Lori's Book Nook

Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category

So the other day, I was alone in a little restaurant near my work, having a late lunch…and I was bookless! And notebook-less, and newspaper-less…I’m sure you get the picture.

The guy sitting a couple of tables over was also eating alone…[DIGRESSION: I was told once that the friendly Philippine people will go out of their way to ensure that a friend/co-worker/what-have-you does not eat alone. Then there are cultures where people turn away when they’re eating or drinking, for privacy. What a lovely odd world we live in.]

So, this guy was eating alone…no, I did not join him. He was completely en-booked. He didn’t need anyone. But he was not just reading, he was reading, margin-note-taking, notebook-note-taking…rather frantically.

And there was me, so bereft of reading material that I frantically tried to see the cover of the paperback he was perusing so thoroughly, just to read something!

Do I want to read like that? No. I may take the odd note, and if I were to get an ereader, I’d want one with note-taking capability, but I have no need to be obsessive about it. What I resolve to do is to ensure that I’ve got a book (or something!) with me at all times. I can’t believe I’ve come to this point, where I have to remind myself to carry reading material!

Plus, I want to blog more — about books and reading, obviously. Perhaps not the Post-A-Day challenge, but at least the Post-A-Week. We’ll see how that goes.

Read on!


…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?

So, yet again, the Internet has come through on its promise of connecting people. (It’s not all kittehs, bacon and jokes!)

Awhile back, I followed an incoming link to this blog to a literary publicist who it turns out represents a talented author, Cheryl Rainfield.  An email exchange resulted in me being sent a review copy of Rainfield’s new book Scars, undergoing its Canadian launch June 24th in Toronto.

First impression? The cover is striking, fraught even, featuring the author’s own arms. The audience? Ostensibly for the Young Adult set, but accessible to many. The subject matter? Not my usual fare, on the surface grimmer than I like…

But what a book!

I’m not going to go into a synopsis of the story here (check out the book link above for a review that does that job very well). I do want to say that once I started this book, I plowed through it quickly. During the last chapters, as the story reaches its crescendo of tension, I literally could not put it down. My husband had to serve me dinner on the sofa, where I was curled up reading.

The autobiographical element is evident in the ringing truth of the main character’s experiences, but the book is also clearly a novel. This is definitely not some maudlin woe-is-me semi-autobiographical work…instead, it’s a powerful, realistic and positive story of a young woman who finds her way out of her own little corner of hell. Once the story is done, and the main character Kendra has found her home in that corner of your mind reserved for the most real of heroines, the extensive collection of resources at the end of the book underline the seriousness of the issues raised. And those issues? Self-mutilation, rape, homophobia…a stew well-balanced with the love, support and clarity that the main character finds.

As I said earlier, this astounding book has its Canadian launch on June 24 in Toronto, at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (details on the author’s website).  I think a West Coast event should also be arranged…what do you think?

Ripped directly from Mattheous, who’s just started hanging around here at the Nook, who found it here.

Daniel Pennac’s

The Reader’s Bill of Rights

1. The right to not read

2. The right to skip pages

3. The right to not finish

4. The right to reread

5. The right to read anything

6. The right to escapism

7. The right to read anywhere

8. The right to browse

9. The right to read out loud

10. The right to not defend your tastes

As the New Year approaches, some people like to think of ways to better their lives, and to some, that means reducing clutter.

But to declutter books — is that really something a book lover wants to do? No, I don’t think so…but the reality is that sometimes we may have to do it.

Over at 43Folders is a post about this very topic, with a link to the original source, a question and long series of rather good answers at Ask Metafilter on “Advice for clearing literary clutter” — although, for me, the asker loses some credibility for even thinking of the phrase “literary clutter”!

What do you think, O Loyal Reader? Is there such a thing as ‘literary clutter’? What does it look like to you? What do you do about it?

Or, as is the point, what are you planning on doing in the New Year to clear some space on your bookshelves (to make room for new books in 2008)?

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.

Deep Economy

Posted on: May 8, 2007

Well, Booktalk.org is at it again. This time, one of the books is Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben. (Here’s the link to the Booktalk.org discussion forum.)

This one is hitting me close to home. I worked the opening day of the local Farmers’ Market (I’m the manager), came home, and picked up Deep Economy to read McKibben’s discussion on farmers’ markets — and the studied fact that people have 10 more social interactions there than they do in a supermarket.

I could’ve told  him that!!

McKibben believes in communities — the idea that as individuals we make decisions that (seem to) affect only us, but with an awareness of our community, we make decisions that have deeper consequences. [It’s a big book, lots of ideas, and I’m writing this in an office with no circulation on a hot day at 6 p.m.. Bear with me on my simplistic synopses. 🙂 ]

For example, if I’m just thinking of myself, then I’ll go to the local Walmart and buy the cheapest coffee on the shelf. But, if I were aware of my local community, I’d go to the grocery store in town that may have a higher price tag, but where I know that the management cares about their staff and pay good wages. If I were thinking of the broader community, I’d go out of my way to buy fair trade, shade-grown coffee, and by-pass the big corporations abusing the people of the coffee-growing nations. But, if I were really thinking of the greater community, I’d stop drinking coffee altogether, as the fossil fuels needed to bring that coffee to me, no matter how it’s grown, are damaging our environment. (Plus, they’re running out. Might as well overcome the coffee addiction now, before I’m forced to, down the road!)

This is a huge discussion…that I don’t feel like undertaking at this moment. Perhaps in the comments??


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!