Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I've always wondered...

If the things that I read say a lot about me, or very little. Or is it more the way I read versus what I read?

The way I read is what I'd call dedicated. I was speaking (texting) a friend of mine earlier and in that small conversation we spoke a little about books. He asked me if I read a book all the way through even if I don't like it. The answer to that is, yes. If I start something I feel like I must finish it, no matter how distasteful it really is. I am currently reading Tess of the D'ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. I'm not super in love with it. Well, it would be fair to say that it holds my interest some, but only because it's one big train wreck after another. I am very interested in the conclusion of the novel. It's just that it gets very dry and very masculine in some ways, which tends to lose my interest relatively quickly. 

What does that say about me? Does it mean that I am devoted and well meaning? Does it say that I give everything a fair chance, regardless of its overall experience? The real question is whether or not I can apply this to real life. And honestly, I don't think I can. The only thing I've ever been overall dedicated to is my job and my son. Those are fairly big things. I've always been much more hard on myself than ever required. I also somewhat feel like this whole idea that I'm pondering is pointless in the long run. 

Either way, it's now time to move on to what I read. This is a much more radical category because I read a very diverse range of things, sort of. Most of what I read is Russian or English literature written before 1920. The rest of my repertoire consists of a little fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction. I almost completely detest modern literature based in modern times. I've never found it interesting to read about people or situations that could relate too closely to my own. I lose the disassociation with reality that I love so much. That in itself is a pretty profound revelation. It's true though, I never feel more comfortable, when reading, as I do when I'm imagining something as far from my own reality as possible. I don't really mean that in a science fiction/alien kind of way. Even when I'm reading fantasy or science fiction it's still something real enough that maybe it could exist or could have existed. I'm not sure that The Wheel of Time could really fit in anywhere, although I do really love those books. 

Maybe it says enough about me that I do read. Reading doesn't exclude things like Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight, but there is really very little in those books of substance. I'm not sure I'm allowed to say those kinds of things because I haven't read them, but I promise you I never will. I know plenty of my friends and associates read like I do. Maybe not always the same things, but it really is the experience that matters. Yet, when I talk to random people about books, or bring up the fact that I read as much as I do, it seems like I'm some form of foreign species. Damn you America and your below average expectations for humanity. At this point I feel like I may begin to rant, and I'm not even on the topic in the way I meant to be. I read to escape reality. When life gets stressful or I'm feeling low I grab a book. I have many books that I've read many, many times because I know they will always take me out of whatever it is that I'm in. Books are an escape from everything. I read much more when I'm stressed out than I do at any other time in my life. 

What is it about my passion that defines me? The what, why, and how of it is almost impossible to 100% describe. Perhaps I define my passion, instead of it defining me. Literature spans so many genres and classifications, and every individual has their own personal experiences within each piece. Maybe it really is impossible to say what it is about it that reflects on me the most. Doesn't matter much anyway. Just random musings. I'll post later this week about Tess of the D'ubervilles. I really am sort of anxious to see how much more miserable her life can get. It almost pains me how much I can relate to her story, and how thankful I really am that I live in a time of acceptance. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vixen Vol I-III, M. E. Braddon

So! Guess what?! I'm back. After a very long time of not having the Internet on my home computer or any way to reasonably get on to my awesome book blog, I am finally able to resume the laborious task I once began. I will admit that I have greatly strayed from the list I was supposed to be reading off of, and have begun a journey into the unknown of free kindle books. Which really just  means that I'm reading the books that I enjoy most. These mostly include books written between 185-1920 by female authors.

My most recent reading have been books by M. E. Braddon. I have found a great love in what she wrote and finished Vixen Vol I-III earlier this afternoon. Something I've never really concerned myself with was the history of the author itself. And yet, I decided to take a gander at the Wikipedia page dedicated to Ms. Braddon. I will be directly quoting what I found interesting:

In 1860, Mary met John Maxwell, a publisher of periodicals. She started living with him in 1861. However, Maxwell was already married with five children, and his wife was living in an asylum in Ireland. Mary acted as stepmother to his children until 1874, when Maxwell's wife died and they were able to get married.

Typically the sensation novel focused on shocking subject matter including adultery, theft, kidnapping, insanity, bigamy, forgery, seduction and murder.[1] It distinguished itself from other contemporary genres, including the Gothic novel, by setting these themes in ordinary, familiar and often domestic settings, thereby undermining the common Victorian-era assumption that sensational events were something foreign and divorced from comfortable middle-class life

Alright. That's all that really interested me. No wonder she excelled at writing sensation novels, her life was one.

Anyway the point of all this really is that I recently  read Lady Audley's Secret and was greatly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It really was one of those that I couldn't put down. And so I decided Saturday that I would start reading another one and liked the title of Vixen the best. I very seldom read excerpts that come with each book, and so had absolutely  no idea what the book would be about. The overall concept is about love, boundaries, family relationships, and happiness ever after.

Vixen (Violet Tempest) is a lovely, wild, and independent character with all the female feisty qualities that I love in a female lead. She loves with a passion that cannot be thwarted and hates with equal vehemence. she ends up with an evil stepfather and all kinds of miserable things happen in her life. But she stays constant and devoted even when banished to Jersey with a shriveled up old spinster. I'm greatly condensing a three volume novel into a small idea because it is late and I really don't know what else to say.

It was an enjoyable read, but I wasn't taught any life lessons of which I feel the need to impart, nor was I greatly moved by the passions within the novel. I believe that overall it was an excellent light-hearted read for me that allowed me some freedom of mind during the crazy work weekend I just had. I haven't quite decided what I want to read next, but I know I will begin something on my lunch break tomorrow. Perhaps it will end up being something of which I will have more to say.

I'll review the list of books I was supposed to have been reading and see what I've accomplished thus far, and maybe I'll work on that more. I'm so incredibly indecisive.