Reading List 2010 (4/23)

You know, playing Dragon Age obsessively hasn’t been interfering with my reading nearly as much as I’d expected.  Which makes me wonder just what’s falling by the wayside so I can save Ferelden from the Darkspawn …

  • The Making of a Marchioness, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
  • The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion, Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull
  • Game Change, John Heilemann & Mark Halperin

Three out of four books this week were hardcovers, which is unusual for me.  I try not to buy hardcovers because I can’t afford to store them, let alone buy them in the first place!  But this was somehow a perfect hardcover storm.

The Hunger Games was a gift; I’d been salivating over it, but promised myself I wouldn’t start reading until the whole series was out in soft-cover.  So much for willpower!  Kaitlin put this in front of me and swore it didn’t end in a cliffhanger, and boom – there I went.  It’s what I wanted Battle Royale to be: an edge-of-your-seat survival thriller with, you know, character development and social commentary.  (Plus a love triangle!  I’m a Gale girl, but I hear I may not be by the end of the second book.)

The Reader’s Companion was, er, a gift I’d bought for someone else.  Eventually I just couldn’t resist, unwrapped it, and dug in! I was surprised how accessible the authors made what is essentially a scholarly work.  While a lot of what they wrote about was variant texts, I enjoyed the glimpses into Tolkien’s process that came up every couple of pages.  He kept finding contradictions in what he’d written and having to iron them out in various inventive ways.  I also discovered that originally Strider was supposed to be a “hobbit ranger” named “Trotter.”  Seriously.  The best thing to come out of this book, though, was a reading list of other scholarly works to read on Tolkien.  I’m thinking about using Tolkien as a case study for a paper on the creative process, so this is research, I swear!

Game Change I actually bought for myself, because I’ve been watching The West Wing for the first time and wanted to read about the election process in the real world.  It was just as compelling as the fiction, if not more so – and better yet, it’s changed the way I read the news.  (Though admittedly The West Wing has done the same for me!)  I notice names I didn’t think were important before, and I understand a lot more about how political change actually works.  Between things like this and reading The Economist weekly, I feel more aware of the real (er, non-academic?) world!

The real world has very little to do with Frances Hodgson Burnett, for the record, but I loved A Little Princess when I was a kid and figured I’d like her more adult works as well.  This one was darker but still charming – much like The House of Mirth, if Lily Bart were a bit less inclined to shoot herself in the foot and a bit luckier in her choice of companions.  It does a nice job of portraying love between two rather unromantic characters, which is something you don’t often see.  I had to ignore a rather wild dive into melodrama in the second half of the book, but I enjoyed this one nonetheless.

Almost caught up!

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