I had a really nice coffee date with my buddy Victor last night. We hung out at the coffee shop until it closed and then went and got a margarita (Matt had band practice at the house). He is a movie buff so we spent a lot of time discussing movies, books, and his screenplay, among other things. This helped me realize something:
I need something to read. I have been alternating between reading classics, and reading fluff. This is partially because I have had bad luck with the last few classics I have picked and needed some fluff to get the bad taste out of my head. I LOVE to read but I am getting pickier in my old age and I need some fresh stuff now.
Here's a sampler for context:
one of my favorite books of ALL TIME is the Count of Monte Cristo. It is so fascinatingly complex and interwoven but the characters are so well drawn and I have never rooted for a disturbed semi-hero like I root for Edmond Dantes every time I read this book. Which is about once a year now.
Also in this annual re-read category is Cold Comfort Farm (also possibly Kate Beckinsale's best movie ever, this translated surprisingly well to the screen and was brilliantly cast - I love you Joanna Lumley!), a clever little 1930's satire.
Another in this annual re-read category is American Gods. I grew up obsessed with world mythologies and this book is a smorgasbord of some of the best bits, shoehorned into an epic story of, not good vs. evil, but old gods (Loki, Thor and Anubis, among others) vs. new gods (manifestations of modern life and things like technology - media, the internet).
A possible new addition to this category that bridges the classic/fluff designations is Miss Pettigrew Lives for the Day. I thought this was adorable and I loved the writing. This is the kind of fluff I am looking for now.
I am looking for something new. It doesn't have to immediately join the annual re-read list but of the last couple of books I have read there have been a couple that I just put down as I decided they weren't worth my time to finish.
The last couple of classics I have read were The Scarlet Letter and Vanity Fair. Of TSL I have to say I enjoyed the language because I am a Hawthorne fan, but I wanted to punch every single character. That book does not translate well into the modern era for me. Vanity Fair started out ok, but similar to TSL, I lost patience with the complete lack of sympathetic characters (Becky Sharp starts out as interesting, at least, but just turns into a repeating caricature, and I just stopped caring about Amelia by the end, she is really a damp sock of a character). I think I need to stay away from writers who got paid by the word for a while.
Jane Eyre has been heartily recommended but it keeps being checked out when I go to the library. Instead I read all of the Jasper Fforde novels starting with the Eyre Affair and was highly amused. But he hasn't written much since then and I need some suggestions! Anyone, anyone?
P.S. now I can't remember who blogged it, but per someone's great review I think I am getting Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) for Christmas...