April 14, 2005

Reading into things

I really admire people who read…people who read whole books and know how to discuss great literary ideas and interpretations. Two of my daughters are like that. (they take after their dad) They love to read, they can remember details from what they’ve read and they can see the themes and interpretations of the book. I read a book (sometimes the whole thing) and think, “Ah, well that was a nice story.” I don’t have a clue…until someone brings out the interpretations for me. Then I think it’s wonderful and start to see all the nuances of it….but as far as being very intuitive…I’m not. I found this survey on books and by my answers you can tell how pragmatic and sensible I am…intuition and great thought I can only admire from a distance.

1. What book do you want to be? I imagine I would like to be an old favorite kind of book….the kind that is like a fond friendship, that you read often, quote from with bookish friends and read to escape from it all. This would have to be a Jane Austen book……intricate relationships and plot, witty sarcasm, and vivid written scope for the imagination.

2. Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? I did….strangely, when I was in middle school I had a ‘crush’ on Oliver Twist and Huckleberry Finn….they were so pitiful and needed love. What this says about my personality and tendencies is a little too scary to think of…so I won’t. =)

3. The last book you bought is: I bought three old hardcover copies of Louisa May Alcott books…Little Men, Jo’s Boys and Eight Cousins…..from a used bookstore. They look really cool on my shelf. I also bought a bunch of classics for my oldest daughter for Christmas this past December. That’s what she wanted for Christmas…books. (makes me go hmmmm)

4. The last book you read is: I have read others since, but the last one I read and actually finished was the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We had just seen the first movie and I had to know how the story turned out, so I got the books and tore through them all in about 3 weeks. The weird and funny thing about this was that I had a major case of the flu at the time and a high fever…..so it made the story come alive in my brain like no other. It became a sort of out of body experience…..and was very emotional. The flu makes you hyper-emotional I have found. I laid on the couch during the day, wrapped like a cocoon in a blanket reading it…I stayed up late, way into the wee hours reading it until my eyes wouldn’t stay open…and I obsessed about the parts I couldn’t figure out until I found resolution.

5. What are you currently reading? The Giver. This is the book that my seventh grade daughter is reading for Language Arts and it sounded really interesting and disturbing, so I’m reading it. Again, makes me nervous to think about this for long.

6. Five books you would take to a deserted island:
(trying to imagine someone actually packing for a trip to a deserted island)

~The Bible –my favorite book, written by my favorite Author. (excitement, wisdom, direction and comfort….and a great, personal love story)

~Surviving Deserted Islands for Dummies (this is a joke…it’s pretty funny if you think about it)

~Sense and Sensibility --because sense is a rare thing on a deserted island…so I’ve heard….just look at Tom Hanks…started a relationship with a volley ball! If only he had remembered to pack his top 5 books! And besides, I’ll be feeling very sarcastic and in need of humor and biting wit if stranded for more than a day or so…..I wonder what the average stranding time is? It would also help me polish up on my British accents by reading aloud to the monkeys and tropical birds that would visit me regularly.

~Our family photo album --my family might think this is silly—to bring a blank photo album--since all our pictures are online or stuck in a basket on a shelf in the dining room….but I am imagining it all filled in…this is just a make believe quiz.

~Home Remedies for all Occasions --I am hoping it includes all kinds of poisonous insect bite remedies as well as some ideas for keeping up hygiene and skin-care-while-stranded-on-a-deserted-island-without-cosmetics section…and a section on what to do if you have a severe allergic reaction to coconuts or raw fish. *Thinking* I may have to throw in some monkey and tropical bird recipes.

What I’m really thinking as I make fun of this survey: Why do people ask these types of questions? How many people actually get stranded on deserted islands? I think it just causes undo stress and anxiety to make people think of such dreadful possibilities.

Please understand, I harbor no hard bitterness toward hardcore readers…..many of my close friends and family are readers. =) I just have issues with following through (finishing the dreadfully long ones) and understanding the unstated. In high school I knew where the Cliff Notes section was in several bookstores….in college I learned to skim. These days I usually stick to magazine and internet reports and articles. I love knowledge…it’s just the time and dreadful concentration it takes to find it. And I appreciate the quietness and commitment it takes to sit down just to read….I like the idea and find it compelling…..maybe I will have more time for that as my kids leave the nest, but for now I find my life is an endless string of multi-tasking. I will try to remember to answer these questions again in 10 years, when my last fledgling has been shoved out of the nest.

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