Friday, December 10, 2010

Books I'm reading

Whenever I finish an exceptionally good book, I get a little sad. Or a lot sad. The latest all-I-can-think-about infatuation was with Suzanne Collins's "Hunger Games," the first in her trilogy.

I spent hours with characters Katniss and Peeta; the impending danger of being murdered by fellow tributes or by the Capitol, the people in charge. I learned so much about the characters: hearing their memories, laughing with them, running by their sides in fear. And now many of them are dead. And even for the ones that aren't--I'll try not to spoil it--I miss them terribly, like a boyfriend you love love love for days, and then he just up and walks out.

Every library has Collins's books signed out or on hold for another fanatic reader: these books are that good. I am stealing myself from buying the second book. I'll have nothing to look forward to if I read them all too fast. It will just leave me drained and unhappy. You dedicate hours of your life to something, you're going to want something in return for it. So I'm taking a break.

In the meantime, I have listened to a bunch of Ray Bradbury short stories. He is excellent at weaving deep emotions into a science fiction story. I got these audio tapes from the library and they were created in 1979; they're read by Bradbury himself! I also got "Fahrenheit 451" on tape. It's hard to find much else that I can play in my car's tape deck. I'm listening to a lot of traditional/classical stories of late. I just checked out Bradbury's "One More for the Road," a collection of short stories. I didn't care much for the first story--"First Day"--and I didn't really get it. A man who remembers that 50 years earlier he and his friends promised to meet at the flagpole back at school on the first day. Something weird happens--like his friends come back as ghosts maybe, although it seems more like a mirror-projection, and I think it's all in his head. Like I said, I didn't really get it. I hope the other stories are better.

Psycho that I am, I also started reading "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte, and I'm on pg. 92. There are 700 pages or so, and I'm not sure I'll make it that far. I like the main character and her bold defiance. I don't like how slow the story is moving, and I haven't seen an inkling of love. I'm hoping that it will come soon.

I have also been reading Seth Godin's "The Purple Cow," a book about business marketing, and how businesses need to really stand out to survive. I'm enjoying it: it reminds me of school: Everyone conforms, yet, "I'm special." Oh, and you can do anything you put your mind to. Ridiculous things we say, then take away immediately. "Oh, you want to be a musician? Well, the school doesn't think the music department is very important, so you're shit out of luck. Sorry. But if you think really hard... you can be whatever you want."

This afternoon I picked up "The Death and Life of the Great American School System," by Diane Ravitch. I really want to read it, but her writing is boring and hard for me to get through. I've only read a few pages, but in the middle of every paragraph I find myself drifting. I need the cliffnotes for this book. It's too long. She could have shortened her first chapter by half, I think. Most of it is just her repeating, "I changed my mind, people can change their minds..." So I will continue to try. But no promises. She supported the "No Child Left Behind" Act, and now regrets it, apparently.

After reading the first not-exciting short story in the Bradbury book, I decided to start reading "I Know this much is True," by Wally Lamb. It's a thick, heavy book; but I read his "She's Come Undone," and loved it, so I know I can get through this book. I should really be reading more copywriting stuff, and in reality I should be writing a lot more than reading; like, I should have typed up the school committee meeting notes already, but I'm so lazy, and anyway, I have work very soon. Delivery, here I come! More next time.

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