Who Says?

Standard

I don’t like to do this but I stopped reading “Different Sky” by Meira Chand. Three main characters culture’s intersect in 1920’s-1950’s Singapore. This story is well written but I discovered during the Japanese invasion (and the brutality graphically described) that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to finish it. I found it overwhelming and difficult to navigate between the multicultural issues of the characters and the era. I felt guilty and started wondering about that.

Who makes the rules of reading etiquette? I’ve known some readers to be horrified when someone said they frequently read the ending of books before deciding to read them. Another stated her time was much too valuable and books too plentiful to waste on ones she didn’t like. I also know that many a book have I started that meandered from BORING to a pop between the eyes. Doesn’t the power of the written word amaze you? I passed this book on to another reader and I look forward to hearing her thoughts. Think of all the classics that might never have been read from beginning to end if it weren’t for them being someone’s cup of tea?  And cliff notes of course.

I find the older I get the more open I am to reading books that didn’t interest me in high school or college. Ahhh maturity. I also know for me there is an emotional component to reading. The new year is not always a great time for me. My life is not as settled as I’d like it to be so I don’t want to read about people torn from their homes and lives violently ripped apart.

I can acknowledge  this is a female brain thing for me. “The Female Brain” was amazing and I learned so much. She breaks it down into passages (children, teens, pregnancy, menopause and so- forth) that I could identify with and that made sense. I liked the client stories (she’s a neuro-psychiatrist) and humor she interweaves with her data. It truly does come down too much estrogen or testosterone.

So, now that I give myself permission to move to another book, I can explore “Then Again” by Diane Keaton. I have long admired her for adopting children at the age of 50 (crazy but admirable), not having plastic surgery, wearing glasses and dressing to suit herself. Not easy things to do in Hollywood. This was a surprising memoir because of two things. One, she reveals being bulimic and very insecure, and two, she interweaves her story with that of her mother’s many journal entries. She adored her mom and honors her in this special book. Not your typical Hollywood biography but there are relationships with Woody Allen, Warren Beatty and Al Pacino thrown in.  Fortunately this isn’t a “star” driven book. Diane Keaton is no English major but I liked the atypical writing style of this biography.  The only disappointment for me was discovering that like many other women (myself included) she measured her self worth by men. Her family is quirky just like she is but even being a mom can’t keep you from facing your insecurities. What do you do when you don’t like a book…do you finish it?

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