Just a few days into my Reading Rory’s List challenge and I’m having a little bit of a freak out! What did I get myself into??? 349 books in 24 months? Some of these books are freaking THICK! It didn’t help that my first days into the challenge I simply didn’t feel like reading—incredibly unusual for me.
After lolling about on the couch in front of Netflix and binge watching “Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23” and “Kell on Earth”, I finally decided to crack open a few books. Yes, a few. I tend to read more than one book at a time. I always have and probably always will. It’s quite rare for me to only be into one book at a time, read it straight through, and then pick up the next one. My son is the same way. In fact, before we began to homeschool, this was a problem. His third grade teacher, while very nice and wise, didn’t understand our multiple-books-at-one-time reading habits and always asked that my son read only one book at a time. However, we both wanted to read things that fit our mood (much like Rory Gilmore), and sometimes that meant hopping from one text to another.
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So, where did I start my Reading Rory’s List challenge? After finally turning off the tv, making a nice mug of hot chocolate, and finding a blanket to cuddle under, I pulled a few books from my pile, and began with:
- The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
I have read all three of these previously, but I don’t really remember Flowers for Algernon, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is leaving me disappointed thus far. It’s not as great as I recall. I remember reading it in high school and loving it. So far, I’m bored. Admittedly, I am only about ten pages in, and it took more than 20 pages before I remembered why I loved The Virgin Suicides, so maybe I just need to keep reading.
Now, if you’ve not read The Virgin Suicides, you might be wondering, “With a title like that, how can you love it?” You’re right—pretty depressing title. My mom stopped taking book recommendations from me years ago because she said that everything I love to read is depressing. I suppose that’s partially true. I can’t help it, and I can’t explain it. Maybe I like depressing books because they help me to realize that my life is better than I often think it is, and I just need reminders. Maybe I like them because they inform my view of humanity in a new or different way. I don’t know.
The Virgin Suicides is interesting as it isn’t told from the point of view of one of the main characters, and is told more in flash backs and a bit of a journalistic investigative style from the point of view of boys living in the same neighborhood as the main characters, and at times it feels almost like reading a court report (references to exhibits and so on). Even if you aren’t interested in the story of five sisters who all commit suicide within a year of one another, and the decay of their family beginning with the first attempt at suicide of the first daughter, I urge you to try this book if only for the style in which it is written.
I also urge you to try Flowers for Algernon for the same reason—the style in which it is written. Flowers for Algernon is written from the point of view of a young man with mental handicaps who is the subject of an experiment to see if intelligence can be improved artificially, but of course, things go wrong. The way in which the book is written is fascinating, even if you aren’t into the story. It is from the point of view of the main character, Charlie, but written as a journal. Charlie chronicles his experiences in a journal format (calling the entries "progress reports" as a part of the experiment), and the reader doesn’t just read the story of what happens to Charlie, but also sees the progression as his journal entries change over time. I especially recommend Flowers for Algernon if you’ve read and enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (which is also on the Rory Gilmore list).
Not on the list, but part of my current reading is If You Have To Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone. This is the same Kelly Cutrone as featured in the reality tv shows “The City”, “The Hills”, and “Kell on Earth.” I’m not usually a reality tv watcher, but I got sucked into these particular shows. This book is quite different than what I was expecting. Parts are feisty and pushy and b*tchy just like you would expect from Kelly Cutrone’s persona on tv, but other parts get into spirituality and soul searching in ways that many may find a little too woo-woo out there, but I’m enjoying the book anyhow. I’ve already learned many of the lessons in Cutrone’s book, and I believe most of us have to learn these lessons on our own and in our own way, but the book is interesting and informative anyhow.
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