Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rereading Revisited

The Hobbled Runner just sent me a link to an article he saw about rereading. We have discussed this before - this article has some interesting commentary on this phenomenon. The premise here is that some books don't hold up the same - books that, as children or younger adults, we held in fond memory, don't provide the same experience upon a reread, and leave us disappointed.

Yet, she points out some titles that have done exactly the opposite. I have just had such an experience. I just finished rereading Catcher in the Rye. I remember enjoying it as a late teen/early 20-something, when I first read it. It was, however, a far more powerful experience as a 42-year old with totally different life experience. Painful. Touching. And, frustrating - in that I wish I could shake some of the adults in Holden's life. Don't they see what's going on with this kid? Believe me - I didn't see it this way at all as a teenager.

To quote the article, who in turn is quoting Michael Chabon after he reread Anna Karenina, " turned out to be an entirely different book than the one he remembered reading as an undergraduate."

I'm not sure we want to revisit this discussion, but it was an interesting essay for me to read after just rereading a compelling title. Then again, I'm on the record as being an avid re-reader!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Capture the Flag

The game Capture the Flag has showed up in two books I've read recently. The thing that struck me about it was that both times, the participants had extraordinary powers. In Hero, by Perry Moore, it is a group of probationary superheroes; though they are supposed to be playing without using their powers, some of them use a little extra speed to get places. The other one is one of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books. I can't remember which one it was, but the half-divine campers of Camp Halfblood play a pretty harsh game of Capture the Flag complete with swords, armor, arrows, etc.

Do normal people play Capture the Flag, in real life or in books? Or is it just people with supernatural powers?

Saturday, January 19, 2008


A just got a new set of Scholastic Book order forms in his backpack, and once again I'm struck by how little they appeal to me. A huge number of the books are movie tie-ins: High School Musical 2 and Hannah Montana loom large; there's also Alvin and the Chipmunks, and The Golden Compass in picture-book format, complete with replica alethiometer.

There are some books that I wouldn't mind buying, but they tend to be bundled with books that I either don't want or already own: Newbery Award winners, boxed sets of Artemis Fowl (I only need one more to have the set; I don't need #1-4!), etc.

At the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon, back when I was a kid, there were tons of great choices. I don't remember non-books being an option, but there are tons of them now (an American Idol Event Planner, Bratz fashion design pack, Spymaster voice disguiser to name a few).

I want to encourage my kids to choose good books, but they are so few and far between that I don't think that this is the right venue.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Marking the spot

My friend K, (the one in NE that was so excited about goodreads but has yet to sign up as my friend!), dropped a book in the mail the day after we spoke. I'm reading Nineteen Minutes now, it was a previous book group pick from a few months ago. She had lent it to another friend before sending it to me.

Well, using my great skills of observation, it turns out one of them is a small fold in the corner dog-ear place marker and the other seems to be one of those folks who puts that corner all the way down on the line they stopped on.

I always use a bookmark of some sort. Always have. My guess is we're all one way or the other.....

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happiness is...

I'm so happy.

When I was a kid, some of my favorite books were Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time plus the sequels, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, and Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain. (I had other books that I read and reread, but I would rank these three series as the top three, in no particular order.)

A. is a voracious reader, but isn't ready for the first two sets of books; I had gently pushed The Book of the Three on him a while ago, and he gently pushed it back. Last weekend, though, he picked it up again...and he loves it! He has been reading favorite parts out loud and asking me which characters I like. I have known Taran, Gurgi, and Fflewddur Fflam for such a long time; having A. meet them for the first time is like reliving a very important part of my childhood.

Lloyd Alexander did a book-signing in a little toy store in our town when A. was about 2 years old. He was fairly reticent - I read later that he was extremely shy - but when I asked him to sign a first-edition copy of The Book of Three and told him how much the series meant to me, he became quite animated. I remember telling him how much I was looking forward to sharing the books with my son - and now I am.

This is true happiness.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Made it to the plains

I've always heard that fads and fashions work their way into the center of the country from the coasts.

Well, just got off the phone with my friend Krissy, in Lincoln, NE (perhaps a little west of center, but getting there!), and she was all excited about something someone brought up at their bookclub last night. Yep,! She was surprised/not surpised I'd already heard of it, and I've duly sent her the link to be a friend. I don't know why I hadn't before, except of the ones I'd originally sent out back in Sept, only JTM signed up. So, I guess I just kind of stopped, and kept reading and posting!

Reading is such a solitary endeavor at times and this makes it so interesting. I hope she'll sign up and add a few of her own good ideas from the NE book club.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

2007 recap

164 books v. 685 loads of laundry.


I just don't know about this being a grown-up stuff. Seems like there should be more time for fun!

(before you think I'm completely crazy, the addition of a new front-loading washer started the whole tally marks in the laundry room craze).

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

I've pretty much given up on making New Year's Resolutions since they're always the same - exercise more, lose weight, be more patient with the kids. It's hard to consider them binding when they've been my resolutions for...I don't even know how long.

I thought about resolving to read more challenging fiction, or at least set a ratio for myself. One serious work for every two young adult novels, or something like that. But what's the point of reading if it ends up being a chore? We've all talked about the pile on the bedside table and the lure of the new book shelf at the library. Why deprive myself?

Why, indeed. My resolution is to read whatever strikes my fancy, when it strikes my fancy, and to enjoy myself as I do so.

Happy New Year!