Saturday, July 14, 2007

Summer Reading

Much to my amazement, I'm really enjoying The Scarlet Letter.

It was the bane of my high school and then college years, and I fell asleep reading it to my Armenian daughter during our first year hosting. She was required to read it for her American Lit. class, but didn't have the English skills to conquer the language, so we spent night after night reading through it. And I'd doze every time, until I felt her gentle nudge on my knee or arm, at which point I'd startle and try again.

Did I really have to be forty-eight to finally "get" this story?

This time around, it's little Pearl who's caught my attention. I don't think I allowed myself the pleasure of delving into her surprisingly modern portrayal, or Hawthorne's allowing a more natural take on children than Hester would have probably assumed in her day. Pearl is not seen, as children typically were in Puritan times, as a little adult, but rather she is left to be a child, and an ill-behaved one, at that. Which also pulls me in as a mother. I'm looking at Hester in a new light.

But where are the beach books?

Of my current list, the only beach book type is Bangkok Haunts, and yet that, too, is complicated and dense in its own way. Sonchai Jitpleecheep, the Bangkok detective who is at the heart of Burdett's Bangkok series, makes the series for me. The subject matter is often more raw than I would normally read or enjoy. Yet the themes of cross-cultural misunderstanding, and Sonchai's take on the West versus Thai Buddhist culture has me fascinated. Hence The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism...

But that's not particularly light reading, either. So, through Sonchai, I've become fascinated with learning more about Buddhism. But I'm also trying not to get sucked into too many directions so I can focus on The Courage to Write, recommended by my friend Charity.

And then there are The Nick Adams Stories, which I'm still sorting through for American Lit.

Where are the hours in the day?


anno said...

If this all looks pretty interesting to me, is there something wrong?

I'm also reading The Courage to Write, for the very same reason. Also, another very good book: Beyond the Words by Bonni Goldberg.

I'd say, enjoy your summer reading! And the best way to get more hours in the day for reading is to turn off the A/C and let the heat leave you so languid all you can do is read on the sofa, occasionally fanning yourself or sipping iced tea!

Marianne Arkins said...

I was tickled to hear that Charity liked "Courage To Write" enough to recommend it... it was a book I sent to her, thinking she might enjoy it.

Looks like I *sort of* got a two-fer-one on that!

Enjoy your summer reading, but don't forget a bit of lighter fare!