Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some 2012 Goals

Now that Christmas is behind me and I'm comfortably hanging at home for this week, I've been thinking about 2012. I have a lot of goals for myself in this coming year but I have mainly been thinking about the goals that directly affect this blog. For the most part, I use this blog for my book and movie musings and I'd like to keep that this way. I think I share plenty about myself that way so telling you about what I did at work seems silly (and I have another blog for that).

In July of this year, I got what I called my mysterious illness that it took them until September to decide was TMJ and that I am still dealing with on a daily basis. That sort of threw off my nice groove off on lots of things. However, new year and new goals.

I feel I did well with my reading challenge last year - I got through a lot of books on my list that I felt I should have read by now and found some new favorites along the way. Two of which found their way under my tree this year - yay! I love getting books for Christmas - there is nothing better....except maybe an Amazon gift card so I can do some damage on my wish list.

I also blew my Goodreads challenge for the year out of the water - I clearly underestimated how many books I read in a year - 122 books down last year! So, now I have to come up with a new reading challenge but I am drawing a blank. I thought about reading the books on my to-read list in exact order but I feel like I would cheat on that challenge really fast and it would limit me in a sense. What if I found a new author I really love from one book and want to read the rest of his/her work? I would have to have too many rules or caveats to make that one work. So, I'll have to work on a different idea or maybe just sort of let my reading go wherever it wants this year.

But one goal I am sure of is this year, and I will make it a rule, is to review a book or write something on this blog at least once a week. I like writing on this blog when I remember to so if I set reminders for myself, I am hoping this will become a habit of mine. I have tons of blog post ideas saved up on things I want to write about - I just need to make the time and let's face it, I have lots of time on my hands most of the time. I just need to make the effort and I figure by writing it here, I'll be held to it. 

I head back west on New Year's Day and then the new year will begin. In the meantime, I'm off to enjoy the rest of my time home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What would the world be like with no children’s books?

Among the blogosphere, the debate over children’s books versus young adult book versus adult books seems to have gotten very intense this year. It could just be me of course but it does seem to have erupted into a big “thing” and everyone has needed to weigh in on it. Personally, I don’t get what all the fuss is about. I enjoy reading – whether the book was meant for six year olds or ninety-nine years old, it makes no difference to me. In fact, some of the best reads of my life were meant for audiences much younger than me. Why adults seem so hung up on the latest young adult reading craze is beyond me. At least everyone is reading right?

Personally, some of my favorite books to this day are considered children classics though I didn’t appreciate them until I was much older. Reading Le Petit Prince in 11th grade French class changed everything – never mind I’d read it as a child and not understood what all the fuss was about. Perhaps it is only as a stressed out teen worried about getting into college that the baobab analogy makes sense. Anne Shirley guided me through 6th grade and now, her books take on new meaning as I trudge through my mid-20s with no Gilbert in sight but still plenty of laughs to be had. Doesn’t Anne seem like someone you’d like to be able to go visit with a bottle of wine after a hard day? She would remind me, as she once so comfortingly noted to Marilla, that tomorrow is a fresh day, there are no mistakes in it yet.

So thankfully, I’ve never walked away from what the rest of the world regulated to kids sections of book stores which is why I got to enjoy Harry Potter before my friends found him and directed them eagerly to The Hunger Games once a friend had already steered me in its direction. Sure, parents hem and haw over the appropriateness of these books for kids but even among the violence, these books are discussing fundamental problems all kids face – the search for who you are, who you are going to be and what you will stand for. I’m in my mid-20s and still figuring that out which is why I think these books, designed for kids, have such universal appeal. We never really stop wondering what we’ll be when we grow up and reading stories of brave, smart kids on the same path are comforting.

Especially since adult fiction just seem so depressing in comparison. It’s always a novel about death or depression or divorce. No one ever seems happy in contemporary fiction. There are ambiguous endings and the hero doesn’t always triumph in the end. I have enough of that in reality people; that is not what I like to find when I open up a book to escape for a few hours.

Take for instance the book I just finished, The Mysterious Benedict Society. Four smart (smarter than I will ever be), brave, resourceful kids go into danger to save the world and they win! Against all odds and reality, these four brilliant children do what no adult could do. They solve puzzles, connect the dots and act more bravely than I am (pretty) sure I would be able to in my (what the world thinks) vastly superior knowledge. It is slightly implausible? Sure, but why on earth would I want to read it if it was possible?