Saturday, June 13, 2009

back to enjoying a book

I've been reading The forgotten garden by Kate Morton. It has a gorgeous cover of a little cottage in a flower-filled garden. Its endpapers are an illustration by the legendary Arthur Rackham. Both are clues that a reading adventure lies between the covers. I read and read and read and I was still on page 78 after a week. Since there is a long waiting list for the book, I could only check it out for two week and the end of the second week was fast approaching. So what did I do? I gave up. Too many storylines, too many character viewpoints, too slow, too slow, too slow. (I'm at the point in my reading life where I don't feel obligated to read everything that I start--there are plenty of books waiting that I will enjoy. Try it, it's very liberating!)

So, yesterday I started two new books--one in my purse, one on my bedside table--and they both look to be winners!

My bedside book is Silver Phoenix: beyond the kingdom by Cindy Pon. I've read three chapters about Ai Ling, a seventeen-year-old girl who is approached by several young men, but can't get a betrothal from any of them. This is fine with her but her parents are unhappy that none of the young men see the value and beauty of their beloved daughter. Her father, a former servant to the Emperor, returns to the Imperial palace on a mysterious, but, he hopes, short trip which stretches into a year's time. Ai Ling, to avoid the unwanted attentions of a lecherous merchant, decides to go to the Imperial city to find her father. I can't wait to see what happens next.

My purse book is Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. Set in the early 1940s, Pearl Harbor has just been bombed and America is at war. Young Ida Mae, an African American girl in her late teens, longs to be a pilot. She knows how to fly but, due to her race and her sex, she cannot be licensed for solo flight. Her goal is to go to Chicago where there is a flight school run by and intended for African Americans but doesn't know how to accomplish her dream without her mother's support and approval which are not forthcoming. Ida Mae is fairskinned and could pass as white--what will she decide to do?

So the question is, why do some book grab your interest at the first word and you read effortlessly and happily while others slog along and you never get anywhere?

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