Monday, February 22, 2010

Two More Down

Does it count as a new read or a re-read if it is a book that you have read but remember absolutely nothing about? Such was my situation with A Tale of Two Cities. I read this book my junior year of high school (I vividly remember staying up until very early in the morning to finish it on time), but I could not have told you one thing about it other than it takes place in both London and Paris. But I'll tell you what. I completely fell in love with Dickens again. I remember loving Great Expectations (though, this has much to do with the Ethan Hawke version of the movie and the greatest film soundtrack of the time), but I had no idea that I LOVE Charles Dickens. Who knew he was such a romantic? Sure, I remember a bit of romance from the aforementioned and also the idea of love which sprouts up in A Christmas Carol. But really, Charles? I'm a sucker for a good sacrificial love story and A Tale of Two Cities fits that mold perfectly. Not that it's only about love. There is a lot going on. Like The French Revolution and the Fall of the Bastille and La Guillotine etc. But there are beautiful moments in the house with the footsteps and on the bloody streets of Paris. Not necessarily an uplifting novel, but definitely beautiful.

I also finished Craig Ferguson's American on Purpose because I love a good Scotsman and also have a strange inclination toward stories about substance abuse. Great to see how he pulled himself out of that while acknowledging that not everyone in that situation is able to do so. It cemented a lot of my thoughts about addiction and, hopefully, made me a little more sympathetic. It's a feeling I struggle with being familiar with someone who is an addict. So while an encouraging read, also a little hard to take as his story is very much not like the one I am close to. Which is probably why I prefer my substance abuse stories to be along the lines of Infinite Jest where at the end you still question whether or not there is hope. It just seems more realistic, while this celebrity memoir comes off a bit like a fairy-tale. Not to belittle it, and I certainly know that it's a continued struggle and I appreciate that he is able to share. But compared to many in the world he is a lucky and rare case.

Currently reading Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog!) by Jerome K. Jerome which is short and funny and begins with a man reading through a medical dictionary and realizing that he has every disease known to man except one. Something to which I can relate. I think this book and I will get along very well.