reading & writing, pt. 5

May was a busy month. It began with a flurry of last minute tasks for final school projects. A few days after my semester ended we flew to California for Joel’s grandpa’s funeral.

Now the month is finished and I have once again only read two books. The styles were quite different but both were about the transition from childhood to youth to early adulthood.

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I didn’t realize when I began this book that it was the first novel by Fitzgerald. I read it mainly because it was a one of the few things by him that I still haven’t read. It’s much different than his other stories in the way that it was written. I felt like it needed some editing.

But there are also the wonderful turns of phrases that are in so many of his writings. I can see why it had been so well received at the time it was published. It is an odd book. It flips back and forth between different methods of writing: typical narrative, letters, so many poems, and even a play. The play isn’t something that happens in the story. The story abruptly switches to a play format.

My favorite parts were in the character’s descriptions of his college days.

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Last summer we were flipping through Netflix looking for something to watch when we came across “Tomorrow, When the War Began”. The description sounded so ridiculous that we thought if nothing else it might be a hilariously awful b-movie.

The basic promise is this: a group of seven Australian high schoolers go off into the bush on their summer holiday. When they return home a week or so later they find out that their country has been invaded, their parents and friends are interned in a local fair ground, and they have tough decisions to make.

The movie version is actually pretty well done. The book I found more tedious. Partially because I have never read much in the YA genre (when I was a high schooler I lived in Jane Austen and George Elliot novels) and the angsty, hormonal teens got a touch annoying, and partially because I think the overall story works better with visuals. The characters are often split up so we hear the story from one group’s perspective then when they meet back up we hear the same story again from the others’ point of view. It gets a little old.

And that was my May reading. What should I read next? I’ve been casually flipping through a collection of Keats because I’m trying to develop an appreciation for poetry, but I would love a good story to get lost in.

Former posts:
Reading and Writing, Pt. 1
Reading and Writing, Pt. 2
Reading and Writing, Pt. 3
Reading and Writing, Pt. 4

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