Skip to main content

Books I Want to Re-read

No one tells you when you start book blogging that re-reading becomes a thing of the past. Every now and then something might slip in, but the fact is you go from bopping through life as a casual reader, looking at the What's New display at Barnes & Noble when you drop in, and otherwise just kind of sticking to what's around, to a feverish rush through the world of publishing.

Or possibly a sprightly bounce

When you start book blogging, you become hyper-aware of new books, old books, and the fact that there are tons of books coming out you don't know about, and things you haven't even heard of are winning prizes -- haven't heard of because when you book blog you have a certain circle of people whose blogs you read, and, quite honestly, it all becomes a bit incestuous after a while and everyone just reads the same things.

This hyper-awareness regarding the millions of books out there in the world means re-reading can make you feel guilty. "HOW can I do this when I have 300 unread books on my shelves?" But the fact is, books have different functions at different points in time. The point is not just to read more of them, but to use them to relax, to enjoy them from different vantage points as you grow and experience more of life.

I was just reading Holly Black's The Darkest Part of the Forest (obtained because of Emily's review of it) and when a gay boy started crying because his boyfriend's parents made the relationship end, I suddenly realized I want to re-read Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Like, a lot. Then I started thinking about all the above and other things I wanted to look at again. So. Here's a list of things I want to re-read:

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, David Levithan & John Green. Ohhh how excellent this book is. There are two Will Graysons. There is an effervescent character named Tiny. I almost never read gay male fiction, let alone gay male YA fiction, but this book. This book is so good.

East of Eden, John Steinbeck. I really hate Grapes of Wrath. East of Eden was written 13 years later and I scorn all other contenders because THIS is the Great American Novel.

"'Thou mayest rule over sin,' Lee. That's it. I do not believe all men are destroyed. I can name you a dozen who were not, and they are the ones the world lives by. It is true of the spirit as it is true of battles — only the winners are remembered. Surely most men are destroyed, but there are others who like pillars of fire guide frightened men through the darkness. 'Thou mayest, thou mayest!' What glory! It is true that we are weak and sick and quarrelsome, but if that is all we ever were, we would, millenniums ago, have disappeared from the face of the earth. A few remnants of fossilized jawbone, some broken teeth in strata of limestone, would be the only mark man would have left of his existence in the world."

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket. Middle grade fiction is my jam. Authors writing well without any of the asshole pretension that pops up in "Literature Fiction." Also it's usually got a good mix of humor and awesomeness. I'm still pretty mad at Series of Unfortunate Events because of the last couple books in the series, but I still reference it when heroes on TV act like villains and we're supposed to still be rooting for them. The first 10 books are pretty excellent, which is damn good for a 13 book series.
A man of my acquaintance once wrote a poem called "The Road Less Traveled", describing a journey he took through the woods along a path most travelers never used. The poet found that the road less traveled was peaceful but quite lonely, and he was probably a bit nervous as he went along, because if anything happened on the road less traveled, the other travelers would be on the road more frequently traveled and so couldn't hear him as he cried for help. Sure enough, that poet is dead.

Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters. This is the Holy Grail of lesbian books. I read it when I first came out and was reading anything that dealt with gayness. I'm pretty sure I'll still like it, but a friend said she recently re-read it and it was....not what she remembered. But still! Nan and Kitty and Victorian lesbians! And it gave me the quote that only I find funny and use in any occasion that calls for melodrama: "I HATE what you make me feel!" (get it? Because overly dramatic lesbians? no? all right then)

Bow chicka bow bow
Dracula, Bram Stoker. I mean, we're now totally aware of a way better version of this book, but apparently whenever I read Dracula, I was "absorbed to the very last page." I wrote that when I was 21, so I really don't trust that to mean it's a good book. I mean, that's only five years after I wrote that I'd get all of Edith Wharton's books "if she weren't so depressing!" So I'd like to revise my opinion.

Possession, A.S. Byatt. I've been saying this is one of my favorite books for years, mostly because the writing is RIDIC PRETTY and also you really want the two main characters to bang. And also they're both Victorian poets. So that's pretty sweet. But despite my total love for this book, I've only read it once, and that feels...weird? So. Re-reading should happen.

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. I love GWTW. It should be re-read constantly. Constantly.

YAAAAASS

I'm gonna keep reading The Darkest Part of the Forest, though. 'Cause it's really good. Then there's Plucked: A History of Hair Removal, and I STILL have to finish Barnaby Rudge and ahhhh so many books SO MANY BOOKS.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Yes, Frances Willard was as gay as Oscar Wilde. But in a lady-way.

Yup. We're gonna do it. We're gonna talk about Frances Willard and gayness. Look, it's not a major part of her life, and it's definitely not the main thing she should be remembered for, but the fact that a line is being put out that she was totally straight is complete hogwash and it upsets me.




The thing is, I get when people say it's anachronistic to put the cultural concept of "gayness" onto a person from a century other than the 20th/21st. I get that. And usually agree with it. But Frances Willard is one of the gayest people in history. I have zero problem labeling her with that. The fact that she didn't have the language to describe what she was experiencing is upsetting, but she managed to have a seemingly full and satisfying life anyway, so I am happy for her.

And for people annoyed when gay people say that someone from the past was gay, here's the thing: When you're completely whitewashed from history, it is a matter of TOTAL DELIGHT wh…