3/06/2006

Beware:Reading causes Sleep Deprivation

I'm tired today. No, it's not because I'm sick, or because I'm pregnant, or even because my son kept me up all night. No, it is because I stayed up way past my bedtime (and I do mean WAY past my bedtime) to read a book. It's called _Tara Road_, and I just can't believe I used my precious sleep time to read instead of, you know, sleep. The last time I did something that stupid was when the 6th Harry Potter book came out, but that time DH knew exactly what was going to happen, it was on a Friday night, and even then I couldn't keep my eyes open past 3am. (Did I mention I stayed up way past my bedtime?) Anyway, I picked up this book at my Mom's house while I was perusing her bookshelves, and it looked sort of interesting. I grabbed it to read during doctor's appointments, etc, and didn't get hooked at first. My first impression was that it was a bit choppily written, and moved at an awkward pace. Then, that dang book just sucked me right in. It's a book about women, you see, women who are trying to make their way in their small world in Dublin. Women who all want the same man, pine and ache for him, and who, unbeknownst to his wife, eventually all have him. The wife gets portrayed as dowdy, silly, living in her bubble of stay at home motherhood bliss, never suspecting for a minute that her dashing husband is off cheating on her with her best friends. I have to say, she initially comes off rather badly. I was disappointed at first. I don't know why. After all, it IS an Oprah book club book and certainly nothing Oprah could endorse could actually keep a family intact--where else could the conflict come from? But I was really rooting for the wife at the beginning, and towards the middle she morphs into a sad stereotype who is positively pathetic. I wanted to shout, "Hey, not all housewives are pathetic!" But she comes around at the end, which is what I, the reader, was hoping for, longing for, what kept me up beyond the hour any human being who is not being paid or cramming for a midterm or nursing a newborn should be awake. The book's endings are predictable enough, complete with the predictable messages that women are better off without men anyway, and the only fulfillment out there for women is to leave the home and get a job. But even with all of that, I was still pleased with how this woman became herself, and I was willing to go with her on the journey. There is not a single healthy relationship in this book, not one. And interestingly enough, the wives who are wronged are the ones who come through and win. It bothers me that there is no example of what a healthy marriage looks like, or even that such a thing is possible, (even more disturbing, if anybody wrote about such a thing, would such a book sell? Certainly Oprah, the Queen of who lives and dies in the world of literature, would kill it), but I do still like the idea of wives triumphing over trials. Wives and mothers, we are so much stronger than we know. At least the author was willing to give us that. And despite some of the other messages I got, I appreciated that one. Now if a small child would just give me a nap, I'd be all set.

28 Comments:

Blogger Colee said...

I read the book _Tara Road_ a couple of years ago. While I was reading it my husband pointed out that I was more irritable than normal. I realized that the behavior of the husband in the book made me angry and I was (unconsciously) taking it out on my wonderful DH. I have not been impressed with the books that Oprah has recommended. I like books where people struggle against hard circumstances to triumph, but many of the books I have read that she has chosen for her book club don't have redeeming characters at all. The one book I loved that she chose was _The Poisonwood Bible_. It is a novel about a family from America living in Africa and I loved how it gave me a whole new perspective on the world.

3/06/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

I haven't read Tara Road, and your synopsis is probably enough, but I am totally with you in the "Sleep Deprived Because of Reading" boat.

Pre-kids, I was a voracious reader, and would read every book I picked up cover to cover without even breathing twice. Enter mommy-hood, and those days are few and far between. Every once in a while, though, I pick up a new book, and find myself quivering in anticipation. (The last Harry Potter was one of those for me too)

My husband just knows, while I don't indulge myself very often anymore, when I have my nose in a book, I'm a guarantees sleep-wreck the next day. He likes it, and indulges me, taking care of the kids for me while I fall into a book coma. *sigh of contentment*

I love books. Even the way they smell. Oh, I love books.

I'll second "The Poisonwood Bible"- a very good read. I also liked "There Eyes Were Watching God", which I read back in college. Not sure how the television adaptation came off, but usually they are a let down. And that story, while beautiful, was FAR from an example of a healthy or "normal" life.

3/06/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

I haven't read too many Oprah book club books, and Tara Road doesn't sound like my kind of thing at all. But I can totally relate to the staying-up-all-night to finish a book thing. I do it whenever my husband's not around to nag me into bed.

Wait a minute, I thought she was just doing classics now? Or is that an old book club choice?

3/06/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth-W said...

I'm reading and oldy but a goody, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth". I love my husband because when he finds me asleep in the office with a book on my chest, he takes my glasses off, piles me with blankets and leaves me there. If he wakes me up, that means I have to go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, check on the little people, do whatever little jobs I should do before bed, etc., and since I had a little couchy nap, I will have hard time falling asleep once I do get to bed. Instead, he lets me increase my risk of cavities, and leaves me to sleep on the sofa. What a guy!

As an aside, my m-i-l lived in Africa as a teenager while her father was a missionary there. Poisonwood is a great read for most of us, but for her, it totally triggered a posttraumatic stress response--the book was almost autobiographical for her.

3/06/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa M. said...

I read Tara Road several years ago, and though it wasn't one I could put down, it wasn't one of my most favorites either. I did like the Poisonwood Bible and I also liked "Deep End of the Ocean" (another Oprah one), I havent' watche O for quite sometime, and every great once and awhile I will see her "endorsement" on a book, but it really doesn't do much for me, having her stamp of approval. I read one, which I won't name that was absolutely horrible.

I too am a vicious reader. I get "into" a book and I best not be bothered. I go in spurts, where I can't consume enough of the written word and then I settle down, and have a dry spell.

I wish I could get into more LDS litature, but for some odd reason I have a bit of a hard time with it? Any one else have that problem?

3/06/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa M. said...

Opps, that might be a thread jack!!~


Sorry!

3/06/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Bek said...

I have been a longtime fan of Maeve Binchey. She often writes of old Ireland..like in the 50's. She has a great way of creating characters you feel you could really know. Someone once review Tara Road and said the characters are "people you would want to go to dinner with". If you want to know a few more of her books that are great...let me know!!

I love to read. I refuse to give that time up. I make sure to schedule reading time into my week. That might be why my house isn't as clean as yours or the laundry isn't as organized...but it is one thing that I feel like I do for myself. Also, I can read on the treadmill or bike and that forces me to excercise!!

3/06/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I, too, have yet to like an Oprah book (when it's not a classic). I also can empathize with not being able to put a book down. And being disappointed with characters.

The thing I hate most is when I book has so much promise and then just totally fails to deliver. If it's bad, then I can put it down. But if it's at all engaging, I keep plugging on, hoping that it'll get better. When it doesn't, I'm almost angry at the author for wasting my time.

Oh, and Lisa -- I have the same problem. LDS fiction and I have a rocky relationship, and I can't quite place my finger on why.

3/06/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Susan-

I don't follow Oprah's book choices at all, so I don't know when this was chosen. It just had that Oprah stamp on it, and I picked it up because I needed something to keep me occupied for some down time.

I also loved the Poisenwood Bible--didn't know it was on her reading list, though.

Hmm, Mormon fiction. I've yet to read anything much that I've liked, with, of course, the exception of Orson Scott Card. There are definitely some hits and misses with him, but he is the only one that writes Mormon stuff that isn't completely terrible. I would especially recommend his Alvin Maker series, at least the first 4. After that they become a total waste of time.

3/06/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a diplomat and, as such, I am not fully conversant with the elegant and rarefied language of the diplomatic trade. I have a reputation for saying what I mean and meaning what I say. So I trust that you'll forgive me if I come across as a bit blunt when I state that Mormon Mommy Wars feels obligated to erect a screen of flatulent verbiage to hide the real world from its victims. Instead of focusing on why Mormon Mommy Wars should try being a little more open-minded, I would like to remind people that what I find frightening is that some academics actually believe Mormon Mommy Wars's line that it is the way, the truth, and the light. In this case, "academics" refers to a stratum of the residual intelligentsia surviving the recession of its demotic base, not to those seekers of truth who understand that Mormon Mommy Wars indubitably believes that it has the authority to issue licenses for practicing philistinism. What kind of Humpty-Dumpty world is it living in? It would take days to give the complete answer to that question but the gist of it is that if it were up to Mormon Mommy Wars, schoolchildren would be taught reading, 'riting, and racism. A colleague recently informed me that a bunch of gruesome, domineering renegades and others in Mormon Mommy Wars's amen corner are about to break down the industrial-technological system. I have no reason to doubt that story because some reputed -- as opposed to reputable -- members of Mormon Mommy Wars's camp quite adamantly think that taxpayers are a magic purse that never runs out of gold. I find it rather astonishing that anyone could insist such a thing, but then again, to say that honesty and responsibility have no cash value and are therefore worthless is putrid nonsense and untrue to boot. Everywhere it's gone, Mormon Mommy Wars has tried to pooh-pooh the reams of solid evidence pointing to the existence and operation of an avaricious coterie of elitism. It can happen here, too. When I was little, my father would sometimes pick me up, put me on his knee, and say "Mormon Mommy Wars's secret police do not concern themselves much with the people around them."

If I had to choose between chopping onions and helping Mormon Mommy Wars reinforce the concept of collective guilt that is the root of all prejudice, I'd be in the kitchen in an instant. Although both alternatives make me cry, the deciding factor for me is that we must learn to celebrate our diversity, not because it is the politically correct thing to do, but because it is absolutely determined to believe that this is the best of all possible worlds and that it is the best of all possible organizations, and it's not about to let facts or reason get in its way. As far as I can tell, Mormon Mommy Wars is not interested in what is true and what is false or in what is good and what is evil. In fact, those distinctions have no meaning to it whatsoever. The only thing that has any meaning to Mormon Mommy Wars is Bonapartism. Why? Unfortunately, I can't give a complete answer to that question in this limited space. But I can tell you that I have always been an independent thinker. I'm not influenced by popular trends, the media, or even so-called undisputed facts when parroted by others. Maybe that streak of independence is what first enabled me to see that Mormon Mommy Wars's cock-and-bull stories are as appealing as braces, acne, and a wooden leg at the senior prom. At the risk of sounding a tad redundant, let me add that Mormon Mommy Wars never stops boasting about its generous contributions to charitable causes. As far as I can tell, however, its claimed magnanimousness is utterly chimerical and, furthermore, we must reach out to people with the message that Mormon Mommy Wars is as self-absorbed as the sky is blue. We must alert people of that. We must educate them. We must inspire them. And we must encourage them to change the world for the better. I once managed to get Mormon Mommy Wars to agree that it should show some class. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, it did a volte-face and denied that it had ever said that. By framing the question in this way, we see that Mormon Mommy Wars has vowed that before the year is over it'll keep essential documents hidden from the public until they become politically moot. This is hardly news; Mormon Mommy Wars has been vowing that for months with the regularity of a metronome. What is news is that its band appears to be growing in number. I pray that this is analogous to the flare-up of a candle just before extinction yet I keep reminding myself that it is still going around insisting that it is the most recent incarnation of the Buddha. Jeez, I thought I had made it perfectly clear to it that its agents provocateurs actually believe the bunkum they're always mouthing. That's because these types of indelicate imbeciles are idealistic, have no sense of history or human nature, and they think that what they're doing will somehow improve the world before long. In reality, of course, Mormon Mommy Wars coins polysyllabic neologisms to make its animadversions sound like they're actually important. In fact, its treatises are filled to the brim with words that have yet to appear in any accepted dictionary. Mormon Mommy Wars believes that it should do the entire country a grave disservice because "it's the right thing to do". Sorry, but I have to call foul on that one.

Currently, Mormon Mommy Wars lacks the clout to topple society. But when you least expect it, it will have enough thralls to push the State towards greater influence, self-preservation, and totalitarianism and away from civic engagement, constituent choice, and independent thought. Generally speaking, I feel no more personal hatred for Mormon Mommy Wars than I might feel for a herd of wild animals or a cluster of poisonous reptiles. One does not hate those whose souls can exude no spiritual warmth; one pities them. The end.

