Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bored Out of Mind

As of last Tuesday, the teachers of our school district have been on strike. This means that since last Tuesday, we have had no school. This means that since last Tuesday, I've been stranded at the house with my younger siblings and recently-moved-in Grandma. This means that since last Tuesday, I have had NOTHING. TO. DO.

You would assume that the natural thing for a bibliofreak like me to do is read, right? I did, but it just didn't go so well. After a long search for a new mystery series to get obsessed over, I attempted to fall in love with Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series, by way of its sixth installment, Blood and Circuses. While I did find the book pretty interesting, mainly because of the impressive early 20th century speech patterns and slang, it just wasn't what I was looking for (and was also a little too graphic in some parts). I guess you just can't force love. It's going to take a lot more to find a series that can stand up to the ones I already care about.

After that, I got a little restless. I also managed to acquire a pretty darn-awful cold, to the point where it got really hard for me to talk. Deciding to make the most of my newfound silence, I picked another book off of my shelf, one that I have always heard nothing but good things about: The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. This is the favorite book of so many people I know, I feel bad about wondering whether they even read it after I was done. Could it REALLY be such a well-liked book? Was Holden Caulfield REALLY such a source of, well, not inspiration, hopefully, but of identifiable understanding? If so, I really worry about my friends.

I didn't hate it or anything. I very rarely hate anything, and even then I change my opinions later on. I liked the interesting portrayal of New York night life, and the post-war emotion, and the speech and slang of the '40s. I liked Phoebe. I had a lot of mixed emotions about Holden. As I described it to my Dad, "I sort of hated him. Like, a lot of the time." He was an overly emotional, spoiled brat, who decided to ruin all good things that came to him. He could have been any of the number of emo, cynical hipster jerks who goes to my high school. He had such a hateful, unhappy personality that I couldn't help but feel like he would end up getting the worst in life, simply because he expected it. Heck, with his reckless behavior, he encouraged bad endings to join up with him.

And yet, he was easy to relate to. How many people feel like him, like they're surrounded by "phonies", like they don't know what's worth living for, like they want to take a gamble with the universe for the sake of finding a better existence? He provided miserable company, which I, in my sorry state of stuffy nose and throbbing throat, welcomed. And while I was glad our time together was short, he did provide interesting conversation. I hope he doesn't choose to visit again soon.

I also hope our school district and teachers resolve their matters quickly, because despite the lingering Summer weather, I am managing to depress the hell out of myself with poor book choices. I know this could be set right with an AP Calc assignment or something.

#3. Kerry Greenwood's Blood and Circuses (of the Phryne Fisher series). High society noblewoman Phryne Fisher temporarily ditches a life of luxury to take up the post of a horse rider, in an attempt to find out who is sabotaging a traveling circus.

#4. J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Unhappy and lonely, Holden Caulfield behaves badly in 1940s New York after getting kicked out of yet another boarding school.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Savannah,
    A friend I haven't seen in 10 years sent me a message saying she had just finished a book, and the whole time she was reading it she thought of me, because she knew I would love it. I bought it without even knowing what it was about, and I'm only 45 pages in and so far she's absolutely right. It's not deep, but it's whimsical and smart and the main character is a lover of books. Give it a read and tell me what you think: "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows