Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Reading

I'm not a reader and aside from a short fling with R. L. Stine's popular Goosebumps series of the early '90s, I never have been. Then I did so much reading in undergrad and grad school (all academic publications: journal article after journal article) I think I decided that once I was finally done school, I was done with reading. Pretty bad attitude, I know, but there you have it.

For the first few years after grad school I held true. I didn't even think about it, really. Reading just wasn't part of my life. I did read a book recommended by a friend here and there, but I wasn't reading more than one or two books per year. And that would have been a "good" year.

2013 was different for a reason I still haven't put my finger on. I started reading again. I spent beautiful summer afternoons lying in our burgundy hammock gently rocked by a breeze under the shade of a towering pine tree canopy, book in hand. I loved it.

Last summer I read Damien Echols's Life After Death, J.K. Rowling's two adult fiction books, and Wil Wheaton's Just a Geek. I know it doesn't sound like much, but for me it was.

Then fall arrived early with its chilly anti-hammock breezes and my reading stopped.

But I'm back! I just finished Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl which was my second book of the year. I'm not well read enough to be able to offer a review that anyone would find interesting let alone useful so I won't even try.

I'm reminded of an exchange in the book: "'Yeah, right. Something Wicked This Way Comes,' Greta says. 'It's good.' She chirps the last bit as if that were all to say about a book: It's good or it's bad. I liked it or I didn't. No discussions of the writing, the themes, the nuances, the structure. Just good or bad. Like a hot dog."

Yup. Don't worry, Greta. That's my level too.

So my reading so far for 2014 has been:
1. Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold: I loved it. Now one of my favourite books.
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: I really hated that I really liked it. Does that make sense? I need to find copies of her two other books, just to see what I really think. It was weird to find out today that they're turning this book into a movie with Ben Affleck. Then again, maybe I should have seen that one coming.

Next on the list is Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Eiko, that one's because of you.



  1. Hurray! I'm curious to know what you think..I've lost all objectivity about it because I'm so addicted to it. Seriously, I have a problem. You might like her third book too - I have a copy you can borrow.

    1. So far so good! I'll definitely let you know once I'm done... Thanks for the reco. Do you mean The Goldfinch? Interesting she seems to release a book per decade.

  2. I am so glad that reading is worming its way back into your life! It's never too late to fall in love with books!

    I read Flynn's first novel a while back (Sharp Objects) and reviewed it on S&TI! if you're curious. It was dark and creepy, which you might like (R.L. Stine! I am right there with you!), but I don't think it was as clever as Gone Girl. Or maybe it wasn't as gimmicky? Not a bad read, but I can't say I'm surprised that it's GG that has catapulted her into the spotlight.

    I'll be curious to see what you think about The Secret History. I am not 100% convinced it will be your kind of book—it's very dense and the writing can be, I think, overwrought. I also reviewed that one on S&TI! if you're interested!

    1. I read your review of Sharp Objects and am intrigued. It's funny how you opened that one, "Are you a seasonal reader?" Perfect.

      I'm only a few pages into The Secret History so far, but I'm enjoying it. I tried to find your review, but a search turned up nothing and it doesn't look like it's listed in your "Books Reviewed" section unless I missed it?