Work, work, work.

Over this lovely Labor Day weekend I spent every spare moment I had to finish reading my new purchase of Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. It took me about a week to finish Hunger Games, mostly due to my work schedule, and about a day and a half to finish Catching Fire. I was blown away. I haven’t been this caught up in a book since Ender’s Game & Interview with a Vampire. They each deal with similar themes of a futuristic Earth/North America, and how politics, war, and humanity are dealt with by the main characters.

Now, I’m no Literature/English major, but I know what I like and I know this is a series that will have a lasting effect on me and many other young readers, since it is geared towards Young Adults. I have a soft spot for Young Adult novels. I swallowed The Giver, and its sequels, as well as the Ender’s Game series, plus it’s popular tangent series Ender’s Shadow. I have a lot of friends who are into Fantasy/Science Fiction novels, and I always recommend Ender’s Game to any one who hasn’t already been exposed to it. An old college friend introduced me to Ender’s Game and I was hooked on my next line of reading immediately. I then introduced my boyfriend to the book, who then told his best friend about it, and so on.

What is troublesome is how fast I can go through books, which is why I tend to favor books that are serialized so I always have something to look forward too. This started with Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles during my freshman year in high school. Lucky for me, she was still writing the series before her husband died, which is when she converted back to Catholicism and started writing books about Christ. However, her novels have always had a mythos that circles Catholicism, which is the closest I’ve had to a Catholic upbringing. Almost all of her novels have heavy and long-winded diatribes about the architectural history of New Orleans, Art History with an emphasis on Rembrandt, as well as a detailed history of the character background and family tree. What can I say, I love the detail. I’m sad to say I was never able to visit New Orleans before Katrina and get a real sense of the city the way Anne Rice described it in most of her novels. Her love for her home town made me love it and want to be a part of it. The first place I ever wanted to travel to was New Orleans. I managed to read and buy almost her entire catalog of books, including the Sleeping Beauty series, which is very controversial for its detailed S&M theme. My mother’s younger brother, who is five years my senior, noticed me reading it one day, while I was in high school I should add, and told my mom that I shouldn’t be reading those types of books, but my mom just gave me a weird look and didn’t say anything. She never really questioned what I read because she was just happy I was reading.

I’ve always been a bookworm. My family always made fun of me for carrying books around with me no matter where we went, including the movie theater. In high school I would walk to class while reading and managed to master the art of walking with my nose stuck in a book. I even met a boy who specifically tried to meet me because he thought I was weird for walking/reading, and confessed to watching me walk to class like this for weeks before we met. Granted, I probably stuck out like a sore thumb in an East Los Angeles high school full of teenagers who were mostly into sports, school, or gangs. I was somewhere in the middle since I had friends who were involved in all three categories. Family members later tell me that when I was a toddler I would ask them to listen to me read them a book, which I obviously couldn’t do at the time, but would attempt to explain thru the pictures. This love of books was due to my mother and father having a routine of reading to us before we went to bed every night, or in their spare time. We had a wide selection of children’s books growing up. I always loved reading, but mostly for pleasure, and not always for school. Growing up I used to spend hours in my grandfather’s library, which he built himself, looking for books on Astronomy, Science, History, and anything that I could read easily or reach from the shelves. The walls were lined with books from the floor to the ceiling on bookshelves my grandfather built himself. I would spend hours in there just browsing. I once taught my 2 year-old cousin how to say the phases of the moon from a book when she started to speak. I was so impressed with myself I tried to show her parents what she learned, but by then she no longer wanted to play as my guinea pig. I was heartbroken when my grandparents remodeled their home when I was in middle school and the original library no longer existed. All of the books were crammed into a much small space that was made into a small office off of their master bedroom.

