Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Books

Sorry for the delay; as of late I've been consumed with school, work, violin...and more school.

So without straying too far from that oh so pleasant subject of academics, I'll update you on what I've been reading. This also means that I hope you all will fill me in likewise.

I recently finished Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott. No doubt some of you have read it, and if you haven't, I do recommend it. I also just finished writing a paper titled "Did Ivanhoe Marry the Right Woman?" (I'm sure John remembers it.) Though it's often full of excessive pageantry and flamboyant descriptions of people, clothing, and battles, it's still worth reading for the love story. And the chivalry!

Some non-school books I have read recently are The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Wonder Boys, both by Michael Chabon, and The Stones of Mourning Creek, by Diane Les Bequets.

As for the Michael Chabon novels, the first one was definitely better, though not spectacular, and the second was downright depressing and boring. 'Adventures' is about two cousins, Josef Kavalier and Sam "Clay" Klayman in Brooklyn during WWII who become rich and famous in the comic book business, which was quickly becoming a popular pastime for children and adults at the time. The book also employs a subplot dealing with magicians, in particular escapists, which sounds outrageous, but works. After a few meandering chapters dealing with the passage of about twelve years, the book picks up near the end with a reunion of Kavalier and Clay. It's a fairly long book, but in general it's worth getting through purely for fun. With that in mind, you may be left with the question "what was I supposed to get out of that?".

Wonder Boys, though in its purely technical aspects is a good novel, was overall an uninteresting story with characters you don't care about and events that are at times contrived and unbelievable. The only good literary aspect of the book was the character of James Leer, a young writer, who is a student of the novel's protagonist and narrator, Grady Tripp; and this is only because he is a sympathetic character, who has fallen under the mostly negative influences of Tripp and Tripp's publisher, Terry Crabtree. This alone isn't enough to redeem the book, however, and the parts of the movie that I've seen aren't much better either.

The Stones of Mourning Creek is one of my favorite books. It is about the friendship between a young white girl and a young black girl in a small Alabama town in the seventies. It's part mystery, part drama, part tragedy, but completely inspiring and poignant. The story is told in a simple yet powerful way, and though this is my eighth time through it, I am still left with an ache in my heart for these girls and their families. This book gives you a new view on the old qualities of friendship, which makes it a must-read.

Well, I'll be starting Don Quixote next, because I thought that I'd better read the book that is widely called "the first novel." I'll be sure to update you all on my progress.

God Bless

5 comments:

riskitall said...

Well, Sarah, once again you make us feel quite inferior with your astounding list of books. You're a genius!

The stones of mourning creek is amazing, and I can't say enough good things about it! Isn't it set in the 60's though?

Mr. Hall said...

Almost finished with 'Soldier' Sarah, I just have to find some time to sit down and conquer those last hundred pages or so...

Also reading "The Idiot" and "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevstky, "Emma and "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, " The House of the Seven Gables " By Nathaniel Hawthorne, and "The Moviegoer" by Walker Percy

Now you have my reading list, once I finish one of those I'll be started Don Quixote as well...

God Bless!

JB said...

well...that sounds cool. are you going to read the unabridged DQ? DQ is a really great book. hmm...and we read it here...hmm...and who is Mr. Hall?

I will post soon.

God Bless,
John

Juan de Hall said...

Mr. Hall is just another Summer Program '05 attendee/prospective TAC student...hmm...

good night, AMDG

seacb said...

I'm reading the new unabridged translation by Edith Grossman. It has an introduction by Harold Bloom, in case you know who that is.

I'm on chapter three right now. It's due in two weeks, so I'd better get a move on. I might just go out and buy it, because it's in paperback now.

Thanks everyone!