5/2/08

Literary love

I was a nerdy kid.

Actually, both my sister and I were nerdy kids. But nerdy in the "never ever sitting without a book in our lap" kinda way.

At restaurants, once we outgrew (or tired) of the provided colouring sheets, Danielle and I would wait patiently for the server to come along... elbows anchoring down the corners of our books-of-choice, bottomless glass of Pepsi at the ready, legs swinging underneath the table.

At church, Mom and Dad had to lay down the law: reading was allowed before the service started, but not during. So the bulletin's announcement section became our saving grace.

And family road trips must have been a breeze. If we weren't passed out in the back of the Explorer, we would be sprawled out in the back seat, snack in one hand, and book in the other. **

Eventually I hit a road block. I couldn't find anything I liked, I had exhausted all my favourite authors... and they weren't really coming out with new books (it's hard, when at the ripe old age of 12 you've read everything Roald Dahl's ever written, including his autobiography). I kind of gave up. I still sat at the breakfast table, eyes moving over the back of the Crispex box's recipe for party mix for the millionth time... but there wasn't anything that really begged me to be read anymore.

In high school, I went through a brief Stephen King stage, but wasn't a big fan of his horror novels. The first book of his I ever read was "The Green Mile" and to this day, I've been in search of something with that same feeling, that same tone. I've yet to find it.

But it wasn't until two summers ago, that I finally rediscovered my love of reading. And became addicted to the written word all over again. That was the summer I lived and worked in France. I stocked up books because I knew I would have a hard time getting my hands on English reading material. I must have read something like 20-30 books that summer.

The following year at university, I took a Children's Lit. course... which was really cool (re-reading and looking at those books we all read as kids... but had long forgotten) I discovered I hate books where animals pretend to be humans (my two LEAST FAVOURITE selections were The Wind in the Willows and Watership Down).

This Easter, I had some extra time at the Toronto airport and toddled around in the bookstore there. I had money in my pocket, I was at the end of my current book, and was ready to add to my bookshelf.

But almost every book I picked up (and I tried to give MOST of them an honest try) made me scoff, and quickly stick it back on the rack. I had no interest in reading crime novels, I didn't want a lawyer's tale, I certainly didn't want to read romance fluff. Science fiction, fantasy, crap crap crap. I didn't know what I was looking for, but I knew for sure it was NOT there. It was so frustrating, it was like I was back in high school, and there was nothing left in the world for me to read.

But the boy rescued me, with mountains of Tom Robbins and Douglas Coupland novels. Ok, maybe I wasn't rescued, so much as it became clear where my reading niche now sits.

I like quirky books... and literary fiction (if it's not too pretentious). I am not-so-patiently awaiting my latest Amazon.ca order, it was shipped late last week.

Now, I wasn't going to make one before my birthday... I've unofficially put a shopping kaibash on myself. "What do you get the girl who gets herself everything" etc... but its not like anyone's going to know exactly what I want to read.

But the following is what is en route to me. So family, if for some bizarre reason, you were going to buy me these books for my birthday (though I'm sure you weren't but whatever) ... DON'T. Because I already own them. Almost.

1. Choke (Chuck Palahniuk)
2. Bonk (Mary Roach)
3. Prozac Nation (Elizabeth Wurtzel)
4. The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
5. Candy Girl (Diablo Coady)

UPDATE: I am going to have to revise my "niche genres" ... because I really don't know if any of those books (save maybe, Bonk) can be categorized as quirky or non-pretentious literary fiction... and I think three of them are semi-autobiographical. Oh well. It's fun to be contradictory.

UPDATE ON THE UPDATE:
I believe this is the most navel-gaze-y post I've done to date....

** I'm starting to wonder how either of us ever developed any social skills... given how much reading we were doing...

3 comments:

KOTN May 5, 2008 at 9:14 AM  

I am at least as big a geek as you. I ordered Amazon on Wdnesday, and already I'm checking my box every day.

Fahrenheit 451 (beacuse burning books never goes out of style)
The Foot Book (I like Dr Seuss, the kids like Dr Seuss.... win win.)
Reality Show 9Story of the Network News Cast war)
Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (beause you have to watch your back out there)
Batman: The Killing Joke (THey kill Robin, how could I not buy that... and the fans voted on Robin's fate.....)

Amazon day is like when the book orders used to come in to class.

Jackie S May 5, 2008 at 10:56 AM  

OMG Kent, I had completely forgotten about that part of my life. Scholastic book order days!!! Shiny soft-cover editions... sticker packs... the latest BSC books...

Wow.

What a classic, classic invention :D

KOTN May 6, 2008 at 8:36 AM  

They still exist, except half of the "books" are cheap excuses to sell toys to kids at school.

On the bright side, it did get us a joy buzzer in his "comedy" book.