The 2015 Reading Challenge continues to consume my reading time.
I also have less reading time right now because I sent out a query for the manuscript I have during an open query window and then I decided that the manuscript that I had needed a lot of work on the off chance that the publishers want to see the remainder for consideration. So not as much reading and more actual writing, which has been nice to do and not feel guilty about prioritizing it over reading or working out or crafting during my coveted free time. Lots of writing before the sun shows up as fall has been sneaking up on me. All of a sudden the trees are beautiful.
So I have one long book that I tackled and two short in the nearly immutable reading challenge categories this post.
A Book with Antonyms in the Title:
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell
I just decided to take the plunge with this one because I was starting to feel like I wasn’t as well read as I want to be without it. I considered Little, Big but I felt that anything other than North and South was some kind of a cop out. And people on Pinterest seemed to widely agree that this would be an appropriate selection. Gaskell writes good love stories, as much as I think I don’t like love stories. I like old school love stories. One Goodreads reviewer indicated that this is Pride and Prejudice for Socialists and I agree with this assessment. Plenty of preconceived notions, a little of Mr. Thornton helping Miss Hale out of a potential folderol expecting nothing in return for it (like a true gentleman!), high drama for Miss Hale but she still keeps it classy (like a true heroine!). Much like Pride and Prejudice, the woman who is herself and looking for her own enrichment and enjoyment in life is the one that is coveted, not a girl whose one goal is to get married. Plus, audio really helped me with this one, because one of the characters has a cockney accent and I understood him much more readily with the help of the skilled narrator. I would recommend it if you liked P&P but just know that there is definitely more political commentary and action than in P&P.
A Book with a Love Triangle:
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
I read this in high school but I felt that nine more years on my brain might help me come away from this book differently this time. And it did. My adulthood helped me understand the emptiness and frivolity of these rich and extravagant lives and the silliness of the characters. Its a beautiful book. I can see where having it assigned in school helps to increase understanding of that era in history but like many things I read back then it does not hold nearly the understanding it does now. I actually couldn’t believe that the book had not impressed me more the first time. Tenth grade was a little distracting, what can I say?
A graphic novel:
Drama, Raina Telgemeier
I wanted a book for teens/middle grade kids for this category, as I know that graphic novels encourage reluctant readers, and as I treat many reluctant readers this is another book in my arsenal that I can recommend. I have observed that my kids who enjoy reading and seek it out to cope tend to do better managing stress than kids who really don’t like to read. Reading is portable and immersing, perfect for kids whose own worlds are getting a little overwhelming. Anyway, this book is lackluster for adults but I think that for the age group it is relatable and likable. I don’t know if the twist would be surprising for a younger reader but it was not to me. Books like this for kids also help to generate some knowledge and tolerance of others, so I give it higher marks for that reason, too.
So as much as I say I don’t like love stories, I seem to be finding a way to read an awful lot of them.
What have you read for these categories? Leave a comment below!!