Those of you who are always trying to get me to throw away my TV might be happy to know that I also read all the freakin’ time. I’m a woman of many talents. And I’ve been reading a lot more lately because, duh, I recently noticed that the college campus where I work has a library, and then I learned that faculty & staff don’t have to pay late fees, which is right up my alley because I am a serial library privilege abuser and tend to avoid libraries for that very reason. In June when I was packing, I found a copy of A Prayer for Owen Meany that was due in September of 2003. Eep. Also, I was never able to make it through that book, which may be why I trauma-blocked its existence. Not finishing a book, even a book I hate, is a personal failure near the level of wetting the bed, and I haven’t wet a bed since I was very, very small.
Along those lines, I want to share that I finally read The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time, in anticipation of the upcoming movie. It’s a good thing I actually went ahead and bought it (the big one with all seven books included), because it took me six arduous weeks to finish the damn thing. If I love a book, I will drop everything to finish it in a day or two. If I like a book, I’ll read some of it daily for a week or two until it’s finished. If I can’t possibly bring myself to give a shit about a book, evidently it takes six weeks to finish.
I feel like a traitor to literature. These are classic stories, stories that lots of children and adults have cherished and read over and over again through the years. And I really tried to enjoy them. I took the book with me everywhere I went, and I tried to read at least a little of it every night, and I tried desperately to absorb myself in the lives of the characters, and I just totally did not care about them at all. The plotlines were tedious. The characters were flat. The Christian allegory was overdone. And also? Sometimes I thought Aslan was kind of creepy. I’m just saying.
Then I thought, well, maybe it’s because they were originally children’s books, and I missed them as a child and am now seeing them through jaded adult eyes and so I’m missing out on the magic or something. But then I remembered that I borrowed many of the books from the library over and over again in many different years of my childhood, only to find that every time I tried to read them, I was as bored with them then as I was this time around. Clearly there’s a reason I didn’t read these as a child.
Besides, there are plenty of series I devoured when I was younger that I’ve gone back to as an adult and loved just as much (and sometimes even more), like Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence, and the Little House on the Prairie series, and the Anne of Green Gables books and others.
But on the other hand, although I loved The Hobbit as a kid and read it several times, I could never get into The Lord of the Rings. When I heard that film adaptations were being made, I asked for the trilogy for Christmas and read it all and found it utterly captivating.
I don’t know. I guess I’m just trying to say that I kind of thought The Chronicles of Narnia were boring, and I’m pissed that I spent six damn weeks reading them, hoping they’d get better, and although I probably did end up liking The Last Battle best of all the books, overall there was never the payoff I was hoping I’d find. And it appears that I’m in the minority with this opinion, but that’s okay.