Friday, July 17, 2009

A Novel Way of Thinking

As previously discussed, I'm a bit of a nerd. And in true nerd-cliche, I love to read. I mean, LOVE. When I was younger, I volunteered at the local library where they knew me by name. I took a book with me at all times and read in the car even if we were just going to the grocery store. Because of this, when I got my license at 17 I had barely any idea how to get to my friends' houses. My first job was at a Barnes & Noble so I (and my parents) would receive the employee discount.

I've recently started making more time for books again (ahem, less TV watching), and I can't believe how little I've been reading since I graduated from college. Part of this is because I was trying to "expand my mind" with non-fiction, aka non-fun. I couldn't even get through Obama's book when it was all the rage. I just listened closely to other people's conversations in case anyone ever asked me what I thought.

It must be the wanna-be actress in me, I need character development and plot. If a book is even remotely well-written, I can fall head-over-heels in under 20 pages. Right now, I'm reading Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk (this is my 3rd Wouk the past 9 months) and I can hardly put it down. I'm even reading instead of watching the Daily Show at night, and that is really saying something. I read for maybe 6 hours on Sunday, in various locations around the apartment, on the metro, in a park near Dupont Circle, and at Russia House while techno music played in the background. Socially awkward? Perhaps - except that it drew attention and I made a friend as soon as I put the book down.

The truly socially awkward part is that I get stuck in a good book in more than just a metaphorical way. For historical fiction like Wouk's, it takes me some time to shake off the cadences and vernacular of the writing. For example, this book takes place between 1946-1952 (so far) and I find myself thinking in much more refined sentences for an hour or so after putting the book down. I half drove myself nuts when I was 12 and my mom suggested I read Gone With the Wind. My internal monologue had a Southern accent for 3 straight weeks.

So, at the same time that I love that each Wouk book is at least 900 pages so I can get properly invested in each character and situation, maybe I need to find shorter books. I'm almost reading so voraciously for two completely incompatible reasons; on the one hand, I love the book and want to be wrapped up in the story. But on the other hand - if I don't get to the end soon, I'm going to start speaking like a 1940s NYC book editor.

No comments: