Monday, September 12, 2011

Literature Love!

Lately, Bear and I have been getting back into our "reading dates", which are long periods of time spent in the same room not talking to one another, reading our separate books.  Recently I wrote about how Border's is going out of business, and our subsequent score on new reading materials.  Well, we've been wasting no time in getting our nerd on!

I finished another Charles de Lint novel, The Onion Girl, first.  It was all about the trials of this character Jilly Coppercorn, who is a recurring character in his Newford series.  I had read in circles around her, never figuring out exactly WHAT happened to her, but finding allusions to it in several other books.  It was driving me crazy!  I was SO HAPPY to finally put that mystery to rest!

Then, because of my current infatuation with the Focus Features film version of Pride and Prejudice, I opened the box set of all Jane Austen's works I bought.  I am now reading the novel.  I usually have a particular distaste of "classic literature", with the exception of Kafka's Metamorphosis, I always had a problem reading them through.  I hate stumbling upon "-------shire"  or, "said Lord -----------" censorships.  I tend to fill in the blanks myself with "Dashshire" and "said Lord Dashing", just to keep from going insane with all the loss of context!

The odd thing is, I own a shelf full of classics.  I have read a few, because occasionally I feel that to be truly academic, one must occasionally peruse the works of great authors, but I can't say I ever enjoyed them.  Bronte's Jane Eyre infuriated me as it simultaneously bored me to tears (although Focus Features is making a new film, apparently!).  Alcott's Little Women was never as engrossing as I thought it ought to be.  Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer were not nearly as gripping as I remembered the stories being.  All in all, I found classic literature to be overwhelmingly disappointing.  Through all the flowery language I struggled to find purchase on the actual plot, and found myself slipping into confusion of detail.  So many words are no longer in the modern vocabulary, so I had a particular struggle in ascertaining meaning from the many lengthy paragraphs I had read.  And to be honest, halfway through a stanza it was not uncommon for my mind to have wandered somewhere else, thus the meaning of the pages I had "read" was completely lost on me, and I could not recall any of the particulars I should have made note of.

Ironically, I write in a style similar to many of the very authors I complain of.  I love the challenge of vocabulary, and amuse myself by using uncommon terms in my daily conversations.  There is no reason for my strong distaste in classical literature, when all these things are considered.

Anyway, I have been completely engrossed with Pride and Prejudice, and am nearly finished reading it already!  I picked it up Saturday night around 9pm, and read until almost 6am.  All day Sunday I alternated between reading, and watching the movie while folding laundry and cleaning the house (or listening to the soundtrack... yes, I am a geek).  Tonight, when things die down at work, I will be back to reading again.

What book have you picked up recently and discovered, much to your surprise, you liked?
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  1. You and I seemingly have an opposite affection for literature. Alcott's 'Little Women' is one of my all time favorites, I've read 'Gone With The Wind', literally, 6 times, and I enjoyed P&P. You know Austen was just a teen when she wrote her works.

    Anywho... Book dates? lol, the day I witness Eddie read and 'absorb' a novel for entertainment, I'll prob play the lottery or something.

  2. @Squeebie- I am coming around to classic literature... I have always loved films based on classics, because the stories are so complex and heartfelt. I just had such an issue with the language before! Does Eddie not read any novels? You should try to get him to read the series True Blood is based off, or Game of Thrones, or anything that he enjoys that has been televised. Maybe that would get him in the habit?

  3. Oh I LOVE this. Ryan isn't a big reader but once in a while we have "reading dates" when he finds a book he likes and it's bliss... but more importantly, I basically can't stand classics. I've read a few semi-decent ones and certainly they've all had good parts to them, but I always find them dry.

  4. I had to read P&P in my English Literature class in college and hated every second of it. But then I followed it up with P&P&Zombies, and that went well. :-)


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