Lori's Book Nook

Archive for the ‘Classics’ Category

…what my good friend Raincoaster said when I informed her that the most interesting link today to this blog was the result of a search for “dystopian poems for kids”.

Seriously, folks.  Children don’t want to read dystopian literature any more than they want to read poetry.

But I know I’m wrong. The Giver by Lois Lowry is unrelenting in its popularity, despite being a dystopia (and now they’re making a movie of it?)

What are your favourite dystopian novels?


Where do you pile your books? My hubby and I have piles on our bedside tables mostly, then some in the living room, the kitchen, the dining room…and they all live in the basement library/movie/party room (technically the ‘family room’).

The other day I was tidying the bedroom, and emptied the already-read and not-going-to-get-read-soon books off the two bedside tables:

Putting books away...

Then, I pulled books from the living room and kitchen to complete the tidy:

More books being put away..

This post for your voyeuristic enjoyment.

Tags: , ,

I’m in the middle of two books, and suddenly I feel like I’m reading one of those artsy-fartsy double features at your local, non-mainstream movie house. You know the ones, where there is a connection between the films, and it is your job as the audience to find it.

The most obscure one I ever came across was where the only link was an ice cream cone in each film. The most delightful was Robert LePage’s Le Confessional (1995) shown with Hitchcock’s I Confess (1953).

So, back to books.

I’m reading two books right now:

While both books are utterly different in plot, character, setting, and genre they have in common a wonderful bookyness to them…they are both a literary soup of references that verge on the border of being overwhelming, but instead are almost inspiring in their bibliophilia.

Two different books, two utterly different characters, but both texts are littered with pop culture:

Eco, being a semiologist, does not really surprise us in this. His other books have been thick with historical references, illuminating his amazing well-readness. This time however, it is a plot point, as our protagonist is an older man suffering from amnesia who uses the books of his lifetime to rebuild his lifeline. The references this time are both classical and current, albeit the focus of the current is on Italian modern history and corresponding pop culture.

Pessl, a young woman writing her first novel, holds her own in general bookyness in comparison to the towering Eco. The character, Blue van der Meer, is not quite 18 but is an astoundingly well-read genius, being the daughter of a rather eccentric, nomadic, genius professor father. As she navigates the teen hell of a yet another new school, her every thought is a literary or pop culture reference, at times against her will. Despite how ponderous that sounds, it is a delightful read, and un-put-down-able once you really get rolling.

I need more books of this genre (is it a meta- or sub-genre?). Any suggestions?

Tagged by the lovely alejna, also lifted from the rather literate casa az, who happened to have a copy of the fabulous Mr. Davies on her bedside table. (Go and read their posts — lovely and literary!)

Because I’ve not updated my blog recently, and because I have a copy of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame on my desk, here we go:

  1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
  2. Open the book to page 123
  3. Find the 5th sentence
  4. Post the next three sentences
  5. Tag 5 people

So, from the architecturally-inclined Monsieur Hugo:

“Those thousand thickset angular roofs, clinging together, nearly all composed of the same geographical elements, when seen from above, looked almost like the crystallization of a single substance. The capricious fissures formed by the streets did not cut this conglomeration of houses into slices too disproportionate. The forty-two colleges were distributed among them very equally, and were to be seen in every quarter.”

And as to tagging? I, too, will make this self-tagging — you know you want to do this!! Go ahead — make my comments delightful to read!

So, have you read Moby Dick?

I haven’t, and it’s not been on my mental TBR pile either.

Now I don’t have to read it, because over at MadHaiku’s place, he’s done the reading for us, with an illustrated haiku summary to inspire you to read it, or at least see the movie!

I wonder what he’ll come up with next!


I’m not a hit hound by any means, but I do check them, just to see. And the most popular page on this blog is the space where we were discussing The Fifth Business.

Okay, so it’s not popular by some standards, but on my little blog, it continuously tops my hit chart with between 3 & 29 hits per day. And search terms like:

  • essay on the women in fifth business
  • fifth business ezboard
  • women in fifth business
  • fifth business mrs.dempster, paul
  • fifth business robertson davies reborn
  • Fifth Business devil Liesl
  • robertson davies fifth business
  • Fifth Business name meanings
  • sex love in fifth business essay
  • psychology in fifth business
  • ramsay guilt fifth business

And those are only today and yesterday.

The frequency started once school started. With all this traffic, I’ve only had 2 of these students stay and comment. (Am I wrong in assuming they’re students?) In my day, I would have been searching card catalogues, and journals, hoping for a tidbit. Now, they comb the Internet for their research. I wonder if any of our comments here have been cited in a paper somewhere?

The mind boggles.

But I was thinking of you all on Friday, when I found a delightful treasure in my local secondhand bookstore: Robertson Davies: An Appreciation, edited by Elspeth Cameron. A book of essays collected and published in 1991.

For your delectation then, are some of the ideas thrown out by different commentators as Davies’ books were coming out:

  • Dunstan is the Hero
  • Dunstan in the Saint, not Mrs. Dempster
  • Father Blazon is the Fifth Business

So, reading these essays has been quite fun, and now I have to go back and read the damn books again! Ideas that I want to look into myself.

Okay, so you’re writing an essay and you Google your way to this post. I won’t leave you empty-handed, so here are some things to explore further:

  • Pay close attention to the audience in all three books.
  • Do some research on St. Dunstan.
  • All 3 books begin and end in the same places, geographically. (And one of Davies’ next books is called What’s Bred In the Bone.)

And do some research in a good library, not looking for the quick answer on the Internet.

Much has been written about the late, great Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker series (yes, geeks, I am aware that it’s a trilogy in umpteen parts…) with their rather random sense of humour. The Dirk Gently books which always reminded me a bit of Thorne Smith (1892-1934) books.

But, there will always be a little place in my heart for The Meaning of Liff — here’s one of my favourite entries:

A South American ball game. The balls are whacked against a brick wall with a stout wooden bat until the prisoner confesses.

And here it is online, in its entirety. Gotta love the Internet!

Back to Thorne Smith, because he was just a weird and wonderful writer, and yes, Dirk Gently reminded me of him. Here’s an except from the beginning of my favourite of his books, The Nightlife of the Gods (available in its entirety online as well, with others):



THE small family group gathered in the library was only conventionally alarmed by the sound of a violent explosion—a singularly self-centred sort of explosion.

‘Well, thank God, that’s over,’ said Mrs Alice Pollard Lambert, swathing her sentence in a sigh intended to convey an impression of hard-pressed fortitude.

With bleak eyes she surveyed the fragments of a shattered vase. Its disastrous dive from the piano as a result of the shock had had in it something of the mad deliberation of a suicide’s plunge. Its hideous days were over now, and Mrs Lambert was dimly aware of another little familiar something having been withdrawn from her life.

‘I hope to high heaven this last one satisfies him for this spring at least,’ was the petulant comment of Alfred, the male annexe of Alice.

‘I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting,’ came a thin disembodied voice from a dark corner. ‘Night and day I’ve been waiting and expecting—’

‘And hoping and praying, no doubt, Grandpa,’ interrupted Daphne, idly considering a run in her stocking and wondering what she was going to do about it, if anything, and when would be the least boring time to do it if she did, which she doubted.

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!