- Fizzy Thoughts: October 2008

where chartroose becomes a lovecraftian god

Friday, October 31, 2008

Because it's Halloween, Chartroose and Jack are hosting a H.P. Lovecraft short story contest. I had never read a Lovecraft story (and I doubt I ever will again), but I'm always up for a challenge. So I did a little homework and I choose the story Nyarlathotep to plagiarize imitate honor. Seriously...there's not much originality going on in my story. I pretty much kept the structure of the story and changed words as needed. It is totally intended to be a ridiculous spoof, as I fully recognize my inability to write a story on my own. I would suggest reading the original first, so you can fully appreciate the mood I was going for.

And I'd like to thank Chartroose for acting as my muse.

**********************************************************************

Chartroose

Chartroose... the unrivaled book blogger... Softdrink is the last... Softdrink will tell Google Reader...

I do not recall precisely when it began, but it was neither yesterday nor tomorrow. The blogosphere was abysmal. To a universal canon of drear and dolorous posts was added a voice of unparalleled power; a voice near yet far, such a blogger as may be imagined only in the most nightmarish of nightmares. I recall that book bloggers were gallavanting about with a feeling of ennui, and a general sense of malaise enveloped feed readers everywhere. There were whispers of an upstart, of a prophecy told on Wordpress and spread to Blogger and LiveJournal. A furtive comment here and there told of a blogger both fierce and fiercesome. There were IMs and emails exchanged warning of the advent of one such had never been seen or read before. Posts hinted of what might come, yet no one was able to express the fear and doom and gloom that had fallen upon the internets. Worms and viruses were rampant and infiltrated the most secure of systems. The blue screen of death destroyed thousands of computers. Bloggers huddled at their desks imagining the dark time ahead. Everyone felt that the world of book reviews had passed from their control into the grasp of this unknown typist.

And it was then that Chartroose came out of the bookstore. Who she was, none could tell, but she was bookish and looked like a librarian. The book bloggers knelt when they saw her, yet none could say why. She said she had risen up out of the mire of her to be read pile, and that she had heard messages from authors not yet published. Into this community of bloggers came Chartroose, snarky, sly, and snide, always buying strange books of obscurity and obfuscation and brainwashing other bloggers into reading them. She spoke much of Geek Love and Lovecraft and gave giveaways of such magnificence, which sent her readers away slobbering and slavering, and speechless, yet which swelled her fame to exceeding magnitude. Bloggers advised one another to read Bloody Hell It’s a Book Barrage, and shuddered. And where Chartroose went, comments were left, and the blogosphere resounded with the screams of readers. Never before had the demonic screeches been such a public problem; now the comment moderators almost wished they could forbid posting in the small hours.

I remember when Chartroose came to my blog. I had witnessed the comments left elsewhere and was strangely compelled by the dark wisdom shared by Chartroose. The comments were alluring and I was drawn into the mystical archives of Bloody Hell. My friends had said the posts were both fearsome and beauteous, and I would read of books my mind could not fathom. None but Chartroose dared to read Geek Love and Henry Orient. I heard it hinted that Chartroose knew Mother Goose and Cookie Monster, legendary creatures no one save Chartroose had ever beheld.

It was a dark and stormy night when I went through the wind and the rain with the maddening crowds to lay my eyes upon the mystery that was Chartroose. We forged through the stacks of the library and into the misty room, not even stopping at New Releases. I saw Cookie and Elmo and Muppets galore peering out over the crowd. I saw fairy tale creatures leap to life from the pages of their books. I saw the crowd battling with disbelief and fear and immense awe. I saw Chartroose. She drove us out of the library, down the winding, jagged stairs into the wet, dry, crowded, empty streets. I screamed that she could not delete my blog, I would never stop blogging, and others lent their voice to my hue and cry. We vowed that we would overcome.

I am convinced we felt something emerge from the slimy depths of the sewer. It herded us back into the library, which was lit only by the bluish glow emitted by the computer screens. We took our places at the carrels and began to type. I noticed one man’s fingers had become talons, with long wickedly pointed nails that impeded not his rhythmic, sonorous, monotonous tapping upon the keyboard. Another man, awash in the murky aura of his computer, disintegrated into dusty motes of nothingness. Myself, I was able to sneak furtively, stealthily away, until I stood alone at the circulation desk, accompanied only by the lingering wails of vanquished readers and bloggers.

Mind numbingly vacuous, heart-stoppingly heart rending, only the readers that were will know. Books held in appendages that are no longer hands, gazed upon by orbs that are no longer eyes. Beyond the libraries lurk ghosts of authors not read, writers not published. Through this wasteland of the blogosphere the muffled crinkling of pages and echoes of the clackity-clack of keyboards; the muttered recitations of Stoker and Poe and Gaiman; and the catatonic blog-oyles whose voice is now Chartroose.

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Didn't we just do this?

It's Friday again (time to giveaway another book!), and I'm ashamed to say I still have Joanne's book from last week sitting on my desk at home. Tomorrow, I'm going to the post office. It's the first thing on my to do list!

So there were 40 comments left in the past week. Since it's Halloween, I was going to ask a witch to choose a number. But we have no witches around here. Just a goddess and some zombie-like creature. So I asked my old standby, Mr. Random.

