Posts tagged ‘Literature’

Brain Fart

I swear I had thought of something to write about today. It was all catchy and clever and involved more than just a picture of a few lines of text.

And I’ve forgotten!

It wasn’t a book review (though those need to start up again soon for reals). It wasn’t a rant… it was some sort of musing on something bookish. It was gonna be awesome.

For now, here’s a picture of a cat reading a book.

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I… I Forgot Picture Monday! AKA A Late Picture is Better Than No Picture at All

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Seven Deadly Sins of Reading

f6ffb5a941bb472610e4a65ffca7909bSo, I found this idea over at LaurenReadsYA, but the original idea comes from BookishMalayza on YouTube.

Sin #1: Greed – What is your most expensive book, and what is your most inexpensive book?

My most expensive books are my Easton Press Leather-bound Classics, which ran at about $45 per book. Back when I lived with my parents (and thus had no rent, grocery bill, utilities to pay, etc.) I bought one a month for a couple of years, so I’ve amassed quite a collection that includes titles like Dracula, The Time Machine, Little Women, Ivanhoe, Frankenstein, Don Quixote, Paradise Lost, and Dante’s Inferno.

My least expensive books come from Friends of the Library book fairs and go as low as $0.50 a pop. A lot of my paperback fantasy novels come from there, like my collection of Ursula K Le Guin’s Earthsea books and my Star Wars EU novels.

Sin #2: Wrath – Which author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

I tend to either love an author or hate him… I very rarely vacillate between the two. Maybe Charles Dickens? I recognize that he’s a master of his craft and has brought a lot to our literary traditions. I enjoy his wordplay and deft use of symbols and visual names, but… it’s such a depressing slog to get through his stories. Hard Times and Great Expectations had me frothing at the mouth in frustration, but I really enjoy the movie adaptations of Nicholas Nickleby (on the To-Read List, but I’m a little scared to start it) and A Tale of Two Cities. Besides, as an English Literature Major, I feel kinda obligated to like him.

Sin#3: Gluttony – What book have you deliciously devoured over and over again, with no remorse whatsoever?

Pride & Prejudice, Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels novels.

Sin #4: Sloth – What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

Published: Nicholas Nickleby (from a mix of laziness and trepidation). Unpublished: My mom’s work of sci-fi from her earlier years. I’m sorry, Mom! I will read it, I promise!!! I’m almost out of school!

Sin #5: Pride – What book do you most talk about in order to sound like a very intellectual reader?

Honestly? Whatever book I’m reading in my senior level college English courses. This tactic has taken  me through Spencer’s The Faerie Queene, Dante’s Inferno, Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, the poems of Lord Byron (which I hate), Shakespeare, and the works of William Blake. Add in a disdain for James Joyce, and I can sound as well-read and intellectual as you like… then just mention Doctor Who and I’ll devolve back into a frothing nerd. 😉

Sin #6: Lust – What attributes do you find most attractive in male or female characters?

I like my literary men a little gruff and overprotective of the women in their lives (only a little, mind you, too much and I get grumpy). I also like them consistent – a character that blows super rude and then super sweet all in the name of inner conflict will chase me away.

Sin #7: Envy – What books would you most like to receive as a gift?

Oohhhh, the list I have. The Harry Potter box set (the nice hardcover one) is pretty high on my list. Leather-bound copies of the classics are up there too – I tend to drool over my friends’ libraries full of pretty books.

Book Fair Haul

So, we had our Friends of the Library Book Fair this weekend!

I actually didn’t know about this one til my little sis called me up and was like, “You wanna go with me and Mom tomorrow?”

“Me? Want to go to a book fair?” I asked. “Weellll… let me think… um, DUH!!” And so the engagement was made.

I actually got quite a few books this time.

  • Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Od Magic by Patricia McKillip
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (hardback, gilt-edged)
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (for my dad)

All for $7; not bad, if I do say so myself! 😀

So, my To Read List has just gotten exponentially longer.

Oh, Happy Day!!

220px-Gaiman,_Neil_(2007)So, it has finally happened – one of my favorite authors is coming to my hometown to promote a new book! Cool addition, the event is being held in the auditorium/theater of my old high school.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on July 6th, 2013, the illustrious Neil Gaiman will be coming to town!

Squee!

