Lori's Book Nook

Archive for August 2006

The Internet is a wonderful ‘place’, right? We are all in agreement on that point? Yes, it sucks time and energy, distracts us from the rest of our lives, but you can find the answer to most of your questions, and for the others, you can find a group to discuss the possibilities.

But why, when I’m presented with a new, super-cool book search tool — this time BookWormSearch — do I feel a little lost?

Is it only me who feels paralyzed by endless possibility when faced with a search box on a simple webpage?

Years ago, someone said to me, “You know, the Internet is like the world’s largest library…except that you can’t browse the shelves.”

And in the end, that is the reason I like my books in their analog form…and bookstores and libraries to have open shelves. I don’t want to know what I’m looking for, the discovery of a new interest is just around the corner, and I don’t want to miss it.

That said, I’d like to point you to two beautiful things:

  1. The Open Library…a project by librarians for book lovers now, and in the future. The idea is to scan books, page-by-page, and enter them into an online library, where readers can still lovingly turn the pages. Plus, the plan is to have each book read as well, so you can opt to have the audio version play while you read, or if you can’t read…
  2. StumbleUpon, the most amazing time-waster on the Internet. It is the closest thing I have found to just wandering the aisles of the Internet bookstore, to see what you can see.

“So, it ain’t all bad.”


I stole this post from my other blog, Celebrating the Absurd. (Wasn’t too terribly absurd, and writing this post is what inspired me to begin this blog…)

If I had lots and lots of money, I would buy multiple copies of 4 books, and give them to everyone.

In no particular order, they are:

  1. The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to quit school and get a real life and education by Grace Llewellyn. More than a polemic on/defence of home schooling, it celebrates an attitude about education that I wish I’d been exposed to when I was in school.
  2. The Tyranny of Niceness: Unmasking the Need for Approval by Evelyn Sommers. A new classic that should be read by anyone who has ever doubted her/his need to express a true opinion or desire. That it is written by a Canadian is just too apt.
  3. Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (often referred to as the guy-with-the-unpronounceable-name), a psychologist who studies creativity and ‘Optimal Experience’. This book is more the ‘how to’ version of his more academic tome, Flow. In it, he breaks down that state one gets into when working/playing at peak efficiency…breaks it down, describes it, and challenges each one of us to try to attain that high level of experience more often.
  4. Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton. “Keeping up with the Joneses” described, explained, and…forgiven. But the message is clear that your life will be better if you can rise above it, and de Botton’s easy philosophical prose inspires you to re-evaluate your beliefs and values. Paradigm shifting, if you’ll excuse the cliche…

Here’s the challenge: What books would you add to the curriculum at the University of Life? What book has inspired you? Changed you?

My friend over at Creative Energy just sent me an utterly fabulous link!

Bibliophiles, beware! These images are not for the novice. I would suggest sitting down first.

Are you ready?

Check it out: Hot Library Smut.

And the book, Libraries by Candida Hofer includes an introduction by Umberto Eco, no less, the man who brought us The Name of the Rose with its fantastic library, and Foucault’s Pendulum (He dealt with Knights Templar conspiracies long before the ubiquitous Dan Brown!), all about books itself.

I’m adding this book to my wishlist.

I picked up a book of short stories the other day, The Victoria Reader: A Treasury of Timeless Stories, edited by Michele Slung.
In it are a lovely collection of relatively happy, amusing stories. Nothing dark and dreadful, nor sorrowful — just a delightful mix of fun.

…including Mark Twain’s story The £1,000,000 Bank-Note. And here it is online, for your reading pleasure!

Other fun stories:

The Inconsiderate Waiter by J.M. Barrie

The Lady and the Flagon by Anthony Hope

Another birthday today (Hmm. There’s probably one every day, right?) from Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of novelist Jonathan Franzen, (books by this author) born in Western Springs, Illinois (1959). He spent years working on a novel while his marriage ended, his father died, and he quit smoking. After five years he had written hundreds of pages, but he still didn’t know what story he was telling. Then a good friend, David Foster Wallace, published a book (Infinite Jest) to great acclaim. It was the jolt Franzen needed. He threw away everything but a chapter about a cruise ship and started over. He wrote the rest of the book in less than a year.

The Corrections was published in 2001. It’s about a family falling apart and was a big success. His most recent book is a collection of essays: How to Be Alone (2002).

Okay people. Someone help me with this. Has anyone out there read The Corrections? I’ve tried, but couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters. I just didn’t give a rat’s ass about any of the characters — couldn’t raise any emotion about them, not even an active dislike.

Who out there has read this book? Please tell me your experience, and your thoughts on the book. Should I tackle it again? (We do have a copy on the shelf.)


Can’t let this one go by…Charles Bukowski was born this day in 1920. (Was reminded of this by my man, Metro, who I didn’t think was much of a Buk fan…but he got it off Writer’s Almanac)

Okay, in honour of Buk, I’m pulling out something from my own archives…you are all witness to my first public poem (and how much more public can one get, than publishing something on the Internet). Oh, I’ve given people poems…one to my now-hubby about our first meeting, and one to my friends Lydia & Gord [Yes, I know I have to call you guys!] after we stayed on their fabulous out-of-the-way property a couple of summers ago….but here is something I wrote after a couple of beer with a couple of friends (the title is a line from Buk’s movie Barfly)…So, for Art & Bruce, on May 24, 2001, challenged as I was by my buddy Art & it being Poetry Month, I wrote:

“To all my friends!”

“Just one
I’ve got
school tonight.”

Crisp ale
talk-dry throats.
Harsh rays pierce
clouds of smoke,
after-work hum,
and the dark-wood

“Okay, but
just this last one.”

Bags of jalepeno
and barbecue chips
on the sodden
Tales of
I would kill
my tongue!


“I think
it’s my

Apologies. Gads, it’s not great, is it?

Here’s one of my favourite Bukowski poems, to cleanse your palate:

to the whore who took my poems

some say we should keep personal remorse from the
stay abstract, and there is some reason in this,
but jezus;
twelve poems gone and I don’t keep carbons and you have
paintings too, my best ones; it’s stifling:
are you trying to crush me out like the rest of them?
why didn’t you take my money? they usually do
from the sleeping drunken pants sick in the corner.
next time take my left arm or a fifty
but not my poems;
I’m not Shakespeare
but sometime simply
there won’t be any more, abstract or otherwise;
there’ll always be money and whores and drunkards
down to the last bomb,
but as God said,
crossing his legs,
I see where I have made plenty of poets
but not so very much

And here are some Buk appreciation sites:


The Beat Page

Charles Bukowski 1920-1944

Charles Bukowski: These Words I write Keep Me from Total Madness

Charles Bukowski Web Page

The Written Word by Buk

Just heard some brilliant news on the radio — three Mexican fishermen, presumed dead/drowned by their families in September, have just been found, after drifting (almost literally) halfway around the world.

Can you imagine the joy and celebration right now with their families?!? I picture stunned silence, followed by crazed jubilation, then a huge party in the town square. It’s still 2 weeks until the fishing boat they were picked up by gets into port…then they have to be sent home. Time enough, I hope, to get that lean, hungry look out of their eyes before seeing their families again.

Three cheers for rainwater! Hip hip hooray!

A great real life story, mirroring, in some ways the Booker Prize winner from 2002, Yann Martel‘s Life of Pi.

Okay, so maybe the only parallels are the being stranded at sea for months — but I see the world through books (and sometimes movies), so sue me if this is the first thing that came to mind!

If you haven’t read about the Indian boy, Pi, who grew up learning about the animals in his father’s zoo, then subsequently got stranded at sea in a lifeboat with a tiger, then well, go to the library today, and pick it up. It’s a book that pulls you in and keeps you there, with its anecdotes about animals, comments on life and religion, and moments of magical realism.

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!