Here are your random numbers:
2
Timestamp: 2008-10-31 17:10:38 UTC

That would be Dar. Congratulations Dar!! Dar gets to choose a book from the book closet (which is looking a little bare these days).

And has anyone else noticed that the Canadians seem to be on a lucky streak?

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Woo-hoo!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

If you read my post about the Book Group Expo, then you know that Trish and I met Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. In fact, we had dinner with him (and Joshua Henkin), not that I'm name dropping or gloating or anything like that. Okay, so maybe I am...but there's a point to this story!

So, are you sitting down? Because this next part is so exciting (okay, it was exciting for Trish and me)...Garth Stein wrote a guest post for Book Club Girl about his experience at Book Group Expo. And he mentioned Trish and me. By name (I told you I answer to softdrink). With links to our blogs.


Dude, is that not the coolest thing? Ever?

And if that doesn't convince you to attend the Book Group Expo next year, I don't know what will.

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The Graveyard Book


The Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave Mckean
September 2008
320 pages

Raise your hand if you cried at the end of this book.

I did.

To read why, see the end of this post, but be warned…I talk about the ending!!

The Graveyard Book is the story of Nobody (aka Bod) Owens, a young boy who lives in a graveyard. This is a fantastic little book…it’s got spookiness, and creepy characters, and humor, and horror (the ghouls scared the crap out of me), and love, and mystery and all sorts of weirdly imaginative details that can only come from Neil Gaiman. And it’s got illustrations. I love illustrations.

But I don’t want to give the story away. So here are just a few things that I love about the book (besides the illustrations):
  • There is a ghoul by the name of the 33rd President of the United States. I’m still wondering why Gaiman went with #33. Why not #37? Or #41? Or even #16, who certainly looked the part?
  • Silas, who is never directly identified for what he is (was?).
  • Jack. I thought the explanation of Jack was brilliant. Maybe it’s because my name is Jill and I never appreciated having to go up the hill with him, but I love where Gaiman went with Jack.
  • Bod’s education. The graveyard pitches in to raise and teach Bod. It’s touching. And funny.

I could go on, but this is a book that you should experience for yourself. Besides, it’s the perfect time of the year to read this.

And about that ending…

I cried because Bod is leaving his childhood and all the ghosts behind (I can’t help it…it was all so sad, knowing he would never see the ghosts again!). Even though he’s off on new adventures, to explore a world previously closed to him, and you just know Bod will have a wonderful life, his parents and friends from the graveyard have disappeared to him. It was all so bittersweet, and so I sniffled and wiped my eyes at the end. Then I wondered how Gaiman does what he does. Truly, I envy the man his imagination.

Bloggers that wrote kick-ass reviews of this book:

Chris

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Chapter Three of the Book Group Expo

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thanks for all of your well wishes. Unfortunately, I’ve still got the head cold from hell…if anyone knows of a doctor who will perform a head and lung transplant, please let me know.

However, I have moved past the "kleenex in hand at all times" stage of the cold, so I’m back to blogging. You have probably already seen Trish's and Wendy’s posts about the Book Group Expo, so I’m pretty much old news at this point. But oh well…I’m still gonna gush, because I had a terrific time.

And to prove to you how much of a dork about books I really am, I will first confess to getting up at 4:30am on a Saturday morning. I was on the road at 5:45am for the 3 hour drive to the San Jose Convention Center, site of Chapter Three of the Book Group Expo. Here are some of the highlights from the two days:

  • I met Trish. Who seemed to like me. Thank god.
  • The first author panel consisted of Diana Spechler and Andre Dubus. When Trish and I ran into Andre later, we both confessed to hating House of Sand and Fog. And he seemed okay with that. Diana Spechler just published her first novel (and she’s not even 30 yet!), Who By Fire. Stay tuned for my review of her book…and a possible guest post from the author.
  • The second salon that I went to was Historical Friction. I chose this salon because I totally loved C.W. Gortner’s book The Last Queen, and he was on the panel, along with Maggie Anton (Rashi’s Daughters) and Gail Tsukiyama (The Street of 1000 Blossoms). Memorable moments from this salon include Gail stating she wrote about the sumo culture because she “likes big guys in diapers” and C.W. answering a question that I asked about how he felt at the end of his book, since he couldn’t change Juana’s ultimate fate. He asked me how I felt, and I said I cried…he said he did, too. He added that he couldn't bear to continue her story, and that was why he ended the book at that point.
  • The third salon for Saturday was Which Witch is Which, with Brunonia Barry (The Lace Reader), Kathleen Kent (The Heretic’s Daughter) and Erika Mailman (The Witch’s Trinity). Again, I had the opportunity to ask a question and I asked if they had any input in the cover art and how they felt about the covers of their books. The best response came from Kathleen Kent, who said that the girl on the cover of The Heretic's Daughter is from a photo she found in a box. It was taken in 1910 and is of a Latvian girl. She kept the photo pinned up above her desk when writing the book. Since I adore the cover of her book (it’s so haunting), I thought it was so cool to learn its origins. And I just finished the book this week, so there will be a review sometime in the next week. Also, Michelle Gagnon moderated this panel...I met her afterwards (she witnessed the squealing that was the meeting of Trish, Wendy and me) and she was great fun to talk to.
  • The final salon I attended on Saturday was Bibliotherapy, with Ann Packer, Julia Glass and Dr. Irving Yalom. Despite the presence of two well-known authors, I didn’t find this salon to be as interesting as the others. I did learn that Julia Glass was an artist before she was an author.
  • I met Wendy. And her husband Kip, who took this wonderful photo…

