Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer reading: American Gods

I love books, I love studying literature, but I hate reading. This is the great contradiction of my life, and unfortunately it has kept me from being as well-read as I'd like to be. I just don't get as much pleasure from reading as a lot of people do. I'd much rather watch a tv show (or glance through blogs, watch youtube videos, or stare at a wall) than read a book. Reading is work and I am lazy. But, since these crazy people in this PhD program gave me a fellowship and I'm getting paid to read, it really is work and I am obligated to do it full time. So I'm trying to work on getting through as many novels as I can this summer. Not necessarily great works of literature, but books I've been meaning to read for some time, books I hope will be enjoyable, and most importantly books I can listen to so that I can push through them while I'm doing other things like cleaning my bathroom or walking to school. I'm going to try to keep track of them on the blog so I have a good record of what I've read.

So, I just finished listening to American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I had heard some great things about the book and I know people loved it, and I did like it, but I only really loved about one chapter towards the end, a brilliantly written chapter that connected all of the (important) foreshadowing, that was thoroughly creepy and beautiful and intense. I was a little bit annoyed that the whole center of the novel foreshadowed what ended up being an epilogue and wasn't pertinent to the actual story (although it did end up being a fun to see a small-town gothic mystery solved). This was the 10th anniversary edition with lots of extra stuff, so maybe I would have enjoyed a shorter and more edited version. It was a good read and I appreciated the zombies, the mythologies, the weird Americana, and the creepiness. 

The American gothic elements of American Gods put the taste in my mouth and so I just started reading (listening to) We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Her Haunting of Hill House is one of my favorite books (one I read over and over again) and I know a lady who wrote her MA thesis on Castle so I've been meaning to get to it and I'm glad I found it. I can already tell that it's not going to be as good as Hill House but I'm looking forward to how it plays out. It looks like I can expect some witchcraft, which I love. I only have 3 hours left to listen to, so I'm hoping I'll finish it by the end of the weekend. Then I plan on shifting gears and listening to Philip Roth's Human Stain which was recommended to me by a friend, and I hope to have that done by next weekend. 

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