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Member: quillmenow

CollectionsYour library (1,957), Currently reading (1), Favorites (2), All collections (1,957)

Reviews451 reviews

Tagsfiction (1,437), trade (611), hardcover (611), mass-market (525), mystery (355), classics (153), fantasy (151), historical fiction (117), short stories (90), england (75) — see all tags

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About me“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.” --Mark Twain

About my librarySince I was raised by a family where each member had their own favorite genre, and I read what they read, I will read anything I can get my hands on. Anything. That's what you'll find in my library. Literary gumbo. Mostly good. Some awesomely disturbing and/or embarrassing. Heck with it.

GroupsI Survived the Great Vowel Shift, Magic City LT Group

Favorite authorsRick Bragg, Terry Brooks, James Lee Burke, Michael Chabon, Robertson Davies, Michael Dirda, Percival Everett, William Faulkner, Jasper Fforde, Ken Follett, Terry Goodkind, Ernest Hemingway, P. D. James, Ellis Peters, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Dan Simmons, Kurt Vonnegut, Eudora Welty (Shared favorites)

VenuesFavorites | Visited

Favorite bookstores2nd & Charles, Alabama Booksmith, Barnes & Noble Booksellers - Patton Creek, Books-A-Million #180, Books-A-Million #431, Friends of Homewood Public Library Bookstore, Little Professor Book Center - Homewood

Favorite librariesHomewood Public Library, Library in the Forest

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Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real nameValerie

LocationBirmingham, AL

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/quillmenow (profile)
/catalog/quillmenow (library)

Member sinceMay 25, 2006

Currently readingDeath in Holy Orders by P. D. James

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Well, don't feel too bad; you might've noticed that most of the books on my "currently reading" list are effectively abandoned, given how long its been since I've actually read any of them.

I've been thinking about picking up Pynchon's Against the Day again, given the hubub over his new one (Bleeding Edge..?) that just came out; since Pynchon wrote Against the Day in such a disjointed manner, I don't think it'll make any difference that it's been five or six years since I've read it: it had good-to-great writing, but not a whole lot in the way of character development or a consistent plot. (If you really like to understand the books that you read, you probably shouldn't read Pynchon. Or William S. Burroughs; I've read a baker's dozen of his books.)

I should probably take Towing Jehovah off my "currently reading" list, since I've no real intention of finishing it: it's the first book in a trilogy (which I stupidly bought in its entirety rather than try the first book on for size...) revolving around the premise of the Judeo-Christian God's corpse plummeting to Earth and getting towed by a decommissioned oil tanker skippered by the equivalent of the guy who helmed the Exxon Valdez; unfortunately, the author, James Morrow, was most interested in exploring people reacting to the Lord of Hosts's demise by acting out Hassan i Sabbah's (echoed by "The Great Beast," Aleister Crowley) dictum of "Do as thou wilt, that be the whole of the Law" -- since there is no more fear of supernatural and eternal punishment -- and in the half-assed satire (..?) of rich mopes going all Richard Lester with their reenactments of WWII naval battles around the Creator's remains.

Damn, if I could sell these books to somebody for $5 each -- which is between half and a third of what I paid for them -- I'd call it even.

I really like Lion of Ireland; I've read it 3 or 4 times. And at least you've gotten some Elmore Leonard. If you haven't read Maximum Bob or Killshot yet, you should do so; they're my two favorite books of his so far. Wouldn't kill you to read some Loren Estleman (the Ford to Leonard's GM..?) either!

: D

I thought you may be interested in a new thread of mine. Check it out.

happy new year BTW

I saw where you just joined the Bham group. I'm trav and a big fan of mysteries too. Do read BookMarks magazine? They just had a nice write up on Tracy Chevalier, which was enough to get me looking for her books. says I would like books by James Lee Burke, so I checked the reviews of James Lee Burke on LT. I read your review of Burning Angel, and if continuing to read a book during a hurricane while a tree limb crashes through your window isn't the best recommendation I've ever come across, I don't know what was. Thanks much.
I will gladly join your revolution. It's not just that Twilight is another poorly-written piece of trash (which it is), but it's also uniquely objectionable thematically (some of which you discussed in your review). I am working on a novel that will be the anti-Twilight, in that its theme is the polar opposite. Also, there is not a single vampire in it. :)
I haven't read Twilight, or seen the movie ... (and am not in a rush to do either one, after reading your great review) - very funny! I agree with the previous poster: "aubergine passion" was an inventive alternate to the usual.
I loved your Twilight review. Thank you for telling it like it is (and in such an intelligent and amusing fashion). I don't think the word "aubergine" is used nearly enough anymore.
I just wanted to say that your Twilight review has restored my faith in humanity. Thank you.