From left to right, it's Trish, me, author/moderator Michelle Gagnon and Wendy

  • Saturday evening I got to hang out with Jennie Shortridge, Garth Stein and Joshua Henkin. Seriously. Thanks to Carol Fitzgerald from Bookreporter.com, who organized cocktails and dinner, I had the opportunity to meet these wonderful authors and feel like I was in the presence of royalty. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I did, however, buy Garth's and Joshua’s books the next day…something I never would have done had I not had dinner with them.
  • Saturday night I also stayed at the St. Claire, which had the most comfiest bed I’ve slept in since the one time I got to stay at the Sheraton in Sacramento.
  • Sunday morning started with a panel consisting of Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain), Van Jones (The Green Collar Economy...which I would totally read if I read books like that) and Kristin Billerbeck (who writes Christian chick lit).
  • Next up was Wedlocked, with Joshua Henkin (Matrimony), Jennie Shortridge and Sylvia Brownrigg. I went to this salon because I’ve read Jennie Shortridge’s Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe. In fact, I will be blogging about it on November 10th, as part of a TLC Book Tour. So I’ll be talking more about this panel then.
  • The third salon for Sunday was Makin’ Whoopee, featuring Mary Roach (Stiff and Bonk), Karen Abbott (Sin in the Second City), Melanie Abrams (Playing) and Douglas Abrams (The Lost Diary of Don Juan). This was a hysterical discussion on writing about sex.
  • And last, All Abroad, which I attended because I’ve been wanting to read Finding Nouf. And if you’re wondering how to pronounce Nouf, the author informed us it rhymes with loaf. This panel consisted of Zoe Ferraris (author of Finding Nouf), Jana McBurney-Lin (My Half of the Sky), and John Nathan (Living Carelessly in Tokyo and Elsewhere). The moderator was David Corbett (Blood Of Paradise).

Whew. I don't think I've ever put so many links in a post..but I didn't want anyone to feel left out!

I'll conclude with a comment from Joshua Henkin, who said he would love to see more bloggers at these events! So there you go...you should think about joining in the fun next year.

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I have cooties

Monday, October 27, 2008


I'm home from the book group expo, and I had a fabulous time. I have lots of stories to share...after I recover from the head cold that hitched a ride home with me.

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late breaking news

Friday, October 24, 2008

If it's Friday, it must be the book closet.

You thought I forgot, didn't you? Well, I didn't forget, I've just been running around today. I got home late last night after spending the week in Davis (work) and I'm leaving early tomorrow morning for the Book Group Expo in San Jose (fun). So I just now counted up all the comments over the last week, and thanks to the read-a-thon, I had a whopping 113 comments over the last week. I'm sure you'll forgive me if I was too lazy to subtract my own comments this time. So I consulted my crystal ball (random.org) who said:

Here are your random numbers:
17
Timestamp: 2008-10-25 03:11:26 UTC

And the 17th comment was...

Book Zombie (Joanne)

Yay!!!! Joanne, please let me know if there is a book you would like, and email me your address.



And if you're wondering, Joanne's winning comment was "LMAO!" in response to a Savage Chickens cartoon. So to celebrate, here's another one:


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literary couplets

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.

I'm no good at questions like this. So I'm going to propose a couple many of you probably have forgotten:

Jack and Jill

You know, them of the hill. And the pail of water.

Why Jack and Jill? Well, when you grow up with the name Jill, they're kinda hard to escape. In fact, we were particularly close in 6th grade when the boys on the playground took great delight in retelling the story of Jack and Jill. Who knew they could get into so much trouble on that hill? Then there were the waitress years. Every once in awhile someone, after I said "My name is Jill and I'll be your server this evening," would kindly inquire after Jack. Wasn't that sweet of them? Then there is the fun of meeting someone whose name really is Jack. Imagine. "Hi Jack. I'm Jill." Another precious, memorable moment in my life.

Plus, is it weren't for this couple, I could've been a Millicent. Or a Gertrude. Because my dad always said I was named after my mom's favorite story.

So there you have it...my favorite literary couple. I thought about adding Dick and Jane to the list, but I have to go get ready for work now, so I'll save them for next time.

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How I spent my day

Wednesday, October 22, 2008



So I'm back in Davis for the second in a series of three trainings. This is what I heard today:


blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah motivators blah blah blah blah blah family strengths and needs assessment blah blah blah blah blah blah blah BREAK blah blah blah engagement blah blah blah blah blah safety safety safety blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah risk blah blah blah blah blah blah blah role play blah blah LUNCH blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah non-directional questions blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah BREAK blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

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Teaser Tuesdays

Tuesday, October 21, 2008



TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:


  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

"Then he stretched up, and the tips of his fingers touched the perfect apple.
He was never to taste it."


from The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

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Top 10 Lists

Sunday, October 19, 2008

For the read-a-thon, I hosted a mini-challenge. I asked participants to create their top 10 list of anything related to the read-a-thon. For 2 hours, people sent me links to their lists, and for 2 hours I was highly entertained. Maybe it was the hour (15 hours into the read-a-thon) or maybe it was the caffeine (very possible, considering how many times it was mentioned in the lists), but there were some hilarious and clever entries. Here's a sample:

From Joanne at Book Zombie: The Top Ten Things You Can Do While Reading That You Never Thought You’d Be Doing!

