Sunday, January 4, 2009

Follow the yellow brick road...

Lately I’ve been reading some of what I would call “intellectual” books, so naturally, I’m moving back to the trashier side of life.

I re-read The Great Gatsby for the hundredth time. I can’t pinpoint why it’s one of my favorite books, but every time I read it, I find something else I love about it. This time, it was Gatsby. I feel so sorry for this man who was in love with a woman for pretty much his whole life, then dies because of something she did. The whole time, I just can't help but feel bad because he did everything in his life because of someone he hoped would love him back, and even if she did, he never got to really be with her. It’s sad. But even still, I love it!

Then I read Toni Morrison’s new novel, A Mercy, which is about a group of people living on a farm/plantation in the pre-Revolutionary War era. It’s told through the owner of the farm, his wife, their three female slaves, two "hired" farm hands, and the mother of one of the slaves. It isn’t your typical slavery-is-bad novel, but it definitely doesn’t glorify it either. It tells the story of all these people and how they came to this farm and all the hardships they are facing while there, in addition to making a commentary on the land and the time period and human nature. I think it’s one of Toni Morrison’s best, so I understand why the New York Times named it as one of the best books of 2008.

So, after reading these two, I decided to read Chelsea Handler’s Are you there Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea. I’d read so many reviews of it online and heard about how hilarious it is, so, when I got it for Christmas, I’m began reading almost immediately. It was a really easy read and definitely funny, but I was kind of disappointed. It’s a book that’s listed as a memoir, yet it reads more like short stories. Short stories with very little cohesion other than the narrator. Now, I am really not one to talk since I write this blog and a lot of times it can be rather random, but I’m not planning on putting all of it into a book and calling it a memoir. I don’t know why it bugged me so much, maybe it’s that I felt like I missed a lot trying to look for something to connect one story with the next and it negatively affected my opinion of the book. I do, however, want to read her other book, My Horizontal Life, partly because it will be more unified, but mainly because I think I will enjoy it more.

Now, you would think after reading one “entertainment” book(not quite trashy, but it’s on the yellow brick road leading to The Trashy City), I would go back to my “intellectual” books, but I figure that I should keep going on this path. So now, I’m reading a book my cousin gave me for Christmas, Salem Falls by Jodi Piccoult. Normally, I don’t like to read books by authors who come out with new books every other month because they obviously don’t take as much time as is necessary to create a truly great novel, but since my cousin recommended it and since Piccoult is becoming one of the most popular writers of recent times, I’m giving it a chance. I like to read what I call pop-culture authors because they are so popular for a reason and I feel that it is an important part of our culture, therefore it’s something I feel I should have an opinion on. I believe firmly in the “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it” philosophy, so here I am. So far I’m about a 150 pages in and it’s not as bad (read: trashy) as I thought it would be. It’s not the best writing in the world, but it’s definitely better than Dan Brown. Although, to be fair, I’m pretty sure that a 7th grader could write better than Dan Brown. But, the story is really good so far, which is something I can enjoy.

Next, I think I’m going to read Confessions of Shopoholic. Like Dorothy, I’m going to follow the yellow brick road, meet the Wizard (VC Andrews, I think) and then maybe I realize there is no place like my intellectual book loving home. Hopefully, I’ll also find something great along the way!

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