Sunday, August 1, 2010

Being Bookish

Seeing as I'm now on furlough, I find myself with more time on my hands (and less worrying about the fact that I'm not able to sit up to work on projects, which is a relief). I don't enjoy watching TV, so I've been marshaling my strength for excursions to book stores. (By the by, if you Google the correct spelling of "marshaling," the ads on the free dictionary site invite you to train for a position as a U.S. Marshal. I doubt this invalid is qualified.)

I have a favorite cashier at the Borders nearest to my apartment, and she recognizes me, now. The last time I ventured out for a brief episode of bibliomania, she commented on how many books I must read. I told her I'm on medical leave from my job and that I pretty much have to lie down all day, so there's not much else to do. Her response was, "Lucky."

I think she missed my point.

Books I've read in the past two weeks:

The Historian
I somehow missed in the back cover book synopsis that this book involves vampires. On the occasions that I have nightmares, they tend to be about one of three things: 1) witches; 2) Nazis (yes, seriously - these are the worst); and 3) vampires. Granted, the vampires in my dreams are usually ridiculously good looking, but they're still trying to kill me, so it's not much fun. I'd already been reading for a while when I figured out the book involved vampires, and by that point, I had to know how it ended, otherwise I wouldn't be able to sleep thinking there was an eternally living army of vampires under the auspices of Vlad the Impaler roaming around the globe.

I read all night.

I probably wouldn't have been able to sleep, regardless, because I was in pain, but the fear of a roving guild of blood-suckers - none of whom were described as being attractive - did not encourage me to sleep in any way. That being said, if you're okay with reading about vampires, I recommend the book.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, & The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
Yeah, I've read all three of them already. In about four days. They're not short books, but when you have nothing better to do... The first installment was disturbing, to put it mildly. There is violent sexual assault depicted in the book, and it was difficult to read. The main character isn't particularly likable, but the reader gets to understand more about her psyche in the second and third books, and she becomes more likable as the trilogy progresses. It's too bad Steig Larsson died when he did, because he probably could have ended up one of the better thriller writers. I'm not a huge fan of the genre, in general, but I definitely enjoyed the series. The bad guys all get their just desserts in the end, and the good guys... well, the good guys will be okay.

I'm currently plugging my way through a couple of children's stories from the turn of the 20th century called The Enchanted Castle and Five Children and It. They involve slightly spooky supernatural happenings, but nothing too scary. The authoress, Edith Nesbit, has a funny sense of humor, makes fun of the fact that children generally believe what they're told, even when it defies what they observe on a daily basis (the earth is round, for example. It doesn't seem like it when you're standing on it, and yet, children are told it is round and believe as much). She also mocks adults. Her stories have morals to them and point to the fact that you shouldn't wish for more than you have, but they're not heavy-handed in their moralizing. Pretty pleasant reading, and nothing too challenging. (Apparently, there was a movie of the same title but a pretty different plot made in 2004 that completely shredded the book to bits and featured Eddie Izzard, of all people, and Kenneth Branagh. Go figure. Also, a BBC movie was made in the 1990s, which was faithful to the book).

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