Posts filed under ‘Musings and Essays’
At the moment, I’m giving The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a go since picking up a bedraggled and water-warped copy in the Oxfam trash bin (for some reason, it was and is not a book I wanted to spend money actually buying). I’ve heard really wonderful things about it and, while it seems to have the potential to be a sort of Da Vinci Code trendy book, it also seems much smarter and sharper than that former craze. I’ll let you know when I finish it; I’m just getting into it. Still not gripped by the collar and bodily dragged into the plot, but perhaps that comes later. (more…)
It’s the beginning of June now which means one glorious thing: summer is here! While this may not mean much for those of us no longer in school, it still conjures up visions of glorious sunny days spent doing absolutely nothing. And even if we’re no longer given our summers off to spend in merry frolicking and reading, fortunately we still have books to turn to for our summery freedom fix. So here is a list of my top five literary summers. Let me know if I left off your favorite!
5. A tie between Portrait of a Lady and A Room with a View for their descriptions of lovely Italian summers spent touristing. Henry James also gives us this lovely moment of English summer:
“The implements of the little feast [tea] had been disposed upon the lawn of an old English country-house, in what I should call the perfect middle of a splendid summer afternoon. Part of the afternoon had waned, but much of it was left, and what was left was of the finest and rarest quality. Real dusk would not arrive for many hours; but the flood of summer light had begun to ebb, the air had grown mellow, the shadows were long upon the smooth, dense turf.”
Yesterday, the Huffington Post posted their Top Ten Literary BFFs, as apparently voted on by readers. I can honestly say no other list on earth would result in Boo Radley and Zaphod Beeblebrox being in the same sentence, let alone Raoul Duke and Bridget Jones.
I have a few problems with this list and disagree with most of their choices, but the one I have the most of a gripe with is that they have Harry Potter on this list. Forgive me, but if you’re befriending anyone in the Harry Potter universe, who chooses Harry Potter himself? He has a horrifically bad track record in terms of how he treats his friends, he has crazy angsty mood swings, and he’s never around because he’s off fighting evil or snogging Ginny or sulking. Not exactly bestie material. (more…)
In a belated repost from the Housmans blog, I’m tickled to report a recent trend in student protest in Europe: using books as protection against the police! It turns out that shield-sized book mock-ups are great protection against police batons when used by groups of students to form something akin to the Roman legion “turtle”. Apparently it is called “Book Bloc” and it’s pretty awesome (see above).
So the question naturally arises, as Housmans asks, what book would you use to protect yourself? Personally, I’m a fan of the guys using things like 1984 and Brave New World, although I might lean towards something more swash-buckling in my bookish student protest: “I will fight you off with the strength of The Three Musketeers!” quoth the protestor. A girl can dream.
As I think I’ve mentioned before, books with inscriptions in them are just about my favorite thing in all of used book Christendom. Finding one with an interesting person immortalized on a flyleaf is a really great thing, but finding a series of books owned by the same person and all inscribed to create their own narrative is like inscriptionirvana!
This happened to me last week whilst sorting old Penguins at the Oxfam Bloomsbury bookshop (incidentally for those of you in the area: £2 for all old Penguins, a steal!). In going through these Penguins, the story of a man named Richard Melville and his sweetheart Sandra came slowly and charmingly into focus. (more…)
Today I am very pleased to announce that our catalogue is finally finished and ready to help you with any and all of your searching! As I looked through the entries, I found that we’re only missing entries for the letters O, X, and Z. This seemed too small a number to just ignore, so consider me now on the quest for books with authors whose last names begin with those letters. Any suggestions for X’s and Z’s?
On the O front, I’ve actually already read more O’s than I thought and apparently just never posted about them here, so let me rectify that situation straight away with a few words on Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, Barack Obama’s Dreams of My Father, and Penelope Orth’s An Enviable Position followed up by the promise of a good old-fashioned Rereadings post on The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy on the way as soon as I can find a copy.
I suppose I didn’t write about O’Brien, Obama, and Orth not because I apparently am subconsciously intent on perpetrating some kind of anti-O conspiracy, but because in some ways I was too affected by these books to write about them. (more…)
One of the questions that haunts me—it’s a question for philosophers and brain science—is, if you’ve forgotten a book, is that the same as never having read it?
– Tom Stoppard
I reckon it’s also a question for book bloggers! What do you think? Is forgetting a book the same as not reading it? (more…)
Every week here in the land of book blogging we engage with our books by discussing them, thinking about them off on our own, and just plain old enjoying them. But being a reader often means that an interest in books extends beyond the texts and into the realm of what I have dubbed “bookish hobbies.” By this I mean any hobby that relates to books or that you were inspired to take up because of a book. (more…)