Jessi at Casual Dread: Jessi's Top 7 Books Added to Her Wishlist Because of the Read-a-Thon

Kimmy at The Smug Cloud: The Top Ten Distractions You Must Carefully Avoid During The Read-a-thon!

Ashley at Book and Cranny: Top 10 Ways You Know You've Had Too Much Coffee During the Read-a-Thon

Steph at The Kea: Top 10 Reasons the Read-A-Thon Makes you Look Crazy to Non-Read-a-Thoner’s

Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made On: Top Ten Ways To Keep Your Eyes Pried Open During the Readathon

To find the links to all of the lists, check out the comments page from the mini-challenge post.

Thanks to everyone who contributed a list...this was one of the highlights of my evening!

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the day after


it's like the day after christmas around here. only it's the day after the read-a-thon. and instead of a sad little christmas tree in the corner, i've got a ratty looking pair of neglected pom-poms lying at my feet. okay, not really, but i am kinda sad it's all over, because i had a great time, even if i was only a cheerleader. and if you're wondering why the capitals have left my blog, it's because after leaving a bajilion and one comments yesterday, today i am a lazy typer...you should be grateful i'm using periods and commas and such.

you know, i really wanted to be a reader, but i knew i couldn't stay up all night (i have to get up early tomorrow and go back to davis for another training, so sleep deprivation wasn't an option). except now, after cheering all the readers on, i'm thinking i kinda like the idea of being a permanent cheerleader. i actually went the whole day without reading, and i survived. and it's fun to kinda get a global perspective of the read-a-thon, to see what everyone is up to without worrying about not reading.

major kudos to dewey, the master-mind of the whole event, and her helpers, aerin, trish, nymeth and hannah. you guys totally rock!

as a cheerleader, i just have two suggestions. well, pleas really. the first is a plea to all bloggers to turn off their word verification for the day, because, i'm sorry, but when you're leaving comment after comment after comment, that becomes a total pain in the buttinsky to deal with. and the second is...we need more cheerleaders! i was thinking it'd be easy to bop around and leave comments on everyone's blog, but it's not. easy, that is. i know there were blogs i never made it to (and yes, i have feelings of guilt) and there were blogs i stopped by a few times, and then there were bloggers who couldn't shake me. and really, doesn't everyone deserve a pain in the ass cheerleader to cheer them on?


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it's time for a mini-challenge!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Welcome read-a-thon-ers! You've all been doing a spectacular job...I hope you're having a fabulous time!

For my mini-challenge I’m asking read-a-thon participants (and yes, this includes you too, cheerleaders and organizers) to channel David Letterman and come up with their Top 10 List. The only catch is your list needs to somehow relate to the read-a-thon (you know, as in the top 10 reasons Dewey rocks or the top 10 reasons why sleep deprivation enhances the reading experience or the top 10 snacks for a read-a-thon). Be profound, be silly, be whatever…there will be no prizes for creativity, but there will be a prize. Participants who post their Top 10 List will be entered in a drawing for a $10 Starbucks card. Because y'all are probably in need of some caffeine about now.

Please post your top 10 list on your blog and leave me a link here in the comments so that I'm sure to find it. This mini-challenge will run for the next two hours...I'll draw a winner at 9pm Pacific time.

Have fun! And if you can't quite make it to 10, that's okay...give me your top 5 or 6 or 7 list. I'm flexible.


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my favorite furry red monster

Did you know I have a thing for redheads? It's true. Hamburger is a redhead. And so is Elmo.

Isn't he cute?

Since I've been posting about reading and books and the read-a-thon all day, I thought I'd offer up something different. These are my favorite videos of Elmo...they never fail to make me laugh. In all of them, Elmo appears with Rove McManus, an Australian tv host.

Rove interviews Elmo by satellite (this one is totally out of sync, but hilarious)

Elmo visits Rove for the first time (long, but absolutely adorable)




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Ssssssssshhhhh...they're reading

This group is hard at work reading. Hopefully, they look a little more relaxed than this guy:

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quotes on reading



Since today is the read-a-thon, here are a few quotes on reading:


To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him and travel in his company.
~André Gide

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading."
~Logan Pearsall Smith

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.
~Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.
~Mortimer J. Adler

Never read a book through merely because you have begun it.
~John Witherspoon

Literature is my Utopia.
~Helen Keller

It's not too late to pick up a book and join in the fun!

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a little comic relief

I dedicate this post to all my fellow cheerleaders:

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rah, rah, sis-boom-bah!

Today is the read-a-thon!! Since I don't have all day available to read, I'm participating as a cheerleader.

That means I'll be popping in on the readers throughout the day to leave encouraging comments and egg them on. And bethany gave me permission to channel my inner teacher, so you might see me being bossy, too.

