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thursday, july 12, 2001
reading list

summer is about the only time now that i get to read just to read. during the rest of the year my reading is generally restricted to textbooks, which can contain a few novels but not always, because i just don't have time to slog through the required reading and read much for pleasure. i usually manage 1 book per year, maybe 2, by reading non-assigned stuff on the bus to and from the uni, but if there's an assigned novel the bus also happens to be the best time to read that as well. in the end, pleasure reading gets shoved aside for the school year due to lack of time. i also rarely hit a "real" bookstore when classes are in session. i can still remember staring at all those books when i went on loa and thinking to myself i can pick any of these i one is telling me what have to read. i am sure the other store patrons thought i was nuts just standing there staring at the shelves, but i was just a bit overwhelmed by the choices. and this was in the fantasy section which is considerably smaller than most the other sections!

this summer has taken a turn in terms of reading. i have pleasure reading, yes, and in fact have finally finished the iron tower as well as gotten through ender's game and mcaffery's new pern novel (in hardcover even! I rarely buy hardcover, too expensive, but i got this one on a good deal). i also have a huge stack of books on writing and writing fantasy in particular in my books stacks including the art of fiction, the writer's complete fantasy reference, and creating fiction, among others. but there is also some reading i am doing in preparation for the mfa program. while i seriously doubt i need to read the entire page and a half of suggested fiction that my creative writing prof handed out, i am being a good girl and attempting to make something of a dent in it.

my current "project" is madame bovary, and trust me, it is a project. it's a tedious book. new characters not only get descriptions but several paragraphs accounting of their entire pasts and sundry habits. it makes me feel like the author has gotten side tracked and forgotten what the story is about. i am on page 95 and only starting to get to the very beginning of the events that lead to the dear lady's downfall. everything else was history, including the history of her husband's parent's marriage and his birth, his education, and the establishment of his medical practice that actually led to her meeting him. it's a bit much. start with them married and tell us a bit about how they got met and married. the rest just slows the book down and, with the writing style (due to the time period it was written as well as having to be translated from french) it does not to be slowed down any more than it already is. great literature to me is lord of the rings, ringworld, etc. things that catch the imagination and don't spend pages upon pages explaining past history.

i have already read the color purple and rather enjoyed it. it was a wonderfully quick read and, unlike madame bovary, the unique style didn't detract from it at all. my other two books from the incredibly long list include catcher in the rye and the age of innocence. i have already glanced at the beginning of the latter and all i can say is uh oh. the cover screams romance novel, which is not my favorite of my least favorite genres, and the writing style is 'high' and stiff. catcher doesn't give even half a clue: i haven't opened it and the cover is pretty plain and white. prior to receiving this list i had also read one who flew over the cuckoo's nest, which i actually enjoyed, and dubliners. i am surprised that ishmael wasn't on the list, an odd but enjoyable novel.

among the non-torturous reading for the summer xone of contention by piers anthony (my truly fluff reading author), green rider by kristen britain, dragon weather by lawrence watt-evans, and simon r. green's blue moon rising and swords of haven. fantasy novels one and all that don't touch the list. but then, i noticed a distinct lack of fantasy on said list. in fact none of the fantasy or science fiction greats, not even the ones i am not particular to, are listed in any way, shape, or form. personally, i think that's pretty sad considering modern literature is founded on a literature of epic myth, legend, and fantasy.

oh how the mighty have fallen.

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