The Book Life

Everyone’s your friend in New York City

May 29, 2010
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Summer in the city. At last. I’m already writing more, feeling more, doing more. Only good can come of this.

I hope to have a hilarious reading summer. I’m almost caught up on The New Yorker (they tend to pile up toward the end of the semester), and once I am, it’s up and onward! I have my New York Public Library card, and yesterday I discovered the science section, and came away with The Canon by Natalie Angier and Sky in a Bottle, by Peter Pessic, which is about why the sky is blue. It’s a new genre for me, but I’m excited.

Also queued: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, poetry by Louis Gluck, the complete letters between Rilke and Andreas-Salome, some other random poetry, the continual New Yorkers, and some trashy young adult post-Twilight vampire novels.

Oh, and, the Pensions entry in New York Jurisprudence 2d, to prepare for my summer internship.

Should be a good summer.

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She Decides to Tell the Truth

June 11, 2009
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I might just read trashy fantasy novels and books about vampires all summer long.


Suckers! (?)

May 20, 2009
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I’ve been reading a lot of vampire books lately.

(Your mind just jumped straight to Twilight, didn’t it? Silly pop culture. Just wait. I’ll get there.)

I’ve been reading a lot of vampire books lately – some intentional, some not so. I wonder if that’s some sort of sign. Regardless, I started intentionally, at the top, with Dracula. It’s been one of the books on my I-should-read-this-as-a-responsible-English-major-and-professed-book-lover list for a while now. I finally read Frankenstein last summer, and it was really fantastic, and I’ve always professed a love of gothic lit.

The real reason I read it? I wanted to read Twilight and not feel like a complete twit. I’m 23, after all, theorectically an adult, and not only is Stephenie Meyers’s series meant for teenagers, but from everything I heard, it was pretty bad teen writing, too.

But you know how some people have soft spots for romance or mystery novels, or sci-fi? Well, I have a weakness for fantasy-infused adolescent drama. Specifically the adolescent drama part. Seriously. Ask me about Dawson’s Creek sometime, and how old I was when I enjoyed it most.

But I am an adult, of some sort, so I read Dracula first. It moved significantly faster than I expected for a 19th-century novel, and it was great! And then I picked up Twilight, and the other three books in the saga, from the library.

Everything they say about these books is true. Good and bad, it’s all true. The writing is truly appalling, the heroine is truly annoying, and the story is truly engrossing, once Meyers finally gets around to telling it, 100 pages of boring background into the the first book. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I have it on reserve at the library.

I remain an unreformed and unrepentant teen fiction fan.

Next up, a book I came across in a scathing review of Twilight, recommended as a much better teen vampire novel: Thirsty by M.T. Anderson. While the writing was definitely better, I found the story irritating, either because it’s written by a man and in the voice of a teenage boy, and teenage boys are inherently annoying, or because it’s written at a 4th-grade reading level, which is farther than I’m willing to go in my pursuit of adolescent drama.

And then, an accident: Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I’ve loved McKinley’s writing for years – she does a lot of teen fantasy fiction and re-tellings of fairy tales. So when I saw this at the library I picked it up without even reading the back. I started it yesterday, and, lo and behold, it’s another vampire novel! Like Thirsty, this book is set in a world like ours, but slightly different, in that the existence of vampires (and other creatures, e.g. werewolves) is an acknowledged part of life. Add some transmutations, and magic powers enhanced by sunlight, and I’m sold, if only 5o pages in.

But seriously, people – this is a lot of vampire fiction for someone who only just read Dracula a few months ago. I’m not really sure how it happened, but I hope it ends soon.