I'll also be hosting a mini-challenge for those of you involved in the read-a-thon, either as reader, cheerleader, or organizer. This will occur at 7:00pm Pacific Time, so check back then!

Happy Reading!

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reading for charity

Friday, October 17, 2008


Tomorrow is the read-a-thon!


Many of the readers will be reading for charity. Here are just a few of the great causes chosen by some of the participants:

Chris, of Stuff as Dreams are Made on, is supporting NaNoWriMo. Did you know they have a young writers program? I didn’t either, until I read Chris’s post. I thought that was so cool, so I’m egging Chris on in his goal to read 1000 pages.

Bethany, of B&b ex libris, is reading for clear water. For more info, read her post on why she is supporting Living Water International.

Wendy, aka caribousmom, is supporting a local (to her) organization, Triple Creek Ranch Inc. Triple Creek Ranch offers Equine Assisted Activities (including therapeutic horseback riding and Hippotherapy) to children and adults with physical, emotional, learning, and behavioral disability. For more info, read her post about TCRI.

Tanabata has chosen to support breast cancer awareness and research, and her post talks about what she is pledging to do and why, as well as providing links to different organizations if you choose to join in. Tanabata’s choice of charity is very timely, as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Hurray for these four bloggers (as well as all of the others who are reading for charity)! I encourage you all to visit their blogs and leave a few words of encouragement. And, if you see a charity you’d like to support, feel free to leave a few bucks, too. :-D

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I vant to suck your blood

Okay, not really on the blood part. But I do want to read Dracula.

Dewey and Hatchette Books are giving away another box of books. This time, it'll be full of the spooky books shown above. Go check out Dewey's post here for a chance to win.

And while you're there, you might as well about the read-a-thon, too. It's tomorrow!

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Friday book closet winner

I may have been a little late with this week's Booking Through Thursday, but I am still on top of the Friday book closet giveaway.


Here are your random numbers:
15
Timestamp: 2008-10-17 14:40:25 UTC


This week's winner is Jen (aka ladytink). Congratulations Jen! Please email me with your address and the book you would like.


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What's sitting on your shelf?


Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books — it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. … During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.

But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.

So, the question is his: “What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?“

Yes, yes…I know it’s no longer Thursday. I’m a little behind this week.

Back in August, I actually cleaned out my bookshelves. However, I still have many, many books that refused to leave. A sampling:

  • Queen Isabella (my inner historian demands I hang on to this one)
  • Anansi Boys (I can't believe I have an unread Gaiman on my shelves)
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude (still around despite two failed attempts at reading)
  • My Friend Leonard (purchased before the shit hit the fan for Mr. Frey)
  • Anna Karenina (a coworker gave this to me years ago, and even though she quit about 5 years ago, I still have the book…mostly because Powell's won’t buy it)
  • The Book Thief (it went into hiding for a few months, but I found it when I cleaned out all the places I had stashed books)
  • Paradise News (I don't even know where this book came from)

If I were sitting in front of the bookshelves, I could list about 100 more. But I'm not, and it's early, so my brain is stopping now.

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Today's assignment

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dawn, over at She Is Too Fond of Books, has weekly feature, Spotlight on Books. And guess who wrote this week's post?

Okay, so it's not anyone famous. But it's me. My very first ever guest post somewhere. So go check me out. And then leave nice comments. And yes, that last part is mandatory.

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Thank You for All Things


Thank You for All Things
Sandra Kring
2008
430 pages

Last Friday I stayed home sick (damn allergies) and I read this book. It was cute. And intense. But not intensely cute.

Lucy McGowan, our narrator, is a precocious 11 year old. Her twin brother Milo is a genius. Their mother, Tess, is a beleaguered writer. When her literary novel failed to achieve any kind of success, Tess turned to writing Christian romances and travel articles to pay the rent. Since Tess is also an atheist and a non-traveler, she’s not exactly bragging about her career.

When Tess receives notice that they need to vacate the apartment so the asbestos can be removed from the building, it’s not good news. She’s out of money. When her mom announces her estranged father is dying and they need to go take care of him, it’s also not good news. Tess does not want to go home. However, she drives her mom home and ends up staying. Lucy is a happy camper, because they are out of Chicago and in the country, and she plans to use this time to do a little detective work.

As Lucy gets to know her dying grandpa, she uncovers all sorts of family history. At the same time, she is bound and determined to find out who her father is (since her mother has vehemently denied both Scott Hamilton and a Nobel Prize winner as candidates). In the process, Lucy meets some of the town’s characters, and she learns some uncomfortable things about her mom and her grandmother (and her grandfather, and her uncle, and her dad, and herself).

As the book progresses it gets more and more serious. For the first few chapters we’re introduced to most of the characters and their quirks. As the family secrets unfold, the book gets darker. And at first, despite Lucy’s intelligence, I was having a hard time reconciling the tone with the fact that the narrator was only 11. It got a little better as the book went on, but it still never rang quite true. There’s some pretty heavy stuff in here. Not that 11 year olds don’t experience all of this heavy stuff, but they certainly don’t publish books about it. And I don’t know why this is bothering me, since I’ve read other books with young narrators.

All in all, not a bad way to spend the day, but I won’t be including this one in any best of lists, either.

