Thursday, January 24, 2008

Challenges, movies, and Literacy and Longing in L.A.

Literacy and Longing in L.A.I finally seem to be getting to all of those books I have been wanting to read for sometime now, but for whatever reason have gotten distracted from somewhere along the way. For instance, Literacy and Longing in L.A. has been on my TBR list for months now, and at last I have immersed myself in it and am enjoying it immensely. I love the fact that the main character Dora goes on "book benders" whenever she is faced with emotional turmoil she doesn't want to deal with. There are tons of literary references in this book and each chapter's heading begins with a perfect literary quote. One paragraph in particular early on in the book really jumped out at me.

"I collect books the way my girlfriends buy designer handbags. Sometimes I just like to know I have them and actually reading them is beside the point. Not that I don't eventually read them. I do. But the mere act of buying them makes me happy - the world is more promising, more fulfilling. It's hard to explain, but I feel, somehow, more optimistic. The whole act just cheers me up."

This describes my book buying habits to a T. I am forever buying books, excited by the new novels that will line my bookshelves. No matter that I already have more books than I know what to do with and that a good chunk of them are those that haven't been read yet - just knowing that I can walk into any room of my house and pick up a book that suits my mood is somehow comforting. It can make a crappy day seem less crappy and provide a much needed escape.

I'm hoping to crack open some Jane Austen novels in the coming weeks. I've been watching the Masterpiece Theater film adaptations on PBS Sunday nights. I thought Persuasion was ok, but I really enjoyed Northanger Abbey. And I am ashamed to admit that I've never actually read any of Jane Austen's works. In an attempt to inject some classical literature reading into a standing bookclub I am a member of, I suggested we pick a Jane Austen novel, read it, and compare it with the movie and then discuss both for a future meeting. Sounds like a good idea, right? I had noticed that PBS posted a nifty book and film club discussion guide. However, my suggestion went over like a lead balloon so suffice it to say I will be reading Austen on my own. Ah well, I tried...and everyone's tastes are different. But I couldn't help feeling disappointed by those people who weren't willing to even try reading one of her books. Kind of like when people tell me they don't like to read or couldn't possibly find the time to doesn't make me think any less of them as a person, but right away I get that deflated feeling from knowing that I will never be able to talk books with that person as books are such a huge part of my world. It makes me want to scream at these people too - "Do you have any idea what you are missing???" But at the same time I know I have to realize that not everyone loves to read. And there's nothing wrong with that (even if I happen to think it's bizarre :)

And speaking of PBS, while watching the Jane Austen adaptations I stumbled across the show the Vicar of Dibley and found myself roaring with laughter. Definitely a show to be DVR'd for me!

I've seen some challenges posted about in the blogosphere and I think I'm going to jump on the Chunkster Challenge bandwagon. I thought this one would be perfect for me since three of the books in my current TBR pile are indeed chunksters. Here is my pick list for now with the option to add others as I think of them.

1. The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (It's about time - this one has been waiting on the shelf for me for the past 2 years!)
3. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (I've been saving this one for a rainy day because I know it is going to be oh, so good! I think it qualifies as a chunkster, although I haven't checked the page count.)

And last but not least, have people seen that there is to be a movie adaptation of Meyer's Twilight series? If you go to her website, you can see who has been cast as Bella and Edward. I'm in agreement with the casting - both actors look similar to how I had envisioned the characters. Robert Pattinson, aka Cedric Diggory from HP, is a great choice I think - those cheekbones lend themselves well to the vampire look. What does everyone else think? Are they happy with the casting choices?


Camille said...

I've had The Historian on my shelf for years, too! Maybe this winter? I also have the first Stephenie Meyer but haven't read it yet, either.

Also, I had been after Literacy and Longing for so long, and finally got it a few months ago. I have to say, I really didn't like it, although I did identify with a lot of the book behaviors, like that good feeling from buying books.

Can't wait for Mansfield Park this Sunday! That's one I haven't read before. That sucks about your book club's rejection of your great idea. I think that's why I probably wouldn't like being in one.

Stephanie said...

Literacy and Longing in LA has been on my TBR list far too long! I really must pick it up. I too enjoyed Northanger Abbey and it has prompted me to read it someday (you know, when I'm not reading something else)! Oh, and I think Cedric will make a tasty Edward! Enjoy The Historian, I did.

Amanda said...

I think the male casting was great. The female casting... Not-so-great. I don't think she is a great actress. And she's very boyish. Just my opinion though!