Friday, March 25, 2011

All about the characters

Today I finished Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.

I really enjoyed Boy Meets Boy. It was a really quick, fun read. At times the characters or setting felt a bit too unbelievable, but that was kind of OK because you could accept the scenarios without everything having to be 100% real. I don't know if it makes sense when I say it, but just trust me, and when you read it, you'll understand what I mean.

Boy Meets Boy somehow manages to deal with real issues in teenagerdom (and life) like love and loss and the complexities of both. Beyond anything, it has a message of friendship and hope. It's hard to explain, but it's just a sort of understanding that you glean from the book, even if it isn't explicitly written in the words on the page. Anyway, I certainly recommend it.

Franny and Zooey took me a bit longer to read even though it isn't that much longer. After a while, I just got incredibly annoyed with the characters. I think that's 0 for 2 on Salinger's characters since I don't think anyone is overly fond of Holden Caufield. But that's a separate issue.

Franny and Zooey are two of the seven Glass children, all of whom had a peculiar childhood. As readers, we only ever meet Franny and Zooey, and let's just say these two don't seem like the most well-adjusted of young 20-somethings. That being said, life isn't incredibly difficult for them and they seem to get through life pretty easily.

To be honest, the narrative of this book isn't incredibly exciting. It jumps forward a bit from the first half (Franny) to the second (Zooey) without much of an explanation, but there doesn't appear to be much to explain. Nothing incredibly important or interesting really happens until the end. The rest is some description and mostly dialogue. I guess if a book is going to be primarily dialogue, I'd prefer for the characters to be likable. These characters were just annoying and somewhat vapid, despite their use of big words and theoretically high IQs.

Overall, I didn't hate the book. I didn't love it though. I guess I'm just somewhere in between.

Maybe I'm just all about the characters. Characters in Boy Meets Boy: flawed, but adorable and fun. Characters in Franny and Zooey: either flat, or dynamic, but somewhat unlikable.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Alas, I am so very behind in my blogging. I have since finished Catching Fire and Mockingjay from the Hunger Games trilogy and Dead End Gene Pool.

I have to say: I loved the Hunger Games trilogy. At some point while reading Catching Fire, I realized that the writing isn't really that great. I mean, it isn't bad, but it isn't particularly good either. The main strength of the trilogy is really the story and Collins's ability to craft characters you just can't let go of, whether they're particularly likable or not. All of the books in the trilogy pretty much fit my idea of a page-turner: not too difficult to understand, but extremely difficult to put down.

Dead End Gene Pool is Wendy Burden's memoir and it is, to say the least, hilarious. This may be her family and her life, but she does not sugarcoat a thing. It is all out there in the open and reading it gives a kind of voyeuristic pleasure that makes  you never want to stop. It's hard to believe some of this familial insanity, but at the same time, it all falls so neatly into the I-couldn't-make-this-shit-up-if-I-tried category. It's a funny and interesting read. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I finished Love in the Time of Cholera last night. It was really great. I haven't read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez since high school, and I have no idea why it took me so long to read this.

I love Garcia Marquez's style. It's great and always has a certain poetry to it. Reading his work makes me wish I actually learned Spanish so I could read it in the original language. One of these days...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I just noticed that the ticker for my challenge has changed every time I post the updated one. Now it looks like I started out with 5 done. That's annoying, but I am too lazy to change it. Figures.

At least my iTunes is getting a workout...

Ambitions for this semester have come crashing down. It is so catastrophic I cannot even begin to describe it here. And really, you don't read my blog for accounts of horrific failure at life. Or do you? Well that's depressing....

ANYWAY, I had this grand plan where I was going to examine discussion threads in one of my groups on and pick out discourse markers in posts and then write about it in my brilliant paper for my linguistics/anthropology class. This plan was grand. This plan was brilliant. This plan is dead. Perhaps I haven't looked hard enough, but it appears as though most of my co-bibliophiles online DO NOT USE discourse markers. In their posts anyway.

What is this insanity?!

"Well Bluestocking," you must be saying, "look harder."
"But I have looked for an entire ten minutes!" I shall reply
"Suck it up" I assume you will say
"What if I just analyze this blog?" I suggest?
"Lazy narcissist."
"Quite possibly."

As much as I dislike the idea of analyzing myself, it might be my best chance. The people posting on these threads are far too articulate for their own goods. I was pretty much banking on these discourse markers being so ingrained in our everyday speech that we use them in our written "speech" as well. Damn.

Now I wish I had finished knitting that thinking cap....