Lori's Book Nook

Archive for February 2007

If you’re observant, you’ll see that I’ve added a new page. It includes some links to learn about the fabulous Robertson Davies, but more importantly, I’ll add some sub-pages to start some informal Davies dialogues.

Join me there.

Suggestions for the first book to discuss in the comments!!

🙂

Okay, we’re up. Go to the my Robertson Davies page, and you’ll see a link to the discussion of The Fifth Business.

Inspired by a comment left yesterday by Sulz, over at Bloggerdybooks — to go with the dark chocolate hopefully someone gave you on Valentine’s Day.

Also continuing in the list-genre to annoy engtech for his lovely little contest.

Only 1 rule: No fair citing books that are supposed to be erotic.

  • The first really substantial sex scene I ever encountered in a book was a Harold Robbins, when I was about 13. (Oh, he died in 1997!) Anyway, I think it was “The Pirate”…wow. Poppers and threesomes. Yippee!
  • I then moved on to bodice-rippers, or as the neighbour I babysat for called them (the 30-something woman who lent my impressionable teen self the books) , HHRs (Horny Historical Romances). Whowee!
  • Roots had some eye-opening moments, to my 11-year-old eyes.
  • Of course, Wifey, by Judy Bloom.
  • I must admit, Anne Rice’s vampire books have their incredibly sensual moments.

Okay, this was harder than I thought. I found I had to dredge my teen (and pre-teen) memory for titles. I think now, as an adult, I’m turned off books whose sex scenes don’t fit into the narrative flow, and I don’t really remember scenes in books where they do.

Hmm.

Okay folks — what about you? You don’t have to think of 5 if you can’t…(except Sulz!)

Taking part in engtech’s promising 5 things contest…But also, if any book-minded people want to add their own books to the list, please do.

Here I go:

  1. Anything by Dan Brown. Any person who had read a book before they picked up the DaVinci Code has claimed that it is badly written. Plus, from what I hear, it’s utterly derivative. Umberto Eco already wrote that story line, in Foucault’s Pendulum.
  2. Anything with “Oprah Book Club” on the cover. Pretentious of me, I know. She’s done wonderful things for reading in the United States, and yes, if she ran for President, I would make moves to get a green card to be able to vote for her. But I try not to let famous people choose my reading material
  3. LOTR, post-movies. Love the books*, love the movies, but I’m in the class of geeks that 1) refer to them as “LOTR”, 2) read the books every year since I was 13, and thus hate the idea of anyone thinking I’d just discovered them. [*I use the plural -s only because of the convention, started by Allen & Unwin, to divide the story into 3 physical volumes.]
  4. Ulysses. While I intend to read this book one day, I would try to read it privately. I’ve seen too many pretentious asses, or people I’ve assumed to be pretentious asses, read this book in cafes and on buses. I’m already plagued enough by my own pretentiousness, I don’t need to add to it.
  5. Any self-help book. Need I explain?

So, who’s next?

“I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster.”

So begins The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, one of my Christmas books, well-chosen, I think, by my husband.

Opened it this morning, and before I’d finished my first cup of coffee in bed, I was 77 pages in. Stopped there so I could savour, not devour, it.

And blog on it.

I’ll update you all when I finish it.

Ah, yet another meme. Many are silly, but this one lets me talk about books. And more importantly, books I like! So, tagged by Archie, here I go:

Hardback or paperback? I’ve never had much of a thing for hardbacks, I’ve more of a passion for tradepaper. Although, I do have a weakness for a really beautiful hardbound book — like the Folio books, when I can afford them (definitely not often!).

Amazon or brick and mortar? While Amazon is a great resource, I’d much prefer to buy a book in a real bookstore.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Being Canadian, the question is what? Chapters/Coles or some locally-owned bookstore. In Vancouver, I’d say Duthies, every time.

Bookmark or dog-ear? I bookmark most books with random slips of paper. Now that I think about it, I haven’t dogeared in ages. Very last resort. My husband always lays them flat, open. Drives me crazy.

Alphabetize by author, alphabetize by title or random? Lightly categorized for the non-fiction, grouped by author, but no effort at alphabetical order.

Keep, throw away, or sell? If I must part with a book, I give it away or sell it. I have to be careful, because I have found myself re-buying the books I’ve sold — no, I mean the exact same copies! “Oh, I used to have this book!” And I did.

Keep dust jacket or toss it? Don’t buy too many hardcovers, but of course keep it.

Read with dust jacket or remove it? The flaps make good impromptu bookmarks (NO, I don’t rip them off!)

Short story or novel? Novels, mostly. But, as I’ve noted at this blog, I do like short stories, when done well.

Collection (by same author) or anthology (by different authors)? Oh, both. For different reasons of course — one to learn of new writers, the other to get more deeply into one author.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Neither, really. I’ve not read Lemony Snicket books (but the movie was amusing), and I’ve read the HP books just to be up on pop culture. Fun, but not meaningful in any way.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? At chapter breaks if convenient, but usually it’s not important (or I can’t keep my eyes open any longer).

‘It was a dark and stormy night’ or ‘Once upon a time’? Silly question. Why limit the openers?

Buy or Borrow? Buy…mostly. Depends on the book. Nowadays, if it’s fiction, I’ll get it from the library. But non-fiction I like to own, for future reference.
New or used? Used, as much as possible.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse? Oh, tough one. Sometimes by book review, mostly by recommendation…but my best surprises have been through a good browse. I would never have realized I loved reading about architecture and urban planning if not for a good 2ndhand browse. Nor would I have discovered a passion for cultural histories.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Define cliffhanger. A la Anne Rice in The Witching Hour — spare me. 800 pages and you leave me with a cliffhanger?!? No resolution at all? Get stuffed. Never read any more of her books after that. But give me the original movie The Matrix, with its partial resolution and grand, wonderful ending premise? Perfection. (Do not waste my time defending the 2 add-ons. Money-making garbage.) I like a slice o’ life kind of story, without all of the little threads tidied up.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading? I’ll just quote Archie: “yes”

Standalone or series? Either, but save me from the series that never ends, with little resolution in any given book in the series. I gave up reading the Robert Jordan books when I realized I was reading 800 pages for nothing to happen.

Favourite series? Anything by Lois McMaster Bujold. Robertson Davies‘ trilogies. Need I mention LOTR? Leslie Charteris’ Saint books. (Archie, let’s talk Saint. I’ve got a huge collection….)

Who wants a tag? Az has already done it. How about David?

Seamus Heaney recently won the TS Eliot Poetry prize.

Haven’t I written about Heaney before now? I know I’ve mentioned him, but I’ve yet to devote a whole post to the man.

So, you haven’t read any Seamus Heaney? Have you heard the man speak? He’s got the most beautiful, rich, rolling voice. I covet his audio recording of his recent re-working of Beowulf (have I mentioned it enough? Will I get it one day?)

Here’s a sample of his image-rich poetry, from the Internet Poetry Archive:

From Clearances

  In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Now go back, and read it aloud. Trust me.

Now, go and hear him read it. And rejoice.


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!