Frequent visitors here may have noticed that that poor red copy of Dracula has been sitting under "Current Reads" for an awfully long time. That's not a mistake--I'm still working on it. I took it to my parents' house for Christmas, determined to finish by the time I left (nothing like a little vampire lit to brighten the holidays), and then a) completely ignored it and b) promptly left it next to the trundle bed in my old bedroom. The saddest part is that it's not boring. I'm not slogging through it. It's a fun read, full of melodrama and nights spent in the cemetery and just a little bit of Edwardian gore. It's just taking me ages.
In the mean time, I've picked up my old Benicia High School copy of Jane Eyre. I remember the first time I read Jane: my parents had kidnapped me from a New Year's Eve sleepover (at an absurdly early hour, I might add) and taken me on a family mini-break to Solvang and Santa Barbara, where I tried fairly hard not to have any fun at all. I was reading Jane Eyre for Academic Decathlon, and I remember being in the car and wondering why nobody had recommended such a wonderful book to me before. Ten years later, it's still that good. I'm sailing through it, trying to see Jane as I didn't in high school, and I'm just loving the way she's been developed: She's rebellious...but not. She's plain...but not a victim. She's practical...but romantic in a way that even she doesn't expect. I haven't gotten to The Plot Twist yet (trying not to spoil the surprise for anybody, here), but in my mind, it's what defines Gothic. I remember being so shocked the first time around. What a fantastic book!
This whole thing is actually part of a planned reading binge for me: after Jane Eyre, I'm going to complete the Gothic trilogy with my pretty new copy of Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca, which is another high school love. I've never been clear on why Rebecca isn't more popular--it's well-written, creepy, and completely engaging; plus, the 1940 film (with an extremely young Joan Fontaine) is the only Alfred Hitchcock movie ever to win Best Picture. I can't wait. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." I've got shivers already.
And one last thing: if you like reading books or reading about books, check out my friend Teri's blog. I theoretically read a lot; Teri actually reads a lot, and she keeps track of what she reads. If you're curious or looking for a book recommendation, her blog is a good place to start. Also, I can't handle being the "token reader."
This is just making me want to read more. I think I will.