I am obsessive over books. I don’t know how to speed read, but I do pretty well swallowing a book a week, if I have enough of them on hand to devour. This poses a problem when I read Graphic Novels, or as I like to call them Comic Books. Screw the new name. However, it helps that most publishers new release Trade Paperbacks (TPB) for most titles. I think Y: The Last Man was the first series I collected in TPB and eagerly awaited each volume to be released. I waited an entire year for the last volume and it almost drove me crazy! I’ve also started collecting Preacher, a few X-Men titles including most of Civil War and Secret Invasion (because there are too many to name), Dark Knight, Return of the Dark Knight, Powers, Invincible, Walking Dead (the last 3 are due to friends recommendations & borrowing a few), 100 Bullets, and Ex Machina. Of course, the classic Graphic Novels like Sin City, V for Vendetta, etc. are not in my possession because I haven’t gotten the nerve to dish out of the cash quite yet since I know they will still be there for me to pick any time I like.

My favorite TPB Comics:

1) Y: The Last Man

2) Powers

3) Ex Machina

4) Invincible

5) Walking Dead

6) Preacher

My all time favorite authors of Fiction would be:

1) Anne Rice

2) Orson Scott Card

3) Suzanne Collins

4) John Steinbeck

Autobiographical writers are currently:

1) David Sedaris

2) Chuck Klosterman

I wish I could think up more of their names, but I’ve always been bad with names unless I have in some way become obsessed with them for long periods of time. I had a brief obsession with vampire themed novels; but found most writers weren’t that consistent with their stories. I adamantly despise the Twilight series on the simple fact that her vampires “true form” can be seen during daylight in the form of a “sparkly vampire.” Lame, and not very well written out as far as vampire mythos goes. It was a superficial way to cover up her vampires during the day, and I’ve heard she wrote the novels with movie deals in mind. I had a small, very miniscule, curiosity to read Stephanie Myers books before the movies came out, but was put off by the types of fans she had created by then. None of my good friends had ever read her books, so I saw no credible reason to pick them up. I had a ton of co-workers who loved the entire Twilight series, but most of their choices don’t coincide with my own. For one, I am not a huge fan of Chuck Palahniuk the author of Fight Club. I got into a huge debate over his writing style with a co-worker one day and decided I wasn’t going to give him a second chance to impress me. I’ve only read one his novels and liked it. I’ve been told I’d appreciate another book of his, whose titles escapes me at the moment, but I’m hesitant to buy.

That’s another issue of mine: buying too many books. I use to spend all of my spare time at the LA County Library in Downtown LA through most of high school, until I piled up a good debt of unreturned books when I started college. I’m sorry to report the same issue occurred with my college library as well. I always paid the debt, but hardly returned the books. So, I resort to purchasing or borrowing from friends and family. I can easily spend $100 a week on books and comics just to keep me occupied for the week. I’ve held back to one visit a month to my local bookstore or comic book shop. I also have a love for used books. I can spend hours in Acres of Books (before it closed) and {OPEN} a local used bookstore in Long Beach. When I started college I worked at the library in the Reference section and began a new love for 1st Edition hardcover books. I once found a 1st Edition hardcover of Anne Rice’s Lasher (from the Witching Hour series) at a camp ground lending library. I swapped it for a paperback book I had with me at the time, but never returned the Lasher copy. I also own multiple copies of many Anne Rice and Orson Scott Card novels in hardcover and paperback so I can lend them to friends who are interested in reading them. My new goal is to have all of their novels in 1st Edition hardcover form. Years ago, I found a bookstore at the Santa Monica 3rd Pier that had the first three novels of the Vampire Chronicles, 1st Edition in hardcover, and signed all signed by Anne Rice. I stood their drooling over them, but saddened by their price tag I left empty-handed. A boyfriend at the time tried to buy them as a birthday gift for me later that year, but they were gone by the time he went back. Devastated twice!

Like my grandfather my hope is that one day I can have a library of books in my home. Luckily, my new house has a lovely and spacious loft area in the master bedroom where I have already fantasized about lining the walls with books. The only problem is time, money, and air conditioning. It loft area tends to collect the hot air in the room and the bedroom only has two small windows on opposite sides of the room. We have two skylights, but they don’t open up to help ventilate the room. My long-term plans for remodeling the loft have been put on hold for more reasonable plans to remodel the storage room we have. It’s much smaller and easier to deal with at the moment. The library will live on in my dreams, and hopefully I’ll have enough books to fill the space once the project begins. For now, I have to finish reading my new comic book purchase. I’ll probably finish it during my lunch break.

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September 8, 2009 · 11:54 am

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