Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Books and the Return of Reading Excitement

This year I have returned to the love of reading. A couple of books have really excited me about my favorite pastime ("The Hunger Games," "Never Let Me Go"), which has waned over the past couple of years with law school and other life craziness. And with the approach of summer, the excitement does not appear to be lessening. Part of that reason is that I will have almost no time for reading this summer while studying for the Bar Exam, and that makes me want to read even more. I will have to be careful not to use reading as a procrastination tool this summer. The other part of the reason for continued reading excitement is the arrival of some new books this week.

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

Peter Boxall, ed.

If you know me at all, you know I like lists. Organizing books I want to read is almost as pleasurable to me as actually reading. It's an activity full of hope - imagining all the great things I will read in the future, and the pleasure of checking things off of a list is so satisfying. This is the greatest list ever attempted, and I can't wait to read my way through the list.

The first task is to go through the book and figure out some way of coding what I've read. Should I use a simple check mark? Stickers? Different colors - one for books I've already read, another for books I read in the future? Different colors to denote how I feel about the book?

The book is arranged by century, so clearly the best way to go through it is to read a book from each century in order. Start with something from before 1700, then a book from the 18th Century, then the 19th, and so on. Luckily, I'm sure the library will be able to help me out with a lot of these items. So excited for this project!

A quick note: Just because I've taken on this challenge doesn't mean I have forgotten about my challenge from the book "Read This Next: 500 of the Greatest Books You'll Ever Read." I'm almost done with my spreadsheet and I'll start working my way through that list soon too!

Shades of Grey

Jasper Fforde

I love Jasper Fforde, and I cannot wait to dive into his newest novel, Shades of Grey. Wait, I take that back, his newest novel is the latest installment in the Thursday Next series, "One of our Thursdays is Missing." I can't wait to read this one either. I read about 3 pages of "Shades of Grey" right when it got here, but I'm going to finish "Sex with Kings" before I allow myself to get lost in a new Jasper Fforde world.

Jasper Fforde

He doesn't know it, but when he wrote the Thursday Next series, he was writing my dream world. I'm sure I'm not the only one who did this, because it doesn't strike me as anything extraordinary, but when I read as a child, I imagined myself as a friend of each of my favorite characters. I suppose I still do it to this day. When I read "The Hunger Games," I was friends with Katniss and Peeta. But I'll never forget the first time I read "Jane Eyre." Long after I put it down, I thought often of Jane and Mr. Rochester. I imagined many scenarios where I was invited as a guest to their new home and we sat and drank tea and talked of many important things.

I was book jumping long before Jasper Fforde wrote about it. I spoke to Miss Havisham, asking her how she could sit there with so many spiders. The dirt and rotten food didn't bother me - the spiders did. I was friends with all of the Bennett sisters and I often imagined urging Anne of Green Gables to give Gilbert a chance much sooner - why did it take so long for those two to get together?

I'm so glad that Jasper Fforde took the initiative to so cleverly and wonderfully create the world of Thursday Next, Jurisfiction Agent. A world in which literary characters are people we can interact with. A world where the criminals are people who try to destroy books. And a world where the ability to stop time is no big deal. Thanks, Mr. Fforde.

1 comment:

  1. Hm, I should read Jane Eyre some day. And the Jasper Fforde books. Lol, can his name get any more obnoxious? He should change it to Jasper Fffforde, just to emphasize that multiple 'F's are important.

    Sadly, I've been loving having audiobooks lately, but haven't been super excited to read much. Not sure what my deal is. I think that The Lost World destroyed that desire in me- it's done that twice so far.