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Teaser Tuesdays

Tuesday, October 14, 2008



TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
"When she turned to go, she looked into my eyes for an instant and I knew with a certainty that she was in the family way with someone's bastard. The rounded flesh of her cheeks, her dimpled hands, one still wearing the moon-shaped scar from my bite upon it, her pasty skin for once flushed and damp, told a story of a red underskirt lifted one too many times in the quiet of some dark space."

from The Heretic's Daughter, by Kathleen Kent

Read more...

Tethered


Tethered
Amy MacKinnon
2008
257 pages

Ti, over at Book Chatter and other stuff, wrote an excellent review of this book. I won't be offended at all if you just read hers. In fact, I recommend it. We both received the book through the Read It Forward program, and it's a good thing, too, because Ti is a much more careful reader (not to mention a more thoughtful reviewer) than I am...she was able to clear up a little nagging question I had over the ending.

You know, I'm really tempted to just say I liked this book. It was good. You should read it. The end.

But I won't.

This book is about Clara Marsh. Clara works with dead people. Sorry, couldn't resist. This was a serious book. I'll try to be (somewhat) serious.

Take two. Or is it three?

Clara is an undertaker. And it could be argued that she prefers working with dead bodies over interacting with live ones. Clara is uncomfortable around people, including her boss Linus, who is the closest thing she's ever had to a father. When Clara discovers a little girl hanging out in the funeral parlor, she is forced out of her comfort zone and into interactions with a whole new set of people. Because Trecie (the little girl) may be involved in a local mystery, Clara teams up (okay, she's not really a team player, but you get the idea) with the police to find out what's going on.

I enjoyed Clara...she was different and she had depths and a history I certainly wasn't expecting when I started this book. I also enjoyed the mystery. For a fairly short book, there's a lot going on. And you may think you've got it all figured out when suddenly, the author pitches a change-up (by the way, I am so not a baseball fan, I have no idea where that came from).

This book also felt dark to me. It sort of has the same feel as Origin...kind of gloomy. Even after the end (in which the author goes places I wasn't expecting) I never felt any sense of extreme joy. And yet, it's not cry your eyes out depressing, either. It's matter-of-fact. I don't think I've ever described a book that way, but there you have it.

And wow, I hope I just didn't totally insult the author by calling her book matter-of-fact. The thing is, I like matter-of-fact. After spending 200 plus pages with Clara, I think the ending was perfect. Except for that little question I had that Ti resolved for me...I still think that could have been a wee bit clearer. But I can't tell you about that...it would ruin the story.

And Ti's right...this would be a fantastic book club book. It just screams "discuss me!" There are issues around faith, and death, and Clara's character, and Linus, and the children. Not to mention the whole undertaker as career thing.

One last thing. Sorry Clara, but I want to be cremated.

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a cry for HEEEELLLPPP!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The weekly geeks are stuck! Can you identify the novel and author of any of these first lines?
And no fair using google. If you're wondering what the point of all of this is, go here.

31. I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man.

32. Where now? Who now? When now?

33. Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop!” cried the groaning old man at last, “Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.”

34. In a sense, I am Jacob Horner.

35. It was like so, but wasn’t.

36. —Money . . . in a voice that rustled.

Read more...

Weekly Geeks #21 - updated first lines

Sunday, October 12, 2008


See my previous post for what this is all about.

Okay geeks, I think I have most of the contributions in this list (as of 9pm Tueday - Pacific Time). The lines in red are the ones that are still unidentified. Can anyone help??? We need the title and author, and no fair using google unless you think you know and are just looking for confirmation.
And please excuse the funky spacing...again, I blame it on blogger.


1. Call me Ishmael.
Moby Dick, Herman Melville

2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (from Rachel and penryn)

3. A screaming comes across the sky.
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (compliments of Brad)

4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (from Rachel)

7. riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
Finnegan’s Wake, James Joyce (from Eva)

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
1984 by George Orwell (thank you Rachel and Maree)

9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

10. I am an invisible man.
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

11. The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard.
Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West (from Rachel)

12. You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

13. Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.
The Trial by Franz Kafka (from Eva)

14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler.
If on a winter’s night a traveler, Italo Calvino

15. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
Murphy by Samuel Beckett (thanks maree)

16. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (from Rachel)

17. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.
The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (from Rachel)

18. This is the saddest story I have ever heard.

The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford (from nymeth)

19. I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost:—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me.

Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (from Susan)

20. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (from Rachel)

21. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.
Ulysses by James Joyce (from Rachel)

22. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

Paul Clifford, Edward Bulwer-Lytton

23. One summer afternoon Mrs. Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (from Rachel)

24. It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.

City Of Glass by Paul Auster (from bookzombie)

25. Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (from Rachel)

26. 124 was spiteful.
Beloved by Toni Morrison (from Rachel)

27. Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing.
Don Quixote, Cervantes

28. Mother died today.
The Stranger by Albert Camus (from Rachel)

29. Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.
Waiting by Ha Jin (from Rachel)

30. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
Neuromancer by William Gibson (from Jessi)

31. I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man.
Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (from megan)

32. Where now? Who now? When now?
The Unnameable by Samuel Beckett (from penryn's friend Mary)

33. Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop!” cried the groaning old man at last, “Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.”

