Friday, September 9, 2011

Reading



I've discovered that it is somewhat impossible for me to read one book at a time.  Generally I'm reading a work of fiction aside something non-fiction, and one of them tends to be more intellectually challenging while the other is just for my own enjoyment as a reader and to (hopefully) help me grow as a writer.  Since I will sadly be taking a break from school until I officially become an Oregon resident (because, surprise, Sam and I are not made of money), I am all the more determined to continue my reading, especially that of the challenging nature.

Here is what I'm currently reading, along with my list of books I hope to read in the next few months.

1. Deadeye Dick, Kurt Vonnegut

I discovered how much I liked Vonnegut in a Literary Analysis class last semester when I read his short story Harrison Bergeron.  I highly recommend reading that.  Vonnegut likes to make somewhat depressing stories very funny, which I appreciate.  After all, who doesn't like to laugh?  Deadeye Dick is certainly a sad story so far, but so deliciously written and decidedly amusing.  I have no idea how he does it, which is why I'm so intrigued.  I'm ashamed to admit I've never read what is arguably his most famous work, Slaughterhouse Five.  Perhaps I should add that to my reading list, so I'm not a complete embarrassment as an English major.

2. In the Grip of Grace, Max Lucado

Admittedly, grace is one of the hardest things for me to give as well as receive.  I have no comprehension of it, and any book that can somehow help me to understand it better is something I want to read.  I love Lucado's writing because it is poetic yet accessible.  Even his children's books have had a profound effect on me, particularly You Are Special and If Only I Had a Green Nose.  I also credit Every Day Deserves a Chance as being part of what helped me out of a particularly difficult time in my life.  I'm really looking forward to getting deeper into this book.

3. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

I found this for $3 at a used book store in Sebastopol, and I couldn't pass it up.  I feel like this is another book that every English major must read, and I feel like it's something I should own.  Don't ask me why I feel those things, but I do.

4. House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III

I got this book for twenty cents at my favorite thrift store that I used to live across the street from in Petaluma.  I know there's a movie about it, and I know it's creepy.  I also know it's part of Oprah's Book Club, which makes me rather wary of it.  I made the mistake of taking Oprah's advice on another book when I was sixteen - She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, which was probably the worst book I've ever read.  I don't even remember if the writing was bad or if I just completely hated the story, but whatever it was made me think Oprah has bad taste in books.  And sorry to those of you who are fans of She's Come Undone, but I would probably also think you have bad taste in books and you probably wouldn't like what I like, so you should probably stop reading this list.  Hehe.  Either way, I'm giving this book a chance but if I'm not into it in fifty pages, it's going back to the thrift store.

5. Edifying Discourses, Soren Kierkegaard

I got this for twenty cents when I bought the above book, and it stood out to me mostly because my cousin Erin, the philosopher, happens to be a huge Kierkegaard fan.  I'm excited to read it because of the section titles such as, "Love Covers a Multitude of Sins", "Man's Need of God", and "The Narrowness is the Way" and because Kierkegaard was a Christian philosopher.  I love it when highly intelligent people can use logic to explain Christianity, which might explain my love for C.S. Lewis.  I must admit that I am intimidated, seeing as how I'm not much of a philosopher myself, but I'm hoping this will stretch my brain and help me not sound so uninformed when a philosophical conversation presents itself.

6. Crazy Love, Francis Chan

In the protestant church world, I'm way late jumping on this bandwagon, but I've heard enough good things about this book that I'm encouraged to read it.  I'm excited to find out what everyone is so excited about.

7. The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende

I don't know much about this book, other than that the author has received critical acclaim for her works.  The story doesn't necessarily sound like something that I would normally choose, which is why I want to read it.  I like to force myself out of my boundaries every now and then.  Plus, I got this one for twenty cents, too, so I thought, why not?

And on my Kindle (which came with my phone - no, I do not own a Kindle because I am very much a lover of the printed page, the look, smell, and feel of a real book), I have three books that were free downloads.  Robert's Rules of Writing, by Robert Masello, Portable MFA in Creative Writing by the New York Writers Workshop, and I'm an English Major - Now What? by Timothy Lemire.  Those are going to act as my teachers and classroom for now, hopefully to encourage me to keep going with this whole writing thing.