("...hideous little twerp." lol.)
I could not agree more with your review of Twilight. I only made it about 200 pages. Zzzzzzzzzzz. I wanted to see what the hype was all about, and I just don't get it. Speaking of vampires, I see that you recently added Dead Until Dark. I got sucked into True Blood on HBO, though I usually don't like all the sex and nudity HBO insists on adding to their shows...I was wondering if the books are similar or if they are more PG? Would someone who likes fantasy but is a bit of a prude enjoy them? (-; Happy reading!
Thanks for that review of Twilight. I also got to around 300 pages, and when NOTHING STILL happened in the book, I also chucked it. I only started reading it because my daughter is so into the whole twilight thing, and I wanted to know what she found so appealing. Of course, what I found was quite disturbing. I almost wish there was rampant sex or violence or something actually somewhat cool or interesting about the whole book. But it was really, really nothing.

So i got her into old Buffy the Vampire slayer dvds, and that seems to have diverted her attention a bit. Yeah, sure there's some sex and violence and attitude in Buffy, but at least she's not subservient to Angel. Yeah, that's what Edward SHOULD have been. Otherwise he's just a sad bad-boy wanna-be. Cookie monster to the real lover-demon hanging outside the window.

OK, don't take this as particularly good parenting advice. Just wanted to say your Twilight review was right on.

Saw you liked Trainspotting, and I was wondering if you'd be interested in reading my new novel and posting your comments here (as well as on a few other book-related sites). Thought you might like my novel since it's also about a group of disturbed kids and a bit dark. I could e-mail you the novel in an e-book format if you'd like. Let me know if you're interested. Here's a link to a summary in case you're interested:


I loved your review of Twilight. The end just freaking killed me. I was laughing out loud. I feel the same way. Bella has no right to be passed off as any kind of example of a character worthy of wasting my time on. I have a best friend of twenty years, obviously this is not a young woman, who is obsessed with these books and consistently bothers me until I read them, so I've read more than I've ever wanted. And each book I become more and more enraged with Bella. She infuriates me. Anyway, just wanted to say I appreciated your words.
I love that you hated Twilight with an "aubergine" passion! For my part, I don't intend to give it a go so I will take your word for it. Pummz.

I just read your review of Kerouac's On the Road; just curious, which two words from the novel did you add to your vocabulary?

Loved your review of Twilight - I listened to it on my computer at work and had to keep turning the volume down because the descriptions of Edward were so ludicrous it made me wince in pain and embarrassment. I hope nobody heard what I was listening to! I even forced myself to listen to the second one (because I spent $ on it) which is not as bad but will definitely skip the 3rd.

A Vampire book I really enjoyed was Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin.


I applaud your review of "Twilight" bc you said everything I've been ranting about most of last year. I read the first two chapters of that book and immediately realized the author wrote a stereotypical teen girl diary with "Edward Cullen" and "vampire" as every fourth word.

I cannot believe this shit is popular and if teen girls wanted to swoon over vampire novels, they ought to give Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris a try.
Hi - I just wanted to say I really liked your review of Percival Everett's 'Wounded'. I have just bought this book today, and came on here to see if there were any reviews of it. I'm really looking forward to reading it after your review. I haven't read any others of his books, but if I enjoy this as much as you did, I will definitely be getting more of his work.
Hi Quill...Just wanted to state for the record how much I enjoy your reviews. You clearly have a great sense of humor, and I love your take on things...What mystery book would you recommend to someone who's not all that familiar with the genre? In other words, what's a "starter" mystery book? I've read some Josephine Tey (Daugher of Time, Miss Pym Disposes) and liked them...have you read any of Kate Atkinson's books? I've been loving her latest series: Case Histories, One Good Turn and When Will There Be Good News? (waiting for this last one to come out in paperback). They're crime-genre mysteries, but just a little different, set in England and Scotland. Happy reading!
Hiya! Just thought I'd drop by and say I loved your review of "The Story of the Little Mole..." by Werner Holzwarth. Glad to see I'm not the only immature adult out there. :D
Hi, Valerie!
Sorry it has been so long, but I want to wish you a very happy New Year! I've been lazy. I need to add some more books to my library. I'm still trying to plow through this massive biography of Jane Goodall. She's a hero of mine!
Have a wonderful 2009! Have fun!
LOVE LOVE LOVE your review for Farewell to Arms. Perhaps I should go hunt down more of your reviews to amuse me on a slow day at work.
Ha!! I just finished reading and reviewing "The Alchemist" by Coelho and I came across your review. Very nice!! I can't figure out what the big deal is either. I was so bored by it.
Anyway, I got a nice chuckle from your review and I nodded in a agreement more than once. Looks like I will be dodging pitchforks too. :-)
I totally agree with your review of "The Alchemist"! I've found lots of books inspirational, but this wasn't one of them!! :)
Pi was one of my very very rare did not finishes. I thought it was daft as a brush. I'll look for the Original and give that a go WHEN I GO AWAY FOR TWO WEEKS AT THE END OF THIS MONTH!

