Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Read a book read a book.

It's June. On May 18th 2009 I graduated from WVU. This month in June, 2009, I started the job I currently have. I've been out of school an entire year, and yes, I still want to go back. I still shiver with anticipation when I think of getting my new class schedule or about buying books or writing stories and essays with actual deadlines. Oh the deadlines.

However, one thing that school, and especially the life of an English major does not leave much room for, is reading for pleasure. So that's what I've done.

My last semester of college, in my Capstone class, we were instructed to read the introduction to Nick Hornby's book, The Polysyllabic Spree. What Hornby did was basically make a list each month for a year of the books he bought and the ones he actually read and then wrote a discussion about what that meant to him. The point of making the lists is to see the patterns in what you are reading and to see how reading one book leads to another. It also shows where your mind was that month, especially comparing the list of books bought to books read. So we had to do this in our class, but use a couple of months rather than just one at a time. I had mine organized into books I've bought (most for classes), books I've read, books I read part of and quit and books I read just to see what all the hubbub was about (that list consisted of the Twilight series. Blah).

I decided to make a list of all the books I've read this year just for fun. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, and I'll undoubtedly remember them the moment this blog is posted. So it goes. They are not in chronological order.

Books I've read:

  • Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath by Cornella Funke
  • Love Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • Ultimates 2 volume 1 and 2 by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch
  • Once Upon a Time in the North by Phillip Pullman
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Anasi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • As You Wish by Jackson Peirce
  • Y the Last Man Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
  • The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Graham-Smith
  • The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
  • M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
  • Ultimate X Men Volume 10, Cry Wolf by Brian K. Vaughan and Andy Kubert
  • Sandman Volume 2 and 3 by Neil Gaiman

Books recommended to me that I actually read:

  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series: The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman

  • The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Books I tried to read but failed:

  • Ulysses (which I've been reading for almost exactly a year and a half) by James Joyce
  • Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Books currently in my stack of 'must read before moving to the UK' because books are heavy things to pack and I probably should leave room in my suit case for at least some cloths:

  • Once in Future King by T.H. White
  • Tolkien's Gown by Rick Gekoski
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, Architect of Middle Earth by Daniel Grotta
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & terry Pratchett
  • Dragon Rider by Cornella Funke
  • Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume by Jeff Smith
  • Ulysses (yes, it can be on the list twice) by James Joyce

The book I've already decided will be my reading material on the plane to Oxford, thus putting me in an adventurous mood:

  • Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes

That's 32 books over the span of a year, 7 I still want to read (not including my never-ending bookshelves full of books I will get to one day), one I never finished and one that will probably haunt me the rest of my life. Oh James Joyce, why do you do this to me? Anyway, there is a distinct possibility that my list of books still to read will not get read, and that I will probably buy something new between now and leaving that will take its place. That's just how these things happen. For instance, I was in the middle of The Illustrated Man when I lost the book and my friend Jen told me to go out and find The Hunger Games. So I did, and it was AMAZING. Then I found The Illustrated Man crammed between the wall and my bed where all my lost books usually are, finished it, then went out and bought Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. I finished it last night. It was even better than the first one. I can't believe I have to actually wait for the last book in the series to come on. It's like Harry Potter all over again.

32 books might seem like a lot to some people, but it might not seem like many at all to others. If you look at what genre of books take up the majority of the list you will see that a great many of them are Young Adult. These are usually books I can finish in a few days if I actually have a few days to commit to them. In that case, my list should be far longer. It took me a month to finish the Percy Jackson series, but that was five books in a month on top of working every day. I am only a fast reader when the book is good.

Another reason my list is dominated by YA books is that I LOVE them. That's basically the only reason I need right? That and my major writing project of the year was a YA book, so it only makes sense that I am reading in the genre that I'm writing. YA literature is like candy. I just can't get enough of it, but unlike candy, it's good for me.

I could write pages on each and every book in my list. I could write about how Lolita stayed with me for at least three months after I read it, refusing to let me think of anything else, or how Inkheart made me cry and how I went out immediately and bought the next two books in the trilogy, or how Flowers for Algernon was kind of a letdown the second time around, or how As You Wish put me in a good mood for the rest of the week after I read it, or how I just can't get enough of Graphic Novels and wish I had the money to buy the rest of Y the Last Man and Sandman series. I could write about the books I've read this year till my fingers start to bleed and the letters are rubbed off my keyboard and replaced by bloody fingerprints. But I won't.

Instead I'm going to go eat strawberries and apply for my student visa. And then probably pick up another book to read. Any recommendations?



Lynz said...

There's a sequel to the Hunger Games?!?!? Dammit! And this is where having an eReader is brilliant. I go to Waterstones online, buy my book, download it and am reading it 10 minutes later. Ha!!

I'm not very far through the Sandman series myself. I have a lot of Spawn and (bizarrely) a Hobbit graphic novel. You like LotR, aye? Have you tried Tad Williams' "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" quartet? Big hefty tomes that would be rubbish for transportation but great for snuggling up with. Journey from boy to man stuff. With dragons. And magic. Heh.

I like YA coz it's easy to read. I have a mensa IQ (check me!!) but hate stuff I have to think about too much. Just lazy, I think!!

Lynz said...

Oooh, and if you're familiar with the original, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" is a hoot!!

DeeRoo said...

Your book list makes my book list hang its head in shame!;)

And can't take them all with you!! It would cost WAAAAY to much....just think of all you can find in some dusty bookstore across the pond!!

Lynz said...

Last one. Promise.

Question. Catcher in the Rye. Fab or flop.

major7th said...

Definitely fab. I read it in high school and could not put it down. Funny you should mention that book actually. The Bell Jar which is on my list is said to be the Catcher in the Rye for girls. You should check it out! It's awesome because it was written in the 60's, but it is SO relatable to how life is for girls right now. And don't worry Lynz, it's totally easy to read :)

Tanner said...

I read everything in a couple of days, usually because I don't actually put the book down and do things like sleep.

Lynz said...

Fab? Really? So I actually AM the only person in the world that hates it? *le sigh* My English teacher recommended it to me when I was 16 and I suffered through it. I tried again a couple years ago (thinking I was maybe just a rebel without a clue as a teenager) and didn't finish it. Which NEVER happens. Unless you're Cptn. Correli's Mandolin. Which was a big puddle of wee wee.

Lynz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
foobella said...

does it have to be YA or have a happy ending?

Rose Madder - Stephen King

Do you like short stories? Any Stephen King short story collection is a winner.

The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton

Dune - Frank Herbert

Anna Karenina -Tolstoy (still reading that one myself)

Kelsey Austin Threatte said...

I am in the Don Quixote capital right now and I am very much trying to attempt not to buy you a bunch of touristy D.Q junk...
but now I just want a chocolate dipped soft serve ice cream. Mmm... DQ.