Hello, everyone! I’m off to college in a few weeks, so I’m trying to speed-read all of the books that I’ve checked out the from the library, about 7 in total. This summer I’m re-reading some joyful, light books and trying to catch up on a children’s classic. And in a few months I’ll be reading textbooks. Volumes and volumes of textbooks.
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S Lewis
Reading Watership Down was the first box to check-off on my list of British children classics and now I’ve moved on to the Narnia series. I’m not that far into The Magician’s Nephew, but I like Lewis’ simplistic style and his way of writing children. Polly and Diggory are so earnest and so far removed from the sassy, overly mature children one sees in today’s YA novels. Since I’m older than the key demographic, their perils don’t ring quite as seriously as they might if I was younger, but I can still enjoy them. That said, compared to the Harry Potter series, which ages with the reader, the Narnia series (so far) is solidly aimed towards children, and thus harder to relate to at my age.
The Woman With a Worm in Her Head and Other True Stories of Infectious Disease by Pamela Nagami
The title pretty much explains it all. The book is a non-fiction account of one doctor’s encounter with horrible diseases, from a worm that lived under a patient’s skin after he ate raw snake, to a young girl’s tragic heart condition. I’d only recommend this book to readers who, like me, enjoy reading about disgusting medical conditions and worms that burrow into brains. If you can tolerate those sorts of stories, then this book is a great read. Nagami writes in an engaging style that is somewhat bogged down by her extensive expertise. I find that just because a book is written by an expert, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be accessible to the average layman. Overall, Nagami’s book is a good way to while away a five hour car ride.
Skinny Dip and Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen
Carl Hiaasen is one of my favorite authors, but his novels are interchangeable. They all follow a distinctive formula: a tough, beautiful woman is screwed over by a scummy guy. The tough, beautiful woman decides to get revenge, usually in a twisted and prolonged way, with the help of a macho buff detective / police officer / assistant mayor / author substitute and the two defeat the scummy guy, have lots of sex, and fall in love in the end. Other characters who appear are flaky mistresses with hearts of gold, enraged spouses, incredibly evil business owners, and weird strong men who hate people, but have a “thing” for the main protagonist. I like this formula because it’s fun and predictable, but damn if these books aren’t all the same! That’s why Hiaasen’s novels are perfect for chilling out on a lazy afternoon, book in hand and the radio playing in the background. I can’t recommend these books enough because they’re zany, witty, and usually have a nice pro-environmental message, but don’t read more than two or three at a time, because they will start to blend together.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
I read the Narnia books out of order, but technically The Magician’s Nephew was published after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, so I don’t think I’m missing anything. I really loved this book. I liked the entire Pevensies family, except for Edmund, because he’s the worst, and I loved Aslan’s story of sacrifice and resurrection. Before reading the book, my friend told me that it was full of Christian motifs, but even I wasn’t prepared to see the Gandalf character (I know he’s a lion but still) literally be Jesus. I don’t know if I like the ending, however. Why would Lewis write an entire life in Narnia for the Pevensies and then undo all of it by sending them back through the wardrobe as children? I hope they will show up in the later books and that they weren’t only characters for this installment. Man, I know I can just look this stuff up on the internet but I’m trying so hard to avoid spoilers. I don’t care if this book was written 66 years ago!
College: What It Was, Is, And Should Be by Andrew Delbanco
How fitting that my college professor would rob me of my free reading time to read a book…about college. Gah! I really, really don’t want to read this, but it’s due in less than a month. It just seems so boring. Why should I read this when I could read about the magical world of Narnia? Is this what the real world is going to be like, because so far, I hate it. Anyway, I’m cool, not resentful at all, and I’m totally going to read this book before the semester starts and not on the car ride there.