Lori's Book Nook

You’re a reader. You’ve arrived at a reader’s page. Perhaps you’ve browsed around and see that we may share a taste in books. Well, here is an opportunity to leave me (and others) a book suggestion. The comments are open!!

More reading! I must admit, I’m enjoying this…it’s been awhile since I put reading on my priority list. It’s helped that I’ve been a bit sick the last few days, so I’ve done nothing but read!

#8 – Leslie Darbon‘s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced. A play! Yes, I’m sure I’ll read a few more in the coming weeks. I do enjoy plays, the theatre and the like – as evidenced by my other blog, Theatrical Thoughts (also a bit neglected unfortunately). This one we had around because my husband had been in it years ago…and to be honest, I didn’t know the story. Turns out, it’s a Miss Marple story, so there was an added bonus!

#9 – Ronald Millar’s Abelard and Heloise: A Play. This one I’ve had hanging around for a bit, waiting to read it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been fascinated for awhile about the tragic story of Héloïse D’Argenteuil and Peter Abelard. The play dramatizes events of the story, with a strong philosophical/religious angle. Not bad, in that it humanizes the characters a bit more, and gives Heloise a very strong role.

#10 – Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret (now a movie!) A friend loaned me this absolutely delightful, cinematographic novel, and I can see (get it?) why it was snapped up as a film. I haven’t seen it yet, but I will soon. It’s truly a wonderful little novel, although at 500+ pages it seemed far more daunting than it was! Selznick, being an illustrator, has drawn a goodly part of the book, so it was really a matter of a couple of hours of looking and reading.

#11 – Roger Ebert‘s Life Itself: A Memoir. The first movie reviews I ever paid attention to were his and Siskel’s – how could I not pick up a copy of his memoirs? Some things stand out in a book full of interesting moments and pithy observations:

“The main thing wrong with a movie that is ten years old is that it isn’t thirty years old. After the hairstyles and the costumes stop being dated and start being history, we can tell if the movie itself is timeless.” (page 157)

“There is a test for an actor who, for a moment, is just standing there in a scene: Does he seem to be just standing there? Or does he, as John Wayne did, seem to be deciding when, why, and how to take the situation under his control?” (page 253)

(Regarding his inability to eat/drink/speak) “What’s sad about not eating is the experience, whether at a family reunion or at a midnight by yourself in a greasy spoon under the L tracks. The loss of dining, not the loss of food. Unless I’m alone, it doesn’t involve dinner if it doesn’t involved talking. The food and drink I can do without easily. The jokes, gossip, laughs, arguments, and memories I miss. I ran in crowds where anyone was likely to start reciting poetry on a moment’s notice. Me too. But not me anymore. So yes, it’s sad. Maybe that why writing has become so important to me. You don’t realize it, but we’re at dinner right now.” (page 383)

Overall, a highly enjoyable, meandering memoir. I didn’t realize that they’d made a documentary of this book, and his life. Now I have to look that up!

That’s 11 books in a month, at this rate, I should be able to finish 95+!

 

 

 

Yikes! I’m 23 days into the #95books challenge (my first post on that), and only 7 books in…and no real theme to my reading. But that’s not new – and I fully intend on following my nose from book to book.

Continuing the list:

#5 – Julie Powell‘s Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. I enjoyed the movie – the pseudo-biopic with the delightful Meryl Streep as Julia Child – so thought that reading Powell’s memoir of cooking through Child’s classic cookbook would be fun. It feel off a thrift store shelf into my hand, so that was an easy decision, honestly. In the end, it an amusing bit of trifle, with a lot of honesty and personal anguish: “And as the week progressed the throbbing of my biological clock syncopated with my crepe anxiety until they formed one jazz rhythm.”

#6 – Carol Shields’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Unless. Again, a novel that dropped off a shelf in the thrift store that I’d been meaning to read. Shields’ prose is smooth, deceptively simple, the story carrying the reader along until you realize that you’re deep into it, unable to leave it. The link above is to a Salon review that has a line that struck me as being very descriptive of the experience:

Shields’ fiction has always had this sort of stealth spikiness, like soft fish that, when bitten into, turns up a web of bone, or like that sweet middle-aged lady next door when you were growing up, who turns out to have been watching you more shrewdly and understanding you more completely than you ever suspected.

#7 – Kurt Busiek & Cary Nord’s graphic novel of Richard E. Howard’s stories Conan: The Frost-Giant’s Daughter and Other Stories. Yes! A graphic novel is a book. An early set of stories by Howard, this lovely collection of comics was a hardcover gift to my husband at Christmas. It’s a good yarn, and the story reminds us to beware of what we wish for – always a good lesson.

So…what’s next on the pile to be read? I’ll let you know soon enough!

So I’m undertaking the #95books challenge for 2016, and I’m 3.5 books in. This is not keeping me on the 2 books/week schedule, but I’m sure I’ll find some shorter ones along the way. Or I’ll just become more accustomed to curling up and reading again…

#1 – Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. I admire Pinker – a linguist who can describe the most complex ideas in beautiful, simple terms. And who better than a linguist to get into the style guide genre? This was a Christmas gift to my husband, and I snapped it up for my first read of the year.

