Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Slice of Life Month: Day 1

I want to talk about books. It's no secret that I love them. It's also no secret that I don't love every one I encounter, and that I've been known to throw them against walls when they frustrate me or don't end the way I think they should (ex: Jodi Picoult's Handle with Care).

The book I'm currently reading is Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light. I'm going to share some quotes from the book that I've written down because I like them, but before I do that I want to share a little about why I love this book so much:

1. The characters are so real. Donnelly really does a magnificent job developing all the characters into distinct individuals, even those that (at this point) I'm not sure are all that significant. Nevertheless, I feel like I know each one, especially the protagonist Mattie.

2. The setting is marvelous. I don't know much about this kind of place, but I know that I'm there while I'm reading. It's farm country, huge pieces of land being farmed for livestock and crops, complete with chores and cooking dinners and hanging clothes on the line. I love every minute I get to spend there, just watching life unfold.

3. The language is precise for a YA or YA loving audience. I don't think Donnelly gets over her head with language, even though the protagonist is a self-confessed collector of words. Even the integration of big words into the text fits the character seamlessly (see point 1) and it's believable.

4. The conflict is real. Mattie has a real struggle before her that involves her family, a secret promise, her own desires and her own sense of duty. I can't wait to see how these things resolve, or if they resolve at all!

Basically, this book is wonderful and while I'm excited to continue reading, it's the kind of book you don't ever want to end. I want to be part of Mattie's world forever; I want to watch her grow up, following whichever path she chooses. This kind of book reminds me why I love reading YA literature so much, and I think that my love of books and reading brings me to a place like this blog, where I can share the wonderful things that I come across in such books.

And now, some quotes:
  • "But then he turned and smiled at me, and my breath caught and I wondered if this is how it felt to be pretty"~Mattie Gokey
  • "For someone who reads so many books, you're awfully damned stupid"~Royal Loomis
  • Then she took her writing paper out of its box, put the books in the box, covered them with a few sheets of paper, and handed them to me. "Cripes, Miss Wilcox, they're not guns" I said. "No, they're not, Mattie, they're books. And a hundred times more dangerous"
The last quote speaks to me about the "dangers" of reading. What would happen if kids in all the schools read books that could change their minds? Change their lives? What a dangerous place that would be!

Until tomorrow,


Amanda S said...

"Handle With Care" Oh. My. This book made me so mad! Admittedly it was so well written I had to finish it. The ending was such a shocker, but yes, did not end the way I thought it should have either!

Mindi Rench said...

I threw both Snow Falling on Cedars and Cold Mountain at the wall, so you are not alone in book-throwing. I LOVE Donnelly's work. Revolution is amazing, if you haven't read it yet.

Lindsey Lea said...

@Mindi: I just ordered it from Barnes and Noble last night. Can't wait!!