movies.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Why I don't post

I remember this blog. It is important to me. I've spoken about its purpose in several other posts, so I won't carry on about it again. My point is that I don't want this blog to turn into a place where all I post about is how tired I am and how messy my house is. It's been said, and since my life is so small and mean right now I have little else to say.

I have high hopes though. I keep hoping I can beat this Thing and get on with my life. Treatment options are on their way. In the meantime I'm still learning to get a handle on how much I can get done without it being too much. Focusing on living life in small bites.

So, I guess I'll be back when I've got more to say.

Hope it's soon,