And finally...my goal is to someday read the Harry Potter series.  No, I've never read it, and yes, I felt like a complete outcast among my fellow English majors at Sonoma State.  When these books came out I was in high school and all the younger kids were reading them - all the kids who eventually became my classmates at Sonoma State.  I was under the impression they were for elementary students, so when I was sixteen and in AP English, thinking I had better read all the classics and literary works before becoming an English major at Long Beach State, I thought it would be a waste of time to read kids books.  No offense to you hard-core fans, of course.  I'm interested in reading them and I plan to, I am merely explaining why I haven't yet.

So there you have it - that's what I'm reading and planning on reading.  If you have any other recommendations, or if you see something on my list that you think I should just skip, let me know, and likewise I promise to tell you which of these are worth your time and which aren't. 

And if you are only reading blogs, get thee to the library and read a real book, because blogs are not nearly as well-written as books, especially now that any old bloke can write any silly thing and call it a blog.

Case in point.

5 comments:

  1. I just picked up a few books for ME at the library the other week (they were rather silly fiction novels) and it was SO wonderful to just engross myself in reading again. I prefer to read a book at a rather quick pace and move right through, which is next impossible when you have young kids. You are always doing something, being interrupted, or falling asleep when you try to pick up a book. But I am slowly learning to read a chapter at a time and be content with small opportunities to bury my nose in a book. thanks for the suggestions..!

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  2. I got House of Sand and Fog at a thrift store about a month ago and it's on my "To Read" (TR) shelf for my 2 weeks off of work! And I don't know how you can read multiple books at once -- don't they get mixed up in your head? Lastly, I have a collection of short stories by Kurt Vonnegut and I remember reading one and liking it, so maybe I'll move that to the TR shelf... Let me know how Kierkegaard is! I've been wanting to read A.W. Tozer cause he sounds like he's got a good head on his shoulders, similar to CS Lewis.

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  3. I also tried one of Oprah's book club choices once and made it through one chapter before I tossed it. I'm sure some of her book choices were decent, but I've never bothered to try another one. I also bought Anna Karenina when it was on sale because I thought it deserved a spot in my 'classics' collection, but I've never opened it. I'll wait to hear your opinion of it. I'm curious to hear what you think about Crazy Love. We just finished reading it in our small group and while I really liked parts of it, I'm also on the fence about parts of it. I must admit that I haven't had much time for reading in quite some time, so the only books I seem to have read recently are Lucado books. It seems like every time I finish one of his books I feel like it's my new favorite. I just finished The Great House of God and I completely agree with your comment about how his writing is accessible. It's about the Lord's Prayer and he goes into so much detail about each part of it and what it really means that it made it a lot more personal and modern to me. I always wondered why that was Jesus' model prayer since it seemed so short and impersonal. It's a great read about how to really pray the Lord's prayer in a personal way. And since I'm out of Lucado books (don't worry; I'll buy more soon) I'm reading Philip Yancey's Reaching for the Invisible God. I picked it up from Grandpa Wuth's collection and discovered that he gave it to her on her 80th birthday while she was in the midst of chemo treatments. So far, and I've only read a few pages, it's sounds like it will help people deal with authentic doubts and grow in their faith. And what it really means to have a 'relationship' with an invisible being since it can't be like our human relationships. Anyway, it sounds interesting and I'm excited to read it since it was Grandpa's way of encouraging Grandma during a hard time in her life. I haven't read any just-for-fun books lately, but I hope to soon!

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  4. Oh Harry Potter....I just finished book 5 two weeks ago maybe and think you will enjoy them! I decided to try to read them before returning to school, thinking I would be an outcast, and it was a smart decision, because EVERYONE has read them! They are great, but to me, much more great when you can discuss them with someone, so when you start to read them please give me a call and I can encourage you along the process. And it's possible that I might not have finished when you begin, because my reading it being taken up by lots of other things these days....so book 6 might still be on the shelf in a few months! =)

    So happy you have time and a list of things to read! Can't wait to hear how it goes and I'm totally impressed with your choices. If you could give call me after every two-four pages in Anna Karenina and tell me what happens, I would be more than happy to check the book off my list and say I have read it. Not sure I am that brave...but as a future English teacher, I do feel I should both own and read it. And the cover should be a hard cover and look old....cause those are a lot more fun looking! =)

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