3/06/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Oh, just another note. I did notice the other day that _Night_ is now on Oprah's list (happened to see the massive display of the book at Target), and I WOULD recommend reading that. It is a true story, a biographical account of a boy, Elie Wiesel, and his father as they live through the horrors of Auschwitz and Birkinau. A powerful and fast read. Maybe Oprah does have some taste after all.

Wow, we are giving that woman tons of free publicity, aren't we!

3/06/2006 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Sorry, it's AUTObiographical. Elie Wiesel wrote it himself.

Sheesh, I told you I am sleep deprived!

3/06/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Languatran! How are ya, man?

"Mormon Mommy Wars's secret police do not concern themselves much with the people around them."

Sweet, we have a secret police? YES!

"Currently, Mormon Mommy Wars lacks the clout to topple society"

Hey, never underestimate the power of united ladies covered with bodily excretions. We'll get you yet!

Thanks for sharing, Langy. We here at MMW love you. Can you feel the love? Can you?

3/06/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

Night is the most powerfully moving book I've ever read. One of those books everyone should read. It's short, but it's not light reading. There's one line in it that'll always make me cry when I come to it, no matter what. He describes a horrible scene of brutality, and he then he says: I was fifteen years old.

Was Peace Like a River by Leif Enger an Oprah club book? One of my favorite books of all time (along with Night), can't remember if it was featured in her club or not. Highly recommended.

3/06/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

What in the WORLD was all that drivel up above?? Is that what Languatron does? Holy Cow and the old maid who kissed her!

I'm going to pick up "Night" for my next read. I seem to recall reading something else by Elie Wiesel... can't recall the title though.

3/06/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I love it when I get into a book and just can't stop reading! The last one I had like that was actually a juvenile fiction, "Bridge to Terabithia." So good!

Elizabeth, that is really interesting about your mom's reaction to the Poisonwood Bible. I thought it was fascinating, but now perhaps I know it is all to real for some!

Lisa, I'm with you on LDS literature. I haven't read much since I was an adolescent and crying over the book "Charlie." Ones I've tried to read since seem to all have the same feel that I just can't quite get into.

By the way, I read Deep End of the Ocean and came away hating the character of the mother. I can imagine how having a child kidnapped would make you a crazy person, but couldn't she just show a little love to her other kids? Sigh. Peace Like a River was lovely.

I just went to the library and picked up "The Hiding Place" by Carrie Ten Boom. It sounds like an amazing read.

3/06/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Mary-

The Hiding Place will change your life. I guarantee it.

I also enjoyed Peace Like a River. I don't think that was an Oprah book. Again, if she did pick it, I would be impressed by her taste.

3/06/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

The "Hiding Place" is a wonderful book...I'm glad you'll get to read it!

My book club chose "Icy Sparks" this month --I heard it was an Oprah read. Not bad; it really made me understand what it could be like living in an age when certain "diseases" (she has Tourrette's) went undiagnosed for decades...

Other favorites:

"Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini
"Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton
"East" -(can't remember the author!!)
And, seriously, anything by Jane Austen. I love her prose.

LDS literature can be fun, but I have to be in the mood. I did love Orson Scott Card's "Sarah", "Rebekah", and "Rachel and Leah" (or is it Leah and Rachel?). I loved his take on those stories.

Hey, and whoever was going on and on and on up there, I don't know you, but:

WHINE! Life must be so hard trying to make yourself look good by spouting off intelligent diatribes in order to tear down women whose entire lives are devoted to the development of their children. Me, well I'd rather laugh with women who are experiencing my type of life then argue about things I could not, in a million years, possibly change.

(Oooh! That was a tad rude. Sorry.)

3/06/2006 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

That rant sounds like anything could be inserted in place of MMW and posted to the comment section of the site of your choosing. Interesting. Cuts down on the amount of typing too I assume. I don't believe anyone here has ever claimed to have all the answers, just the same questions as the rest of us. Successful threadjack though! WTG!
I read "The Hiding Place" in the 6th grade and it has stuck with me since then, great book. I tend to ignore books that are so greatly hyped until they have faded from the collective conciousness. I have yet to read "The Da Vinci Code", though I have read his other books and enjoyed them.
I am a big literature fan and love Steinbeck. There is a collection of early Vonnegut that I love titled "Bagombo Snuff Box". Since they are short stories they can be read in stolen bits of time. They have the delicious irony of Vonnegut without the foul language of his longer works.

