Friday, September 7, 2007

Did Lou stop reading?

No. Lou just got lazy with posting. That's part of it, at least. In the intervening months:

I started The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter. I picked this up because his new book came out and the reviews fairly uniformly trashed it, but reminded readers how good Ocean Park had been. I'd always meant to read this because my aunt and uncle have a summer home maybe 1/4 mile from Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, MA, and I know the area like the back of my hand. And while references to Linda Jean's restaurant and the Flying Horses kept me compelled on a personal level, I found the book tiring. It could have been half as long, in my opinion. As a long-winded, rambling writer myself, it's a bit hypocritical for me to say: but enough with the explanations & descriptions already, Carter! I gave up 3/4 of the way through, not because I was bored, per se, although I was, but because I put the book down long enough that I'd lost the thread.

I'm working my way through the Harry Potters starting at Book One. To me this is a luxury, a treat, an indulgence. I'm on Goblet of Fire right now, and I should finish that this weekend. What a pleasure it is to see that JK mentioned things in Chapter One of Book One that would become resoundingly important in the final book. Brilliance! And charming to revisit the fact that Books 1 & 2 were short enough that they could be tucked, inconspicuously, into a pocketbook.

I read Ernest Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying for school. Finished it in a little more than one sitting. Tragic, heavy book... one where it takes you clear til the end to actually feel sympathy for any of the characters. But what an impact. I was stunned, disappointed, when I met with my seven 9th grade advisees this week and found out that they all thought it was b-o-r-i-n-g! But to my surprise (and honestly renewing my faith that 14 year old girls are still GIRLS) they were way put off by the somewhat explicit sex scenes!

I also re-read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne for school. Still a great book-- although not according to my students-- but I see the dead spaces, in my opinion, for what they are-- places where a genius short-story author stretches to make a short-story into a novel. I'll take "Young Goodman Brown" or "The Minister's Black Veil" any day.

So that's my skinny-- still reading, just reporting less. Will try to be better.

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