Books 6/24/04

So I’ve gotten completely sideswiped from House of Mirth, and probably won’t get back to it for a bit. I hit a total deal on the Lemony Snicket A Series of Unfortunate Events books, and I’m downing them like candy. Delightfully unpleasant sour candy. They remind me of Roald Dahl’s books, but neither the peach nor the chocolate factory ever come into the picture. They sound like they’d be horribly depressing, but they’re really highly enjoyable, and very clever. I’m 5 books in, and ready to plow through the remaining 4.
I also finished Find Me by Rosie O’Donnell. I’ve been wanting to read it ever since I heard the storyline compared to The Night Listener by Armistad Maupin, a book I loved. I found it (Find Me) on clearance for $3, so hooray for the books on sale. I read it in about 2 hours, and was surprised by it even though I thought I knew the twist. It struck me how much we escape into fictions in our lives- Rosie was completely ready and willing to dive headfirst into the fiction someone else had created, and through that fiction, was able to see the truth of her own life. Interesting.
I’m now reading Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Nafisi was a literature teacher in Iran, and this book is her account of a private class she held in her home for some of her most dedicated women students. They studied Western classics, most of which are banned in Iran. I’m only part way through, and I’m spellbound. The courage these women have, just to live their lives, is amazing. And it ties in perfectly with the themes from Life of Pi and Find Me- the intersection of life and fiction. Two of the passages that struck me the most:
“Do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.”
“In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present, there is an affirmation of life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance. This affirmation lies in the way the author takes control of reality by retelling it in his own way, thus creating a new world.”
Those thoughts in relation to Life of Pi and Find Me are taking over my brain. I don’t know that I can voice them yet.
The other thing that struck me very powerfully is how much I take for granted. I can’t imagine not being able to read whatever I want, wear whatever I want, go where ever I want. I’m planning to take a lot away from this book.

Current Total:63
Just Finished: Find Me by Rpsie O’Donnell
Currently Reading: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Next up: more Lemony Snicket!!

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