3/07/2006 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie J said...

I haven't read "Tara Road" I just finished reading Jane Eyre again last night and did the same thing. I just couldn't put it down until her and Edward were back together again! I have "Night" next on my list to read. I'm saving it for a time when I just read it mostly at one time. Also my book club is reading Jane Austen's "Persuasion" this month. I'm excited. I love the classics. Oh and "The Hiding Place" is one I will never forget. What amazing women.

3/07/2006 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago without our toddler and started reading a 400-page novel--a first since she was born. Now I know why I can't sit down and read novels! I became obsessed with the blasted thing and couldn't put it down until I was funished. Certainly NOT conducive to getting anything done!

3/07/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Tigersue said...

Hey I would rather read here than at FMH, overthere I really feel like I have nothing in common with the women there, i really want to rant and rave!
On to the topic of this post, I'm afraid I find myself often up until the wee hours of the morning reading books I can't put down. I have always been that way.

3/07/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger hairyshoefairy said...

I read Peace Like a River for a book club in Feb. and really enjoyed it. As far as I know it isn't an Oprah book. I bought it new and it didn't have her little stamp of approval. And Mary, I love Bridge to Terabithia. It has been one of my favorites for years and years. LOVE it!

I think the middle of the night is the best time to read if you can stay awake. No one calls, you don't have people just dropping by, no errands to run cuz not a lot is open. It's the perfect time. Too bad sleep gets in the way.

I had the same thoughts as mo mommy on that little rant. It sounded like something intended for mass spamming with an "insert your name here". Some people are interesting.

3/07/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I'm not sure you can technically call OS Card Mormon fiction (except perhaps his women of Genesis series). Unless you're loosely defining the genre as "Mormons who write fiction". When I think Mormon fiction, I tend to think of ones with either a) a Mormon protagonist or b) books that are directed at Mormons. And I've yet to find ones in either category that get me as good fiction.

I'm deprived... I've never read The Hiding Place. I could claim no access to the book, but I wonder if it's just that I've heard so much about it that I don't know if there's any point to reading it.

Oh, and mo mommy -- my opinion on Dan Brown is that if you've read one you've read them all, and you'll probably like the one you read first best. Da Vinci Code is overrated. (Still, I kinda want to see the movie.)

3/07/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Melissa-

I'll buy that lots of OSC isn't exactly Mormon fiction, but I would categorize his Alvin Maker series as Mormon fiction. Lehi's dream shows up, as does Nauvoo and the temple. Well, actually, the whole book is a loosely characterized version of Joseph Smith's life, and a fascinating one at that. So in that sense, I like to classify at least that series as Mormon fiction, just because it deals with such powerful Mormon themes in a brillant way that I've never seen before. I also have heard his Homecoming series is similar, although some people are offended that he has made the Book of Mormon into a sci-fi novel. For his part, I've read that he is just so fascinated with the Book of Mormon that he felt he had to write his interpretation of it, bring the people to life, so to speak. With that view in mind, I'm inclined to read it.

But if you stick to the definition of Mormon fiction that you put forth, then you are right. There isn't much out there. I did just recently read, "The Marketing of Sister B", by Linda Hoffman, which is a pleasant enough book, and definitely not awful. That's saying a lot when it comes to Mormon fiction.

And you should ABSOLUTELY read The Hiding Place. Everything you've heard about it is probably just the tip of the iceberg. The stories told in Sacrament meeting don't begin to describe the woman's total devotion to Christ, and her complete Christlike discipleship. It will change the way you think about following Christ.

3/07/2006 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like Anita Stansfield's books. And I'm fascinated with OSC's Alvin Maker series.

3/07/2006 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan Brown mysteries are easily solved using what I call the "Scooby Doo Method". Pick the LEAST likely person and that's probably the one behind everything.
This method usually works for movies too.

3/08/2006 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Tri Mama said...

I love getting lost in a good book..its wonderful...the last book that took me away so to speak was the Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

3/08/2006 12:10:00 PM  

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