Seriously, this never happens to me. A lot of my favorite authors are either a) dead or b) British and feel no need to travel “across the pond” as it were – at least not to a non-major city such as mine. Same thing happens with my favorite bands too, come to think of it…

Anyways, the book he’s promoting is called, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The projected release date is June 18 of this year, but I’m seeing reviews on GoodReads already, so I think that release date must just be for the US.

So, now to go buy my tickets and decide if I want to take along Neverwhere or American Gods for an autograph.

Day 31 – Endings of All Kinds

Today’s prompt (and the last prompt of the March Madness Meme) is:

“Do you prefer everything to be tied up in the end or would you rather be able to make up your own mind? What’s the worst/least satisfying end you’ve ever read? The best?”

For the most part, I like everything to be wrapped up clearly. Occasionally, a vague ending can be satisfying, like in an H. P. Lovecraft horror story or in Poe’s work, but in most other cases I want to know how it all ties together.

***SPOILERS BEGIN HERE***

The least satisfying ending that I’ve ever read was (rather ironically, given my statement above ) in Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue. As a reader, I went through all the trouble of sifting through clues and alibis of various tenants and witnesses, only to have the detective reveal additional clues that I wasn’t privy to at the very end which completely changed the outcome of the case! Instead of any of the people we had looked at over the course of the murder mystery, the murderer was a random escaped orangutan.

I really did feel jipped, mostly because I hadn’t been given all the information, therefore I couldn’t solve the case on my own. Over all, I felt like the entire story was just one big Red Herring – like Poe deliberately told us the wrong story to keep us from looking at the real one (which I wouldn’t put past him).

One chilling question did arise from this disappointing ending – since the orangutan was a skilled mimic of humans and it murdered the tenants of Ru Morgue very brutally, what was its owner like that it had learned to behave in such a way? And where was he?

***EVEN BIGGER SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT***

Mr. Perfect Book CoverThe best ending I’ve read was in Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect. Over the course of this murder mystery, the killer picks the four main characters off one by one. Howard gives readers brief glimpses into the mind of the killer, who calls himself Corin, but never describes him physically. When Corin’s actual identity is revealed at the end (as a coworker who goes by a different name) it’s a huge surprise, but you know you should have seen it coming.

Through the detective character, you learn what the profile for the murderer is, and the coworker character fits that profile perfectly, but since the name (and a few other very key elements) are very different, the killer flies under the radar of the characters and readers alike. That is the best kind of ending, in my humble opinion. And I know I promised spoilers, but this reveal is so cool that I just can’t bring myself to completely ruin it by spelling it all out.

***END SPOILERS***

So, there we are. Best and worst endings of novels and the ending of the meme itself – a suitable wrap-up, I think!

My regular posting schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday will resume tomorrow.

 

Day 29 – Some Firsts

Today’s prompt is:

“What was the first book you remember loving/being obsessed with? The first book that made you cry? The first book you gave someone as a gift?”

Redwall U.S. CoverI loved Brian Jacques’ Redwall from 4th grade to probably my Junior year of high school. I read and reread it constantly as a child, learned mole-speech, wrote riddles, drew maps, and even made my own green ink out of grass and glycerin at one point.

Also during my Redwall phase, I designed and constructed a working bow by steaming a smooth branch over the tub so that I could shape it and then I made the bowstring by braiding some of Mom’s sewing thread together and coating it with beeswax (as the main character did in Pearls of Lutra). I made the arrows out of water plant reeds and fletched them with the long, narrow leaves – when all was said and done, I could fire them a good ten feet across the back yard! Then, of course, my parents noticed my weaponry and confiscated it – I actually have no idea whatever happened to it. So, parents, let this be a lesson to you – kids who read figure out how to do crazy stuff! 😉

3367817The first book that made me cry was Marguerite Henry’s San Domingo: The Medicine Hat Stallion. Basically, boy meets horse. Boy adopts horse. Boy loves horse. Horse loves boy. Child reader loves horse. Horse gets shot and dies. Child (in tears) throws book across the room and refuses to finish it, ever.

And, lastly, the first book I ever gave as a gift was Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I gave it to one of my friends for his twelfth birthday. Alas, he wasn’t (and still isn’t) a big reader, so he never got the enjoyment out of it that I did 😦

Any more book firsts you can think of?

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