Bookish Delights

The Reader’s Thoughts in February

I didn’t think I would make my book quota in the month of February … in fact, I thought I’d only accomplish two, but with some fast reading and a children’s book at the end of the month, I managed to make three books happen.

Overall it was a rather dreary month in the way of books that I read in February. And why would I read such depressing books in such a traditionally “depressing” month, you might ask? I didn’t exactly do it on purpose … for I only discovered the books’ true characters after I read them [obviously]. But I get ahead of myself.

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green [Category: At the bottom of my to-read list]
Yes, it’s popular. Yes, I see it lying on all kinds of desks as young tween & teen girls devour this latest romance to overtake our culture. So yes, I knew I needed to read it … but it wasn’t exactly my first choice of book to read. I just had this … feeling about it. And my feeling was confirmed. I was thoroughly disappointed with it.

The swearing and the bedroom scene aside, I simply could not handle the snark & sarcasm [goodness knows I get enough of that in the classroom all day long already!], and the utter hopelessness that those without Jesus must face death with. You go away from a book like this with nothing more than the message that life can be really awful sometimes but you’d better love someone along the way to make it slightly worth it.

Besides all of that, I just didn’t feel like it was that well-written. I didn’t feel connected to the characters, and sometimes the dialogue just felt straight out of a teenage sitcom [which is probably why it’s so popular right now]. Unfortunately that doesn’t fly for this old soul … and such books make me fear for the future of our young adult fiction.

The only quote that I felt worth remembering was: “‘Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.'”

6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte [Category: A classic romance]
Welcome to the next depressing read on the list … only this one was written in 1847 instead of 2013. I have to say that the language was a breath of fresh air after twenty-first century jargon. For this word lover, I delighted over every description and eloquent speech that came from the characters’ mouths. However the plot was once again not my cup of tea [pardon the British pun].

I should have realized going into it that since this is considered a “Gothic” novel it would be anything but happy – however the amount of anger and hatred and forbidden romance was just a little over the top for me. There was a slight bit of happiness at the end, but those weren’t even technically the main characters.

I also found the format of storytelling to be rather … unique, and I couldn’t decide whether I liked it or not. Although it was told first-person, you never got to know the original narrator very well, and the story was thereafter told to him [and hence to us] first-person through another character. It was quite “Inception” like in its layers of narrators.

One of my favorite quotes came from this book – well, it was a favorite before I read the book, but now that I know the context, it’s slightly tainted. I do still think it’s beautiful … “… he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same …”

7. Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer [Category: A book that my mom loves]
Here at last was a book in which my soul found delight. My mom [who is also doing this book challenge] picked it for the category “Based entirely on its cover” and told me I had to read it because the main character reminded her so much of me.

She was right. I found such a kindred spirit in 10-year old Lucinda, skating the streets of New York in the 1890’s … not only was it the kind of book I loved as a kid, but I identified with her in so many ways. This is what makes a book dear to my heart – when I feel like I become good friends with the characters. It left me sweetly satisfied and delighted in the way I was as a child. Here’s a few favorite quotes:

“Fall weather was the best weather for making friends. You met everybody coming or going; met them alive and eager and made friendly by the gently keen September air.”

“Something more besides words and looks and laughter passed between them and held them together.”

“Dang it all, as old Rags-an’-Bottles would say, who wanted to stand still and let the clock do all the moving? Who wanted to walk through lonely years, right foot, left foot, and never change step – never skip, run or skate?”

“‘Slowly, go more slowly. If a play, a book, a story is worth sharing at all it is worth giving time to.'”

“She was glad to have the lights dim out and watch the curtain go up again. She never watched this happen that it did not leave her as breathless and spellbound as that time when she was six and had watched her first curtain go up on ‘The Mikado.'”

So there you have it. I’ve fallen one book behind … I’m not going to try to make it up this month since I’ll have enough to do with this month’s quota anyway. But I know there’s a summer month coming that will provide me with more days to fit in reading – and I will do my catching up then. How lovely it is that there are so many books to read … worlds to explore and discover … and we’ll never exhaust them all. Thank the Lord for the good company of books!

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