Lori's Book Nook

Archive for the ‘Letters’ Category

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+!

 

 

 

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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!

…at Powells.com — a truly great on-line bookstore. "Great" probably because they seem to truly appreciate books, and the written word. Their newsletters are text-based, not overflowing with graphics, and they have a real life storefronts in Portland, Oregon.

"Honey? Do you want to go on a road trip?"

Or is it a pilgrimage?

Over a year ago, I was looking for the letters of Al Purdy, a wonderful Canadian poet. One compilation does exist Yours, Al: The Collected Letters of Al Purdy (not hard to find…hint, hint…). But then, I discovered on Powells.com that there is a book with the collected letters of Purdy and Charles Bukowski, called The Bukowski/Purdy Letters, 1964-1974: A Decade of Dialogue.

Now, I like Bukowski's writing. He was obnoxious, but in his poetry he observed the world around him with insight and feeling. And I like Al Purdy's writing. I knew they had respected each other, but didn't know a book of their letters were available. I put myself on Powells.com request list, for a copy of the book when one came in. And a year later, just in time for my birthday, they got one. So I bought it. And like I've said before, always buy yourself the birthday present you want, 'cause nobody else will.

So, here's some Al Purdy:

The Last Picture in the World

A hunched grey shape
framed by leaves
with lake water behind
standing on our
little point of land
like a small monk
in a green monastery
meditating

almost sculpture
except that it's alive
brooding immobile permanent
for half an hour
a blue heron
and it occurs to me
that if I were to die at this moment
that picture would accompany me
wherever I am going
for part of the way

(from Beyond Remembering: The Collected Poems of Al Purdy)

And here's some Charles Bukowski:

it was just a little while ago

almost dawn
blackbirds on the telephone wire
waiting
as I eat yesterday's
forgotten sandwich
at 6 a.m.
an a quiet Sunday morning.

one shoe in the corner
standing upright
the other laying on it's
side.

yes, some lives were made to be
wasted.

©2001 Linda Lee Bukowski
reprinted with permission of Black Sparrow Press


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!