Balancing Act

I become extremely emotionally invested in stories.  Sometimes it's worse than others.  I actually avoid going to movies unless it's a straight-up mindless action movie because I can't deal with all the emotions a film can provoke.  Seeing something painful or wonderful or frightening, frame by frame, is more intense to me than reading the same type of material.  I can't escape it.  I can't subconsciously push the uncomfortable things into the background.

Therefore, when I read, I'm always reading a few things at the same time.  Right now I'm finally reading Jude the Obscure by Hardy.  I don't think any of Hardy's novels could be classified as the least bit positive or happy, so I knew what I was getting into.  It's a testimony to his ability as a writer that almost every sentence imbues my soul with a sense of dread and malaise.  Jude will never escape.  He's trapped.  And he knows it.  And I've got about 300 more pages of him being thwarted at every turn as he pursues happiness.  That takes a toll.

Which is why I also read fluffy books!  They are not literally fluffy, like Elle Woods' notebook in Legally Blonde, nor do I use "fluffy" to mean "romance."  Perhaps I should say "popcorn" instead--like you go see a "popcorn" movie.  My fun reads of choice are generally end-of-the-world thrillers or light speculative fiction.  I'm currently racing through a First Reads pick about a time-traveling Nazi cruise ship.  I know how that sounds.  It is, however, more believable than Sharcano.

And then there's skewing too far into the woo-woo sector of fiction.  I enjoyed The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle, struggled through The Atlantis Prophecy, and now find myself stuck at 20% of the final book in the trilogy, The Atlantis World.  Somehow I've made it 1/5th of the way through the book and the only thing I can tell you is: aliens.  The whole secret-army-counter-espionage aspect of the first book was done really well, and I was disappointed that that was abandoned in favor of wormhole travel, alien memories, and unending threats of IMPENDING AND CERTAIN DEATH.  I understand that a lot of the book involves alien memories of being galactically AWESOME.  If I wanted to read sci-fi, I would read hard sci-fi.  I wanted a thriller.  And to the reviewer who called this "space opera": no.  Just: no.

So I'll flip back and forth between The Last Passenger and Jude the Obscure until I can balance out my emotions to an acceptable degree; or at least not feel completely gutted by The Passion of Jude Fawley.


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