Tuesday, November 17, 2009

reading rainbow

Right now, here's what's on my reading list:

- Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

- In A Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson

- Thank You For Smoking, Christopher Buckley

- Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

- Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer

- Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

- Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Lord Byron (I got curious after reading a mention of how "Byronic" Twilight's Edward is, which frankly is pretty high-falutin' for those books. But I found this verse particularly apt for the setting of Washington State: "There is a pleasure in the pathless woods/There is a rapture on the lonely shore" (ah, how I miss Lake Quinault)

What am I learning by reading all these at about the same time? One, that an author's voice really is unique. It's incredible to get a sense of how much one's environment, education, family, personal beliefs, culture, and personality can diffuse throughout a story. Writing is such a personal act of art. For that matter, so is reading.

I'm also getting a sense of what I like in books. This may seem obvious, but I'm finding it's a good exercise for someone who is picking up reading again seriously after years of not much more than a book here and there, between feedings and changings and work.

I like facts presented by anecdote, in Gladwell's style. (Though I have to say the hilarious Vanity Fair satire of his writing style was spot on.) I like non-fiction, science, political analysis.

I like romance. Surprise, I know. But I do. Meyer's romance is exactly what I would have written and LOVED to read in high school, which makes it embarrassing to read as an adult. I am hoping to find a romantic book I love (does that sound like a personal ad for a book?). So far, Lord Byron's Childe Harold is slowly winning me, though I don't know I'll fall in love with it or the Romantic era-- but stay tuned, things change fast as I read.

Bill Bryson is just laugh out loud funny, and I love that. He manages to make me picture the scene and place himself squarely in the middle of it, bumbling and humble and hilarious.

And one of these days I'm going to pick up a couple novels in French and Spanish, to brush up. Taking suggestions!

You know, appropriately, the Netflix genres exactly mirror my taste in books: documentary (non-fiction), romantic dramas, comedies, foreign. Huh-- this really helps my queue-making decisions!

And- LEONIDS!! I'm staying up-- or at least, I hope to.