I’m mixing new-to-me books with my re-reading project: I’m re-reading 34 or so of my favorite books to figure out why I love them so. (I’m at 11/34!) I’ve challenged myself to write personal essays on each of the favorites I’m re-reading, though I’m not sharing those essays here. Because obviously, I miss school.
Here are the books I read in September:
The Princess Bride is a fake abridgment to a supposed classic fairy tale. It’s a tale of high adventure, “true love”, revenge, and contains one of my favorite scenes exemplifying false logic ever written.
The Princess Bride was one of my favorite movies as a kid (one of the four or so I’d watch over and over and over again), so I was so excited to have finally stumbled on the book. In the movie, the story is supposed to have been written by S. Morgenstern, and I was disappointed that I could never find that author at libraries as a kid. I assumed the book was made up, and didn’t continue my search. For some reason I never thought to follow up on that once I had the Internet at my fingertips. Then Serena from a Girl Named Sue mentioned the book in her 5 Favorite Books for Young Nerds post. Of course, I searched for and bought it immediately.
Turns out that I couldn’t find S. Morgenstern at the library as a young nerd because there is no S. Morgenstern. He’s made up. There are two narratives in a Princess Bride: the main story, and the author’s fake tale of abridging a fake book. The author creates a fake character for himself too, which is good, because he’s a pretty big jerk. (The way he talked about his son made me look that up immediately, and thankfully he has daughters. Whew.)
There are a few great things in the book that aren’t in the movie: the Zoo of Death, which is what it sounds like, was one of my favorite parts. The later editions of the book also include an excerpt of a (fake) sequel, Buttercup’s Baby, which was interesting as well. But I don’t think that I’d have liked the book if I hadn’t read the movie. The humor comes from the comedic timing and what the actors brought to the characters, and that was missing from the book, which does a poor job with characterization and bringing the dialogue to life.
My biggest beef, however, was the “true love” part of the story. I sincerely hope that this relationship was satirical in the book. The male protagonist, Wesley, is insulting and patronizing to the female protagonist, Buttercup, and only “loves” her because she is beautiful. This didn’t come across as strongly to me in the movie, partially because I was so little when I fell for it, and partially because Buttercup is not portrayed as unintelligent in the film.
So I guess my final word is see the movie, read with cation.
High Fidelity (1995) Nick Hornby
High Fidelity is the story of Rob, a pop music mega fan and record store owner, who questions his romantic past and current life after being dumped by his girlfriend.
I love this book because it’s a coming of age story for twenty somethings. Because, let’s face it, for a lot of people the transition into adulthood isn’t in the teenage years: it’s really the transition towards thirty. Well, the number is arbitrary. Maybe it’s more about being afraid to become your own definition of an adult. This book is about how to move forward if you aren’t happy with your life, how narcissism (and sexism) can cloud perspective, how what you love affects who you are, and, maybe most of all, how to deal with a life that falls short of imitating art. It is more fun than I’m making it sound. The less analytical version: guy obsessed with music goes through his past girlfriends to figure out where his life went wrong, then tries (badly) to fix it.
A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) (1998) by George R. R. Martin
A Clash of Kings is a fantasy epic centering on a struggle for power told from multiple points of view. It is a sequel to A Game of Thrones.
I’m totally in love with this series, and didn’t mean to re-read the whole thing when I re-read Game of Thrones the previous month. But it looks like I’m in for several thousand more pages of George R. R. Martin this year.
I also read some of, but didn’t finish, A Storm of Swords in September.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
We are Powell’s Books affiliates. Purchasing anything through these links helps to support the Nerd Nest.