Recently, I wrote about my struggle to get rid of some books I’d been holding onto for a long time. I had been keeping a lot of them, not because I liked them, but because they were the kind of books I could proudly display on my living room bookshelves. You know, stuff like “Selected Writings by 20th Century Masters.” They were books that declared “I was an English Literature major and I retained all of that stuff and liked it.” Dear old Edgar Allen Poe. Oh wait. I can’t handle Edgar Allan Poe.
I successfully broke through that barrier in my thinking and got rid of the books I actually didn’t ever want to read again. I made way on my shelves for books that I really do like. But then I started thinking…”Would I actually display that book on my shelf?” Well, no, because I probably don’t own it. And I’m not talking smutty books, I truly don’t like those books. I’m talking about books that aren’t considered very intellectual. Books like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
There, I admitted it.
You guys. I really do like those books. And I can’t even blame “reading them in high school” as the reason because I read them after graduating from college, as a full-fledged English major. Maybe my brain needed a break? (actually, I was working a desk job and went to the library on my lunch break in search of anything to listen to to keep my mind from slushing into nothingness, but the selection was limited. “Maybe not that limited!” you say. But I’m not listening to you.).
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series follows four best friends, who call themselves “The Septembers.” Their moms were in a prenatal exercise class and became friends because they all had due dates in September. The babies, Lena, Bridget, Carmen, and Tibby, grew up together as best friends from their infancy. The series begins as they are about to part ways in the summer for the first time. Lena’s family is traveling to visit relatives in Greece, Bridget is going to soccer camp, and Carmen and Tibby are getting jobs. So they find these great jeans that the four of them all fit in (miraculously) and mail them/pass them around through the summer. It already sounds kind of hokey, doesn’t it? I just thought you should know what in the world the title was all about.
I think the reason I really like these books is (1) I had a group of four friends rather similar to the ones in the books in middle school and (2) the author, Ann Brashares, is so good at creating characters who become real. I don’t agree with all of her stances on issues like sex before marriage, sneaking into closed buildings, etc., but her characters learn and change and grow in a way that seems very true to life. They make mistakes and come to terms with issues like friends who have cancer, friends who have disastrous home lives, parents who are seemingly too strict, people you love but can’t be with, and a myriad of other maturing experiences. And they deal with the little things, too, like figuring out you’re a weirdo because you have to have a mental list of things to talk about when you go out dinner with pretty much anyone. I didn’t really relate to that, though…er….The characters definitely make the this series good, because I read Brashares’ other books and found them rather lacking. My Name is Memory, in particular, was both disturbing and a bit boring and Three Willows was just bleah. But whatever the reason, I’m done analyzing my appreciation and, yes, even fondness of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Sisterhood Everlasting in particular is my favorite, though by far the saddest.
So do you have a favorite book you’d hate to admit to? The kind of books you’re willing to claim as your favorite varies from person to person, of course. But I’m not talking guilty pleasure type books; by all means, keep that to yourself because I’d definitely be better off not knowing that! (this blog = no smuttiness!). I think there’s room to love all kinds of books, from The Poetry of Robert Frost to The Wheel of Time series to Confessions of a Shopaholic. (I haven’t read the last two, but I’ve heard they’re great). I’d like for most of the books I read and the majority of my favorite books to be noble and enlightening, but I’d like to be honest, as well.
Happy reading whatever you like best!