17 May 2013

The Last Bookshop

In the small amount of time when I'm not reading, watching TV, sleeping or working, I'm reading through a bunch of the blogs I follow. I've just switched my reader to feedly (thanks a lot, Google Reader...) and I have a lot of catching up to do.
I stumbled upon this gem tonight (found originally at The Last Bookshop blog) and there is something about it that just makes me smile:

08 May 2013

Simple reading & Slowing down

According to Goodreads, I am 10 books ahead of my reading schedule and 55% done with my challenge. I'm really excited about making progress with this years challenge, but right now, I'm going to take a bit of a break.

I still have at least 5 books I need to review to be totally caught up, but I'm not going to do that right now. Right now I'm going to tell you a little bit about my relationship with books.
I already told you a little about how I fell in love with books last year. How that one book and the simple act of rereading it brought me into this crazy world. When I was in sixth grade, I read Gone with the Wind. I was inappropriately proud of this accomplishment because it was HUGE. I mean, seriously. This book is like 800 pages. And I read and understood it, mostly. I think that is when I fell in love with BOOKS. Not just books "oh how I love to read" but "it's huge and I'm gonna read it all and I'M BETTER THAN YOU because I can."
So, okay, a bit of an attitude problem there. I think I'm over that now, but I still get an insane sense of accomplishment when I finish a book over 400 pages. I love detailed stories that NEED that many pages to tell a story. 

Stephen Lawhead wrote a series called The Pendragon Cycle. It is five books long and even though each book is only about 450 pages (as a comparison, books 3-7 of the Harry Potter series are anywhere from 400-700 odd pages), it takes FOREVER to get through. In fact, I still haven't finished. I think I just got my hands on Pendragon (the fourth book in the cycle) around senior semester and didn't get very far.
I hear you saying, "Well okay, Harry Potter is seven books and by your own admission the last few books are huge. How does it take you forever to read a cycle of five books that have fewer pages?"
And this is when I tell you about the brilliance of Stephen Lawhead. He takes the story of Arthur and Camelot and pulls it back at least three generations. Before Arthur, before Merlin--long before any of them. He writes with such attention to detail and story. When I describe his writing, I usually liken it to Old English tales, like Beowulf. Sometimes it is hard to get through, but when you do, it is worth it.

And yet, sometimes, that is not what I need to read. I love ... and the only word I can think of here is "trudging" through a long series. The word choice alone shows that at times it is a bit of a chore. And that is part of the reason why I think I love young adult literature. The writing style is at times simple, (not stupid) but the content is not. Plus, as a rule, I can blaze through them in no time at all. Enter John Green novels. 
But unlike some adult series, young adult novels (especially John Green) speak to the reader in a very real way. The Pendragon Cycle is a good story; An Abundance of Katherines speaks to me about love and loss. I think that by nature, no matter how story driven Young Adult novels are, they always tell us something about ourselves. See also, Harry Potter. I think that is something you tend to lose in adult fiction. 
I almost went this entire post without owning up to my Nicholas Sparks weakness. Oops. There it is. 

At the end of the day, I love reading books that make me think. Books that make me USE the very expensive four year degree I earned. But sometimes, I need a break. And sometimes, that looks like young adult books, Nicholas Sparks books, and lots and lots of TV. 

PS I've finally finished Eureka. If you haven't seen the show, please. Do yourself a favor. Go watch it. It is hilarious.