Friday, June 6, 2008

It's all in the timing

They say that "it is all about the timing" and I do believe that I have found that to be true when it comes to reading. You know, sometimes a book is the perfect fit - time, place, characters, for stretching or comfort; it's just right. Other times you fidget, "work" at it and something just doesn't work for you - it doesn't fit. Now I'm a firm believer in stretching myself in reading. I love trying new genres, a recommended author, a bit of this, a dab of that, but I have realized that it's all about the timing!! What will work at one time or season will not work for another!

I read great reviews of Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst and was excited when my turn for a copy came up at the library. But it was all about the timing on this book - I read it the next day after finishing The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and it just can't stand up in comparison. I did enjoy 3/4's of the book - just not the last 1/4th and that is what has resonated with me. In the last part of the book I was "lost" and I just didn't care about the character or their situation. I skimmed and tried to re-catch my thread but it just left me lost. I felt bad that I couldn't get the book to work for me like it had for so many others. You know, I felt a bit guilty even.

Into the Wild is about choice. Choice - a predictable, planned out life when you get to live happily ever after OR freedom to make your own choices, choose your own destiny, with all the risk that freedom entails. Julie, the protagonist/heroine, is the daughter of Rapunzel, and Rapunzel is the guard of the Wild; a fairy tale land run amuck. Rapunzel and the other fairy tale characters now live happily ever after in the real world with true life choices, until one day someone wished the Wild free. The Wild begins to take over Julie's town, trapping the characters and others into beginnings and endings of the same old stories. Ones we all know the endings of. Now it's up to Julie to rescue her mom and save everyone from the Wild. If she stays in the Wild herself, in the stories, she can finally find her father, stay with him and live happily ever after, but others may be doomed to more miserable fates. The choice isn't easy. Stories have a way of sucking you in, tangling emotions and making you feels as if you had no choice at all.

What a great premise for this book - but the last 1/4 of the book ruined it all for me. There was too much twisting of tales, I was lost and confused and it brought me up shaking my head, "who?? what??"

I did highlight a good quote,
"That's the beauty of the real world," Gothel said. "wishing doesn't make it so. Outside the Wild, it's actions that matter. Your choices matter." page 115

I liked that! Give me a few more days, a little more separation from The Goose Girl and it's lyrical language and sense of place, maybe then I'll like Into the Wild a little better. 3.5/5.0

Because I have more control of my time in the great summer I have been able to visit more blogs than I typically do. What creative and thought-filled people!! I am envious of their talents and techno-savvy. I did notice a though provoking question that I thought would help me be a little introspective:

"Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker an more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romances?"

Yes! I have grown and stretched as a reader and I am so pleased and proud that I have changed in my reading tastes. They weren't wrong or bad, just immature and small. I must admit that I still tend to shy away from techno sci fi and from most of the horror genre but I now have dabbled in them a bit and I'm pleased with this progress. I have now read classics that I missed as a young woman, delved into mysteries and general fiction, reveled in historical fiction, and have even enjoyed westerns (thanks Larry McMurtry and your beautiful Lonesome Dove.) I have discovered that I really love memoirs and the "nosy me" enjoys well written biography. I have learned more from the non-fiction shelves in my local library than I ever thought possible. Before the internet I was a frequent visitor to those shelves and learned horticulture from books before I tried it in the garden. I checked out every quilt book our libraries had (in two towns!), read true crime, money management and career planning. I've truly enjoyed books such as Freakonomics, An Omnivore's Dilemna, and Salt; sailed the waves in The Hungry Ocean and climbed Mt Everest in Into Thin Air. I easily could spend hours tasting a little morsel from each book and consider myself well fed. When I visit a bookstore or library I find that I don't stick to one area (with the possible exception of staying away from the business or computer sections) but I roam and nibble wherever I am. I love that growing as a reader has given me this gift!

My book group helps me stretch too. We have read a variety of books in different genres, most recently Inside the Brain, and our discussion was a workshop presented by one of our members based on the Brain Research workshops she's attended. We ate "brain" boosting snacks and shared discoveries and developments that we have learned about. Was that an area I was reading about 30 years ago?? No way! But I'm so grateful for the stretching and growing I've done. I am learning to read in different ways for different purposes and with that comes greater insight too. I'm not the same girl I was when I got married, thank heavens! I'm better!! And I also feel I'm better for the growing and stretching I have done in being a life-long learner!

I'm excited about summer days of reading and great conversation, I love the time to think and contemplate. What a gift! It comes at the end of a busy, busy school year - and this year with the last of our kiddos graduating!! This year it is all about the timing!!

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