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Nose in a book

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I’ve been reading a lot lately. Definitely more than in college, or any other time in my 20’s. Maybe the exception being when I lived in San Franciscio and took the bus to work so I had a free hour everyday to just read. I wish I could say I loved reading as a child, but I don’t remember enjoying books then the way I do now. Our house had bookcases on both walls in the living room. I think the ancient encyclopedia set (which wasn’t that ancient back then) was my favorite thing to flip through. Grandma took us to the library all the time. She was always on the couch at the end of the day, book in hand, glasses on the rim of her nose. Those memories really warm my heart now because I find myself curled up on the couch with a glass of wine most nights after Leia is asleep. I’m not sure why I didn’t read more, or enjoy reading more as a child. I do know I’m doing my best to inspire Leia with my recently developed love for books.

So what’s been on the list? Mostly YA fiction. I’m 30. I realize some people (Joel Stein) might snicker and suggest I should be embarrassed or disappointed in my lack of sophistication – leave the teen books for the teens and read books for adults. But I figure a good book is a good book. Lev and Patricia have my back on this one.

When my friends and I were in South America, a woman on one of our flights gave me her copy of The Other Boleyn Girl.

Obviously it’s a heavy book to lug around if you’re traveling, e-readers hadn’t come out yet (or weren’t popular at least). I hadn’t seen the movie yet, so I read the book with fresh eyes, and loved it. That book will always bring me back to our trip, trying to stay awake to finish”one more chapter” on plane rides and the long bus ride from Argentina to Brazil.

In between that trip (2009) and Leia’s arrival (2010)  I can’t remember reading anything memorable. Mostly magazines. The seemingly required What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which was much less interesting than Knocked Up (the book not the movie).

I read the Twilight series shortly after Leia was born. I had watched a few of the movies (I think Eclipse had just come out?), and even though I cringed at the acting, I thought the story was interesting and I got sucked in to wanting more. Get it, sucked in, vampire books – haha.

After Twilight, I re-read some books that I enjoyed while I was in San Francisco.

A beautiful story for someone who comes from a family that looks broken on the outside, but has always found ways to thrive.

This book means so much more to be now as a parent. I remember thinking “wow, what a great mom,” slightly shifting my long held stance that I was never going to have kids to “eh, maybe someday.”

A few months ago I got curious about the Hunger Games buzz so I grabbed a copy of the first book at the grocery store.

24 hours later I was drooling for the second book. Thankfully my friend Cydney had the second and third books of the triolgy and didn’t mind leaving them outside her apartment for me to drive by and pick up. I finished the other two over the next 48 hours. A book a day, I’d never read a series so quickly. I was beyond excited to plan a movie date with my girlfriends to see the Hunger Games movie when it game out shortly after. Thankfully the movie did the book justice, and I’m eager to see how Catching Fire holds up in 2013. I’ll definitely re-read the series before then.

Going through three books in a weekend then having nothing to read left me looking for a new series to pick up. I’m a huge fan of True Blood and needed to kill time waiting for the June 10th premier of season five. So I ordered the first eight books of the Sookie Stackhouse series, knowing that the books were supposed to be very different from the show.

I devoured those first eight books in ten days. When Leia took a nap, I read. When she went to bed for the night around seven, I would be up until one or two in the morning, reading. I didn’t watch TV. I didn’t check Facebook (okay, I only checked once or twice). I didn’t return phone calls or texts. I quickly grabbed up books nine through eleven, finishing them just in time for the release of book twelve last month. The books are fantastic and I enjoy how different they are from the show. It’s like having two versions of the same story, an alternate existence. I’ll be sad when the last book comes out next year, but I guess Sookie can’t go on forever.

When I finished those books, my friend Melissa suggested I pick up a YA fiction series called The Mortal Instruments. Since I just dumped a bunch of money on books in the last few months I grabbed the first book at the library. I will admit it felt funny asking the librarian to direct me to the YA section. But Melissa didn’t disappoint!

I read City of Bones, City of Ashes and City of Glass as quickly as I could get my hands on them through the library. I didn’t realize until later there was a fourth book and a then soon-to-be-released fifth book in the MI series. After City of Glass I picked up the author’s prequel series, The Infernal Devices. Going through the library was slow, and I was really enjoying the books, so I justified the cost of purchasing the two available books, Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince.

After I finished those I went back to The Mortal Instruments series to read City of Fallen Angels. The fifth book, City of Lost Souls came out this month and I snatched it up on my last trip to Costco.

The cover looks just like a Fabio covered romance novel, except supernatural and marketed for “young adults.” I swear it’s better than the cliche romance novel, or at least the cliches I’ve heard.

Somewhere in the middle of the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices I took a break to read the Fifty Shades series.

I’m a total bandwagon reader now. If there’s some exciting hype I want to pick it up and see what’s going on. I knew this series was supposed to be sexually shocking. I also read reviews that the writing was poor and the author really needed an editor to comb through it more thoroughly. Both are true. I don’t read romance novels, so drawn out sex scenes aren’t familiar reading for me. The Sookie series has it’s fair share of hot and steamy scenes (hello Eric in the shower….), but somehow tied into the vampire/shapeshifter theme it’s detached from reality a little. So reading Fifty was shocking because it was different – graphic, in your face sex, over and over. The “kinky fuckery” touched a psychological perspective, so I wasn’t shocked by the sex with whips and toys and spanking. I wanted to like these books, and I’m not a book snob by any means. But they won’t be a re-read for me in the future. I would suggest people read them, but mostly so we can rant together. The flaws for me: the constant (every 5 pages?) sex got distracting and predictable, Anna didn’t seem to have an existence or purpose without first considering the thoughts and feelings of Christian, the repetition of 15 or 20 specific phrases throughout the series (if you read the books you know what I’m talking about!), the silly words that made it seem like the author just sat down with a thesaurus and dropped some in at random. I think the real reason women flock to this series (beside the promise of scandalous sex) is to read about a man who is broken and “saved” by love alone from the quiet, shy, unsuspecting heroine. I don’t know many ladies that can say they’ve never tried to fix a broken man. At the end of the third book, in the epilogue, there is a version of their first interview from Christian’s point of view, that was probably the highlight of the series for me. I wish there would have been more from his point of view, more of his history, more of his childhood, more psychology. Oh well.

So while I wait patiently for the rest of the books from Charlaine Harris and Cassandra Clare, I’ve picked up a new book to start.

I’m still on the fence about getting a Kindle. On one hand I’d enjoy being able to buy a book and read it a minute later, to store so many books in such a small, uncluttered space. But I love how it feels to read a book, flip the pages, feel the weight of it on my lap. I looked at the Kindle Fire because Leia can use it (instead of my phone) to play her “shapes” and “fruits” games. I also looked at an iPad. I can’t tell which one is best for me, so I procrastinate on buying anything at all.

It makes me feel old to know e-readers are the way of the future, maybe I’m just trying to hold on to what I know.

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