December 30, 2011

comfort reads

To close out 2011, I made myself read The Descendants (and in a short-sighted attempt to get my Dad out of the house, invited him to watch the movie - thank God he declined), and even took a few bites out of We Need to Talk About Kevin before throwing in the literary towel and hitting the '90s young adult trash - hard. Scott and I moved in upstairs as soon as my mom got back from the hospital, and lo - musty, dusty boxes filled with SVH books still haunt the corners of the room that went from guest mini-suite to kids' playroom to storage room to guestroom again. I dug the Wakefield twins out of their dusty YA grave, borrowed a flashlight, and that's how I've been getting to sleep these past few bewildering weeks, when the last hours of each day leave a person with not much more to think about than the sadness behind you and the tough days ahead. I've said it before and I'll say it again ... there is no salve like the salve of Sweet Valley. Each installment is like marshmallows floating in your cocoa. Small, puffy, easily swallowed, and forgettable.

Last night's pick: Super Star #1: Lila's Story. SIAS: Spoiled daughter of an old-money tycoon stops her father's ill-fated wedding to a social climbing b*tch, falling in and out of love with a typical Sweet Valley jerk along the way. I drifted off to sleep wondering - 1) How did an idiot like George Fowler manage to stay so wealthy? and 2) Did I ever believe these stories were remotely plausible? ... but really, that's the point of this junk binge. Right now I'm choosing books that let me escape. The Descendants was wonderful, but it was too familiar - nitty gritty Hawaii, from the ocean to Queen's Hospital. Two surly kids and a grieving husband. I am glad I read it - it was like submerging myself into icy morning North Shore water - a cutting, deep cold, a feeling you can't ignore - but with relief afterwards I turned back to the shallow warmth of Calico Drive and the pleasantly simple problems of pleasantly simpleminded teenagers.

The ever-fabulous Vickie gifted me with my very own Kindle(!!!) this Christmas, and thoughtfully loaded it with SVH and the millenium's answer to it - Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, etc. - I am set! Cub's ecstatic - he has always thought I should own a Kindle, so marvelously earth-friendly - and friendlier still toward this space-challenged couple and our humble, cluttered abode. I did warn him that e-reader ownership doesn't eliminate the need for page-turning action and/or bookstore smell. But now maybe I can part with some of my old volumes. Still a victory, in his eyes.

Hopefully soon I'll dig myself out from under the soft, fluffy rubble and pick up We Need to Talk About Kevin again. Or finish the Hunger Games trilogy - I left off at the beginning of Catching Fire. For now, though, I'm totally content to hide out in Sweet Valley ... hopefully all the literary cotton candy I'm consuming won't rot my mind too badly.

June 3, 2011

Summer 2011

Of my eleventy-thousand blogs, Three Sided Sophie is by far the most neglected. Work, home stuff, short attention span, a perverse fascination with Farmville, plus a ton more excuses as to why I can't sit down and finish a book (or on the off chance that I do finish one, I can't take five minutes to blog about the momentous occasion and/or the book I just finished.)

In summers past I've been so determined to finish a diverse list of books ... and never have. This summer I have no determination but oh my gosh, I have the one thing I've been lacking for months. I don't know where it came from but it came back - A DESIRE TO READ (things other than teacher editions of basal readers, the latest research on special education, and food labels, I should clarify.)

I just finished a book most people read for the first time in 5th or 6th grade - The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I have to admit that I didn't follow the plot, clues or characters that closely, and aside from figuring out the "America the Beautiful" connection with the first set of clues (although I'm sure pretty much everyone does, so I can't feel too smart about that), I didn't even attempt to figure out the culprit and/or heir. But I like the feel of old-fashioned murder mysteries, so that was an easy start to my summer reading.

Making my way through The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity by Jill Lepore, and The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War by Fred Anderson, so that I have a better understanding of the "side wars" that are given pretty much less than a page apiece in the American History textbook I teach out of for Social Studies. Dry and dense, like ... I don't know, some unspoilable provisions Revolutionary War soldiers would have packed for a long journey on foot?

Today I started and will probably finish Uncharted Territori by Tori Spelling. (The key to actually finishing books this summer may be just letting myself read anything and everything I feel like reading, instead of succumbing to guilt and shame. This also means if the month's Cosmo is more enticing than Harper's Bazaar, I should really learn to admit that I don't always buy magazines for the articles ...)

Even though I have a hard time with anything by a British author who isn't Nick Hornby, I'm currently very obsessed with Anne Hathaway so I decided I have to read One Day by David Nicholls. Also, I have Still Missing by Chevy Stevens but am not positive I want to read it since the first page I randomly flipped to had the protagonist sinking an axe into the back of her captor's head.

That's it for now - thank goodness for the rain today. Yay Tori Spelling!

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