Monthly Archives: April 2008

110 Best Books: The Perfect Library

Another list from the UK Telegraph. I’m a sucker for book lists. I love crossing off ones I have, ones I’ve read. Although, my trouble is that I never seem to read the exact book on the list, just other books by the same author. I think there should be a 100 best authors list, and leave it alone from there.

110 best books: The perfect library

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 06/04/2008
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Emma – Review

Emma by Jane Austen

Age: Adult

If the characters in Mansfield Park lacked any spirit, Jane Austen made up for it in Emma.

Although Elizabeth Bennett may be every woman’s favorite Jane Austen character, I took a liking to Emma Woodhouse. She’s funny, intelligent, has a big heart, but is also prone to make bad judgement calls like most human beings.

The quick summary is that Emma is a local match-maker. After helping merge one fantastic couple, Mr. Weston and Emma’s governness Miss Taylor, all her other schemes seems to flounder. Harriet Smith is a minor character although seems to fall in love with anyone that Emma points to. Mrs. Elton was one of my favorite characters only because of her insipid vanity and over indulgence in herself.

I’m not sure why, but Jane Austen seems to love solving all of the conflicts in her novels through a lengthy and well written letter. Darcy wrote a letter to Elizabeth explaining his point of view on their relationship, which became a turning point in that novel. There were a series of correspondences between Fanny and Edmund in regards to Mary Crawford which led to Edmund realizing he loved Fanny. In Emma, there is a well worded letter by Frank Churchill explaining all his secretive actions and his love for Jane Fairfax, which settled many thoughts and rumors of his leading Emma on and why the two acted to secretive.

I think Frank Churchill was my favorite character in the novel. He is full of surprises, has an open and friendly heart, and seems to always entertain, whether he intended to or not.

I had the movie Clueless running through my head while I read this book. I think Clueless is an excellent adaptation of Emma, carefully creating characters and plot that stay faithful to the novel. I could see many character correlations, but I’m still trying to figure out who Jane Fairfax would be in the movie.

Like most of Austen’s novels, there were quite a few chapters that I wish had been cut out altogether, since they didn’t help the plot progress and were just plain boring. But given the time frame of when the novel was written, it was probably more enjoyable to read about normal life occurances than it is now in our more impatient era.

Find this book at your local library

50 Best Cult Books

Via an article from the UK telegraph. I’ve only read 6 of these titles, and I’m quite surprised that Clockwork Orange didn’t make it onto the list.

50 best cult books

Reviews by Mick Brown, Alex Clark, Toby Clements, Sarah Crompton, Serena Davies, Christopher Howse, Sam Leith, Tim Martin, Andrew McKie, Tom Payne, Ceri Radford, Sameer Rahim and Dominic Sandbrook

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 25/04/2008

Our critics present a selection of history’s most notable cult writing. Some is classic. Some is catastrophic. All of it had the power to inspire

What is a cult book? We tried and failed to arrive at a definition: books often found in the pockets of murderers; books that you take very seriously when you are 17; books whose readers can be identified to all with the formula ” whacko”; books our children just won’t get…

50 books that changed our lives

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Library Book Sales

I guess its a good thing that I have enough people in my life to put caps on my book buying binges, or else it would just never end.

When I went to Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, I was put on a strict 2 book limit…(not easy to do), and then I had to forfeit over my wallet to my boyfriend when we went to a local library book sales yesterday. I did manage to purchase a couple of books when he wasn’t looking. I am going to Powell’s sister store in Chicago at the end of May. =) That should be exciting.

I got a collection of headlines from the SF Chronicle from 1865-1988; City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie; and Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss.

I can’t wait to start reading. I’ve been avoiding library book sales because its too hard to have will power when surrounded by so many $1.oo books. Space is no longer an issue at this point. I need chaperones when I go. Not one, but two. The library where I work has bag sales, $5.oo for all you can fit. And the bags are the big Trader Joe’s paper bags. Its amazing how unknown organizational skills can appear on these days to cram in 20+ paperbacks. I used to volunteer to work the book sales, and they would give the volunteers a free bag of books for the day’s work, but I had to put a stop to that. I have made it a rule to spend bookstore gift cards on Sudoku and Crossword Puzzle books.

The funny part, is that as much as my friends and family minutely monitor and try to end my book-buying, I have a friend who smuggles me books on my birthdays and other gift-giving holidays. She’s my underground railroad of literature, although its been graphic novels lately.

Bookswim – website review.

Bookswim. Its like Netflix, but for books. What avid reader doesn’t want something like that?

I came across this website a while ago, researching SLIS alumni from my Library Science graduate school. One of the alumni founded this company which works like Netflix. You set up a queue, select your books, and select a plan that ranges from 2 to 11 books per month.

The prices range from $14.99 for 2 books to $35.99 for 11 books.

The selection seems pretty decent. I couldn’t find a couple of books I was looking for, but those books are pretty hard to find anyways, except on Amazon, everything is available on Amazon.

Unlike netflix, it is unlimited books per month, but I guess just 2 at a time, or 3 at a time. Either way, its much cheaper than buying the books, and takes up less space as you send it back. I’d be curious to see how the shipping works, since books are much heavier than dvds, and also if people write in the margins and what they write in the margins.