Sorry - was I bragging? I think I was. I'm just very excited. About the GOING AWAY FOR TWO WEEKS AT THE END OF THIS MONTH! thing.
How did you feel about The Life of Pi? (If it's not a rude question...)
Just read your review of The Alchemist. At last, I'm not alone! I've been feeling like the child seeing through the emperor's new clothes all these years...
Am off for a snoop round your library now to see what else we agree on ;)
I just read that you're from Mississippi, but you don't list Faulkner as a favorite author. Of course, that must mean you hate Faulkner. It's okay. I think most people do. :)
I'd like to say that my icon is from my wild college days, but it's actually Mexican wrestling legend and schlock movie star, Mil Marcaras. Man of a Thousand Masks. :)
I haven't listed any new books in a while.
It's great to hear from you.
I wouldn't worry about it yet, all the holidays delayed shipping, so the books from the December batch are just starting to trickle in now... I'm betting it hasn't arrived yet.

Honestly I couldn't tell you, 'cause I haven't read 'em yet; the only reason I bought them is 'cause I spotted them at the local Salvation Army Store and happened to have a couple of bucks that weren't needed for something else....

Yes, I am a book-hoarder. *Hangs head in affected shame*

As for The Godfather -- maybe I'm a philistine, but I actually prefer the first two movies to the book. (Mmm-boy, am I ever glad that Francis Ford Coppola 86'ed the extra Johnny Fontaine and floozy Hollywood starlet crap that's in the book...)
Maybe my being here will cause me to read a book or 3 that have some substance ;)
Do all of my "Cat in the Hat" books count??? huggs :D
It just blew my mind when I saw that you have George Stewart's Ordeal By Hunger. You have to understand that about ten years ago I went through a period when I was obsessed with the Donner party. I even started a screenplay on the subject that never materialized. I guess one day when I have an hour or two to spare I'll have to check out your entire collection.
I find myself getting irritated by the open space on the shelf where the book is supposed to be while it is on loan. It's like a gap-toothed grin reminding me that somebody is probably getting crumbs between the pages of one of my favorites.
To my knowlege, I have never "liberated" a book, though I have talked my mom and grandma out of lots of theirs :) But have you ever seen a treasure where it's not appreciated and wanted to liberate it? A woman I knew had a collection of Gene Stratton Porter books, first editions. When she died she left them to the family which cleaned for her. They didn't read or appreciate books. It broke my heart. My hope was that the family would at least sell them so someone could appreciate them. Sigh. I didn't have the guts to make an offer.

Why did I bring that up? I guess the train of thought of people borrowing books and not returning them got me thinking. I think most people have good intentions of getting around to reading our borrowed books, but never do, then they get buried, shelved or shoved under the couch until forgotten. I always read my borrowed books first so I can return them fast before they get lost.
I don't know what the Barbara Cartland discussion was about, but it brought back memories. I read romance novels for about one year in high school, discovered much the same thing as Winnowill described and haven't read one since. Welll, maybe some if the author had an excellent reputation for historical accuracy. Anyway, we have a lot of books in common and I'm only listing those I've read in the last two years, not done yet.
I have loaned/lost several of my favorite books in my lifetime, but they have a way of finding me again, if not the same copy, at least the same book. I like to think of collecting as a series of blessings. Each treasure I find at a tag sale or library sale or used book store is just another friend to enjoy. I like to loan my books to friends, but I do keep track of where they are, and I'm not afraid to ask for them back. Not even from my mom :)
I'm surprised to see Robert A Heinlein on your list. I was going to suggest Time Enough For Love but it seems you've already read it.
i feel your pain. i am also an obsessive-compulsive dear who has a hard time lending out her books. i would almost rather go out and buy the person a copy of the book than part with mine!!! so no, you aren't a bad person; you are just good to your books. :) i also fear that i will never own or even read all the books i want before my time here is over!!! good luck with your mission!
Thank you for your comment. I have been reading Burke for some time. I have all his robicheaux novels. Have you tried british(Scottish) author Ian Rankin? He also is first class and has been gaining in popularity in the USA for some time.
Cute pic! I scanned your library. You have some great books!
I'm always amused by Cartland. Every single story has the same basic plot and characters:

Innocent, but earnest (and, of course, beautiful - but of the English Rose variety with enormous eyes), young girl of good family who is not afraid to tell it like it is. Girl's name always ends with the letter "a". And as far as I can tell, Cartland never used the same name twice so they tend to be fairly unusual names.
Experienced, bored nobleman, generally a womanizer (but of beautiful, exotic women, not English Roses) whose experience of innocent young girls is minimal at best, but who is Essentially A Good Person.

Random other characters:
Girl's parents (sometimes deceased), who lived their lives together in an ecstasy of love and devotion.
Man's family - generally dissolute rakes who cause mayhem to girl and man (who is often marked for death so that the rake can inherit the estate and pay his creditors).

One of the main characters is poor (or otherwise disadvantaged), and one is wealthy.

They are thrown together for unlikely reasons, where the girl refreshingly tells the nobleman exactly what she thinks (often from horseback). He thinks she's unlike any woman he's ever known and, despite all his worldly experience, falls madly in love with her. She, on the other hand, thinks he's everything she despises, until she realizes that that's only his facade and that he is Essentially A Good Person. To her very great surprise, she discovers that she's in love with him. But it usually takes till the very end of the book for them to reveal their love to each other.

And then they live Happily Ever After.
What, you think? ;-)

Although, when you see the plethora of Barbara Cartland opera I just added, you may run away in fear.
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