I have always loved reading. I was the girl with the glasses and the book in the corner at recess. As I've grown up, I've not had as much time/motivation to read. And when I did read, I would usually opt for the easy YA books with easily digestible and fantastical plots. Lately I have made it a sort of mission to read more big-girl books. I brought a big stack of those I-really-want-to-read-this-but-not-right-now paperbacks on my big summer odyssey. And I did it!
I have no memory of the order that I read them, so I will start current and work backwards. I am currently reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I really enjoy it. It is addictive enough that I carry the 617-page book around in my purse, yet not so addictive that I can live my life without staying up all night. Sometimes it gets a little Jesus-y for my Jew-theist mind but Irving is a great writer. All the characters are multi-layered and I would love to meet little Mr. Meany and hear his infamous voice. It's a good combination of heady religion philosophy mixed in with magical stories of two boys growing up together. I haven't finished it, but I think I would recommend it. I am looking forward to reading some of Irving's other books.
While I was at Cherubs, I read Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Quite lovely. I would normally read a book this short (148 pages, big font) in a day or two, but I had to spread it out because I was so busy in my summer program. I think this did me good. I had to really savour the little bit I could read each time. I got to enjoy my first read for a longer period of time. I am very excited for the movie coming out next May. It looks decadent and delightful, just like the book.
I read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury in Chicago. It was not quite what I expected, but worth a read. I liked the future world it took place in. Let me rephrase. I liked looking into that scary window. I did not like the world. As evidenced by this post, I quite enjoy reading and storytelling in all forms. Contrary to Owen Meany which is quite long but feels like a gentle breeze, Fahrenheit 451 was short, but dense and muddled. While the plot and characters were compelling, the writing was abundantly stream-of-consciousness and crammed.
While we were in Michigan with the family, I started Submarine by Joe Dunthorne. I had seen the movie based on this book a few years ago and remember liking it a lot. Funny side story: the day that I started to read this book, my family and friends chose the movie on instant Netflix to watch for movie night. It was peculiar. I find Dunthorne captivating. Oliver Tate was simultaneously repulsive and quite appealing. It felt very adolescent. Often, adult authors pander to teen archetypes that feel condescending. This felt real. The story is silly and entertaining. Wonderful read. Wonderful movie. Although I will mention that they seem like entirely separate entities with a vaguely similar plot. Enjoy them individually.
I saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter earlier this summer and had a jolly good time. I knew I wanted to read the book, but I forgot about it for a while. One day I went into a Barnes and Noble and I saw the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith on the clearance table. It was fate. I loved it. It had a bit of that dense history book style, but in a good way when paired with the fantastical theme. I adore "real-life" mythology and repurposed fairy tale media. They just pull on all the right heartstrings. I had a blast reading this book. Definitely reeled me in.
A few months ago, I was having dinner with my dear friend Jamie and he asked me if I had heard of Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. It is wonderous. I don't want to sputter with human language whilst trying to describe this book. If you want a deliciously bizarre experience, read it. That is all.
Oh man, I also have no words to describe this next one. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky. I read the book a few months ago and fell in love. Chbosky has perfected the teenage voice. One thing that was frustrating, but then fulfilling by the end, was the subtle way he beat around the bush with some of the plot points. Like what the aunt did and her life and death. As a reader, it was annoying at times, but it made perfect sense that Charlie would write his letters that way because he was processing it all at the same time. I want to reread the book after seeing the movie, cause I don't remember it all exactly.
I need to talk about the movie though. I first saw it the day before it opened at a special screening with a talkback with Steven Chbosky. It hit me so fucking hard. Yes, expletives are necessary. I bawled throughout the whole thing and then I went to my car and sobbed with my knees pulled up to my chest for at least half an hour. It pushed right on the "oh hey it would be senior year and look they're graduating and they're all such good friends and I have no friends and I'm so lonely and what the fuck am I doing with my life" buttons in my brain. Man. I called my dad and stepmom and just sat there, feeling it all. My dad and I ended up meeting for late night comfort food at Swingers. I just couldn't face going home. I was recovering for awhile but I am in a good place about it all for now. I even went and saw the movie again and didn't feel like my heart was pulled out. Just normal movie nostalgia tears.
Besides all my emotional baggage, I really do think it is a fantastic movie. The cast is flawless. Emma Watson was so heartfelt and fun and she actually mostly pulled off the American accent. The scene where Sam and Patrick dance at the school dance was just the best. Cutie. Logan Lerman totally has acting chops! I was pleased. And Ezra Miller. Man, he rocks. I love the way they handled the scene when Patrick kisses Charlie. Anyway, see this movie. Please.
Next on my palette might be Lolita or The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know please!