On the Shame of Dragons

If you have not yet read Kevin’s piece, I Like What I Like, go do that now and then come back to me.

(Are you back?) Okay, good. I needed you to see that in order to get where I’m coming from. Take this as my apology for not posting more, and understand that it was out of shame.

Kevin talks in his article about the pressure to read, and especially after college the pressure to read things that “count” in some way. These things don’t necessarily have to add to your image or street cred, but they should add something to your life and experiences. And herein lies my current dilemma: I haven’t been reading anything particularly scholarly, smart, or even culturally relevant.  I haven’t read anything that would be “worthy” of writing about on this site. I haven’t even been reading romance novels (which I would probably readily admit to).

Recently, and with no little amount of shame, I have been reading about dragons. (You read that right, DRAGONS.)

So you see my shame. My fellow bloggers don’t even know my secret. I share with all of you now, openly and truthfully, that I have been reading a Young Adult fantasy novel about a boy and his dragon, learning magic and hanging out with elves and dwarves and other magical weirdos. This isn’t even Lord of the Rings, people. That I could handle. This is Eragon, and I blame my younger brother entirely for putting it into my hands.

Why the shame, you ask? Didn’t you just do a piece on The Hunger Games that included the words fangirl in its title? Yes, yes I did. But under the guise of literary research! But now I make another confession: I loved it. I know I poked fun and laughed and rolled my eyes a bit, but I was seriously sad for like, two whole days after I finished that series. And to be perfectly honest, I have also started the second book in the Inheritence series. And I am a bit ashamed.

I was an English major for chrissakes! And now I’m tearing through a book written by some nerdy teenage boy, and not hating it. I’m supposed to read smart things. I’m supposed to be like Kevin and Marnie and Rachel, and look at nonfiction and poetry and lyrical essays. Now, don’t get me wrong–those genres are great, and I love my blog brother and sisters. They are so smart, and make my writing look childish.

But here’s the thing: Kevin was right. I DO like what I like, and it turns out that what I like (aside from some contemporary and historical fiction) is shit about dragons and fairies and kids with weird names. And I think I need to be okay with that. One part of me thinks it’s transitional; I’m looking for jobs, scared shitless about growing up, and these fantasies help me de-stress. They aren’t about what’s actually going on in my life; they aren’t anything I literally identify with. But they are a wonderful, welcome escape.

Maybe once I get a job, get my shit together, and become some sort of adult I’ll want to read more grown-up fare. Or maybe I’ll end up like my mom, with a glass of wine and a paperback mystery after work each day (God love her). Either way, I’ve got to be honest with myself and whatever meager readership I have here. I need to be honest and write about what I’m reading, and what I’m reading about right now is dragons. I’m hoping you can deal with it.

(An actual review of this book/series will follow shortly, once I can put together some intelligent thoughts other than holyshitMAGIC.)

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