Sunday, May 18, 2008

Summer reading!

This weekend, I picked up the latest issue of one of my favourite magazines, Real Simple, because it promised a feature on Favourite Authors' Favourite Books. The article was broken down into sections:

Books to Dip in and Out of
Books to Savor all Summer
Books for a Long Weekend
One-Day Reads.

Let's talk for a moment about One-Day Reads. I have never read a book in one day, unless we're counting the types of books I read in the third-grade in an attempt to read the most number of books in the MS Read-a-thon. But maybe the problem was, I thought, that I'm reading the wrong kind of books. Sophie Kinsella chose The Curious Incident of a Dog in Night-Time.

Augusten Burroughs chose The Member of the Wedding.

Both of these books are supposedly fairly short. While I would still not likely finish these in a day, I might finish them in a weekend. I can admit I'm a slow reader. I would actually like to take Speed Reading 101, but appparently, the instructor who is teaching this at The School in My Mind That Does Not Exist In Real Life also teaches the Shorthand 101 course that I want to take. And she's on mat leave. For like, life. Which is okay, I think, because while speed reading has its benefits, is it really for leisure reading? After all, isn't leisure reading supposed to be pleasurable? So right, I can accept that Augusten and Sophie are able to read their one-day novels in a day but as for Danielle Steel's choice, I don't buy it.

She chose "Anything by Jodi Picoult."

To which I say, Come. On.

Actually, Ms Steel could've chosen anything by Jodi Picoult, any book at all, and I would challenge her that she could not read it in a day. While I love Jodi Picoult, her books are like the Bible: Sacred but Monstrous. I mean, they clock in at about 600 pages. I think I can read about a page every 2 minutes. So that would be 1200 minutes or 20 hours. Is that math correct? I don't have a calculator handy, but let's assume it is. So then, on the day I'm going to read a Jodi Picoult novel, I can only sleep for 4 hours. So then, I'd have to spend the rest of the weekend sleeping just to catch up after reading my One-Day Book. But what about eating? Of course, I bet Danielle Steel has a personal chef, so she doesn't need to make her meals herself. Or maybe she can read a page in less than 2 minutes.

Anyway, the other category I found interesting was Books to Dip into and Out of. As you may recall if you've been reading my blog for a while, my New Year's Resolution for 2007 was To Finish Books I Start Reading. This lasted a whole 2 days until people whose opinion I value naysayed this resolution, saying that there are too many books in the world and that if you spend time agonizing over a book you loathe you may never get to one that you'll love and that if a book can't hold your attention it's not a book for you. (Actually, I think the person who said the last comment actually said, verbatem: "If a book can't hold your attention then it's a bad book", but as an author, I can't bring myself to really call any book BAD because someone probably likes it (at least, the author's agent and editor did) and any book -- good or bad -- takes days and weeks and years of hard work).

Anyway, after deciding that I would succumb, I mean, subscribe to the No, I Do Not Have To Finish Every Book I Start school of thought, this whole category throws me for a loop. Because I don't typically like to read too many books at once; otherwise, I lose interest, and inevitably, stop reading. But now I wonder, are there some books that are better for poking through over a long period of time, like catching up with an old friend every few months, rather than rushing through in one sitting?

Sophie Kinsella chose The Portable Dorothy Parker as her dip-in-dip-out book.

Augusten Burroughs chose The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson.

Danielle Steel chose "Anything Religious." I think I'm on track with Ms. Steel on this one. I mean, who wants to read The Bible in one fell swoop? Or maybe, she just means any Jodi Picoult book. And I could definitely get behind that.

So what's on your summer reading list?


Alicia McAuley said...

Having the opportunity to finally catch up on all the books I've been stockpiling for the last six years while I was in school means I have quite the lengthy Summer Reading list. A few that I'm really looking forward to:

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
A selection of books by Chuck Klosterman
Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman
But Enough About Me by Jancee Dunn

...I will definitely not be reading any of these in a single day. I think the only time I've managed to do that was with one of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books a couple summers ago. I've also stayed up until 5am reading Something Borrowed because I literally couldn't tear myself away from it. My book nerd-ery knows no bounds.

Happy reading, Chantel!

Laural Dawn said...

I'm a really quick reader, and I can't get through Jodi Picoult in a day. Ever. I've been trying to read 19 minutes for 2 months now. (I love it, but it hits too close to home).

But ... the Twilight series. Those are LONG books, but I could read one in a day. The last I did in a weekend, but I have kids who interrupt me.

Truthfully, the only books you can really read in a day are ones that are super great and then it sucks that you're finished.

chantel simmons said...

Alicia: Good books! - I think I'll add a few of those to my list. PS I LOVED Baby Proof. It was my favourite by Emily Giffin, until I read her latest: Love the One You're With.

Laural: I totally agree with you about the books you COULD finish in a day but don't want to because then you'll be sad. I just read Sophie Kinsella's Remember Me? and I loved it so much that I re-read pages and only let myself read it as a reward for doing non-fun tasks, just to make the story last longer.

heather said...

The first Picoult book I read was My Sister's Keeper which I think I actually finished in about a day. Nothing else she has written has lived up to that one for me...though a few others have been quite good as well.

My reading list for this summer:
- The Film Club by David Gimour
- Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
- I love you Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
- Into the Fire by Suzanne Brockmann
- Such a pretty Fat (as already mentioned)
- Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (for book club)
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (ditto)
- Nothing to Lose by Lee Child
- Love the One you're With by Emily Giffin
- Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
- Don't Hex with Texas by Shanna Swendson
- Undead and Unworthy by Mary Janice Davidson

...hopefully many of them on the dock with a frosty beverage in my hands.

And I too have rationed pages of a really good book that I didn't want to end...or rushed through it to finish the story and then gone back to savour certain passages :-).