Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ahhh, reading again. And not just online.

I actually finished reading two books this week!

Yesterday morning I finished We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson after reading it on and off for months now. I had four and a half whole hours to myself yesterday morning when I was at my sister's gallery. It was beautiful.

I loved the book. It wasn't scary at all but it was so creepy and suspenseful, despite the big, beautiful house it took place in, and the sunshine and the garden and the pleasant demeanors of the people who lived there. There were secrets though, clouding up and haunting everything. The pleasantness was a desperation.

The only Shirley Jackson I had ever read was the short story "The Lottery," and I just love the way she writes.

When I get brave enough I will read The Haunting of Hill House, even though I heard it's one of the scariest things ever written. (The 1999 movie The Haunting, which was based on/ inspired by the novel was so bad and not to be confused with something worse, The House on Haunted Hill.) I am not good at being scared, especially since I am still a little scared of my new, big, shadowy, creaky old apartment.

I heard a music box last night when I was in the kitchen. I don't own a music box.

I also started and finished Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. I have wanted to read him ever since I heard him do an interview on NPR a couple years ago. I always waited for his books to come in our store, but they were few and far between and gone before I got to them. We sold used books, mostly, and there were certain authors we were always just thirsty for that customers tended not to sell as frequently. Then he passed away and people held on to their Vonnegut books like they were heirlooms. (Maybe they are.) I am serious when I say that I saw maybe four Vonnegut books after that.

I managed to get my hands on three of his books before I left the store, and I will say that my first Vonnegut reading experience was a fulfilling one. Just like he was in his NPR interview, when I first became interested in him as an author, his writing was witty and captivating and comfortable. He was such an intelligent man.

I'm not going to summarize these novels for you. For any of you who've listened patiently as I try to tell a fairly simple story, I am bad at summarizing. I'm bad at "the short version." I have a hard time telling people what a book or movie is about without being too vague or giving away juicy details that should be discovered independently.

I will recommend them, though.

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