Monday, November 21, 2011

In An Attempt for Depth

Okay, so I don't think it's any secret that I am an escapist reader. I've said it several times here on the blog. I think I've confessed this too: I only read YA novels. Sometimes the ocassional middle grade. But, yeah, usually YA.

As the new year approaches, I've been thinking of how I can add some depth to my life. And I've decided to read an adult novel. Or at least something I should've read in high school. Or something.

Some choices are obvious. A Tale of Two Cities. Huckleberry Finn. Something by Jane Austen. (Yeah, I've read none of those.)

And let's face it, this might be the only novel I read for this purpose, so I want to make it a good one.

So... what should I read?


Also, I will be gone the rest of the week eating pie and generally giving thanks. See you next week!

62 comments:

Leigh Ann said...

Oooh! If you're going to read just one Austen, PERSUASION is the one to read. So gorgeous. Although MANSFIELD PARK is a natural choice for writers, and very sweet.

Of course, I'll always, always, always advocate for JANE EYRE - the book that made me fall in love with reading. Jane is such a spitfire and smart as a whip, not unlike Vi. And Mr. Rochester is smoking hot. Not that that matters.

Summer Frey said...

My vote is for The Stranger, by Albert Camus. Read it for the first time in high school and have re-read it regularly ever since. It's definitely not feel-good, though.

Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite gothics; not a big Jane Austen fan (at all).

Or you could go more modern and knock out a few Hemingways, or how about Tobias Wolff? Old School is an amazing read.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I did love Wuthering Heights. I know what you mean about not reading adult books anymore. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jen Daiker said...

Summer's choices are to die for! Either of those I think you'd be worth giving a shot!!!

Enjoy eating pie! I know I will be :) Happy Thanksgiving love!

PS - How are the three days a week of blogging going?? I've been getting a lot more stressed lately and wondering if I, myself, should take the leap!!! I'd love more commenting time!

Jessica Bell said...

Yep, Wuthering Heights ... or ... MINE! lolol ;o)

Laura Pauling said...

Yeah, never read any Jane Austin either.

How about Water for Elephants? Or The time Traveler's Wife. I enjoyed both of those and I don't read a lot of adult either.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I LOVE all books by Jane Austen. Jane Eyre is great too. I couldn't put it down.

I tend to read just YA. I've read a few adult novels this year (romantic suspense), but I still perfer YA. I even started to read one pychological thriller but didn't get far in it. But that was because it's on my iPod and I was going to be flying on a plane (and I have to read the ENTIRE time I'm on a a plane, and they don't let you do that with electronic devices). Plus, my copy of CROSSED showed up in my mailbox last week and I HAD to read that. :D

Tasha Seegmiller said...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society; Water for Elephants; A Thousand Splendid Suns; The Alchemist (Paolo Coehlo)

I think that the classics are there for a reason, but if you are used to reading YA and like escapism, you will not be happy with reading a classic. I think if you are jumping into "grown-up" lit, you will hate yourself for going straight to the fire.

Amy said...

Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy

Amy said...

Oops! Hit the wrong button too soon! Song of Scarabaeus is a fast paced SF with a splash of romance that is too good for me to accurately describe here. I really think you'd love it - even if you favor YA

Susan R. Mills said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Martha Ramirez said...

Yeah, I'm a YA junkie too. It's so hard to try new things. I have read many adult books but not many that come to mind to recommend.

Any certain genre?

Hope you have a awesome Thanksgiving!

Marisa Hopkins said...

Ray Bradbury has always been a favorite, as well. I recommend Something Wicked This Way Comes. :)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Mistborn. Seriously, you would LOVE it. It's a total dystopian society. And I'm not kidding-- it will blow you away. Brandon Sanderson is creative like you've never seen before. Do it. I'm not kidding. Do it. It will fuel you besides.

beth said...

All the Pretty Horses or The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Catcher in the Rye or Catch-22 if you've not read them yet.

beth said...

All the Pretty Horses or The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Catcher in the Rye or Catch-22 if you've not read them yet.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You only read young adult? Really?
Read Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara. There's a young character, so you won't feel like you've strayed too far.

Jill Campbell said...

Of those three, definitely Huckleberry Finn. I read Tale of Two Cities last year and it killed me. Highly over-rated if you ask me and you did, right? Read the Glass Castle or the Poisonwood Bible.

Julie Daines said...

Obviously the Jane Austen and any Bronte is a great suggestion.

Here's a classic that is outside the box, but incredible.
"East Wind, West Wind" by Pearl S. Buck.

I assume you've read "To Kill a Mockingbird."

I think you'll find Dickens a little heavy if you've only read YA.

Heather said...

Gone with the Wind. I know it's huge but it's the only adult novel I've read that I actually loved. Jane Austen's books feel like their written in a different language so they just make me feel dumb. I don't need more of that!

