What I’m Reading – Austen, Scotland, and Skid Row

Jeepers creepers, I am using my peepers to read lots and lots of words. Okay, that was terrible, but it’s the best I can do. I’m running on little sleep since a few nights ago, Nicole and I tried to recapture the sleep-deprived insanity of our college days by taking in a late Matthew McConnaughey (spelled it right on the first try!) movie…on a Tuesday night, no less. Then Hannah and I had a sleepover last night that involved girl talk late into the night. It was necessary, but less fun when you have to get up at 6:30 to get to work. Needless to say, I don’t remember being so grumpy after staying up late. I’m getting old.

Well, I must be antisocial these days, because I finished three books six days into April. They’re all vastly different, which is a theme I’m realizing as I go through my four books a month. The lack of theme is a theme, I suppose. I’ve been reading history, science fiction, memoir/creative nonfiction, classic romance, philosophy, new fiction. It’s really, really great. Times like these make me celebrate not being in school any longer. I can read what I like.

Here’s what I’ve read recently:

Northanger Abbey – a lesser-known Jane Austen book. It’s great, though – she definitely is a queen of satire. Austen holds the culture up to the light and both celebrates it and pokes fun at it. Her heroine is naive and innocent, a girl who believes the best of people who don’t deserve it. Her hero is sarcastic and has major daddy issues. Austen’s first chapter made me laugh out loud, and some of her character choices reflect Austen’s own view of things. The romance itself wasn’t very developed, but the satire on the Goethic novel is quite. Plus, a good portion of it is set in Bath, a place I will be visiting in about a month, so I was quite thrilled to imagine it at that time period.

A Traveller’s History of Scotland – I read this in a matter of days, which I do not recommend. As I’ve written about a bit in my “Diary” page, I haven’t had any European history, so the only things I knew about Great Britain was what I gleaned from Austen novels, the BBC, and any movie set in England. Reading through much abbreviated histories of Scotland and England, I’m fascinated, repulsed, and enamored by this storied past that is so much longer than America’s recorded history. I’m a bit of an Anglophile anyway, but I saw the bruises on the past, the hatred and rebellions. It puts into perspective that which all rebelling countries are experiencing today. It’s a beautiful past, but also a very painful one. Not quite as glowing as I remember from the BBC.

The Soloist – You know I love creative nonfiction/memoir. I also love movies. Ta-dah! This one has both. This book was made into an Oscar-award-winning movie a few years back, and the movie is fantastic. The book is good too. A columnist wrote it, and you can definitely tell he is accustomed to writing shorter, more journalist-y pieces. He puts a face on the homeless problems in L.A. and around the country. I’ve seen L.A.’s Skid Row firsthand, and it is a horrible place. The other thing I really appreciated about this book is the honesty of Lopez. He is very forthcoming with his own emotions, especially feeling trapped and wanted to escape this relationship that is costing him too much. I think we all fear that when approaching any sort of service that involves relationship, but we can see from this book that it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do and ultimately one of the most rewarding.

That’s a run-down. I’m currently reading a book titled Beyond the Bible, and I’m LOVING it. I’ll let you know more about it in the future. I’m also starting another memoir titled FBI Girl. It’s funny – for all of my life, I’ve been a one-book-at-a-time-er. And now I find myself reading two or three at a time. Breaks up the monotony.

What are you reading these days? Tell me you’re reading something! Anything! If you need some ideas, check out my “What I’m Reading” page. I’ve listed all of the books I’ve read so far this year with a one-sentence review. Let me know what you think!

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2 thoughts on “What I’m Reading – Austen, Scotland, and Skid Row

  1. Isn't Northanger Abbey delightful? I love the satirical angst that Austen tones down in her other novels. I just finished re-reading Perelandra for my dissertation. And wrote a very long stream-of-consciousness rant on it that I may or may not post to my blog. There are things I really like about that book, and other things . . . not so much. I get to see you soon, how cool is that? 🙂

  2. Northanger Abbey is SO delightful. And I haven't read Perelandra yet – I'm interested in hearing what you have to say (er, rant) about it. And I get to see you SO SOON, and that, my friend, is glorious. 😀

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