Friday, February 10, 2012

Two books

I'm checking in with my first book for the 2012 Birth year Reading Challenge.

The books on my list are all from 1983.  I just happened upon two almost side by side in the library.  The first one, The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek, I will be throwing back into the book pond.  While I enjoy some of the darker literature, I could not get past the twisted bitterness in this novel.  Not even the idea that this author is a Nobel-Prize winner could do anything to mitigate the ugly taste it left.  If there was a happy ending, I didn't get there.  Somehow I think there wasn't.

But the second, I did read and enjoy.  Although I'm not a huge fan of suspense plots, this one kept me interested.   I was also motivated by the liner notes which indicated that Brian Moore was 'one of the greatest living novelists'.  A big claim and even bigger to me since I'd never heard of him.  And I'm not sure I would give him the title based on this work.  But he did help light my first candle. 

Then this book stumbled into our house.  The Bobbsey Twins were my constant reading companions from the time I could read 'til I was ten or eleven.  Quite a while since I can't remember a time when I couldn't read.  I thought I would just have a peek between the covers and see if it still had its old magic.  Sad to say, it didn't.  Of course, the times and I are quite different and I now see the writing for what it was: a formulaic telling of unrealistic scrapes which always turn out for the best.  

My seven-year-old granddaughter enjoys reading, too.  I was disappointed to learn that she had tried a Bobbsey Twin novel and didn't care for it.  Because I had enjoyed them so much at her age, I was disappointed for the fun I thought she was missing.  I'm not any more.  And I completely understand why Becky rejected them.  The setting is so far back in a different society that the stories - and the characters too - just aren't relevant.  When I was her age, I could relate to the times better.  I wanted to live there and have those adventures, too.  But my life and the adventures that I did have were much more like what went on in the books.  The roles of parents, kids, and even servants was better understood by me.  Stereotypical immigrant characters' speech and actions made perfect sense because we had little experience with people who didn't look and act like ourselves.  Of course, they were different.  But reading it now was shaming.  In fact, everything in the book was a stereotype including the Bobbsey family itself.  Nothing is real and my long-ago self thought it was.  

Times change...


EmptyNester said...

OMG! OMG! OMG! The Bobbsey Twins!!!!! I am jumping up and down and spinning round and round! I LOVED the Bobbsey Twins! My dad's mother was the librarian where we lived and I spent summers with her and The Bobbsey Twins!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Very insightful post, Stephanie. Times... and us... they both change. ;) blessings ~ tanna

Maria said...

I suppose that helps to explain why she doesn't like the books I absolutely loved too. She doesn't like Nancy Drew either :( The original ones that is. She gobbled up the Nancy Drew files that where written recently.


ahh I remember the bobsey twins. I couldn't get into them much either, very very different to australia, everything seemed so alien lol from the weather..sledding? I had no idea what that was and reading mom not mum made me stumble as I didnt know how to say it in my head LOL


anyone here remember Bobby Brewster???

J.G. said...

Your first candle is burning and at least you got that . . . Maybe this was one of the lesser efforts from this "greatest" author.

I remember the Bobbsey Twins, too, and suspect they would seem the same to me today -- oh, the blind spots we didn't even know we had! (Wonder what our blind spots are now?)


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