Bish Denham said...

Oh my! So many choices. Call of the Wild by Jack London. Jane Eyre. Oscar Wilde's fairy tales. The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle...I could go on and on.

Enjoy!

Meredith said...

Oooh, I vote for Jane Austen or the Brontes! They're surprisingly readable (for "serious" books) and so inspiring! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sarah Allen said...

I would definitely 100% go with Persuasion by Jane Austen. I adore Pride and Prejudice, too, but Persuasion is actually my favorite. It's a lot shorter, and somehow much more emotionally engaging.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

My recommendations would be SHADES OF GREY by Jasper Fforde (which is an amazing dystopian and one of my very favorite books), CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL by Glen David Gold (a historical fantasy based around the death of Warren G Harding), or JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clark (a dark fantasy).

REINHARDT! said...

I'll suggest a couple of unconventional books:

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino

and

The Hour of the Star, by Clarice Lispector

Both of these books deliciously undermine the very thought of conventional narrative, genre, POV, and the like. They also give a glimpse of the literature styles espoused by non-English-speaking countries (both are translations, from Italian and Brazilian Portuguese, respectively). They are great fun to read and are learning experiences for how to write outside your comfort zone.

Suzie F. said...

I read YA almost exclusively too, Elana. However, I'd recommend "Jane Eyre," "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" or "The Help." I love all three of these novels.

Cynthia Lee said...

Definitely Jane Austen. I'm trying to think of a more entertaining writer and coming up with zilch.

Canda said...

Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen, but I confess, I skip all descriptions of furniture, houses, neighborhoods and streets (not just in this book but all Austen books.).

Christine Fonseca said...

Dude - I read LOADS of adult. In fact, I just got the new Stephen King novel (supposed to be his BEST yet)and will start it tonight. Let me know what genre in adult you want and I can totally hook you up! I read as much adult as I do YA. :D

Liesl Shurtliff said...

EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck. Depth so deep you might come out the other side of the earth. I did not care for GRAPES OF WRATH much, but EAST OF EDEN is extraordinary.

Or I also love JANE EYRE.

Michael Di Gesu said...

The classics are a must Elana! I know you will enjoy them once you've read one.. lol.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING... Enjoy your pies.

Melody said...

Austen's PRIDE & PREJUDICE was good. :) May I also recommend Alexandre Dumas' THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. Talk about page-turning!!

Krispy said...

Oh goodness, so many good ones!

The only Jane Austen I've read is Pride and Prejudice, but I loved it despite my friend telling me it was boring. Lies! :)

I think I like Mark Twain better in short story form, but if you're choosing between Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, I choose Huck.

Ray Bradbury for more genre-fic stuff, but I also like him better in short story form. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is one of my all-time favorites! Both of these guys make me wish I could write with just a bit of their skill.

Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett's Good Omens is hilarious. My friends also like Gaiman's Stardust.

And for more high school required reading that I actually enjoyed: To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, 1984.

Heather said...

Wow that's a tough decision! I'd go with Catcher In The Rye.

Jessie Humphries said...

I know you were talking about classics...but I would say (hands down) THE HELP. It will be a classic in my opinion. Best book I read this year. (Adult book I should say:)

Stephanie McGee said...

If you're looking for Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice is tops for me. It's also the only one of hers I've read. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is another absolute favorite of mine. (The movies never do it justice.) I love A Tale of Two Cities. Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing is another favorite of mine. Tolkien is classic.

That's it for adult books off the top of my head. Oh, and Jasper Fforde's books. Start with The Eyre Affair or with The Big Over Easy. But only read Eyre Affair if you've read Jane Eyre. You'll enjoy the book more if you do.

Bee said...

My two cents,

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Outsider - Albert Camus
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The Great Gatsby - Scott Fitzgerald.
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Donelle Lacy said...

Here I thought I was so bad for reading mostly YA (or only YA lately), but I'm glad I'm not the only one. Adult lit seems bleak and fatalistic to me a lot of times. I'm an escapist reader too, so that might be why it gives me that impression. I read primarily adult fantasy when I'm not reading YA.

As far as classics go, I'd recommend Jane Eyre, and if you haven't already read it, The Hobbit. (I couldn't get through Wuthering Heights.)

Oi, all these recommendations make me realize just how many classics I still haven't read! Enjoy your Thanksgiving and whatever book you choose to read!

Marsha Sigman said...

I'm sorry. I am a shallow, commercial Ho.lol

Read something by Stephen King. Something totally off the wall that hasn't been made a movie yet..like Rose Madder. You'll like it.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Welcome to the dark side. :)

The Great Gatsby is one of my all-time favorites.

Christa said...

I highly recommend You Deserve Nothing by Andrew Maksik.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm not a big fan of a lot of the classic literature. I do really like some of the old dystopian - Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, 1984 if you're wanting something dark and gloomy.