I’m not sure if I want to sign up for this just yet, as my local libraries provide all the books I currently want to read, but its a nice alternative to have handy.

LMNOP – Review

LMNOP by Mark Dunn

Age: YA

The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog. This is a pangram (a sentences containing all 26 letters of the alphabet) and is also also the basis of the cleverly written Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.

This is a story about the overly articulate residents of the small island of Nollop (named after Nevin Nollop, the creator of the aforementioned pangram). Due to his love of literature and words, the island reveres him as a God, even though he came up with that pangram 7 generations before Ella’s time.

This a story of government gone mad with power, with religious preoccupations dominating over common sense. Individual letters of the alphabet being banned from oral and written use as each letter falls from the pedestal in honor of Nevin Nollop. One small group of island leaders make the major decision that ripple through all the residents of the island. It is an interesting look at power structures and the use of propaganda and unjust beliefs controlling the lives of the island residents.

Reading this book makes me want to use all the polysyllabic words in my vocabulary. To think of the challenge of trying to sentences without the use of the letter “D” or even “Q”. How little we think about this, when freedom of speech isn’t censured, but the transmission of it it. The story is told through a series of letters passing back and forth between the Minnow Pea family, their relatives and neighbors.

The only advice I can give when attempting to read this book is to have a most up-to-date dictionary with you at all times!! Every few pages I had to look up a new word, but most of the definitions are relating to writing, words, or the alphabet. Despite the time taken to look up and absorb all the new vocabulary, this is a fairly quick read. I finished it in 2 hours lounging around in the backyard today.

I seem to be on a roll authors and their first novels. Although Mark Dunne has written a number of plays, this is his first novel. Is this a new requirement for picks I up at the library? It just might be.

Find this book at your local library

The Thirteenth Tale – Review

I’m about 20 pages away from finishing this book but I feel confident enough to review it. I don’t think the ending will be disappointing.

This may be blasphemous for any avid bookworm to say, but this is one story that I would LOVE to see on the big screen. The story, the characters are too large to be contained in written form. I want to see Emmaline and Adeline causing chaos at Angelfield Manor. I want to see Margaret’s father’s bookstore.

The quick plot summary: Vida Winter is a famous and best-selling author that has never given a true account of her life in any interview and always makes up an answer when asked a personal question. In her old age, she commissions Margaret Lea (amature biographer of the deceased) to write the long awaited biography.

The book itself reminds me more of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James more than any other novel despite the author’s persistent thumping of Jane Eyre into my consciousness every 5-10 pages. That gets really annoying after the 10th mention of Jane Eyre. The beginning is really slow and really boring. It isn’t until Margaret meets Vida Winter that the story actually begins. Earlier, I mentioned this is like a more sophisticated VC Andrews story. Well, I was wrong on that count. The Thirteenth Tale is much more fun to read. The book is pretty balanced with slow parts and more entertaining storylines. I like that the author manages to weave the stories of the twins in their childhood to modern day people that Margaret interacts with.

You can tell the author spent a lot of time and effort working on this story and creating these characters. A lot of love went into this book. I’m glad I found the time to read it.

And now, I’m off to actually go finish it!

Find this book at your local library

6 Things

I was tagged by Devourer of Books to write about 6 random things about myself. So, Here goes.

1. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 5+ years. 2 of which have been long distance.

2. I have a guinea pig named Ginny, and a cat named Nomo.

3. I am graduating with my Masters in May.

4. I am a Trekkie (Star Trek The Next Generation really).

4a. I met Data (Brent Spiner) at a sci-fi convention this past weekend. =)

5. I can only eat chocolate bars that have nuts (no plain milk chocolate for me)

6. I’ve developed an addiction to Sudoku this past week.

Rules:

  • Link to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Write six random things about yourself.
  • Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
  • Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
  • Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

Have fun.

People tagged:

Mister Books


The Cynical Universe

Legal Noise

The Usual Suspects

The Thirteenth Tale

I finally started The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I’m a little less than half way into it, and all I want to do is go lay out under the sun outside and disappear into this book.

The beginning chapters are a little slow and filled with descriptive writing. I’m usually wary of books that over-emphasis any kind of emotion, and since the first 5 pages are nothing but a long-drawn out love letter to literature, I kept putting the book aside.

I had to take the train to work today, so I was able to push into the core of the book, where the story takes place and the characters come to life. The story is beautifully written and its easy to get lost in the narration and forget your own surroundings. The book seems like a more mature rendition of most VC Andrews books I’ve read (my guilty pleasure reading). You can immediately tell the author’s influences for the writing style. There are traces of the Bronte sisters weaved throughout the book. Wuthering Heights sticks out in my mind particularly.

Just like Water for Elephants, this is another book I kept putting on hold, and chose purely because of the cover, and then never got around to reading.

I also packed Reading Lolita in Tehran. I like to be prepared in case I finish a book and still have time left before I have to catch my flight.

A job!

I have my first official Librarian 1 job interview in a few weeks, I just finished setting up the appointment. I’m so excited. Finally my application was accepted somewhere!

The position is for an Adult Services Librarian. I feel pretty confident with this title. I know I would do an excellent job. I’ll just be happy to have any job title that isn’t: Student Intern, or Student Assistant.