Sunday, January 4, 2009

Running and Reading

As my brother pointed out in the comments to yesterday's post, he did not recommend those Malabrigo Hand Thingies to me while we were staying at our parents' house over the holidays...however, as Jacey correctly pointed out, she did. I probably read her blog post at my parents' and mixed up the source in my head. Thanks, Jacey! I'm looking forward to knitting those up as soon as I finish a couple of sweaters. :-P

Now, onto the running and the reading. See, I love to read and I used to do more of it (before knitting became my leisure activity of choice). I also like running and want to do more of it. Last spring I bought a used treadmill that I found on craigslist. It's the 3rd used treadmill I have owned, and they always work just fine for me. I know a lot of "serious" runners scoff at running on a treadmill, but I have several reasons for it:

1) I have exercise-induced asthma and hate to be out in the middle of nowhere if I can't breathe and need to grab my inhaler and lie down.
2) I have many outdoor allergies which, mixed with my asthma, make running outside difficult.
3) I don't have a running buddy out here (I used to go running with my sister in Minneapolis), and I tend to think of outdoor running as more of a fun social activity.
4) During most parts of my life, the only time I can go running is in the evening after it's already dark out.
5) I used to live in Minneapolis where, let's face it, I was a wuss and wasn't about to go running outside for about 5 or 6 months out of the year.
6) If I don't have a running buddy, I kind of prefer to do something constructive and/or entertaining while I run. By that I mean watch a movie or read a book.

Aha! Now we get to the reading part of the post! When we moved down here to San Diego last summer, we found ourselves with a spare room that we decided to use to store our bikes/treadmill/random exercise gear. It works wonderfully for that purpose since we can line the 5 or 6 bikes up on one side of the room, put my treadmill on the other side, and still have enough room left over to lay out mats for stretching/weights, etc. I'm happy that I don't have to keep the treadmill in the living room any more, but that also means that I can't watch movies while I run. For a while I was catching up on all the "recommended reading" books from grad school that I bought but never had time for. Everyone needs a break from the serious stuff though, so lately I have been reading...


...the Twilight books.

I know. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, even though everyone else in the world has been reading them too. They're so not my style! Vampires? Teen romance? Not my thing. And no offense to the people out there who love them, but...I kinda think they're crap. There. I said it. I'm really sorry, but I don't understand how it's romantic for some creepy guy to hang around and watch you sleep even before you start dating. And what ever happened to females being strong and capable, and not needing a man to protect and save them? And talk about a horrible example of extreme co-dependence. I've known couples like that in real life and man, do they always have problems. Plus, they always seem kind of creepy and maybe a little off in the head. Don't even get me started on the thinly-veiled pro-abstinence stance throughout the book. (Not that I think all high schoolers should be jumping into bed with each other, but it's a bit heavy handed.)

So why am I still reading them? I don't know! I read the first few chapters of the 4th book and stalled for a while, so I think I'm just going to give it back to the library unread. When I went in to pick it up a few weeks ago, the woman who checked it out to me said, "What are you going to do now?" I had no idea what she was talking about so I told her I was running to the grocery store next door. "No," she said, "what are you going to do when it's over? I started them all over from the beginning." I didn't want to make her feel bad, so I just said, "Well I only read them when I run on my treadmill so hopefully that will make it last longer". Then I scurried out of there as fast as possible.

Now obviously, these books were not written with me in mind as the target audience, and I should be judging them on their merits according to that audience. This was a big problem I had when I was reviewing scripts and books for the film companies I worked at: I would read some chic lit book, or some raunchy frat boy comedy and absolutely hate it, but I would be forced to write a review based on its merits according to a specific audience. However, for the reasons I stated above, I still think these books are not exactly presenting a very favorable example of characters or relationships and before anyone starts pointing out that it's just light reading and therefore I should lighten up, I will say: Dude, I know! That's why I'm all done talking about them.

I think I'll go back to ignoring the popular books and stick to real literature. I may seem like a book snob, but it's my time and I'll read what I please! That said, if anyone has read any good books lately that you want to recommend, I'm all ears! :)


Ariel said...

Whew! It's always nice to find someone else that thinks the Twilight books just aren't that great. I only read the first one, and while it was diverting (ish), it certainly wasn't OMGTHEBESTNOVELEVER. And I like teen romances and vampire novels!

Yarndude said...

I secretly also read the first Twilight book after you left. I found it entertaining, but it didn't seem like a page turner. I used it more as a distraction than anything else.

Jacey said...

I wouldn't be embarrassed about reading them. I think a ton of women in our age group are obsessed. I used to be in a book club, and all they could talk about was Twilight. Somehow, I've avoided it, but I will probably pick them up eventually.

Kristen said...

ack, i got sucked in too! the first one was ok--great mindless entertainment, certainly not winning any pulitzers. the 2nd one is still keeping me interested, but i just cannot get over what a freaking whiney dumbass bella is. and that's my problem with these books. ;)

Dana KBS said...

I'm not a Twi-hater, but as a teacher of adolescent girls & boys I don't like some of the messaging. And I thought the writing was rather meh. But I think I would have thrilled to it when I was a teenager with 0.0 romantic experience (but oh the aspirations!) and that kinda bothers me!

I only read the first book and the first couple chapters of the second, though...I hear the writing gets better but it was the themes that bothered me.