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I’m still slogging through the doldrums but maybe if I just pound through some posts I’ll get enough momentum to leave them behind. At least that’s what I’m hoping will happen. Let’s start with something I always enjoy: books!
Funny enough, when I took these pictures a month ago, these are the books I intended to read right away. That…did not happen. I renewed Mistborn and plan to read it after I finish this novel I keep seeing recommended everywhere. (I’m about 50 pages in and not quite hooked yet. We’ll see.) Since I bought the top two on that stack, I’ve had to set them aside until I finish all the ones I’ve gotten from the library.
And oh my goodness, did I have terrible timing on my library holds! A dozen or more books became available within days of each other. Two of them had other holds, meaning I wouldn’t be able to renew them, so they took priority. After the third or fourth email from the library about yet another book waiting for me, I just started ignoring them. Thank goodness Chandler doesn’t charge a reshelving fee or I’d have been in trouble.
Anyway, let’s talk about the two I did read. Both of them, coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, dealt with mental illness. Maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling extra anxious lately? Maybe I was drawn to them because of the anxiety? I don’t know.
First, I have a deep and abiding love of The Bloggess. Jenny Lawson cracks me right up. She’s irreverent and awfullly sweary, but that woman is one of the funniest writers I’ve ever read.
That said, I didn’t LOVE Furiously Happy. I liked it quite a bit. It made me laugh out loud more than once. There were several passages that I wanted to shout from the rooftops because everyone needs to know what it’s like for people with invisible illnesses, both physical and mental. She’s real and honest and so so funny. But. I don’t know…it got a little repetitive. Like I think she told a couple of the same stories more than once? That seems like an editing error. I guess I’d just rather read her blog on occasion than read a whole book of longish blog posts.
I felt the same way about All the Bright Places. Good but not as great as people were making it out to be. It said some really important things about bipolar disorder and death and grief and therapy and how little we think we know about people sometimes. But. The story was so formulaic: troubled “bad boy” falls for “perfect” popular girl and changes her life forever. I kind of wish the framework for the good stuff hadn’t been done a million times before. It took away from the impact of the profound bits, I think.
Also, after a handful disappointing YA books, I may be forced to admit I’m getting too old for that genre. No, I do not want to talk about it. Harumph.
Speaking of which, and as a follow up to my last What We’re Reading post, I was kind of meh about the Mango book. Interesting premise (the main character is a girl with synesthesia, which I find fascinating) but the plot was just mediocre.
Longbourn, however, surprised me. I don’t think P&P is Austen’s best work but it seems to be her most popular. It’s been done and redone thirty thousand times, so I was skeptical of yet another “reimagining.” This one was good, guys. So many things I hadn’t even thought about. Race and class issues. Where everyone’s “x pounds a year” comes from. (Answer: slaves, sometimes. Eek.) What it means to marry–or not marry–for love or convenience at different socioeconomic levels. Who washes Lizzie’s underwear when it’s that time of the month. It’s such a good portrayal of the less-than-polished side of that time period.
(Plus there’s some decent romance involved for those of you who swoon over Darcy. Just sayin’.)
I also just finished plowing through A Game of Thrones, which… Well, I finally understand why it’s such a huge phenomenon. The world and characters Martin has created are fantastic. Some of them are AWFUL, but man, you can’t help loving to hate them. The drama is just so good. FYI, it’s definitely R-rated. I’d like to read the rest of the series once he finishes the last book, but I don’t plan to watch the show. I can only imagine how graphic HBO has made it and I prefer not.
And I know some people will take issue with me reading books that contain all the violence and sex and foul language. Other people will call me a prude for not wanting to watch the show. Others may think I’m a hypocrite for doing one but not the other. That’s fine. Everyone has their standards for media they feel comfortable with. You do you, friends. I’ll do the same.
(For what it’s worth, it’s hard to find current stuff–even in YA–that doesn’t use the f-bomb these days. You almost can’t read any modern literature without coming across language, sex, and/or violence. And, quite frankly, most classics contain it too. That doesn’t justify anyone’s standards either way, but it’s worth noting.)
For the kiddos, I’ve been drawn to beautiful illustrations lately. Clean and graphic. Stylized and modern. Classically gorgeous. Abstract and free. Just give me all the bright colors and I’m a happy mama.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to David’s pick this month, which I unfortunately had to return before I took any photos, starring the ever-bizarre artist Hieronymous Bosch. We have a print of a detail of a Bosch painting in our dining room. We even joked about naming baby boy Hieronymous when I was pregnant. (It was evidently believable enough that people were not quite sure how to react, which we found endlessly funny.)
Anyway, the pictures are fun, the story isn’t terrible, and hearing Margot say “pish posh Uh-romma-miss Bosh!” has kept us laughing enough that I may need to find us a copy.
What about you? Read anything good lately?