Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, October 05, 2015

The state of the LRG reading nation

Many readers create their own worlds within the books that surround them, both bought and yet to be bought(there is a third category known as borrowed but we won't be talking about that just now) and every now and then, it helps to take stock of where you are bookwise by checking your literary map.

So, I intend to do a brief version of that today, starting with my take on The Kite Runner, which I was reading for Banned Books Week. Khaled Hosseini's dazzling debut novel that chronicles the story of a broken friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy yet emotionally distant father, and Hassan, whose father is the main household servant, is truly sad yet irresistible to read.

The reasons for banning such a beautifully written book are ridiculous, as many of the terrible things that happen to Amir and especially Hassan(along with another important character) are those that can happen to anyone anywhere, which only proves the universal nature of grief and the power of hope.

I don't know if I'll see the film adaptation of TKR, at least not right away, as it'll be even more intense than the book perhaps. I am glad that I finally got around to reading The Kite Runner and even more happy that this was a novel that did more than live up to the hype.

I was so taken by the book that before finishing it, I ordered both of the author's other books, A Thousand Splendid Suns along with And The Mountains Echoed.  I bought secondhand copies,btw, to sort of go along with TKR, which I picked up at a rummage sale. That's not the only used book shopping I did recently but more on that in a moment.

Both books are set in Afghanistan, with A Thousand Splendid Suns having the two wives of an abusive man come together as friends and ATME being a series of interconnected stories that start with a brother and sister being separated. From what I've heard, each book is it's own unique experience which makes them all the more interesting to check out.

I'm putting them on my upcoming Winter Reading List(yes, I try to do seasonal reading) as I do need some time to engage with my other books in mid-read as well as take in the full impact of TKR. Such an impressive book takes some time to appreciate it's complete emotional imprint on your reading soul and this is one that I'm honored to make part of my literary landscape:

Speaking of seasonal reading, I started rereading Stephen King's Misery for the Seasons of Reading's  Frightfall readathon that begins today and ends on October 11. You can still sign up for it, especially if you want to get into the Halloween spirit with a certain scary book or two.

Misery should be interesting to revisit, as there are a lot of dark themes in it such as the intensity of fan love, King's own addiction problems(which he admits are part of the inspiration for the focus for the main character here) and the struggles of writing as a career.

Along with the love-hate attitude that Paul Sheldon has for his successful leading lady Misery Chastain(I'm not the only King fan who would enjoy reading a full fledged Misery novel!), the work that goes into writing for him or any other author is something that most people take for granted, even if they're not making an actual deadline for someone to finish by. Misery in some ways feels a lot like a winter novel but it should be quite chilling enough to read, even without a special pair of writing slippers:

Also, I've started reading a book that I won from Library Thing recently, Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart. The reviews for this book have been strongly positive, plus it came with a removable tattoo of the stylish cover art, a nice bonus there.

It's a first novel(the author is best known for nonfiction such as The Drunken Botanist) and based on the true story of the Kopp sisters, a trio of siblings who in the summer of 1914 have a road accident with a budding gangster that accelerates rather quickly into a winner takes all standoff.

So far, the pace and the tone of the story are good and I look forward to reading more of GWWG this season. Not sure if I'll read any of Amy Stewart's other books but if this one is as satisfying as promised, I may take up The Drunken Botanist, which does tie into GWWG as a source of inspiration based upon the author's research:

Last but far from least, there is a fantasy series that I have to explore due to the fact that it's about to become a TV show. MTV is planning to air The Shannara Chronicles, based upon Terry Brooks' first three books in that massive saga, in January of 2016 so the rush is on to get acquainted with this sword and sorcery tale.

While the show will use the second book,The Elfstones of Shannara, as their starting point, I intend to begin at the beginning with The Sword of Shannara, which just arrived from another used book dealer today in my mailbox.
 The other two books in the original trilogy, that includes The Wishsong of Shannara, will be joining it very shortly(and yes, I know there's a prequel to this set but since that was written much later, I'm sticking with publishing order here).

While I haven't watched a made for MTV series before(not since the days of Beavis and Butthead, anyway), this does look like a solid production with a cast that includes newcomers and old pros alike, plus the support of the author. Also, having a show like this air in mid winter is a smart idea as the mid season doldrums for TV tend to kick in around then.

The Shannara series does have a strong following yet does appear to be accessible to new readers, so I'm happy to be on board. Hopefully, the show will do well and live up to the books, which is the most important thing to keep in mind there:

Well, that is all for now but trust me, this is only the tip of my reading iceberg. I do plan to have book reviews of titles not mentioned here, plus a preview of November and December titles by the end of this month.

What I need to most earnestly do is concentrate on the books I have now and resist the call of new releases(I do need to save a few must-haves for Christmas, after all!). New books are so hard not to drool over but patience is a virtue that will, in this case, be rewarded with page turning goodness in the end:

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