Mim said...

Huckleberry Finn is the most accessible. I enjoyed all of them. If you read Jane Austen, I would not choose Northanger's Abby as your first book. It was published posthumously, and while it is entertaining, it's not of the same quality of her other books. something she likely put in a trunk under her bed.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I vote for Les Miserables. Yeah it's super long but it's an amazing story. It's probably my favoritest book of all time. Even so, I did skip some chapters. Hugo liked to go off on tangents and one chapter I skipped was about language. Other than that, the story itself is beautiful and moving and touching...

I never read the abridged version but it's probably lacking.

LHughes said...

I highly recommend JANE EYRE. Great gothic novel, romance, paranormal, mystery. And Jane is a great "girl power" heroine.

My other favorite classics are Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Great Expectations, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

But Jane Eyre is the BEST.

Kelly Polark said...

I finally read a Jane Austen (P&P) a year ago. It is good to read out of your comfort zone every once in a while. In my 20's I read only Stephen King and John Grisham. Now I read MG and YA with a few adult sprinkled in.
So great idea to do this.
For pure fun, a comedian bio like Tina Fey's Bossypants would be fun or a Chelsea Handler book, too.
You should though read a Jane Austen one day if not your next book.

Krista said...

My vote is Persuasion by Jane Austin. I always thought the movie versions were so-so. Then I read the book. I love the characters they have so much depth. And the love story... sigh. It's a good book.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wuthering Heights is a total bummer of a book. I loved Jane Eyre. I second "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."

lexcade said...

I completely agree with Jane Eyre. I read that in high school and absolutely fell in love so so so so so much. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is fantabulous.

If you want to read something absolutely brilliant, I recommend The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It's at the top of my fantasy books list and officially one of my favorite books of all-time. The prose is...fan-freaking-tastic.

Amish Stories said...

I'm visiting new blogs today for the first time, so i also thought id wish you a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your readers. And i hope that the day is spent generating positive memories for years to come. Richard from Amish Stories.

Theresa Milstein said...

For me, throwing in an occasional Alice Hoffman adult book makes me feel like I'm a diverse reader. There's always a mystical element to her books. And I love books my chefs like Anthony Bourdain. Malcolm Gladwell books are interesting reads and make me feel smarter. I read Pride and Prejudice last year because I felt I should read a classic. It took me a while to get into it. At first, my brain felt like mush. I also reread To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved it as much as I did years ago.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Mark Twain's novel about the same characters is a great YA read, so read "Tom Sawyer"! That's my suggestion! A classic and a fun read!

Kimberly Krey said...

I'd go for either Pride and Prejudice or Great Expectations. Also, if you're into clean romance, try Visions of Ransom Lake by Marcia Lynn McClure. She's my favorite!

Valentina Hepburn said...

I've been reading Jane Austen since I was so high, and my recommendation is Pride and Prejudice. Honestly, it's brilliant and you'll love it. Especially Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy. Also Jane Ayre which will reduce you to tears, but hey. It's all about emotion, isn't it. Also for a modern writer, I loved Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani. It's a lovely story with a beautiful voice.
Good luck with you choice.

Matthew MacNish said...

Are you considering only classics. or will you read a new adult novel?

Stacy Henrie said...

Ooo, where to start with the recommendations? :) I'd say Jane Eyre or Mrs. Mike or The Help or Mansfield Park.

Anna Staniszewski said...

Another vote for Jane Austen!

angelhorn.com said...

Anything by Charles Dickens

Valerie Ipson said...

The two books that come to mind from this past year's reading are "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" and "The Book Thief," but they may both be YA--not sure.

I'm finally reading "Possession" (!!!) and having to share it with my son who needed a book for school.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Memoirs of a Geisha, I Capture the Castle, The Help, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

So glad to see all the support here for you. You deserve a quality life, and don't you forget it. xo

Alice said...

jane Eyre is my fav. but if you've seen the movies you'd probably want to read something else though nothing compares to the book.

Jenna Cooper said...

Charles Dickens: with the exception of A Christmas Carol, overwrites to the point where I just look in Sparknotes.
Huckleberry Finn: Difficult because it's written in a southern dialect, but decent otherwise. Personally I just can't get into it because I can't understand it.

Jane! Austen! She's my favorite. <3
My favorite is PERSUASION, it's so heart-breaking and heart-warming, and I've never wanted a couple together more than Anne and Captain Wentworth.
If you want something more light-hearted and comedic, then PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and EMMA are both excellent choices.

Jane Eyre is also a wonderful book. Wuthering Heights is fun to discuss, but I was frustrated while reading it and just wanted everyone to die (and I pretty much got my wish!).

But I really, really recommend Persuasion. I've studied it in two classes, written three papers (and currently working on another one), and did a group presentation on it and I'm still not sick of it.

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget