Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Epic Read

There is nothing like a summer epic read.

You know the kind.  Novels that unroll themselves and take you down a pathway of adventure and enclose you in a world so tight that you forget the sun shining outside or the waves licking your toes while you lay on the beach.

The first adult epic novel I read as a junior higher was, The Thorn Birds Not only did it take me on an adventure to Australia and expose me to a continent I did not know anything about yet, but it also swept me into the adult world of complex relationships, forbidden love and the mysteries of the Catholic church.  I did not understand everything I that was going on but was still enthralled.

I decided to reread "The Thorn Birds" this summer after finding the book in a $1 used book store.  The book was like the paperback I read so long ago, over and over, until it fell apart.  I was immediately swept back to Australia in my mind and it was fun to reread parts that I didn't understand as a child and now could comprehend the characters problems with the clarity of adulthood.

As summer is winding down I am reading The Russian Concubine   I was not sure when I started if I would like this book or not but have been pleasantly surprised by it.  The story of a group of ex pats trying to survive in China at the turn of the century with the threats of the communists breathing hard on them has some pretty tight plot turns.  I have about fifty more pages to go and am rushing through this post because I want to get back to it and finish today.

What is your favorite epic summer read?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beach Reads

Summer is the time to head to the beach where long, sunny, lazy days means plenty of time to read.  I never head to the beach without at least one book in my beach bag. (Okay, I rarely even leave home without one or a kindle in my purse!)

I kind of go back and forth with what I like to read during the summer.  I used to commit to a classic tome during the summer months.  Books like Anna Karenina, War and Peace or Les Misérables .  I also remember one summer where I tackled a book on physics by an author who claimed that he could prove there is a God and we will live forever as a computer!  (Hmmmm, this was way before Facebook!)

I think that sometimes the perfect beach read is a mindless trashy novel or something from the latest pulp fiction bestseller list.

In July, I went through a few books, that I just couldn't get into and couldn't finish.  Restless, I took some inspiration from the beach reads that I had seen on the beach this summer.  I saw noses stuck in 11/22/63Being There and The House of Mirth .  But the most popular beach read that I have spotted is Fifty Shades Darker.   I've seen women of all ages enjoying the sun and fun of the beach while reading this bestseller.

Since I had already ground through Fifty Shades of Grey, I decided to try the second installation in this best selling trilogy.  Maybe it would prove to be better as a beach read.  Maybe I would finally "get" what everyone else is getting out of these books.

Yesterday, I took this book to the beach to finish it up.  (I admit there was a bit of speed reading going on as there were reams and reams of boring stuff in between the semi interesting parts that long hauled the plot two inches forward.

I liked this book even less than the first.  Honestly, I find it hard to believe on any level.  And if it was even a realistic type of story, why is it interesting for us to read about a bunch of people with relationship skills who have borderline if not seriously psychological issues.  I mean, Ana is going with a guy who's ex "sub" is stalking her because she looks just like her and she has had a psychotic break.  Hint to Ana, maybe it's not just Christian's ex who's a little mental here.

I could go on, but won't waste my blog on this stuff.  They are not well written books and other than the titillation, I'm not sure why people think this is such great material.

Today I spent my time on the beach with Salman Rushdie.  So far, much more interesting.

What are you reading on the beach?  Or what is your favorite summer read if you cannot get to an ocean?