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Five Books I Love That Also Depress the Hell Out of Me

February 26, 2010

1. Anything by Jane Austen. Now, I love Jane. Love her. Sort of want to be her. I love her wit, and fact that every story ends with a wedding, but by the end of her books, I’m always stuck with the realization that men like Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightly don’t actually exist, and the world is filled with Mr. Collinses. Maybe that’s why Mansfield Park is so surprisingly satisfying. The heroine gets what she wants, but at the same time, her man isn’t exactly Prince Charming.

2. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card. This is an excellent book, but the fact that an entire civilization of people agree to give up their existence for the chance of a better future – and that two people in love have to sacrifice that for the greater good – gets me every time. It was one of the first books that ever made me cry.

3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. I blame Pilot for making me such a soft touch where animals are concerned; I get choked up when the fictional demons of fictional characters are killed. And the ending to the trilogy, while fitting, is so tragic.

4. Wicked by Gregory Maguire. Great book. Loved, loved, loved it, so rich and nuanced. I loved the way he expanded the Oz universe. But unlike its musical counterpart, it does not have a happy ending. The last section of the book was not as enjoyable as the complicated start, and I like the way the musical handles it better.

5. Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. I got so worked up over this series as I read the first three books during a college road trip that I haven’t been able to bring myself to read Feast of Crows. I can still remember the emotional roller coaster they put me through. I had purchased the first on the suggestion of a Barnes & Noble cashier and read it on the trip up the coast in the backseat of my Dad’s car. We were somewhere in Northern California when I made him stop at a book store so I could go get the other two. But when I finished (and talk about devastating) there was so much time before the next one came out, that I couldn’t put myself back in that place again, so I never finished.

Though now that HBO is bringing The Game of Thrones to the small screen, I might have to try again.

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