#2 – Gerald Clarke’s Capote: A BiographyThis book has been on my TBR pile for a couple of months. I like the writing by Truman Capote that I’ve read, so I was motivated to know more about his life. This is the classic biography that was the basis for the bio-pic a few years back (2005 actually), starring the fabulous (and sorely missed) Philip Seymour Hoffman. Clarke’s book is wonderfully readable, and shows great respect for a talented and troubled man.

#3 – Sylvia Wolf’s The Digital Eye: Photographic Art in the Electronic Age. I’m not calling this one a cheat, but some might. It’s a book of fascinating photography, with a long introductory essay. I spent the time to go to each mentioned plate to savour it, contemplate it…so it took me most of the day to read. Anyway, does reading mean it can be only words?! A Christmas gift to me, so readily at hand.

#4 – Gerald Clarke’s Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote. Turns out, I had this on my shelf, but had never read it. Now that I have the background of the full Biography, it’s time to read these. I’m half-way through. Likely to finish today.

4 books in 2 weeks…maybe I am on track!

I’ve not been doing a lot of reading lately. Odd, I know, for someone with a book blog. But, as I’m sure you’ll see, the blog has been quiet for a couple (few?) years. It’s time to change that.

Book lover and writer Jonathan Ball wrote of his #95book challenge a couple of years ago – and I like it! He’s got some good, basic tips to stay focused, and I’m inspired. I’ve already started – my year will be from December 26, 2015 to December 26, 2016.

It is my intention to write here periodically with lists of the books I’ve read – and thus revive the blog as well. Revive my reading habit, revive my writing habit…and hopefully revive my brain!

Books suggestions always welcome!

 

It was just brought to my attention that the famous truly Canadian poem David by Earle Birney is now online!

This is a poem read by Canadian high school students, and I think for the most part they actually enjoy it, because while it’s long, it’s a clear story in a setting that many of them know and understand.

And here it is, courtesy of the University of Toronto Libraries — annotated even!

A sample:

2 All week in the valley for wages, in air that was steeped
3 In the wail of mosquitoes, but over the sunalive weekends
5 Poker, the wrangling, the snoring under the fetid
6 Tents, and because we had joy in our lengthening coltish
7 Muscles, and mountains for David were made to see over,
8 Stairs from the valleys and steps to the sun’s retreats.
II
10 To a curling lake and lost the lure of the faceted
11 Cone in the swell of its sprawling shoulders. Past
12 The inlet we grilled our bacon, the strips festooned
13 On a poplar prong, in the hurrying slant of the sunset.
14 Then the two of us rolled in the blanket while round us the cold
15 Pines thrust at the stars. The dawn was a floating
17 To snow like fire in the sunlight. The peak was upthrust
18 Like a fist in a frozen ocean of rock that swirled
19 Into valleys the moon could be rolled in. Remotely unfurling
20 Eastward the alien prairie glittered. Down through the dusty
23 Strides. I remember, before the larches’ edge,
24 That I jumped a long green surf of juniper flowing
26 Spilled on the moss. Then the darkening firs
27 And the sudden whirring of water that knifed down a fern-hidden
28 Cliff and splashed unseen into mist in the shadows.
It goes on…a story of friendship and tragedy and growth. Truly quite spellbinding for a poem.

Ernie Cline is the Numero Uno geek on the Internet…or at least the one who has carved out his niche of geekdom, and becoming successful for actually being a geek.

Spoken word…a screenplay actually produced (that would be the Star Wars homage, Fanboys), and now a novel — Ready Player One:

an homage to 80s geekdom

Simply put, the novel is a distopic look at our world in a possible near future, where all energy is focused on one enormous simulation game…which is, for various reasons, absolutely replete with 80s pop culture references and recreations. Did I mention it features video games? And it has references to absolutely everything and anything that was popular in a pretty limited time frame…

Not enough for you? The audio book, which I am in the midst of right now, is read by Mr. Wil Weaton!

And it’s a good yarn! Thanks, Ernie!

I’m not a big coffee-table-book consumer. This actually surprises me, since I absolutely love photography, and consider myself a decent amateur photographer.  (My flickr.com profile!)

Maybe I like my books nicely wrangled on shelves.

But, I am a purist. My love affair with digital photography has absolutely nothing to do with its myriad possibilities, and everything to do with storage. While I appreciate the wonders that can be accomplished with a digital toolkit, deep down inside I truly believe that a photo that needs to be re-touched is not a good photo.

Maybe it’s a theme — my coffee black, my music a little unhinged, my fiction a bit wild, and my photography untouched.

Which brings me to the book Untouched — photography by Johnny Rozsa

Untouched cover

From Untouched by Johnny Rozsa copyright © 2010, published by Glitterati Incorporated.

This one was passed on to me by raincoaster, who received it from Glitterati Incorporated themselves….And it’s a gorgeous book, a collection of completely un-retouched photos from 30 years of Johnny Rozsa‘s career.

A sample…showing us that yes, Angelica Huston never needed touching up to be absolute perfection:

The always gorgeous Angelica Huston

And the colourful Leigh Bowery and the rather tragic Trojan (a model who died in 1986 at 20):

The unusual Leigh Bowery and Trojan

The rest of the book is a who’s-who of the famous, the not-so-famous, the beautiful and the interesting…in uncompromising photos. Rozsa definitely has a vision, and this thick tome captures it well.

Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!
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