34. In a sense, I am Jacob Horner.

35. It was like so, but wasn’t.

36. —Money . . . in a voice that rustled.

37. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

38. All this happened, more or less.
Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut (thanks penryn)

39. They shoot the white girl first.
Paradise by Toni Morrison (from yasmin)

40. For a long time, I went to bed early.
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust (from Rachel)

41. The moment one learns English, complications set in.

42. Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature.

43. I was the shadow of the waxwing slain / By the false azure in the windowpane;
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (from Amanda at 5-Squared)

44. Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (from Rachel and penryn)

45. I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (from Susan)

46. Ages ago, Alex, Allen and Alva arrived at Antibes, and Alva allowing all, allowing anyone, against Alex’s admonition, against Allen’s angry assertion: another African amusement . . . anyhow, as all argued, an awesome African army assembled and arduously advanced against an African anthill, assiduously annihilating ant after ant, and afterward, Alex astonishingly accuses Albert as also accepting Africa’s antipodal ant annexation.

47. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (from Rachel)

48. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway

49. It was the day my grandmother exploded.
This one is driving me crazy!!!

50. I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.
Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

51. Elmer Gantry was drunk.
Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis

52. We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.

53. It was a pleasure to burn.
Fahrenheit-451 by Ray Bradbury (from Rachel and penryn)

54. A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
End Of The Affair by Graham Greene (from bookzombie)

55. Having placed in my mouth sufficient bread for three minutes’ chewing, I withdrew my powers of sensual perception and retired into the privacy of my mind, my eyes and face assuming a vacant and preoccupied expression.
At Swim-Two-Birds, Flann O'Brien (from Jacqui via bookzombie)

56. I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho’ not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull; He got a good Estate by Merchandise, and leaving off his Trade, lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my Mother, whose Relations were named Robinson, a very good Family in that Country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but by the usual Corruption of Words in England, we are now called, nay we call our selves, and write our Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call’d me.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (from Rachel)

57. In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.


58. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. Middlemarch by George Eliot (from Eva)

59. It was love at first sight.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (from Rachel)

60. What if this young woman, who writes such bad poems, in competition with her husband, whose poems are equally bad, should stretch her remarkably long and well-made legs out before you, so that her skirt slips up to the tops of her stockings?

61. I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.

The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maughm (thanks Tammy)

62. Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.

Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler (thank you Valerie!)

63. The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children’s games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up.


64. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (from Rachel)

65. You better not never tell nobody but God.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (from Rachel and penryn)

66. “To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.” Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie (from Eva)

67. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (from Rachel)

68. Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden.

The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace (thanks Joanne)

69. If I am out of my mind, it’s all right with me, thought Moses Herzog.
Herzog by Saul Bellow (from Rachel)

70. Francis Marion Tarwater’s uncle had been dead for only half a day when the boy got too drunk to finish digging his grave and a Negro named Buford Munson, who had come to get a jug filled, had to finish it and drag the body from the breakfast table where it was still sitting and bury it in a decent and Christian way, with the sign of its Saviour at the head of the grave and enough dirt on top to keep the dogs from digging it up.
believed to be from Three by Flannery O' Connor (from ladytink)

71. Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.
The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass (from melydia)

72. When Dick Gibson was a little boy he was not Dick Gibson.


73. Hiram Clegg, together with his wife Emma and four friends of the faith from Randolph Junction, were summoned by the Spirit and Mrs. Clara Collins, widow of the beloved Nazarene preacher Ely Collins, to West Condon on the weekend of the eighteenth and nineteenth of April, there to await the End of the World.


74. She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably, and there were moments at which she showed herself, in the glass over the mantel, a face positively pale with the irritation that had brought her to the point of going away without sight of him.
The Wings of the Dove by Henry James (from Susan)

75. In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (from Susan)

76. “Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.
The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay (from lethe)

77. He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (from Susan)

78. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (from Katherine)

79. On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen.
Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (thanks maree)

80. Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.

81. Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash.
Crash by J.G. Ballard (from Susan)

82. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

83. “When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets,” Papa would say, “she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing.”
Geek Love, Katherine Dunn

84. In the last years of the Seventeenth Century there was to be found among the fops and fools of the London coffee-houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke, more ambitious than talented, and yet more talented than prudent, who, like his friends-in-folly, all of whom were supposed to be educating at Oxford or Cambridge, had found the sound of Mother English more fun to game with than her sense to labor over, and so rather than applying himself to the pains of scholarship, had learned the knack of versifying, and ground out quires of couplets after the fashion of the day, afroth with Joves and Jupiters, aclang with jarring rhymes, and string-taut with similes stretched to the snapping-point.

85. When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.
Last Good Kiss by James Krumley (thank you bookzombie)

86. It was just noon that Sunday morning when the sheriff reached the jail with Lucas Beauchamp though the whole town (the whole county too for that matter) had known since the night before that Lucas had killed a white man.


87. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled.
I, Claudius, Robert Graves

88. Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women.
Middle Passage by Charles Johnson (from yasmin)
89. I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.
The Adventures of Augie March, Saul Bellow (from caite)

90. The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods.
Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (from Susan)

91. I will tell you in a few words who I am: lover of the hummingbird that darts to the flower beyond the rotted sill where my feet are propped; lover of bright needlepoint and the bright stitching fingers of humorless old ladies bent to their sweet and infamous designs; lover of parasols made from the same puffy stuff as a young girl’s underdrawers; still lover of that small naval boat which somehow survived the distressing years of my life between her decks or in her pilothouse; and also lover of poor dear black Sonny, my mess boy, fellow victim and confidant, and of my wife and child. But most of all, lover of my harmless and sanguine self.

92. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.
Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini (from Lana via Megan)

93. Psychics can see the color of time it’s blue.

94. In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (from
Rachel)

95. Once upon a time two or three weeks ago, a rather stubborn and determined middle-aged man decided to record for posterity, exactly as it happened, word by word and step by step, the story of another man for indeed what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal, a somewhat paranoiac fellow unmarried, unattached, and quite irresponsible, who had decided to lock himself in a room a furnished room with a private bath, cooking facilities, a bed, a table, and at least one chair, in New York City, for a year 365 days to be precise, to write the story of another person—a shy young man about of 19 years old—who, after the war the Second World War, had come to America the land of opportunities from France under the sponsorship of his uncle—a journalist, fluent in five languages—who himself had come to America from Europe Poland it seems, though this was not clearly established sometime during the war after a series of rather gruesome adventures, and who, at the end of the war, wrote to the father his cousin by marriage of the young man whom he considered as a nephew, curious to know if he the father and his family had survived the German occupation, and indeed was deeply saddened to learn, in a letter from the young man—a long and touching letter written in English, not by the young man, however, who did not know a damn word of English, but by a good friend of his who had studied English in school—that his parents both his father and mother and his two sisters one older and the other younger than he had been deported they were Jewish to a German concentration camp Auschwitz probably and never returned, no doubt having been exterminated deliberately X * X * X * X, and that, therefore, the young man who was now an orphan, a displaced person, who, during the war, had managed to escape deportation by working very hard on a farm in Southern France, would be happy and grateful to be given the opportunity to come to America that great country he had heard so much about and yet knew so little about to start a new life, possibly go to school, learn a trade, and become a good, loyal citizen.

96. Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (from Susan)

97. He—for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it—was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters.
Orlando, Virginia Wolff (from dreamybee)

98. High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour.
Changing Places by David Lodge (from penryn)

99. They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (from
Rachel)

100. The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane (from raidergirl via icedream)

Read more...

Weekly Geeks #21 - first lines


***The updated list is here.***
This week all the weekly geeks are teaming up to identify 100 first lines from books. Check out the complete details on this week's challenge here.

These are the quotes I knew off the top of my head. I'm still thinking on a few others, so I may be adding to this initial list.

1. Call me Ishmael. Moby Dick, Herman Melville

4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

10. I am an invisible man. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

12. You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. If on a winter’s night a traveler, Italo Calvino

27. Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. Don Quixote, Cervantes

37. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

48. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway

50. I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

51. Elmer Gantry was drunk. Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis

82. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

83. “When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets,” Papa would say, “she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing.” Geek Love, Katherine Dunn

87. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled. I, Claudius, Robert Graves

**********
This one, I thought I knew, but it turns out I was wrong. Since I'm not cheating, I need someone to tell me where this came from:

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

**********

Here are a few more. Can anyone identify the book and author? No googling allowed! Please answer only if you can say "Aha! I know that!"

7. riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

17. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.

18. This is the saddest story I have ever heard.

19. I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost:—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me.

20. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

21. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

22. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God


Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
1937
219 pages

I read this book in honor of Banned Books Week. And yes, I know that was two weeks ago. I started it during Banned Books Week, so in my book, that counts.

Why was this book challenged? In 1997, it was challenged by a parent in Virginia who objected to the novel’s language and sexual explicitness. All I’ve got to say to that is boy…you don’t read much, do you? Because if you think this book is sexually explicit, have I got some books for you. On second thought…stay away from my books. Although may I recommend this?

I have owned this book for so long I don’t even remember when and where I acquired it. It’s not even something I would typically read, since I tend to stay within the decade (i.e.: I like contemporary authors). I mean, I practically got hives when I found out Geek Love was first published in 1983. Luckily, that reading experience turned out well in the end.

Plus, I took this book with me to Davis…it was one of only three books I packed for a five day trip. I think I was placing a lot of faith in this book. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint (ack, that sounds like a food review, or something).

This is what the publisher has to say about the book:
One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston's beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. A true literary wonder, Hurston's masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published — perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.

There is some absolutely gorgeous writing in this book. And in contrast, all of the dialogue is in a phonetic vernacular, so that the reader definitely hears the characters voices. But remember how when I reviewed Oscar Wao I said I love writers who write like people talk, but that comment was going to bite me in the butt when I write my review of Their Eyes Were Watching God? Well, I appreciate why she did it, but I had a hard time concentrating on some of the words that Hurston used for the dialogue. Ah for I tripped me up half the time. My inner-southerness wasn’t helping me out with this one. Despite that little quibble, it’s a beautiful book. She is not a political author…rather she captures the everyday lives and struggles of her characters.

But…did you know that the author died in a welfare home? Zora Neale Hurston was a highly educated and accomplished woman (she received a BA in anthropology), but much of her work was not well-received in her lifetime.



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In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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