Thursday, August 2, 2012

mini musings of a bookish nature...

I'm reading this book titled American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 for homeschooling. It's not knocking my socks off or anything, but I am enjoying it. It does, however, get mega-bonus points for containing two of my favorite words on a single page. Page 109 contains both "flummoxed" and "ruckus." What can I say--that just makes me smile. :)

*****

I am reading something completely new and different to me. As in a whole new medium. Sound novels.

I got Rich a new iPhone for his combined Father's Day/birthday present. So I now get to use his old iPhone. (Though not as a phone--can't justify the cost of paying for that.) Anyway, Annie was kind enough to help me load up instagram and twitter and my playlists, etc. She's been wanting me to read these Higurashi sound novels for ages, so of course after how helpful she was, I told her to go ahead and download the first arc for me. And I went ahead and started it. I haven't read that far yet, but it's definitely a fun reading experience. And even though I actually read this first arc in the manga version, it's still fresh and new (both because the experience is so different and because the sound novel seems to go into far greater detail).

*****

Kerthunk.

That was me smacking myself upside the head. Don't worry, I deserved it. See, once again I was caught making assumptions about a book I'd never read. Will I never eff-ing learn?!!

This time it was with Thirteen Days by Robert Kennedy. I've long wanted to read this, but...

I assumed it would be dense. I assumed wrong.

I assumed it would be dry. I assumed wrong.

I assumed it would take ages to get through. I assumed wrong. (It took me two days, and believe me, for me, that's saying something!)

Seriously, this book was so far off my expectations it's downright laughable. The first and largest section is the part written by Bobby Kennedy, taken from his notes, diaries, etc. from the thirteen days of the Cuban missile crisis. It's straightforward and fascinating. Certainly not dry. Next there's a section of photos. And finally, it ends with a section of documents, ranging from JFK's speech televised speech in the midst of the crisis to formal resolutions to letters between various involved parties. This section moved a bit slower, but was still extremely accessible.

Kerthunk. Just for added measure.

*****

Oh my. I just started reading Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. I was thinking I was going to use this as one of novels for Gray's lit course this year. However, I'm only on page 6, and I'm already rethinking the choice...

The scene involves Ned wishing to propose marriage to Gladys. Gladys, however, guesses what he's about to do and stops him. She admits to him that she couldn't love him because he's not the kind of man she dreams of spending her life with. Now, women and men alike should have the right to spend or not spend their lives, or any part of their lives, with whomever they please (provided the other party feels the same, of course). Oh but Gladys, Gladys, Gladys, this just makes me ill:

...There are heroisms all round us waiting to be done. It's for men to do them, and for women to reserve their love as a reward for such men....

Barf. Just barf. I know, I know, it was written in the early 1900s, and blah, blah, blah. But still, just barf.

Hmmmm...I may be feeling a tad cranky today. Perhaps I should pick it up again tomorrow to see if I have better luck.

*****

Hooray for not giving up! And no, I haven't gone back to The Lost World. Instead, I gave two things a try that have not gone well for me in the past. Two things combined into one thing.

1.) I gave audiobooks yet another go. I've tried to listen to books on CD in the past. Never got through a single one--I just couldn't get the hang of listening and was constantly finding my mind wandering. I decided last week to give this listening thing another go. I spent three hours trying to download books from the library. Three hours of utter frustration that nearly led to tears on more than one occasion. I finally got everything in place, only to find that the library's audio download selection was so ridiculous sparse that I couldn't find a single book I was remotely interested in. But this morning I decided to check out iTunes and discovered just how freakin' easy it was to listen to the Librivox recordings. Who knew? (Yeah, everyone but me, I suspect. :P ) And here I had the exact opposite problem from what I had at the library--there are almost too many choices.

But, and this is 2.) I decided to give Jane Austen another go. She is so very loved by so many that I've always felt a bit uncultured for not getting on with her. It was with more than a little trepidation that I started Northanger Abbey. HA! There was literal jaw-dropping! Two minutes in and I was completely smitten. Smitten, I tell you! I listened to the first four chapters in rapid succession. The further I go, the more charmed I become. How did I miss this when I've tried to read her before--is it just a matter of mood? is it that this book is different in some way that just appeals to me? is it that audio somehow suits me better when it comes to classics? I have no freakin' idea what the answer is, but I'm happy to just go with it.

6 comments:

DesLily said...

Barf. Just barf. I know, I know, it was written in the early 1900s, and blah, blah, blah. But still, just barf.


LOL! wow thanks! I needed a good laugh! so descriptive! lol

Care said...

What a fun post!

and poor Gladys. BUT, she sounds like she knows what she wants and isn't so low in the self-esteem dept that she takes the first proposal that comes along? I don't know the whole context. She may be just ... misguided. ANd this could be a teaching tool for your young impressionable mind.

Really, a fun post. I agree on audio books - but think that trying them will HELP me in my wanting to be a better listener so that is why I stick with it.

Jean said...

Audio books while you walk (see comment on previous post). Got your sweet card today. Thanks! *smiling* Summer has gotten away from me, and I have not visited. Too many little things like needing to figure out when to drive Steve's new used car out to him. Road trip! Must now run to hit people with sticks. Never fear. They will hit back. :-)

Chris said...

Wow! Sound novels sounds so freaking cool!! I'm totally going to have to check them out :) And yes, audiobooks can be a pain in the arse. I haven't even attempted to try my libraries website for them. I have found some fantastic ones through audible though and they've been a really GREAT service! I highly recommend signing up with them if you become a fan of audio books! Like I said before, I can give you tons of recs :p

Megan said...

I've definitely not really had any luck getting on the audiobook bandwago. My mind definitely seems to be a bit too wander-y when I'm trying to listen to something vs. trying to read it. I'd like to try re-reading books I've enjoyed via audio and seeing if already having an idea what's going on will help. Classics might be a good choice, too - so many of them just beg to be read out loud anyway, so audio seems just perfect for them!

Carl V. said...

I'm glad you are getting into Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey is a fun novel. I read it while working at a video game arcade at a mall when I was in my early 20's. (How is that for an incongruent mix?)

Yes, audio books are great, but they don't work so well if your mind wanders. I can only rarely listen to them while at home and stay focused. It is great for driving. I need to find some RIP appropriate ones before Sept. 1st.