Saturday, July 31, 2010

Moving on

Well, it's that time of month again. Time to reflect on this past month's challenge and prepare to move on to the next one. I wanted a challenge in July that didn't demand much from me. I wanted to be able to relax a bit from the daily challenge stuff and what I chose did provide that relaxation from me. Unfortunately, I think I relaxed a bit too much. I only got through Jane Eyre this month. I have been reading a lot of Shakespeare and I read parts of 1984 and Atlas Shrugged (my favorite book). I also read The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy and parts of The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth and The Historian. I was hoping that I'd actually read more classics this month than I did, but all it really motivated me to do was avoid my bookshelf. I disliked that. So, we won't be doing this challenge ever again.

For August, I am returning to the daily challenge. This month's challenge will be seeing the sunrise every morning. I am nocturnal by nature and I like it that way. However, this whole challenge thing is meant to shake me out of my routine and place me in the path of new things. I have enjoyed the few sunrises I have seen in the past, so there you go. I am not restricting myself as to what I do after the sunrise though. By that I mean, I can stay awake to watch the sun rise and then go to sleep or I can wake up in time to watch the sun rise. I'm curious to see which one I do more often. I'm hoping that this event-driven sleep schedule will force me to be awake more and get more done with my day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


David Copperfield is still sitting on my desk, trying to avoid my kitty cat's claws. I don't know why she chooses to attack a book I want to read and not The Sun Also Rises. If she liked attacking Catcher in the Rye I would happily get copies of that piece of trash for her to shred too, but no. She chews on my old homework and tries to shred David Copperfield and Harry Potter. My poor confused baby.

I suppose I have been mostly reading classic books lately, but not with the single minded pursuit I hoped this month's challenge would bring. I have been studying and working like a fiend lately. That means a lot of reading that stupid, stupid CAM book and pretty, pretty Shakespeare. I don't think there are many people out there who would debate Shakespeare's place on the classics shelf, so I'm still safe with that. I have set aside my pregnancy book in favor of work and Law and Order, so less reading there too. Overall, I feel like I'm not reading at all, but I know I am. It's just all work reading. Still, if my job involves reading Shakespeare, how bad can life really be?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting distracted

Well, I've already broken the rules this month. On the plane ride home, I couldn't bring myself to suffer through any more of The Sun Also Rises. I just don't like it and I believe it has been abandoned for greener pastures. For right now, the greener pastures are The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. I am not pregnant, but I love reading about pregnancy and to have that shiny new book in my carry on next to David Copperfield was just too much temptation. I gave in and amused myself with this very funny book and it has remained what I want to read. (I really hate starting a book and not finishing it if I want to.) So, for now, I am trying to read the Guide quickly and get back to Challenge.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

One down

Well, reader, I finished Jane Eyre on the plane up to Maryland. If you've read it, do you think that the ending kind of sucked? I don't mean the plot points of the ending. I think that Charlotte Bronte produced a lovely happy ending. I simply mean that I felt like she didn't want to end the book or maybe she didn't know how. The writing at the end felt rushed and half cocked to me. Perhaps she ran out of time and had to write the last chapter more quickly than the others? I don't know.

I've been pretty busy here in Maryland, but I have started reading The Sun Also Rises. I'm kind of amazed that it's considered a good book. I'm a few chapters in and have yet to find the writing or the plot engaging. Hemingway introduces characters without explaining who they are or what their relationship to the protagonist is. I don't have a problem with that as long as you explain their relationship shortly after the introduction, but that hasn't happened yet. Hopefully, it will get better as it goes on.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jane Eyre

I'm now about 3/4 of the way through Jane Eyre and I hope to finish it today or tomorrow. It was a slow start, but I am completely involved now. I kind of think Mr Rochester is an ass, but I think it's really just that Charlotte Bronte is awesome at writing men. Because really, how many men still use the "I'm going to find a new woman half my age because my current wife is an embarassment who won't have sex with me" trick? I'm proud of Jane for not falling for it. No offense to any "other women" out there...

I have about 5 hours of plane time (not to mention airport time) in my future, so I should have some fun reading this week. I stopped by the library to pick up Great Expectations for my trip. Alas, the library here sucks and they didn't have it. They did have David Copperfield, though, so that's coming with me up North. I also grabbed The Sun Also Rises. I hear that Hemingway is "so romantic" but that he's "a misogynistic pig who spent half his life hanging around Picasso trying to screw his leftovers". But that's coming from "a bitter, self-righteous hag who has no friends", so I may have to chalk that up to her being a "Miss I Have An Opinion About Everything". Seriously, points to you if you get my references. One of the best Shakespeare movies EVER.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First week

Well, dear reader, we're roughly a week into July (can you believe it's already a week?!). I have been reading my handbook for the CAM test, but that's the only non-classic book I've been reading. Trust me, I would rather be reading cereal boxes than this handbook, but I don't want to take this test more than once. I am also about a quarter of the way through Jane Eyre. It's a slow start, but I am really enjoying the story. It's so awkward to go from the everyday language of facebook and blogs to the beautiful, elaborate words of 1847. We prefer simplicity in our communications today and Charlotte Bronte did not. The story, thus far at least, is not particularly elaborate. I don't believe that the romance is realistic or even desirable, but the words she uses to describe Jane's life are so different from our own.

One thing that I've been intrigued by, reading this book, is how different "ideal" courtships are throughout time and authors. Bronte and Austen write courtships that are begun chastely between people of neighboring classes. Frequently these courtships start with friendships based on banter. At least, that is what I have seen. Ayn Rand writes courtships that are based on first impressions, respect for one's ability, and violence. Twilight shows a courtship based on obsession and unpredictability and another courtship based on friendship and protection. Which is right? Are any of them wrong? Do you think that these changes are based on cultural/chronological changes or simply personal preferences written into stories?