Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I've Been in my MInd. It's Such a Fine Line

Iowa at the ass-end of Winter shot.
I'm usually pretty good with Winter. I make myself go out and play almost every day. I ride my bike to work every day, unless the roads are so bad that I almost crash my bike in front of a car (last week). I finally have the money to afford warm clothes and I spend it on those, so I don't feel so trapped. The other thing I do is read tons of escapist books.

I am on my 4th book of the year. Not too impressive, but since I do a lot of other things, I read when I can. The first three books I read were rereads of books I picked-up when I was a kid. I am always curious to see how certain works of fiction translate from childhood to adulthood. "Charlotte's Web", for example should be read by everyone every year until we die. It never gets old. Here is my take on the three books I've read so far this year. Please note, that I am such a freak, that every other book I read is written by a man and every other book I read is written by a woman. It fascinates me how men write women characters and vice-versa and then to juxtapose fiction of one gender to another is pretty interesting too.

Anyway. Here is my take on those books:

1.) I reread "Harriet the Spy" in the beginning of January and finished it while we were in Austin. I loved that book when I was kid. I got picked on a lot, because my parents were beatnik artist types and we lived in Mesa, Arizona - the land of conservative Mormons. All the kids called me a hippie spaz. I'm not saying they weren't accurate...

"Harriet the Spy" was one of the first books I read as a kid where the heroine was weird and it was actually a good thing. I loved that she wanted to be a writer and I didn't notice the upper-class lifestyle she lived. On the reread, I was a little disappointed by how snobby Harriet was. The other problem I had with it, which was no fault of the author or the story, was that my daughters watched the Nickolodeon movie over and over when they were little and it stuck pretty closely to the book. So, I had the movie images in my head instead of the leftover kid images.

2.) I reread "White Fang" and  "Call of the Wild" next. I didn't remember much about them at all, so it almost felt like a fresh read. I forgot how brutal they were, but Jack London wrote the animal characters so well, that it almost kills you when the animals are being abused. I loved the books, but I think it will be a while before I read them again...I need some time to let my heart heal.

3.) I just finished "Little Women" yesterday. I know I read it as a kid and I remember liking Jo, but not much else. I was surprised at how loooong it was. 776 pages. There were also a lot of MORALS. I'm sure that was par for the course at the time it was written, but I would have loved, just once for one of them to say, "Hey, get off my ass!" to Marmee. Just once. As a kid I recall liking, but not loving the novel and that's pretty much how I feel about it now too.

Now, I have switched modes and started reading "A Walk in the Woods", by Bill Bryson. I've only read 25 pages, but so far I couldn't ask for better escapism. Hiking the Appalachian trail with a charmingly self-deprecating man? Yes, please!

No comments: