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Sibyx unwinds for a third time

75 Books Challenge for 2010

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Edited: Aug 20, 2010, 11:16pm Top

Thread one: here
Thread two:here

I'll probably tinker with this but here are my favorites so far this year:
Best Fiction:
William Maxwell So Long, See You Tomorrow ****1/2 see #44
Nancy Clark July and August ***** see>69
Michelle de Kretzer The Lost Dog ****
Barbara Comyns The Skin Chairs >105 ****1/2
Rachel Ferguson The Brontes Went to Woolworths >130 ****1/2
John Cowper Powys Wolf Solent F see>142
3/17-4/17 ****1/2
Josephine Tey Brat Farrar ****1/2 Wow! What fun!
Lev Grossman The Magicians Fantasy see > 49 ****
George R. Stewart Earth Abides see >79 sf *****
Tana French The Likeness see>132 ****
M.E. Braddon Lady Audley's Secret see> 160 ****
Sherri S. Tepper The Gate to Women's Country SF

Best Non-fiction:
Christopher McDougall Born to Run >121 NF *****
Malcolm Gladwell Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
see > 124 NF *****
Henry Adams The Education of Henry Adams group read/Memoir begun History ***** see thread here
Wallace Stegner Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs writing/West -- group read, see thread here****
E.M. Forster Aspects of the Novel see >114 *****

The Count Continues
45. Louise Penny Still Life
46. Judy Oppenheimer Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson see>31 ****
47. Carol Berg Revelation Fantasy micro review> 40 ****
48. Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House
49. Rose Tremain Music and Silence novel
50. Merrill Markoe Walking in Circles Before Lying Down
51. Scott Westerfeld Uglies YA ***1/2
52. Scott Westerfeld Pretties ***1/2
53. Scott Westerfeld Specials
54. Scott Westerfeld Extras
55. Dorothy Canfield Fisher Vermont Tradition ***** memoir/history
56. Doris Lessing Time Bites lit. essays ****
57. Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale F-fem. dystopic ****1/2

Wendell Berry The Country of Marriage poetry
Virgil The Aeneid begun 6.22 Group read
Alastair Reynolds Redemption Ark sf

Jul 1, 2010, 1:38pm Top


Jul 1, 2010, 2:59pm Top

Found you.

Jul 1, 2010, 4:25pm Top

Ah HA! Found, starred, and waiting for more!

Jul 1, 2010, 4:28pm Top


Jul 1, 2010, 5:35pm Top

Tracked you down once again, Lucy!

Jul 1, 2010, 6:32pm Top

Goodness, a new thread already! Have you starred.

Jul 1, 2010, 7:11pm Top

I've been cheating and posting on people's threads after they make new ones so I don't have to read the old ones. So, here I am... Hello! :)

Jul 1, 2010, 9:02pm Top

Hey, Lucy, you can move but you can't hide (especially when you leave a forwarding address). I am feeling in much sympathy with you at the moment. Despite having dispersed about 40 boxes worth of stuff from my 2 school offices, I am still bringing about 25 boxes home with me, and where I am going to put THEM I have no idea.

Jul 2, 2010, 8:31am Top

Just to whet your Louise Penny appetites -- my b-i-l's sister runs a sort of vineyard/mini-chateau/hotelish party place extravaganza in Sutton. Google *Henrietta Antony* or *Chapelle St. Agnes* You can all stay there, and maybe the sublime Louise will come and read to us in one of these grand rooms.

>9 ronincats: Thank you so much for your sympathy. Having spent two days in a tidy orderly house, I am feeling much calmer.

Jul 2, 2010, 8:36am Top

#10: That is cruel, Lucy, just cruel, when you know I live down here in Texas!

Jul 2, 2010, 10:04am Top

oh my......Do I have other things to do today? I can spend hours and hours online visiting hotels, mini-chateaux, etc. Thanks a lot, Lucy.
Happy to know you're revitalized & calm!

Jul 2, 2010, 3:44pm Top

Glad you had a good break and are feeling calmer. I haven't yet started reading Louise Penny - I have a copy of Still Life waiting near the top of my TBR pile and hope to get to it this month, so then I shall see what all the fuss is about, and will no doubt want to join the trip to stay in Sutton!

Jul 4, 2010, 8:58am Top

Found you again Lucy!

#10 Sadly I don't think our holiday budget stretches to Canada from the UK but I so want to go!

Edited: Jul 4, 2010, 10:11am Top

So I finished Still Life -- many many wonderful insights and 'moments'. My favorite character is Agent Nichols -- and I was glad that she wasn't resolved in any way and will be back surely in all her obnoxious glory. I just loved it when she looks in the mirror and doesn't get what 'You're looking at the problem," means!

"Living our lives was like living in a long house. We entered as babies at one end, and we exited when our time came. And in between we moved through this one, great long room. Everyone we ever met, and every thought and action lived in that room with us.: Nice.

It is wonderful too how Armand himself is still largely an opaque character. Lots to look forward to!

Sorry to torture you all -- I couldn't help myself. We probably really could foment a book weekend at Henrietta's micro-chateau but, on the other hand, I would have to organize it and I've sworn off doing that kind of thing.

Jul 4, 2010, 10:25am Top

Yaay ... another passenger on the Three Pines bus.

I thought Agent Nichols was just so clueless and obnoxious. I wanted to strangle her a few times, and Gamache was so kind and patient with her. That part of her looking at the mirror was indeed classic!

You're going to really enjoy the others in the series.

Jul 4, 2010, 12:15pm Top

Hi Lucy,

Glad you enjoyed Still Life. I first heard about it here on LT and loved it. I have A Fatal Grace on my shelves and am looking forward to reading it soon.

Happy 4th!


Jul 4, 2010, 2:53pm Top

I think you've convinced me that Still Life needs to come right to the top of the pile - I've been unsure what to read next but your positive review on top of everyone else's makes me not want to delay any longer!

Jul 4, 2010, 3:40pm Top

>15 sibyx:: If Agent Nichols is your favorite...definitely keep reading few more! :-)

For some reason which I can't quite identify, Lacoste is my favorite of the police...though Ruth is my favorite character by far.

Jul 4, 2010, 8:47pm Top

I do expect Nichol will continue to entertain. And how could one not be intrigued by Ruth? Lacoste seems good at her work, a real grown-up, but with some fears and potential, so I will look forward to learning more about her -- about all of them!!!!

A tid-bit from the Shirley Jackson bio: her husband Stanley Hyman did not like cats at all. But neither was he at all involved in household matters, not the sort of person who noticed much of anything unless, say, the cat peed on his trouser leg. Anyhow, Shirley LOVED cats, had to have LOTS of them. She solved the dilemma by having cats of only one color, all black or all gray. So ole Stanley didn't ever realize how many of 'em there really were (like nine gray ones at one point)! Delicious.

Jul 4, 2010, 8:48pm Top

A bulletin. The spouse is lying on the sofa reading Still Life. Guess who won't be getting to bed until late?

Jul 4, 2010, 10:39pm Top

>20 sibyx: I always knew that SJ was a smart woman. That entirely works!!!

Jul 4, 2010, 11:54pm Top

Woot! That Three Pines bus just keeps getting fuller and fuller :)

Jul 5, 2010, 3:21am Top

I love that thing about the cats. I live with five of them. Fortunately my husband is a cat person too.

Jul 5, 2010, 3:22am Top

AND...I Must read Louise Penny!

Jul 5, 2010, 3:31am Top

#25: Yes, you must!

Jul 5, 2010, 3:45am Top

Thank you, Stasis, Will do!

Jul 5, 2010, 3:58am Top

#27: Do yourself a favor and read them in order, Jillian. They are definitely best read that way.

Jul 6, 2010, 6:13pm Top

I've finished the Shirley Jackson biography Private Demons by Judy Oppenheimer. Now, of course, I am dying to read her novels. I have only read one book of short stories that included The Lottery...... and even that I should reread. What an unusual woman she was: a person of massive contradictions. She evoked too, for me, as I am in my 50's the generation, freeing itself completely from 19th century notions and gentility, plunging with a kind of no-holds-barred into everything from writing to partying to parenting...... I feel my parents lived at the tail end of that epoch, my father was an academic too, and I was brought up a bit in that same helter-skelter environment. Only my mother was not a genius!

I will come back later to do this book justice but the librarian just turned the lights off and I mun go home and scratch up some dinner.

Jul 7, 2010, 3:33am Top

#29: I will look for that biography. Thanks for the recommendation, Lucy!

Jul 7, 2010, 3:08pm Top

This is my official Jackson thingie, I can't quite call it a review as I have not tried to tidy it up neatly:

For some reason as I read Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson by Judy Oppenheimer I found myself thinking again and again of Persephone who was wife of Hades half the year: wise and removed and occult and strange and the other half the year the cheerful sunny daughter of Demeter, bringing spring and joy in her wake as she emerges from the dark depths. -- Oppenheimer makes the point again and again that Shirley Jackson was BOTH. While one could argue or speculate that Shirley had more than two sides, two are most prevalent in her written work: the cheerful and capable mother of Life Among the Savages a slightly darker version of Please Don’t Eat the Daisies and, of course, the writer of scary chilling stories like ‘The Lottery’. I am always leery of the wounded artist archetype, certainly it is not requirement to be tormented and odd and different, and I found Oppenheimer was careful not to fall into that trap either. It is made evident from the very earliest days of Shirley’s existence that she was different; her mother may not have been ready for motherhood, may have treated her less than ideally, but Shirley was unusual from the get-go. Her life really begins when she meets Stanley Hyman at Syracuse when she is around twenty. He immediately sees her writing talent and their entire marriage despite being what I can only call a first class mcp in most ways, he encouraged her career more strongly than anyone. I’ve always thought that Hades must have had something to offer Persephone, and the marriage of Shirley and Stanley illustrates that vividly. He rescues her from her overbearing mother, and while he is himself overbearing he also gives her her wings, her freedom to explore her creative and individual self, once she has made the coffee, of course.
The end of Jackson’s life is very moving: she is obese, addicted to amphetamines and tranquilizers, develops severe writer’s block and becomes agoraphobic but valiantly works to overcome at least the last two afflictions. At 48 she dies, probably of heart failure while napping. Oppenheimer succeeds in portraying Jackson with dignity and respect at all times, avoids sensationalizing her quirks (such as a deep interest in witchcraft).

Shirley on adolescents: “You can drive them out of the room with any kind of cross word or personal remark-like why don’t you pick up your room and get a little peace to write in.” heh heh

I found a copy of The Haunting of Hill House at our little library in the J section (there is no proper YA section) and said I though it might not really be the right place for it..... I don't usually read creepy but I can't resist. Understanding more about what motivated Jackson to explore 'the dark side' has me interested.

Jul 7, 2010, 5:27pm Top

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Jackson. What an over-the-top crazywoman--although like you said, that was only one side of her. The fact that she could "write funny" in the mode of Erma Bombeck was a surprise to me. This is one of my favorite biographies, maybe largely because Judy Oppenheimer always respected her and yet never let her off the hook.

My original reason for reading this book was to see if I could learn more about Shirley's literary agent, Bernice Baumgarten. Bernice worked for the Brandt & Brandt agency in New York, and was probably the savviest agent around when it came to selling her clients' work--this with nothing more than training as a stenographer. She was brilliant with contracts. Bernice wanted Shirely to give the public more of her, but Shirley wouldn't do it. My notes say that her reply to a request to be on a panel to discuss the tragedy of alcoholism she turned down at once, saying "I am rather more in favor of alcoholism than against it." It's a hilarious line, but alcohol certainly was one of her life's tragedies.

I don't give Shirley's mother, Geraldine, quite the pass that you do, Sib, probably because of the echoes in my head of a mother capable of fracturingly cruel remarks, like Geraldine. Here Shirley was on the cover of Time when they reviewed We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and her mother was upset by Shirley's weight gain: "I do not know if the book review is good or not--I have been so sad all morning about what you have allowed yourself to look like."

I like your last remark, and once I get some of my books off my desk, I also want to read The Haunting of Hill House. Anywho, it's a great biog.

Jul 7, 2010, 9:30pm Top

It's good you noted that -- I did not mean to be so kind to Geraldine -- it's astounding to me that Shirley kept on trying to please her. I really didn't mean to let her off the hook! The thing with the cover of Time was shockingly inexcusable!

Jul 7, 2010, 9:40pm Top

No, you were being nice about someone's mother, and that's OK. I understand Shirley's efforts to keep pleasing her. It's something like Stockholm Syndrome.

Jul 7, 2010, 11:30pm Top

I have to tell you both that The Haunting of Hill House still scares my socks off every single time I read it. Hoooo-eeeeeeee!
The biography sounds like something I'll want at some point.

Jul 8, 2010, 12:10am Top

Please post your excellent review so that it can receive well deserved accolades!

I saw the movie The Haunting of Hill House but never read the book.

Jul 8, 2010, 2:36am Top

Great review, Lucy. And yes, please post it. I am now on the hunt for Shirley Jackson.

Edited: Jul 8, 2010, 7:27am Top

Since we're discussing Jackson here--many people may know this, but some may not. Library of America just came out with a nice edition of Jackson's novels and stories: Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories. The book's editor is Joyce Carol Oates.

There's an article written by Oates posted by The New York Review of Books: "The Witchcraft of Shirley Jackson," which is a review of We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The link to the article is here.

Here's a podcast (voice only) of an interview with Oates talking about Jackson's writing. The link is here.

And finally, here's a Library of America interview with Oates.

Jul 8, 2010, 12:21pm Top

Lucy, I am still sobbing in my beer over your Sutton trip, and the inability I have to strap my aunt to the roof of the car and head north to stalk Louise "Perfidious" Penny.

Edited: Jul 8, 2010, 4:04pm Top

Well gosh, flattery will get me every time. Will do.

And thank you Becky -- all of this is great stuff!

I haven't been to Sutton lately, (I was in Montreal chez ma soeur) but I will be lurking in the town green next time I get up there.

BTW I am finished with numero due in the Carol Berg trilogy, Revelation and am happy to say that it was very good -- a 4 tentatively.... I don't think I need to review it, but it has the fantasy qualities I look for, originality, decent characters and interactions, etcetera.

I was hemming and hawing between the Sebald Rings of Saturn and a book of Doris Lessing's essays, Time Bites which has been languishing FOREVER on my shelves and have decided to go for the latter. So on with the parade. It is truly too hot here to do anything but read.
We're still out in the tent -- but there are storms around so that may end ce soir.

Why the French? Don't know.

Jul 8, 2010, 6:23pm Top

#31. What does mcp stand for please? Racking my brain to work it out.

Jul 8, 2010, 7:28pm Top

Sibyx might not be back tonight, due to internet access, so I'll post an answer. MCP is "male chauvinist pig."

Jul 9, 2010, 1:34am Top

Of course!!!! Thanks!!!

Edited: Jul 9, 2010, 10:51am Top

I wasn't back, so thank you -- My internet at home isn't all tat bad, but it IS complicated. Only our 'old' (ha) apple will work with our system which, being 'off the grid' is a wireless telephone connection plus antenna and various doo-dads.... my 'new' mac is too 'advanced' to be compatible with all this 'old' technology...... (we're talking way less than a decade, here folks). If this stuff is old what does that make me? ANYWAY I like to write reviews and book notes on my Mac but then I can't transfer them -- I have to wait to post that sort of thing until I am at a library or cafe or a friend's house for now.... So I can post any old thing as I am doing now. I spent a long time on LT late yest aft and didn't get back last night, we watched an Inspector Lynley -- from the BBC MYSTERY series, the first one, to see if we would like it and we did!

Rained a tiny bit last night but enough so I had to catapult out of the tent into the house to close windows in the middle of the night. As soon as I finished it stopped of course. But more 'real' storms are predicted for later today. Fine with me. There is a great breeze today, makes all the diff.

So since I am chattering away I will say that I made a good start in both of my latest books yesterday -- my goodness Doris Lessing is a sharp one. So far the essays, on Austen, Woolf, Lawrence et al are all from a pov crisply corrective and feminist : e.g. that Austen's protagonists (Eliz in particular) were remarkably outspoken and advanced. Taking walks by yourself was unthinkable for a young woman of 'good station', turning down a rich man was equally incomprehensible and so on. She focusses on Lawrence's weirdness and contradictions -- that he somehow transcends the 'normal', and that Woolf was nastier and more fun than people who revere her want to acknowledge. Good writing, good fun. My biggest concern reading these sorts of essays is what additions I will feel obliged to make to my reading lists.... The Haunting of Hill House so far is a gem -- such smooth and sure writing, such flights, such flashes of humor, and such setting of the scene for just how creepy the place is. Even though this is not a genre I have much use for generally, I think her writing will pull me along kicking and screaming but unable to stop myself.

Jul 9, 2010, 1:14pm Top

Virginia Woolf--nastier, funnier, simply wonderful. I so love that woman. What a face that woman had--at every age of her life. I have every volume of her journals plus every volume of her letters. What is hugely amusing is to read them together--letters and journals written at the same time.

How much courage would it take, anyway, to put rocks in your pockets and walk into the river? The war was on, she could feel herself going crazy again, and she was worried about her family trying to take care of her with all the added complications of the war. So she fixed it for them. Wow.

My favorite biography of her is the one by Hermione Lee, published in 1997. My favorite essay of hers is the one where she is so disgusted because they won't let her into the library because she's female--which one was that? I'd have to look it up.

OK, so you made me look it up. A Room of One's Own: "here I was actually at the door which leads into the library itself. I must have opened it, for instantly there issued, like a guardian angel barring the way with a flutter of black gown instead of white wings, a deprecating, silvery, kindly gentleman, who regretted in a low voice as he waved me back that ladies are only admitted to the library if accompanied by a Fellow of the College or furnished with a letter of introduction."

That was in 1929, by the way.

Jul 9, 2010, 7:11pm Top

Becky, you're the first person that I've ever met who also read the VW letters and diaries together (I think) although I've mentioned the pleasure many places. I might have known that I'd find you here! And I have to get back to Lessing - I've read only some of her fiction. *HofHH* is terrifyingly right. Read it during the day, and don't chase after little animals in the brush, Lucy!

Edited: Jul 9, 2010, 7:33pm Top

so much to respond to plus my own agenda, where to begin.
First of all -- I too have read journals and letters simultaneously and also apart and I have them all and I agree that Hermione Lee is the best biographer so far and I liked that essay too -- she was so right and so indignant. I went to boarding school and it was a campus where boys were on one side of the street and girls on the other and the only decent library when I got there was on the boys side and this one old fart was incensed the year I got there because it had been decided that girls would be permitted to use the library -- to get books, not to hang about -- and of course we met boys there and he would lie in wait for us and rant and rave..... oh my.

Now dinner is ready and you will have to wait for the rest of my agenda! I'm sure you are going to be hanging off the edge of your seats.

Jul 9, 2010, 7:56pm Top

Of course--hanging on to the edge of my agenda--er, seat. Hi Sib!--Hi Peggy!

Jul 9, 2010, 9:23pm Top

>44 sibyx:: The inspector Lynley dramatizations are excellent! We were hooked on them when they aired on PBS. I believe most can be viewed instantly on Netflix now, although I realize your off-the-grid connectivity may not allow it! The series is based on books by Elizabeth George. My husband just checked one out of the library yesterday to see how he liked them vs. the TV series.

Jul 9, 2010, 9:45pm Top

What a nice coincidence! And we liked it a lot -- I guess it was the pilot. And yup, instant viewing is out for the nonce.

So on to whatever I had in mind I so badly needed to say. Oh yes, Two more Lessing essays today (I'm not going to review Time Bites I'll just mention the essays as I read them). One on Tolstoy and one on Christina Stead. It's kind of refreshing to read Lessing, she is such a firm and confident feminist, makes you sit up and pay attention -- she really really really loathes Tolstoy the man for his treatment of Sonya -- a selfish inconsiderate hypocrite sexually -- she does go off into a flight of fancy about it, but I doubt she was off the mark. I've often thought the main reason men in the past were so dismissive of women is that that once they were sexually active they were either menstruating, pregnant, with a newborn (or large brood) or depressed or dead. Didn't leave a lot of time or energy to do anything else. The essay on Stead celebrates The Man Who Loved Children which is one of my top ten (which has more than ten books, but who cares?) -- the exuberance of language.

And Shirley Jackson! Takes my breath away! I know it is going to get scary but she's got me hook line and sinker.....

Great gush of wind and the rain has come..... let us hope the temperature drops ....

Jul 10, 2010, 12:48am Top

#49. I think that the Lynley books are better than the TV series. (In particular the earlier ones - recommended to read them in order) I had read the books before watching the programme, and I didn't think that the characters looked the way that I had them pictured in my head, but I still thought that the TV series was good.

Jul 10, 2010, 11:02am Top

>51 Lidbud: Exactly my reaction to books and series, Lidbud!
Lucy, I've read *HofHH* several times from the first when I didn't get any of the psychology to sometime within the past 10 years when (ahem) I did.
I need you to tell me whether The Man Who Loved Children is better than For Love Alone. You may recall that I read that one earlier this year and pretty much loathed it. We may have had this conversation; I don't remember. I'm pretty sure that I reviewed it with no pleasure at all...off to find out.

Edited: Jul 10, 2010, 11:26pm Top

First off -- does anyone know what is going on with the touchstones??? Mine are so screwed up, very annoying.

I was blown away by The Man Who Loved Children. In a way the most important thing in it is just this rapturous love affair with language although the crazy Pollitt family is not dull either. When I read it, I'd never encountered anything like it before, not by a woman. So muscly and confident and sort of blaring. Woolf plays around but for all the intensity it isn't 'in your face' the way this book is.

Trompe l'oeil is what comes to mind when you read the last few pages of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. You've been seeing and hearing and taking things one way only to discover it's not what you thought..... although deep down you realize you did know it....
Dr. Montague, who studies the paranormal, invites three people to spend a few weeks with him in the supposedly haunted Hill House of the title. The other man is the heir, the two women are 'sensitive,' -- one a telepath and the other having witnessed poltergeist activity as a child. They arrive and settle in and stuff begins to happen. The house itself was built to throw a person off-balance, tragic things have happened in it, but what the novel is about is the way people say one thing, mean another, affect each other in expected and unexpected ways, and, as a group create a certain atmosphere or expectation, an 'interior' of another kind, what we would call a group dynamic. The characters aren't really all that 'round' -- except maybe for Eleanor, who is both wise and childish, but they all do unexpected things, Luke the heir is braver than he looks, the Doctor could easily have come off as a fool, but he isn't one, although his wife is. All four share some kind of openness or willingness to experience the unknown.
Of all the many details, the worst are a horrible book put together by the man who built the house for his daughter full of shocking frightening pictures of hell and damnation and exhortations calculated to terrify a child into obedience and a huge sculpture in white marble of this same man with his loving daughters. There is nothing shocking or grisly or titillating, as we are become accustomed to -- the story is more an exploration of the power of imagination -- that what we think we are seeing is what we are going to see. What was amazing to me was how funny, right up to the very end, how very very wickedly funny and penetrating about how silly people are, how they deceive and delude themselves. I could write a thesis on it, always the sign of a great book! I give it a ***** for being a gem, true to itself from beginning to end.

Jul 10, 2010, 6:59pm Top

That sounds interesting. I like the idea of literary trompe l'oeil. I've never read any Shirley Jackson - hadn't heard of her until being on LT, but she keeps cropping up so I think I'd better look out for something of hers soon...

Jul 10, 2010, 7:12pm Top

Excellent review (again) Lucy. That sounds like a very good book. I also have to confess to never having heard of Jackson, but that is one of the great things about LT - new wonders are revealed all the time. I am currently on the lookout for this book as well as We have always lived in the Castle. Please post your review, I really want to give it the thumbs up.

Jul 10, 2010, 7:36pm Top

Lucy, thanks for your comments on The Man who Loved Children. An esteemed LT member gave this to me as a gift last Christmas -- I had not heard of it before -- and the more I learn about it, the more I am looking forward to reading it. I have it on tap for the fall.

Jul 11, 2010, 12:03am Top

Shirley Jackson's other work is outside the 'canon' -- heaven knows why -- in a way it is a curse to write a story like 'The Lottery' -- I never realized that she had written several novels although I did know about Castle.

Save the Stead for a time when you can immerse yourself! It took me more than forty or fifty pages before I got the hang of it, it is definitely the Pynchon, Joyce, type of read -- you have to give in and just go for the ride..... (mashed metaphors abounding here, sorry)

Jul 11, 2010, 8:55am Top

>57 sibyx:: oh wow, that's good to know.

Jul 11, 2010, 9:00am Top

Great review of The Haunting of Hill House, Lucy. I'll have to move this up my TBR list.

Jul 11, 2010, 11:28am Top

I *love* The Haunting of Hill House. Still shudder when I think of the repeated line, "Journeys end in lovers meeting." So creepy. If you haven't, you should check out the old (late 50's? early 60's?) movie version: hands down the scariest movie I've ever seen, and for reasons that are true to the book - nothing ever *really* happens, but you're constantly on edge waiting for it to. Many of the camera shots are amazing in this capacity.

Jul 11, 2010, 1:46pm Top

I can't believe I haven't read all of Jackson's books. But I know a treat awaits me. One of the things I want to do one of these days is make a list of all the writers/books I've learned about and read since joining LT. It's a significant percentage.... and I thought I had read everything. I've been relieved of that delusion!

Jul 11, 2010, 1:58pm Top

Lucy, what a wonderful review of The Haunting of Hill House. Sounds like something that will keep me on edge while I'm reading it. Off to the obese wish list it goes!

Jul 11, 2010, 9:06pm Top

>60 scaifea: I think it was 1963 or so. *shudder* I watched it once on Halloween at a library program when I was 16, and it was the first and last horror movie of my life. The last several minutes were spent with my head between my legs and my arms over my head trying to drown out the noise.

Excellent review, Lucy, but I still think I'll pass it up for now. :)

Jul 12, 2010, 12:23pm Top

Very good review, Lucy. However, I, too, can be counted among those who stay away from Jackson due to a story that stayed with me and not in a good way - and no, it was not The Lottery (it was another story in the same book). I've never been able to shake it and for that reason have never had the least desire to read anything else of hers.

Edited: Jul 12, 2010, 10:34pm Top

I probably won't ever see the movie -- I am very vulnerable to visual images, plus I am sure a director will have an 'interpretation' which is just what *Hill House* doesn't need -- there's no way a movie can capture the subtleties and weirdness of it -- not the least of which being how funny the book is, in this 'off' kind of way, right up to the end....

Whoops, i'm returning to mention that I am now reading Rose Tremain's Music and Silence as ordered by Mme LizzieD. I can tell I'm going to love it.

Jul 15, 2010, 7:17am Top

#65: I read Music and Silence recently and loved it. I hope you do too, Lucy!

Jul 15, 2010, 6:49pm Top

#65 Hope Music and Silence continues good for you - I too loved it when I read it, c 2007.

Jul 15, 2010, 6:54pm Top

Music and Silence just arrived in the mail today:) And thanks for your very tempting review of The Haunting of Hill House which is inching it's way up the wishlist.

Jul 15, 2010, 10:17pm Top

Lucy...I'm nearing the end of When China Ruled the Seas so I've stopped reading. You know why.

Jul 15, 2010, 11:53pm Top

Oh, Music and Silence is a real winner!

Jul 17, 2010, 9:51am Top

Oh, Richard, I feel for you -- it was fascinating, no? I am so happy I was able to bring something happy into your presently overwhelming life.

M and S is simply wonderful, gorgeous.

Jul 17, 2010, 9:53am Top

#71: Glad to see that you are still liking Music and Silence, Lucy!

Jul 17, 2010, 12:54pm Top

I've never read anything by Rose Tremain. Is this the book to start?

Jul 17, 2010, 1:00pm Top

#73: Tad, I had never read anything by Tremain until Music and Silence either, so I would think you could start with it.

Jul 17, 2010, 1:55pm Top

74> I'd agree with that. I also enjoyed Restoration, but The Way I Found Her reminded me of the earlier (and ickier) Ian McEwan. I have two others, The Road Home and The Colour, in my TBR stacks.

Jul 17, 2010, 3:58pm Top

I was about to say that any Rose Tremain is a good Rose Tremain. I haven't read The Way I Found Her though, so Deborah may be right about it. On the other hand, The Road Home is maybe my book of the last decade, and The Colour is also very good. (If anybody else had written *TC* I'd probably think that it was magnificent!) So, Tad, I'd say "Start with what you can get!"

Edited: Jul 17, 2010, 5:58pm Top

Looks like you are getting some good reading in! Hope the settling in is going as well.

Jul 17, 2010, 6:47pm Top

Music and Silence was where I started, then went on to The Colour and The Road Home - loved all of them, the first and last a bit more than the middle one. I must look out more of hers, eg Restoration, and I see she's written short stories as well...

Lucy, so glad you are continuing to enjoy M&S.

Jul 18, 2010, 3:59pm Top

M&S just gets better and better, you are in for a treat Tad. All of the characters are well-rounded and ring true. The King is magnificently kingly and human simultaneously, which is a feat of characterization. The musicians playing in the basement with the chickens.....no doubt a true detail, one of the quirky indulgences of the aristocracy....., Johan's mosquito bites, The Dowager Queen's miserliness, and I could go on and on. Such riches of detail. And it feels 'period' without being stiff. Another feat.

Now I said I would make a list of all the authors I've read since joining LT who I had either never heard of or never considered reading. So my next post, in a little bit, will be on that.

Jul 18, 2010, 4:02pm Top

Yippee! Looking forward to it - and glad to have you back in a more regular way, I hope!

Jul 18, 2010, 4:18pm Top

Lucy, you've definitely convinced me I have to read Music and Silence. I haven't read anything yet by Rose Tremain.

I'm also looking forward to your list of LT-inspired reads.

Hope you're happily settled in.

Jul 18, 2010, 4:32pm Top

Okay so here it is:

Out of 48 books so far an astounding number, 15 are 'new' to me, either authors I knew about but had not 'gotten around to' (including one book that was on my TBR shelf for 25 years) -- my pathetic math skills put it around, could it be?, 30 %?????? Most of them were at least **** if not ***** star reads. Not all, but most. I'm not listing the books titles, too labor-intensive and they are listed at the top of my threads.......


1.Michelle de Kretzer
2.Rachel Ferguson
3.Muriel Barbery
4.George R. Stewart
5.Tana French
6.M.E. Braddon
7.Louise Penny
8.Judy Oppenheimer -- for a good bio of Shirley Jackson

MOSTLY FIRST READ OF AUTHOR I'VE KNOWN ABOUT FOR YEARS -- one or two are 'second' reads, particular books that were highly recommended. Will note that with a '2nd'

9.Nick Hornby
10.Alice Hoffman
11.Henry Adams (25 years on TBR shelf)
12.Josephine Tey
13.Rose Tremain
14.Sherri S. Tepper (2nd)
15.Shirley Jackson (2nd --first novel)

Jul 18, 2010, 4:41pm Top

Shoot! Now I'm inspired to do this too, but NOT NOW. NOW, I'm going to sit down and read a book!
(I am also trying very hard not to investigate Michelle de Kretzer, Muriel Barbery or Nick Hornby right now. Later....Later....)

Jul 19, 2010, 12:53am Top

#82: I do not even want to attempt a list like that. It would be far too lengthy!

Jul 19, 2010, 2:47am Top

Me neither.

Jul 19, 2010, 2:56am Top

great idea for a list. How I wish I had the time right now to do this.

Jul 19, 2010, 7:34am Top

Great idea! I think I'll make my own list later this week.

Jul 19, 2010, 9:19am Top

What an interesting idea for a list! I might try that later this week during one of my bouts of procrastination... all right, let's be honest, it's MONDAY, so I'll probably try it today...!

Jul 19, 2010, 1:01pm Top

You can just do this year? I am lucky since I have only belonged to LT for six months...... unlucky in all other ways of course for all I have missed out on!

Jul 19, 2010, 1:06pm Top

I would feel compelled to go back all the way since I joined LT - four years ago. That list would be extremely lengthy, so it is a good thing I do not feel compelled :)

Jul 19, 2010, 3:04pm Top

Seconding (thirding, fourthing, fifthing?) everyone else's 'great idea'! I am way overdue posting what I've been reading on my thread so I might as well add this to the list!

How many people are going to have Louise Penny on their list I wonder? (And why doesn't her touchstone work?)

Jul 19, 2010, 5:07pm Top

>91 souloftherose: How many people are going to have Louise Penny on their list I wonder?

I will certainly have her on my list but the amazing thing about Lucy's list is that she only joined 6 months ago!

Jul 20, 2010, 12:16pm Top

Lucy, you Vermonter you: Go here!

Edited: Jul 20, 2010, 4:16pm Top


Anyhow, I read two more Lessing essays from Time Bites the first an intro to the King James version of Ecclesiastes (I have no idea why.) and the second a really fine essay on "Writing Autobiography. Honestly I did not entirely follow her point in the former which basically seems to be that the compiler/writer of Ecc. was a cultivated man, a preacher himself most likely, struggling to unify a bunch of disparate stories and put in his own hard-won wisdom. But truly, I read it twice, thrice and never quite figured out what it was about.

The essay on autobio is a marvel: The reason why people feel uneasy and disturbed when their lives are put into biographies is precisely because something that is experienced as fluid, fleeting, evanescent, has become fixed, and therefore lifeless, without movement.

She shows, using one small poem, how much gender and pronouns bring on preconceived ideas stuck in our own heads and also serve to pull us closer or push us further away from intimacy and identification with the text. She also talks about the natural process of making a story, one begins to pursue themes, edit, leave things out that don't fit.....

Lovely statements abound: We can say either that we are a very careless species, recklessly undertaking great changes without asking what the result will be, or that we are helpless in the face of our own inventions.

And this: I am sure everyone has had the experience of reading a book and finding it vibrating with aliveness, with colour and immediacy. And then, perhaps some weeks later, reading it again and finding it flat and empty. Well, the book hasn't changed: you have.

Jul 21, 2010, 2:37pm Top

Two more Lessing essays: a fascinating one on George Meredith (I have put him on my list as a result) whom she describes as an engaging intelligent writer, and an early feminist to boot -- Woolf liked him enormously and that is enough for me. I think I even have some around in a collection of old books acquired from some rellie or other.

Yesterday I spent a delightful hour or two tidying up the books for sale at the library. I’ve offered, now that I’m back full-time, to take that on, plus I will be sorting and cataloging the science fiction collection which is still in disarray from the move up the road from the old Grange Hall to the new location at the former church. I found Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye which I gave to myself, and a funny little book by David Mamet that appears to be about the part of Vermont where he lives. Haven’t even opened that. I chucked 9/10ths of the books -- they will get posted on the Front Porch Forum for our town and/or they will be hauled off box by box to the Re-Use Zone as it is so delightfully named at our local Transfer Station. I swear to you all THERE IS NOTHING YOU WANT in any of these boxes unless you love Nora Roberts or Dean Coonts or endless endless books about how to start, grow, maintain your own business and want to undergo massive vitamin therapy. But ain’t I to be congratulated for positioning myself so well, so fast?

I have finished Music and Silence about which I am not going to write a review. It was a wonderful read, a book that fits in that in-between category of being supremely entertaining and intelligent without being so demanding or insistent that you have to learn a whole new vocabulary or way of seeing things or what-have-you to read it.

In M&S I loved the King’s book of ‘Phantom Observations’, Peter Claire looking at himself in the mirror trying to see what others see, Emilia digging up the clock, Marcus... One of the things I like best in the book is how people have illnesses and characteristics and conditions and endure them stoically -- things we name and label and can often cure nowadays -- Kirsten is ‘borderline’ if the DSM is right about anything, and Tremain’s portrait of her, of her self-awareness and yet her inability to be patient, to pay attention to be kind, to care about anyone but herself is tough but also poignant without being at all sentimental. Marcus, too, one gradually realizes is most likely autistic and so on...... and re Peter’s ear, I know someone who had that experience. IT HAPPENS. Ieeeewwwwww. I can’t think another historical novel I’ve read that handles such things so deftly.

Here’s a quote (Kirsten) : ....in Denmark the so-called Scholars do seem to be the most melancholy people on this earth, which observation prompts me to think that all Useless Knowledge must fester in the brain and so bring in an Inevitable Anguish from which there is no relief.

My thanks to all you LTers for introducing me to Tremain, a rich vein to mine.

Jul 21, 2010, 3:33pm Top

Lucy, you are a clever boots for taking that job on! *ahem* Not to be pushy or anything, but what's the Front Porch Forum, and how do I sign on and pretend to be you?

Jul 21, 2010, 5:55pm Top

Oh, Lucy! NOT George Meredith!!!! NOOOOooooooooo. I have tried and tried to read him, and he is one whose writing I throw across the room, curse at, and scare the dog. You and Virginia may have him!
I'm so glad you enjoyed M&S! Read More Tremain!!!
While I'm telling all, I confess that early Dean Koontz is one of my guilty pleasures - can't explain it, but there it is.

Jul 22, 2010, 12:41am Top

I am glad you enjoyed Music and Silence too.

Jul 22, 2010, 8:38am Top

--->94 sibyx:: Great quotes from Lessing, Lucy. And there's another on my TBR list...

Edited: Jul 22, 2010, 9:17am Top

I don't know if Front Porch Forum is offered everywhere, but in Vermont each town has its own FPF and it's open season, so to speak, people can post anything they want about what's going on in town, about stuff they are selling or giving away -- your town may have one, for all you know, just google FPF and see.

>99 bohemima: I read two of these tiny essays a day so I figure I'll be reading this book just about forever. I like having a book like this around though for giving me fresh ideas about what to read 0-- of course, now that I have LT maybe I don't need that so much..

>97 LizzieD: Why you naughty! -- Should I check out the titles? They are 1.00, hardback. Any you haven't read -- there were about ten of them! I did put a few of them out, but ten was just too many!
Now I have to look at Meredith just to see what you couldn't abide.

I forgot to add -- my daughter has piled up some book she loved reading so far this summer and wants me to read them, so I will be doing that for a little bit. The first one is a short novel by Merrill Markoe with a great title Walking in Circles Before Lying Down and a series by Scott Westerfield, Pretties,Uglies and so forth.
Then who knows? But I llike to sit down once in a while and read what she's reading. She is, at present, reading The Once and Future King about which I am very pleased!

Jul 22, 2010, 1:10pm Top

Catching up here, Lucy. You've got lots of goodies in your thread. I especially liked your author list. I have a few new-to-me names to check out there.

>73 TadAD:: Tad, I thought I was the only one who hadn't read any books by Rose Tremain. It looks like Music and Silence would be a good one to start with.

>100 sibyx:: I love it when I can read and enjoy something my children recommend to me. My daughter is (ahem) almost 37 now and still gives me some great ideas for reading. She has encouraged me to read Stieg Larsson and spent much of her recent visit reading her early birthday present, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I'm on the library waiting list for The Girl Who Played with Fire, and then I can borrow Lori's book. I'm smarter than I look! ;-)

Jul 22, 2010, 4:59pm Top

>101 Donna828:: I have it on order. :-)

Jul 22, 2010, 5:51pm Top

>100 sibyx: No, Lucy. I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't like D. Koontz at all. The earlier books that I like are all standard monster-on-the-loose horror books - not as gory as, but better-written than S. King's works. (My favorite is probably Watchers which postulates a government experiment gone wrong. A homicidal monster escapes, looking for his brother, a golden lab with human intelligence. Einstein, the lab who can feel his brother as he comes closer, adopts a young couple and communicates and tries to hide with them.) For the past several years he has gone to psychological horror, and I'm pretty much through buying those. Otherwise, I have all that I care to own, so good luck to the Vermont Lizzie or laddie who picks them up.

Jul 22, 2010, 6:17pm Top

#82 That's an impressive list of new authors discovered since being on LT. I've been active here about the same length of time, but I think my list of new authors actually read in that time is much shorter - though certainly there are plenty of new names on my wishlist now and in my TBR pile as a consequence of being here.

Koontz won't be one of those new names though! Haven't tried George Meredith either, and wonder what about him makes Peggy want to throw his books across the room?

Jul 22, 2010, 11:21pm Top

(Not highjacking Sib's thread!) Let me quote, Genny. On page 43 Mrs. Mountstuart summarizes the appeal of young Sir Willoughby ("rich,handsome, courteous, generous, lord of the Hall, the feast and the dance...") by pronouncing, "You see he has a leg. That's witty. On page 44 we find "Dwell a short space on Mrs Mountstuart's word. and whither, into what fair region, and with how decorously voluptuous a sensation, do not we fly, who have, through mournful veneration for the Martyr Charles, a coy attachment to the Court of his Merrie Son, where the leg was ribboned..." and "That is, the leg of the born cavalier is before you...." And on page 45 "And you need not be reminded that he has the leg without the naughtiness. You see eminent in him what we would fain have brought about in a nation that has lost its leg in gaining a possibly cleaner morality...." That gives you but a taste, and I didn't think I could stand 602 pages of it. Be my guest.

Jul 22, 2010, 11:32pm Top

#105 - Goodness, but that is vile sounding. Never heard of Meredith before. Now I know to avoid him. Thanks for the quotes.

Jul 23, 2010, 10:07am Top

All the more intriguing, innit, that VW and Lessing admire him? Although sometimes I have a wee suspicion that these famouses like throwing us off balance by saying the like some impossible author. Hijack away Peg.....

Jul 23, 2010, 4:55pm Top

I think I failed to report on my Lessing essays yesterday, but I am in a bit of chaos, so they may not be in order: there was one on how condescending archaeologists and anthros are about the sophistication and achievements of ancient cultures, one about Ethel Richardson (aka Henry Handel Richardson) that made me put all her books on my list.... a ramble on the ineffable and incomparable Muriel Spark -- oh dear -- and two more. I'm sloggin happily away at the Vermont book and the Aeneid -- did manage to finish Book VII. I may not get back here until sometime tomorrow as I have guests. Be well, all.

Jul 24, 2010, 12:35am Top

Hi, Lucy, just stopping in to say hi. I have not been on here much recently, due to school holidays, but the kids are now back at school and I have more time to read.

Jul 24, 2010, 10:51am Top

Dropping in to say hello, and I hope things go well with your guests! I have a love-hate relationship with having guests over. When they come, I hate it because it means I have to clean my house. But also, I love it because it means I'll have a clean house.

LOL. Have a great Saturday!

Edited: Jul 24, 2010, 1:21pm Top

aThis is funny because the guests are in a slow-mo departure mode and I am in that weird host limbo where you don't know quite what to do with yourself -- so I decided to get on here -- it's sort of working, but.... now they are trying to get their bags downstairs... ah well, very very nice people.

So the Lessing essays I failed to mention were on Bulgakov's sci -fi book, The Fatal Eggs -- about reptiles in science experiment gone wrong (apparently he had a 'thing' about that), Stendhal, the oeuvre entire (he constitutes a hole in my reading, mostly because anything in French I feel I have to read in French) , a brief note accompanying a re-issue of The Golden Notebook) where she states in passing that in her experience, ...fiction is better at the truth than autobiography.... (she was writing hers as she wrote this).

I'm reading about Ethan Allen in the Vermont Tradition book, what a fellow! Strange that nowadays best known as a line of pseudo-colonial furniture....

I finished 1549531::Walking in Circles Before Lying Down which probably qualifies as a type of chick-lit, I have no idea, but with a twist which is some very entertaining and charming dog stuff. If you love dogs and indomitable heroines it's fast and funny. My daughter picked it up at a 2nd hand store and gave it to me to read. I can't rate it higher than 3.5 because that is the kind of book it is, but it's a good quick read. I'm going to read 8019::Uglies now, by Scott Westerfield another book (series) she wants me to read.

Edited: Jul 26, 2010, 9:24am Top

So I was finally knuckling down to get directions to Parsippany NY (nope, make that New Jersey, folks) where I will be from Wed to Sun later this week (including my birthday which is on the 31st -- same as Harry Potter, if that doesn't give you chills of envy) and I found there are several pix of me -- I have on the green shirt, third in from the right in the 'Next year" photo and then down at the bottom I am playing the harp on the far left, same green shirt. The link is here

The info with my name, is of course, out of date now and needs to be changed from Phila to Vermont! I'll have to check in with my boss.

I'll be at a Hilton with in room wireless and so on, so I hope to keep checking in, but I greatly doubt much reading will go on.

Jul 25, 2010, 12:47pm Top

Parsnippany! Coolio! Wish I could run over and see y'all, but it's Garage Sale Weekend that weekend and I have been Firmly Instructed not to make plans to escape leave the area then.

Jul 25, 2010, 12:51pm Top

Too bad -- The Grania Hambly/Billy Jackson concert is something else. Always is. Surely you can find a way to saw off your ankle monitor.

Jul 25, 2010, 1:01pm Top

Surely you can find a way to saw off your ankle monitor.

So you've *MET* The Divine Miss! Sadly, her descent from Cerberus is never more obvious than when I want to avoid depart from the script.

Jul 25, 2010, 1:43pm Top

Thanks for the link, Lucy. Always good to see what else LTers are up to besides reading. Hope you have a great time and Happy Birthday on the 31st!

Jul 25, 2010, 4:28pm Top

All of that looks GLORIOUS!!!!

Jul 25, 2010, 4:37pm Top

That sounds fun, Lucy! And it's always nice to have a face to put with a name!

Jul 25, 2010, 6:02pm Top

>112 sibyx:: Parsippany NY?

I didn't know there was a Parsippany, NY. If you mean NJ, I live in the next town. If you really mean NY, then never mind...


Edited: Jul 25, 2010, 9:38pm Top

Oops. I knew that. Yeah, New Jersey. What was I thinking???? You are in the town next door? That's very cool!

Okay so last year I listened to The Time Machine then I watched the old movie a month or two ago, and just now we watched the more recent one. The old one is more or less faithful to the book, leaving out a lot and dorky just because it is the late 50's, but the newer one is Hollywood ridiculous - based on the original, but barely. Jeremy Irons is great as a smart Morlock ..... oh well. The book is the best, and both movies leave out the part that moved me the most when the prof goes all the way to the end of life on the planet. That struck me as one of the most remarkable pieces of imagining ever.

I scored The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and a book my husband is reading this moment called The Big Stink a thriller set in the London sewers..... that I think was even nominated for an orange whatever -- (I can think of a different color that would have been more appropriate) anyway, he is chuckling away. I couldn't not bring a book with a name like that home. Both books will go back when we are done with them.

Not a single one of the touchstones is right.

The Lessing essays for today were on Anna Kavan -- I've read Ice a long time ago, a strange read, sort of unreal if I remember it at all; Phillip Glass the composer with whom she has worked; a very funny review of a book called The Trail of Feathers by Tahir Shah that sounds like a must read to me; a piece on a writer/editor (I think) named William Phillips, about whom I know nothing and still know nothing, and sweet piece on how much books are treasured in small African villages.

Note: the subtitle of Feathers is - In Search of the Birdmen of Peru. And if I understand correctly there is a lot about man's desire to fly over the millenia, but pre 'real' flight.

Chugging along in all my other reads. Moving quickly through Uglies -- my daughter says most of her friends don't like the way the protagonist develops, but she thought it was good, so that is intriguing.

Jul 26, 2010, 1:04am Top

#120: I enjoyed Uglies, but did not care for the next two books in the trilogy. I hope you like them better than I did, Lucy.

Safe travels!

Jul 26, 2010, 9:59am Top

My husband just finished reading the third book, Specials, and thought it was much better than the second book... though he didn't care for the fourth, Extras. I think I'll try the third one after the disappointing Pretties, but I heard that Westerfeld took a lot of advice from readers before writing the third book, so... I'll give it a shot. I hope you enjoy them, or at least two out of three! :)

Jul 26, 2010, 11:24am Top

Sounds as though Pretties is the weakest link, but that makes sense, given the condition they are in! I mean they are sort of boring by definition..... And Tally is complicated and not entirely loveable which I like so far. I'm most curious about the Specials, I must say. But I'm enjoying it and think there is plenty there for a teen to think about and lots of action, not unlike The Hunger Games . Eliz Bowen always liked to say she had trouble just moving her characters from one room to another and I feel the same way about my own writing! Anyway I should be on to Pretties by tomorrow.

I finished the chapter on Potash in Vermont Tradition . Believe it or not it is a riveting chapter, I''l probably comment more at length on it later in the day over on labwriter's thread since we are sort of reading it informally at the same time.

Jul 26, 2010, 11:33am Top

I had to wiki the term "potash" but I had no idea that it was so...prevalent!

Jul 26, 2010, 3:00pm Top

Hi Lucy. Liked the photos. I just got hold of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld from the library at the weekend so I will be interested in hearing what you think of his other books. This will be the first one I've read.

Jul 26, 2010, 10:36pm Top

And Richard there will be a pop quiz on Friday -- but ***** for you looking it up! Amazing isn't it? How something that was so huge and vital can fade away just like that, when the 'next-big thing' appears on the horizon.

No reading to speak of today. But I'm going to be quick here and rude and not read too many other threads, just the ones getting into the high digits, and go read.

>125 souloftherose: Glad you liked the photos. I'll have to go see what Leviathan is about. Mostly I am reading the Westerfeld's because my daughter was very excited about them and wanted me to share them with her. I am enjoying them too -- very much, at least the first one.

Jul 27, 2010, 1:44am Top

Isn't potash fertilizer??? Fertilzer is riveting?? Really?

Edited: Jul 27, 2010, 9:56am Top

That's what it is used for now, at one time it was used to make the soap that was used to clean the wool -- and before independence from GB we were more or less forbidden to do any of the weaving here, so the wool was sent, dirty, over to GB where all the processing and manufacturing was done.... THEN a french chemist realized you could do the same thing with salts, readily available all over Europe much cheaper less labor etc. involved, and that was the end of the industry. Interestingly though (if such things interest you) the NEXT big thing in VT, sheep, went through a big boom and bust -- mostly because we exported the merinos to NZ and Aus. Then when they had enough breeding stock of their own, the VT sheep thing went entirely bust and VT had to scramble again.

But no, potash on its own is not riveting, but in the hands of Dorothy C. Fisher, at least, if you are Becky or me, it becomes riveting.

Jul 27, 2010, 1:22pm Top

Sorry to inflict this on all of youse, but baby meese playing in a sprinkler? puh-leez: here

I have finished Uglies, so now it is on to Pretties which according to my daughter and other sources is the weakest of the four, but still worth reading as part of it. I am presently in a B&N in Burlington having lunch, catching up, doing errands. I see the new Tana French is out in hardcover and one or two other things to drool over but wait for.

Jul 27, 2010, 3:27pm Top

>129 sibyx: Oh that was sooo sweeet!! Mama Moose was so right there, and those mooselets were beyond adorable running and splashing! And I like Alison Krauss music, so even the soundtrack appeals to me.

Thanks for sharing!

Jul 27, 2010, 3:39pm Top

>129 sibyx:: adorable, Lucy! And I like how you say "meese" !!

Jul 27, 2010, 3:49pm Top

#129 Cute!

Jul 27, 2010, 5:07pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jul 27, 2010, 7:49pm Top

Awwww.... precious. It looked like Big Mama was enjoying her cool-down with the kids.

Jul 28, 2010, 12:25am Top

Just the sweetest thing, Lucy. I wish I had some meese - mooses - whatever - in my yard. I do have some very nice bunnies, and a skunk, but nothing of the big game variety. I do so envy country folk....

Jul 28, 2010, 9:20am Top

Finished Uglies on to Pretties -- When I was in library school (Geneseo, a million years ago) YA was just starting to become a category -- Just had a long discussion, in fact, with my daughter (14) about how she is only tentatively beginning to read from adult shelves..... I was reading adult fiction somewhere between 11-12 having exhausted J -- and I think that was just fine. YA books seem to target the issues and concerns of teens, yes, but is it necessary? Is it another way we prolong a kind of self-centered immaturity? Over-protective? I don't know. On the other hand I suppose most adult sections have a lot of books now that are a lot more violent and strange than when I was a kid, though John Hawkes was there, and William Burroughs and all sorts of reprobates.... I don't think YA is a bad thing, it's just one of the changes I lived through, so I find it curious, always. I might have liked it back then, but it would have slowed me down from tackling harder stuff. I got into Galsworthy and Dickens and Thackeray and de la Roche and folks like that by 14.... because that's what I found.

Glad you all enjoyed the meese. You could tell how excited the photographer was, but I'm impressed he/she had the camera ready and charged and was able to capture it. What a rare thing.

Last summer we had a young buck decide that our umbrella on the patio might be another young buck and he spent about an hour huffing and puffing at it, which was very very entertaining. But we did not even try to get it on camera, nowhere good to shoot from without startling him.

Edited: Jul 28, 2010, 1:07pm Top

What you have to say about YA fiction is fascinating. I know nothing about it, since my son, now 30, didn't read it (would it have been a category then?). "It would have slowed me down from tackling harder stuff." Yeah. I remember that my dad used to drop me off at the library on Friday nights and pick me up hours later. I was probably in the fourth grade when I'd read everything in the youth section, so I pretty early started wandering over to the adult fiction. I'm sure I came up with some crazy stuff--I remember reading things I didn't understand--but I would read and try anything that looked interesting. I was too shy to ask a librarian for help. But aside from fiction, I also read all sorts of biography and history that certainly wouldn't fit into anybody's YA category. So I guess I was an "adult reader" from the age of 10 or 11. I don't think it hurt me any. Or, to say that more positively, I think I gained much by reading from such a broad spectrum at an early age.

P.S. Flashback: wasn't the youth section called "juveniles" when we were kids?

Ed. to add the P.S.

Jul 28, 2010, 6:20pm Top

I'm another. What I remember from reading adult fiction as a child is that the stuff my mother probably worried about passed right over my head. I remember Gone with the Wind and Raintree County from the summer before I turned 11. By that time I was well beyond Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames (the only series I remember) by that time and building a mystery habit with A. Christie and A. Conan Doyle.
(And now I'm off to 3 Pines.)

Jul 30, 2010, 3:10am Top

Love the meese!

Jul 30, 2010, 5:02pm Top

Hi Sib. Just to let you know that you are missed here at LT. Hope you are having an enjoyable week.

Jul 30, 2010, 5:30pm Top

>137 labwriter: It was, Becky! JF for Juvenile Fiction! In fact, my library still uses the JF designation (although I can't find any place on their website where they say what it stands for)!

Jul 30, 2010, 5:33pm Top

That's right, I can see the little "JF" stickers if I close my eyes and look at the book on the shelves in that library. Heh--thanks.

Aug 2, 2010, 1:29pm Top

I am back from Somerset -- exhausted but happy. I played in an ensemble and our closer was "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and I have to admit it was really really fun -- we stopped it and shouted our own teams and then everyone in the room started yelling out THEIR teams and, what can I say, it was fun fun fun. Normally I am traditional irish all the way, but I went out on a limb and even used a music stand and sheet music.....

I haven't read much but I did finish Pretties and am on to Specials. Many folks say they didn't like Pretties but I'm not sure why.... in some ways I was even more engaged by it than I was by the first one. The conflicts seem very age-appropriate -- divided loyalties, trying to distinguish 'good' from 'bad' -- dealing, too, with poor choices and with things out of your control -- as my daughter (who liked all of them) said, "People don't always like a main character who is as messed up as Tally is." But I am curious to see how she will extricate herself from the deeper and deeper hole she is getting herself into!

Now I am in Philly -- doing a round of packing and tossing stuff (you can be sure I'll be using curb alert in the next day or two!). I have terrible internet at my house (we have dismantled our system, so I depend on unsecure systems) so I will wait to chat on all yr. threads until I take a break and go to a cafe. I can't wait to catch up!

Aug 2, 2010, 1:32pm Top

I wish I *could* catch up, Lucy, so I admire your ambition. xoxo

Aug 2, 2010, 1:42pm Top

Hi Lucy, belatedly catching up before I go on holiday. I liked the photos of you playing the harp - and the baby moose/meese!

But most interested to hear your thoughts on YA fiction. I have been wondering very much about this category, which for me too did not really exist when I was growing up. Like you, I started to read adult fiction pretty early, aged 10-11 onwards - anything I could find on my parent's bookshelves, including classics and my Dad's fantasy and sci-fi and my mum's historical romances - while continuing to read and re-read favourite children's books. I think that mix of being very grown up and very child-like simultaneously was what being a teenager was all about - didn't need books specially written for my age-group to experience that.

I can see how the YA category today is to the benefit of publishers and booksellers wanting to have clear categories and to target particular niche markets, but I'm not sure that it's to the advantage of the young readers themselves.

Aug 2, 2010, 3:46pm Top

Glad you are back, Lucy!

Aug 2, 2010, 5:10pm Top

Welcome back!

Aug 3, 2010, 8:31am Top

I've left you a profile comment explaining why I didn't like Pretties! I didn't want to post it here, as there are spoilers in my reasoning...

Edited: Aug 4, 2010, 10:16pm Top

Ok so this reveals the condition I am in. I just sat here eating a hot dog and doing two quizzes in a row. Oh dear.

Silly quiz number one: (From my reading so far in 2010)

Describe yourself: The Lost Dog

How do you feel: Ankle Deep

Describe where you currently live: The Bridge of Sighs

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Kingdom of Elfin

Your favorite form of transportation: Cow Across America or Camels to California

Your best friend is: Juliet, Naked

You and your friends are: Born to Run

What’s the weather like: Ankle Deep

You fear: Pretties

What is the best advice you have to give: Turning in Circles Before Lying Down

Thought for the day: Earth Abides

How I would like to die: Music and Silence

My soul’s present condition: Transformation

Next silly quiz:

1. Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
Curious first question, eh? Very little. Although I will if eating alone. Or I might nibble a cookie if it is late afternoon. Or eat an apple.

2.What is your favorite drink while reading?
Coffee. Lemonade. Tea. Water. In that order.

3. Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I use those plasticky sticky post-its now. I used to put light pencil marks, checks in margins and erase them later as I went through the book once I was done.

4. How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark, Dog-ear? Leaving the book flat open?
Bookmark, heavy paper, white or unprinted on one side. On the other side I keep my post-its!!!!!!

5. Fiction, Non-Fiction, or Both? omnivorous

6. Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere? I shared my room, I have a child, the phone rings, the dog throws up, barks, dinner starts burning..... I can read under almost any conditions.

7. Are you a person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you? I plead the 5th.

8. If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away? depends on how crucial it is; if I deem it not urgent I will mark it for later. If dictionary (now computer) is handy, maybe. Flight of stairs? No.

9. What are you currently reading? The Aeneid, Vermont Tradition, Specials and um..... I think that’s it.

10. What is the last book you bought (other than the book-group book)? I don’t belong to any book groups. Last book bought: The Sparrow Mary Doria Russell SF

11. Are you a person who reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one? Many.

12. Do you have a favorite time and/or place to read? How about any time, anywhere?

13. Do you prefer series books or “stand-alones?” I like what I like regardless.

14. Is there a specific book and/or author you find yourself recommending over and over? Summer by Edith Wharton -- Please please go to my profile and look at the Underappreciated Books category and the Extraordinary Books category.

15. How do you organize your books? By genre, title, author’s last name, etc? loose genre once they are read, vaguely alphabetical. My TBR shelves (sigh, it used to be a shelf, pre LT) are organized by NF, F, SF, Fantasy, Mystery) I try to roam around the fiction sandwiching short and long, hard and easy.

There! Now I will go read!

Aug 4, 2010, 10:14pm Top

>148 dk_phoenix: Thank you for taking the time and effort!

Aug 5, 2010, 1:18am Top

#149: I love your answer to the 'best advice' question, Lucy!

Edited: Aug 5, 2010, 8:55am Top

And the novel was a very pleasant read too -- especially if you like dogs. I always remember Farley Mowat deciding, in his quest to understand wolves, to circle before napping (he learned 'wolf' napping) along with eating fricasseed mice and so on.

I just noticed I never wrote up anything about Turning in Circles Before Lying Down or if I did I can't find it in my own thread. I wish I had a name for this kind of writing, not challenging particularly, usually quite up-to-date, cheerful mayhem, and things generally turn out hopefully..... if that makes sense. A good read when things are chaotic all around you.

Finished Specials before bed last night. The ending felt limp, and I understand the 4th book isn't even about Tally, our protagonist of three novels..... so if that is my good bye from her, I'm not that impressed. But as for the rest of the novel it was the same as the other two for me, mildly entertaining with a moment here and there. I am reading them to be connected to my daughter (14)..... at least she is reading The Once and Future King.

I hope to make it all the way back to VT today -- where I can pick up the Aeneid and my Lessing essays again. The good thing is that I have had a lovely time reading DCF's book 2366381::Vermont Tradition and may I remind you if you are at all interested I am commenting on my DCF reading over on Labwriter's 4th thread.... lemme make it easy for you:

edited to put in the link to DCF

Aug 5, 2010, 10:54am Top

Farley Mowat!!!! He played a pivotal role in our courtship......Go figure! (And on to Becky to see about Vermont.)

Aug 5, 2010, 12:23pm Top

Hi Lucy...need some advice...go over here and let me know if this is a book that you'd also like to read, and if it is, I have a justification for buying it!

Aug 5, 2010, 5:07pm Top

Hey look, I'm posting on your thread finally! :)

Just wanted to say I love your answers for the book title quiz thing. I'm officially calling it the coolest quiz on the internet, every time I see someone has posted it I get excited about reading their answers. :)

154: *cackles*

Aug 6, 2010, 6:02pm Top

*Bustling with importance at having advice asked!* What I gather is that it is mainly focused on the remains, found near Japan, of the part of the fleet wrecked in a typhoon. That will have the info that will be new to you. I'll bet for the rest he'll cover stuff you already know...... It seems rawther expensive! But it might be well worth it if there are good photos and info about the gadgets etc. that they find.

Does that help?

Aug 6, 2010, 6:03pm Top

>155 Ape: Stephen -- I am so happy to hear from you! I did enjoy that quiz very much and I swear I didn't read any of those books just to be able to put them in. Rilly.

Aug 6, 2010, 6:07pm Top

>156 sibyx: Good points...I checked the photo/illo situation, and it looks like this will be one for the collection. Tnx!

Aug 6, 2010, 10:03pm Top

>155 Ape:, 157: Okay, Stephen and Lucy, I'm going to post my own answers to the quiz on my new thread. I wish I had done it in the introductory posts. Oh well... my answers will be here shortly.

Aug 7, 2010, 9:25am Top

You really started something with your "Silly Quiz number one." I've seen any number of people filling that out now in the group. I finished the chapter in DCF on "Financial Ruin" (Chapt. 16, I think). Oh dear. Well, I don't have too much to say about it. Maybe you have some thoughts? Now I'm on to read the next one, "The Lifeblood Drains Out." Bye for now.

Aug 7, 2010, 7:52pm Top


We were moving a desk upstairs yesterday aft and our friend says Hey Look, you guys, A moose just got into your pond. And we start laughing and say, yeah right, Doug, tell us something else silly so we drop the desk and all, and he says, no rilly. So we look. AND A MOOSE IS TAKING A DIP IN OUR POND! He swims and then on the other side sort of leisurely gets half way out and nuzzles the shoreline and eats something, and shakes and meanwhile the husband is now running around, where is the f-ing camera and in the end all he got was got his hindquarters disappearing down the hill, not worth posting even if I was competent to do that, which I am not.

Aug 7, 2010, 8:23pm Top

Cool! All we get in the backyard is ground hogs. :)

Aug 7, 2010, 8:28pm Top

Cool, Lucy!

Aug 7, 2010, 8:32pm Top

Wow, that is AMAZING. Bet you never saw that in Philly!!

Aug 7, 2010, 8:58pm Top

Wow for sure! We had a possum once.

Aug 7, 2010, 9:30pm Top

We've had deer, other folks (not us) claim to have seen a bear, we hear coyotes at night, but a moose in the pond?? Now that's something to brag about Lucy.

Aug 7, 2010, 9:34pm Top

I would love to live in a place with a mosse and a pond :)

Aug 7, 2010, 11:54pm Top

>161 sibyx:: But the story was great! I got a big laugh picturing the whole thing.

Aug 8, 2010, 12:01am Top

Love the moose story. Wish I had a pond. are you doing any fishing?

Aug 8, 2010, 2:11am Top

Great moose story!

Am off the Aeneid bandwagon but climbing back on today or tomorrow (but still in Book 7!!!)

Edited: Aug 8, 2010, 8:01am Top

I too love the moose story. That must be one big pond if a moose can go for a swim in it. (No ponds here, and never had anything other than squirrels and hedgehogs in the garden. :( )

Aug 8, 2010, 8:21am Top

What a great image of the moose in the pond.

Happy Sunday to you!

Aug 8, 2010, 9:32am Top

The only things in our pond are mosquitoes, leaves and raccoons. Of course, a moose in suburban Long Island is a little more startling than in Vermont, but I still want one now.

Actually, I want a goat. There are poison ivy beds I'd like to eradicate without burning.

Aug 8, 2010, 9:34am Top

#173: My sister raises Nubian goats. They are cute. Want me to bring you a couple, Richard?

Edited: Aug 8, 2010, 10:04am Top

I have seen pics of her sisters goats.. say yes rd.. say yes!
they are very cute :)

I would take a few hedgehogs, too..

Aug 8, 2010, 10:36am Top

> 161 That's pretty funny! Wildlife in the backyard really keeps you in tounch with nature... and the adrenalin pumping! Everyone should have a moose - or something. Actually "meese" can be quite dangerous at times... we had three of them (looked like a family) munching and wading in our cove awhile back. We got all excited too. As the saying goes - so ugly they're cute!
G'day! :) Claudia

Aug 8, 2010, 10:46am Top

Well, here in the city, all we have is squirrels. But occasionally young foxes come to play in our garden, leaving us little gifts, such as plastic bags, when they get bored of them. Lots of people would like to get rid of the foxes (and the squirrels, too), but I think we should cherish what little wildlife we get.

Aug 8, 2010, 1:58pm Top

I am glad you all enjoyed the moose sighting; I was stunned to see somany comments when I signed in! To heck with books! Maybe other moose have swum the pond, but we have never seen that in 16 years. Over the 30 years of camping and walking and hanging around on this property I've seen just about everything - including, I am 100% sure, a mountain lion, but never has a moose anointed our pond by swimming in it.

I will be back in a minute with posts about books. Have to research a little something first.

Aug 8, 2010, 2:10pm Top

Richard -- maybe someone on Long Island is doing this: goats-for-rent?

>176 -Cee-: -- I know they are a bit dangerous -- though mostly the mothers if with young 'uns. What astounds me is how something so huge can move so silently.

Oh dear, not into the books yet.

I am finally reading the Lessing essays again. Today was a short piece on Nicolo Tucci's memoir Before My Time an account of his childhood spent with his mother's family, all White Russians -- the passage I read describes them as living in Switzerland in exile -- it sound like a MUST READ - an overlooked gem.

Then a piece on cults and terrorism: Her pity definition is that if the answer to the following question is 'yes' then you belong to a cult. Do I feel superior because I belong to.... No Exceptions. She also contends that the term 'terrorist' is being used much too loosely.
Next was an essay on biography - sort of a rant about how biographers give themselves free license to say just about anything and everything and that really biography and fiction are so intertwined....
Lastly a short sweet piece on cats. On the successful stealth campaign of one to be adopted.

Over to Labwriter to post on DCF.

Edited: Aug 8, 2010, 3:48pm Top

I need to get that Lessing book. You gotta love the title, Time Bites.

I have a moose story, although maybe we've moved on from meese. You gotta know that I grew up in the West--Colorado--and then became a transplanted Midwesterner; therefore, the Northeast is pretty foreign territory for me. We were driving down one of those Connecticut or New Hampshire or one of those small states "up there" country roads (is there any other kind?) when all of a sudden a large animal went crashing from one side of the road to the other, about 100 yards in front of our car. My comment, "Damn, that's the clumsiest horse I ever saw." The entire car broke up laughing. {blush}

Interesting to know that now there are moose living in Colorado. We saw them the last time we were there, staying at a (rustic--ahem) mountain fishing camp. I was amazed, because I know there were no moose in Colorado when I was growing up there.

Edited: Aug 8, 2010, 4:11pm Top

So I just looked up the Lessing book at Amazon.used. Sibyx, why didn't you say it was such a good book? (only joking--haha)

I was cruising through the table of contents and came across an essay titled "The Mamie Papers." Would that by any chance refer to a book by the same name, subtitled Letters from an Ex-Prostitute? Mamie (the prostitute) was writing these letters to Fanny Quincy Howe, mother of Helen Howe, both of Boston.

Well, whether or not, I need this book, so I ordered it from Amazon.used, bumping it from "Wishlist" to "TBR."

Tell Richard he needs to get some fainting goats. If you tell him, he will laugh. If I tell him, he will ignore me.

One of our fainting goats ("our"="my cousin" in Tennessee) looked just like this little guy, named "Johnny Rocket." They were simply hilarious.

Aug 8, 2010, 11:20pm Top

No moose here. I've had deer, raccoons, groundhogs, skunks, and pheasants.

Aug 8, 2010, 11:23pm Top

Fainting goats = SO bizarre!

Aug 9, 2010, 12:35am Top

>180 labwriter:, there are moose now in Colorado. There was one last year at Taco Bell in Evergreen that caused quite a big stir. Right now at my mother's house (also Evergreen) there are two baby deer that have taken to "hanging out" with my two girls. They even come up to the house to look for them through the windows when the girls come inside. Lucy, I loved your moose encounter! Hope he comes back, and that you have found the camera by then!

Aug 9, 2010, 9:10am Top


What an excellent way to start off a Monday.

That is all. :)

Aug 9, 2010, 9:22am Top

>181 labwriter: Ignore you? Why would I do that?

No one out here rents goats, I am annoyed to report, except for movie/TV props and priced accordingly. If a Nubian goat comes to stay, he/she/it will need to *go* when the donor leaves...I live in a very Jamaican neighborhood, I wouldn't give a plugged nickel for the little dear's survival in the long term. Otherwise, I really would get a goat. I like them, and so does The Divine Miss. Droppings-wise, they're good fertilizers and clean-up-wise, they're brilliant!

Hi Lucy. I am working towards forgiveness of your wastrel ways with aprons.

Edited: Aug 9, 2010, 10:00am Top

>186 richardderus:. Beats me, Richard.

I parted ways with my cousin and his goats (and llamas and alpacas) when suddenly one day he came up with a brilliant idea for a new income stream: meat goats. No thanks, not me. You can't name these little darlings and then months later put them on a truck to be sold for "cabrito." However, my cousin was correct in that there's a huge market in the U.S. for goat meat. My problem with all farm animals is that I instantly turn them into pets. Maybe you have to grow up with 4-H or something to get the right perspective.

Oh, and what are we reading?--ha. As a spinoff of this discussion, may I recommend The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. I don't think this author was ever a 4-H member either. And by the way, in case someone misunderstands, I have nothing but respect for the 4-H program. Also, I am not a vegan, and evidently, as I read the reviews at LT, the Masson book is often used to "guilt" people who eat "farmed animals." So perhaps I only provisionally recommend the book as an interesting read for a thought-provoking point of view.

There's a companion book that might work well with the above book about farm animals: Five Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management by Maurice G. Kains. This is a gem of a book for anyone who has ever seriously considered unplugging from the city rat race or going off-grid.

And Sib, I bought the Lessing book. It looks like a gem.

And I can't forgive your wastrel ways with aprons, for they are usually made out of cotton and would be coveted by someone to become part of their huge quilt fabric stash ("He/she who dies with the most fabric wins!").

Aug 9, 2010, 12:43pm Top

I have Lessing's book The Good Terrorist on my book shelf to read. I wonder if she regrets the title now, if she believes that the word terrorist is overused?

Aug 9, 2010, 4:19pm Top

You would approve of the aprons I rejected. a) covered in paint b) covered with some sort of weird plastic coating c) annoying to put on and take off. (No strings, but you have to get your arms into the right openings.) The ones I kept are sweet. No one needs more than 4. The ones I kept too, are unisex, to encourage other people.

Well now you bought the Lessing! She is wonderfully gruff and opinionated. I am enjoying myself, although partly because I am taking them slow like this. If I crammed in more than 3 or 4 a day, I'd never remember any of it.

Yes yes, The Maimie Papers to Fanny Howe -- she reviews them. I found it a bit maddening as a review -- too many things mentioned and not explained sufficiently, such as how on earth she connected with her benefactor Mr. Welsh.

Anyhow here are my comments on Lessing for today:
Maimie on her mother:
“.... and I force myself to keep in mind that I was born of her, that I lay in her arms as a baby, nursed of her breast and was at one time her chief interest, I listen for a cry in my heart for her and there isn;t any. I look at her and feel toward her only coldness. This I am sure is unnatural and I feel sure I am to blame. Don’t think that I bear her any ill will for wrongs, fancied or real - I don’t. I want so hard to love her - or even like her and I can’t.” 188

Maimie -- the published letters between herself and Fanny Howe -- very few women in Maimie's circumstances have ever written about themselves, so it is a remarkable document.

Olive Schreiner, early feminist. Story of an African Farm

‘women of no race or class will ever rise in revolt or attempt to bring about a revolutionary readjustment of their relation to their society however intense their suffering and however clear their perception of it, while the welfare and persistence of their society requires their submission.' Made me ache, reading that.

Describes the chronic ‘neurasthenia’ of liberated women at that time (the price they paid) -- E. Browning, Isabella Bird, etc. Also how they 'miraculously' are cured when out of England.....

Advice to writers: “.... what makes the difference between amateur writers and professionals is that the latter work hard, tear up, rewrite, and are always ready to let something go that doesn’t match up.”
No trick, no recipe, just hard work.

Now on to yr. threads and to report on DCF over at Labwriters.

I declare you can never have too many moose stories! Tomorrow I will post a moose poem by Tom Lux. Maybe sooner if I can find it on line.

Aug 9, 2010, 4:24pm Top

Found the poem. It is a great classic, adored by all who have ever encountered it, esp if you have had the luck to hear Lux himself read it.


Sometime around dusk moose lifts
his heavy, primordial jaw, dripping, from pondwater
and, without psychic struggle,
decides the day, for him, is done: time
to go somewhere else. Meanwhile, wife
drives one of those roads that cut straight north,
a highway dividing the forests

not yet fat enough for the paper companies.
This time of year full dark falls
about eight o'clock -- pineforest and blacktop
blend. Moose reaches road, fails
to look both ways, steps
deliberately, ponderously . . . Wife
hits moose, hard,

at slight angle (brakes slammed, car
spinning) and moose rolls over hood, antlers --
as if diamond-tipped -- scratch windshield, car
damaged: rib of moose imprint
on fender, hoof shatters headlight.
Annoyed moose lands on feet and walks away.
Wife is shaken, unhurt, amazed.

-- Does moose believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Speaker does not know.
-- Does wife believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Speaker assumes as much: spiritual intimacies
being between the spirit and the human.
Does speaker believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Yes. Thank You.

Edited: Aug 9, 2010, 4:54pm Top

Oh, I love that poem.

And now you're absolutely forgiven for the aprons. I had pictured thus:

I'm always on the lookout for retro fabric, and aprons figure prominently in my 1950s collection. Obviously "weird plastic coating" would never do for quilts. I should have had more faith.

Aug 9, 2010, 5:32pm Top

I totally forgot about books with moose and aprons and all...... I did finish the fourth Westerfeld Extras and am happy to move on. Like The Hunger Games series, these books feature lots of action and themes of concern mostly to teens..... the improbability factor threatened to overwhelm me fairly often, but then the action would sweep me along on my way. I am happy to move on to something else. I'm going to read the third Restoration in the Carol Berg trilogy I've been enjoying.

Aug 9, 2010, 7:32pm Top

>190 sibyx: - I love that poem! And great stories.

Aug 9, 2010, 7:43pm Top

It's kind of sad, but last year there was a photo on my home page. A moose had been struck by a car, and he ended up sitting in the front seat, looking like a passenger. It was funny, but I assume the poor thing didn't make it.

Aug 9, 2010, 8:30pm Top

car-vs-moose, usually bad news
I have heard if you see a moose in front of you & slam on brakes, at the moment before impact you should let up on the brakes so the car's front end will lift up. That way the moose does not go through the windshield. Would that ever occur to me in the moment of panic?

Aug 9, 2010, 8:37pm Top

195: They showed something similar to that on Mythbusters, but it wasn't true. You aren't going to hit it with enough force to bump it over the roof, in all the tests the legs were knocked out from under the moose, but the body basically stayed at the same height and clobbered the windshield. :(

Aug 9, 2010, 9:22pm Top

I love mythbusters.

Edited: Aug 9, 2010, 10:38pm Top

I don't know about mythbusters, but here is the video from the local news in Leominster, MA. The moose is moving his head and blinking his eyes in the clips. There's another clip online that shows him being hauled out of the car with a winch. They tried to release him but realized he was too badly hurt to survive and had to put him down.

Aug 9, 2010, 11:14pm Top

Nothing in particular to add to the conversation, Lucy, so I shall just wave 'hi' as I make my way through the threads!

Aug 10, 2010, 6:10am Top

What stasia said:

Aug 10, 2010, 8:56am Top

Moooooose!!!! ...anyone else watch the Invader Zim episode where the school bus of children almost got stuck in a room with a moose? (Yes, that was the terrible, threatening thing they had to avoid...)

Poor Moose. Also, I love Mythbusters. I'm not afraid to shower in a thunderstorm anymore because of them. Well, that's not entirely true, but I KNOW now that it's safe.

Aug 10, 2010, 9:05am Top

>201 dk_phoenix: - ZIM! Oh my, I'm so glad someone else brought that up. ;)

>198 Cariola: - Mythbusters is a show on the Discovery Channel on which two special effects specialists (and general nerds) seek to confirm or disprove old wives tales and things of the sort. It's a lot of fun!

Aug 10, 2010, 9:39am Top

>198 Cariola: Sorry, I can not bear to watch the video...

>196 Ape: Well, that's interesting about Mythbusters. Thanks for letting me know. I doubt I could do anything but drive off the road to avoid ... Tell me they didn't use real meese for their tests!

>199 alcottacre: Cute picture!

Oh dear, let's move on... I finished my first Doig book The Whistling Seasonand it won't be my last! Love his writing style.

Happy Tuesday, all!

Edited: Aug 10, 2010, 10:23am Top

No, they didn't use a real moose! :) It was a big foamy-rubbery thing on stilts. I don't think it was a perfect analog though, when they hit the analog the legs detached, and the body 'hovered' to smash into the windshield. If the legs stayed attached like a real moose, the body might behave differently, I would imagine...but I don't know if it would really be a significant difference. *shrug*

I can't watch videos on my connection because it is so slow, but I'm sure if you google around you can find the episode. I believe it was called "Moose Vs Speeding Car." It was on a special Alaskan episode...the Cabin Fever myth was quite intriguing! :)

Aug 10, 2010, 10:40am Top

Sib, somewhere along the line you lost control of your thread. Heh.

Aug 10, 2010, 1:20pm Top

So very sorry.... :(

Edited: Aug 10, 2010, 2:02pm Top

I was making a joke. I have a dry sense of humor. I should know better than to ever, ever make a joke here. I will work harder to keep it to myself. Good grief.

"here" = Group 75 in general, not Sib's thread particularly. Jeeze.

Aug 10, 2010, 4:33pm Top

I can handle it! And dry is good. Be yourself! And I don't mind a hijack esp. about moose matters. I certainly invited it with that poem and all.

Edited: Aug 12, 2010, 5:24pm Top

Going all moosey I forgot to post about the latest Lessing essays.

Simone de Beauvoir

A second look at The Mandarins -- presumably upon being reissued: Lessing describes what is now dated (blind acceptance of communism as superior to capitalism), or no longer relevant (hunger for French culture post-war) and what is still fresh and readable -- in her view the women characters.

I own The Mandarins a book that has languished in my shelves a long long time...... don't know that this essay convinced me to give it a boost up the tbr list...

My Room- Lessing describes her attic workspace, delicious.

A Book That Changed Me - “I do not believe that one can be changed by a book (or by a person) unless there is already something present, latent or in embryo, ready to be changed.” Nonetheless Lessing ‘settles’ on The Sufis (now on my wishlist!) by Idries Shah saying, “I had been looking about for a way of thinking, of looking at life, that mirrored certain conclusions and discoveries I had made for myself.” It always has something to offer her whenever she picks it up to read. “which can only be said about ‘real’ books.”

Lessing recommends, in a short paragraph The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian by Nirad C. Chaudhuri as ‘one of the great books of the century’.

Old - Lessing describes the unexpected -- shrinking, for example but then moves on to the ‘delightful’ surprises, a way of seeing individuals and a ‘fresh liveliness of experiencing.‘ “You are taken, shaken, by moments when the improbability of our lives comes over you like a fever.”

So two more books on the old wishlist. Sigh.

Aug 12, 2010, 7:45am Top

You're making the Lessing sound delightful, Lucy.

Aug 12, 2010, 10:41am Top

That you are, my friend. I read The Mandarins when I was a budding feminist and was knocked off my feet. I'm sort of afraid to retry it, and Lessing's take on it affirms the fear. Maybe I'll read some Lessing instead, but Not Now!

Edited: Aug 12, 2010, 5:25pm Top

I'm taking them slow -- I will say that they are a bit uneven. The book has around 70 short pieces culled from here and there and I would say 1 in 5 is interesting and one in 10 is fascinating. I might be up for passing it around once I'm done, so stay tuned. I haven't signed up yet for any of those book-trading things because I'm very very lazy.

I do find books like this useful sources for books I would never have known about otherwise. Annie Dillard opened up a world of books for me, for example -- I started reading Ondaatje because of her and am eternally grateful. Read lots about arctic and antarctic expeditions as well and many others.

So saying I read four shorties today: About a book called The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross of Estonia -- written in the 40's 50's - the madman is a professor going up to Moscow, the book is, of course, in code, set earlier before the revolution, and it sounds worth reading.

A description/comparison of the contrast between her mother's nursing career around WWI and the way it is now -- how her mother would be stunned by the changes and inventions. And also heartbroken.

A horrible book by Winfried Weiss "A Nazi Childhood" Lessing's summation? "I never read a more excremental book....."

Another Idries Shah book pulbished posthumously Knowing how to Know: A Practical Philosophy in the Sufi Tradition

I have finished Vermont Tradition which I loved. I will write a short review, but not today which has gone all social on me!

Aug 13, 2010, 10:50am Top

Today's essays:

*A brutally painful one about Zimbabwe. What an unholy mess. Lessing's deep knowledge and passion evident.
*A review of another Idries Shah book The Elephant in the Dark exploring the relationship between christianity and Islam.
*a short bit answering q. of what novel/s led her to political awakening. Clarifies first that 'political' novels uniformly stink as novels are written from 'the solar plexus' from 'burning experience.' Tosses of that among others she read Dickens and learned from him that 'injustice is wrong'. Simple and straightforward stuff, and part of a woven tapestry of a compelling story, suffices, in other words.

I just wrote the most about the shortest of today's essays!

Otherwise, on the book front, I am not going to pick up another NF until I finish this one, which should be in four or five days. I am also feeling the need to focus on The Aeneid -- books that hang around too long start to weigh on me.

Hmm no review of Vermont Tradition today although maybe later if other things get done.

Edited: Aug 14, 2010, 8:56am Top

2 more essays, Lessing is asked to say what she thinks is the most significant book to come out of Africa. Her response? "Forgive me for carping but why should one book be the most significant to come out of Africa." Two I hadn't heard of: Tsitsi Dangarembga Nervous Conditions on the plight of black women, and Nawar el Saadawi 335935::God Dies by the Nile set in Egypt.

A long essay on Idries Shah: Ends like this, a quote from Shah: "If you are uninterested in what I say, there's an end to it. If you like what I say, please try to understand which previous influences have made you like it. If you like some of the things I say and dislike others, you could try to understand why. If you dislike all I say, why not try to find out what has formed your attitude?" I liked that a lot!

I have written my VT review but I have to wait to post it from my laptop at a cafe.....

Very into the last bergcarol::Carol Berg. Any of you fantasy folk out there, these are very worthy, very solid books.

Oh yes, and I'm well into Book 9 of The Aeneid.

Aug 14, 2010, 9:03am Top

lost too many posts.. skipping down to say hello...

"Forgive me for carping but why should one book be the most significant to come out of Africa." LOVE that comment!

Aug 14, 2010, 9:08am Top

You are really mining the Doris Lessing book. I don't know anything about her, to be honest. Did she live in Africa? I'm assuming she did--so what was she doing there?

And I don't know Indries Shah, either. I took a quick look at Wikipedia. Sufis? Have you read any of his work that you would recommend?

Aug 14, 2010, 9:09am Top

Lessing is wonderfully acerbic. I'm posting a bit too much about the Lessing book probably, but it is helping me read it and I don't really expect others to read it all as I drone on!

Aug 14, 2010, 9:16am Top

Well, I do the same thing on my thread for much the same reason--that it adds to my reading. But I've found your comments about the essays fascinating. In fact, I've ordered the book.

Aug 14, 2010, 9:22am Top

She grew up in what is now Zimbabwe in the area that was then Southern Rhodesia. Her fury at Mugabe knows no bounds.

Aug 14, 2010, 9:30am Top

Hi Sib,
Please help me out here. What book are you reading with all the Lessing essays? Would like to check that out. Not that I need more books at the moment, but would hate to miss a good book even if it takes awhile to get to it. Love reading your comments and now I want to look in this book myself.


Edited: Aug 14, 2010, 9:42am Top

Gosh, I got very behind but have successfully navigated the mooses/meese and fainting goats.

#179 "Then a piece on cults and terrorism: Her pity definition is that if the answer to the following question is 'yes' then you belong to a cult. Do I feel superior because I belong to.... No Exceptions."

Do I feel superior because I belong to LibraryThing? I think yes, so are we a cult?

#214 I read Nervous Conditions earlier this year and it is very good, although not an easy read. There's a sequel which I haven't read, The Book of Not. I haven't heard of God Dies by the Nile but I shall add it to my list of books to read about Africa. I think I would also want to add Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe to my list of significant books to come out of Africa

ETA: touchstones

Aug 14, 2010, 9:51am Top

I would also a Wizard of the Crow (I loved that one!) and Dreams in a Time of War to significant books out of Africa.

Aug 14, 2010, 10:36am Top

>221 souloftherose:: Do I feel superior because I belong to LibraryThing? I think yes, so are we a cult?

I'm very happy to join you, Heather and Lucy -- along with many others here -- in this marvelous "cult" called LibraryThing!

Edited: Aug 16, 2010, 6:44pm Top

220 It is called Time Bites!

221 - I'm glad you got past the fainting goats!!!!!

I think I just feel incredibly lucky to have found LT!!!!! But I did wonder as I was writing that out!

Okay so here is my much too long review of Vermont Tradition. The ***** stars are because I enjoyed it so much and it fit so well with my life at the moment.

Becky (Labwriter) picked up Vermont Tradition by Dorothy Canfield Fisher and to my delight I found it at our little library and read it alongside her which, as always, was extremely enjoyable.

Fisher is a very good writer, very smooth and easy and for a book that is basically history, it is a breeze. She alternates anecdotes and facts with her own ideas and interpretations and exhibits lots of basic common sense, tact, and charm along the way.

Some aspects of Vermont character that Fisher describes were already anachronistic by the time she was writing in the 50’s. She lavishes attention on stuff that feels truly ancient now - an entire afterword on the ins and outs of the New York/ Vermont Land battle, Landlords vs Free ownership. For her the emotional and economic fall-out from the civil war, was a vivid memory of her childhood as the people who lived through it were still alive and talking about it. She talks about the deeply held belief in the value of each human individual regardless of origin that led to a crippling economic and physical commitment to the Civil War. After, there was an exodus followed by an influx of folks of other ethnic origins than the mostly English/Scottish settled in Vermont up to that time. She describes the potash boom, the merino sheep boom (and busts), the advent of the charming Morgan horse. Now, those matters are part of a barely remembered past, like the stone walls and cellar holes you encounter in the deep woods.

As I read, having lived in Vermont off and on for 30 years, I was constantly asking myself: “How has it changed?” “Are these things still true?” “Can they remain true?”

The Vermont I know endured a second influx of new people, starting as a trickle in the late 50’s into a flood by the late sixties, mostly from the Northeast states. Most of these people have strong dreams and ideals of going back to the land, living conscientiously, and making do. Traditional farms are now far and few between, although many people cultivate unusual plants and animals. Most villages have plenty of suburban characteristics. None, frankly, can supply all of your needs: pharmacies have mostly been scooped into a department of the big supermarkets that are, for many, a half-hour drive away; doctors tend to cluster together; even schools are a hefty drive for most. So village life is fragmented and people do not know each other as they did. Good and bad. Vermont has Walmart after putting up a fierce fight and getting some concessions (the stores are actually downtown in both Rutland and St. Johnsbury).

So what remains of the traditions she describes? Independence. Yes. Unpredictability. Yes. A spirit of entrepreneurship. Yes. Toughness. Yes. Tolerance. Yes. Social commitment (to ideas as well as practical matters). Yes. What has changed mostly, is manner of expression of those traditions - the Walmart fight would be one, sending a socialist to Washington would be another, at the same time Vermont voters often seem to work for contradictory ends, say, reducing spending while simultaneously fprging ahead with some social or green agenda or other, sometimes mystifying to onlookers. For all that this is not a very sunny state, there are probably more solar panels here per capita than other places. And those things happen not because the state is wealthy, but because the people in it aren’t afraid to try new things or stand up to to the big guys, corporations and developers and sometimes, their own fears.

Is it paradise? No. Ask me that in March and I’ll probably cry.

To read Vermont Tradition at this time was a perfect accompaniment to my return here, a reminder of all that I love about the place (with the exception of March.) If you enjoy American history, especially about New England, you'll love it. *****

quite a bit of this is rewritten to tighten it up.... frankly it was a mess!

Aug 14, 2010, 11:58am Top

**Pride in Thumbing** I got to your review first, Lucy! It's great!! (But what is so bad about March?)

Aug 14, 2010, 12:37pm Top

Thanks, Sib!
Time Bites is on my wishlist.
Nice write-up on the Vermont book... I've started to read it and I'm loving it. I too am comparing what she writes to my current time and place... interesting.

Aug 14, 2010, 1:57pm Top

I'm guessing that your issue with March is that you'll be sick of the winter by then?

My brother and SIL just moved to New Hampshire, but at least they know what to expect of the winters, having lived in CT and Michigan in the past.

Aug 14, 2010, 2:33pm Top

Fabulous review, Lucy!

Aug 14, 2010, 3:46pm Top

#224 Nice review, Lucy!

Edited: Aug 14, 2010, 7:48pm Top

March is unbelievable -- it can go from mud up to your thighs to a blizzard in the blink of an eye. There's a good VT joke on the topic and if I can find it I will write it out in its full glory. Anyhow it's a tough month to like up here -- all the rest of them have their charms. And winter doesn't let up until 2/3rds of the way through April, which is also not an easy month, but it has certain days that give you a little hope.

Thank you!

Edited to add thank you!

Aug 14, 2010, 9:45pm Top

Excellent review Lucy.

Aug 15, 2010, 2:07am Top

Added my thumbs up to the others, Lucy. I look forward to reading that book.

Aug 15, 2010, 5:51am Top

I have never been to Vermont~ I have never been farther north than Massachusetts, where we lived for a while. The thing I loved most about were we lived there was the weather. We lived right on the Bay... and it seemed to temper the weather..

I would dearly love to see Coastal main... and just go right up the Coast into Canada and see Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton area..

Really good review, btw!

Aug 15, 2010, 10:15am Top

I'll hop on that bus! :)
I have yet to explore much of Canada. Someday...maybe...
in the meantime I'll be an armchair traveler.
Kath, Methinks you might have salt water in your veins! ;-)

Aug 15, 2010, 10:31am Top

It must have been carried along from a previous life.... lol

Aug 15, 2010, 7:07pm Top

I am dying to explore the Maritimes..... one of these days.....

Thanks for liking the review -- I found some horrendous messes in the writing and suffered some shame at your generosity, but I tweaked it and hope I've gotten all of them now. I should have kept it back a bit longer...... til it had gelled (sp?) properly. Ah well.

No Lessing so far today as most of it was spent visiting my child at her camp.

Edited: Aug 16, 2010, 6:57pm Top

Back on the Lessing case.

A little piece on a revered Norwegian writer unknown to me, Tarjei Vesaas -- and in particular a recently translated novel called The Ice Palace.

Then a long and thoughtful essay pulling together many of Lessings thoughts and ideas on the importance of story to humankind. I hesitate to say this, but it is the best thing I've read so far in here, the most 'written' -- most of what is here are quick pieces she wrote for various rags, reviews and opinions and so on -- not that they aren't worthy, but she put more effort into this piece.

Then a brief and very very biting look at the American response to 9/11.

And of course, I forgot to mention that I finished Carol Berg''s 3rd in the trilogy I've been readin, Restoration. It was not at all disappointing. I can unreservedly recommend this set to fantasy lovers. I am questioning how I rate fantasy in fact because of the Berg. It's almost as if each genre really deserves its own approach -- for fantasy, I think these are **** - there are a lot of really really bad fantasy books out there, and a lot of *** and ***1/2's -- but Berg sustains a very complicated plot, very complicated protagonist right to the very end without faltering. I couldn't go higher that **** because there is no attempt to reach beyond the genre (not so as I noticed, anyway) into poetry or a reflection and insights into the human predicament which the great fantasy writers provide --- If I could fine tune it I would give her a 3.9.

And just because, I finished Book IX of The Aeneid, a bloody one.

Next up in the fiction dept: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

Aug 17, 2010, 6:52am Top

Lucy, I have yet to read The Handmaid's Tale myself. I picked up a copy this summer for my daughter, who had to read it as a summer reading assignment. It's now on my tbr also!

Aug 17, 2010, 7:47am Top

I lost your thread for awhile, Lucy, and now that I've found you, you're just about ready for a new thread. I just can't win.
Anyway, I'll be looking forward to reading your thoughts on The Handmaid's Tale, as I read it last year.

Aug 17, 2010, 9:30am Top

>236 sibyx:: Yes, you really MUST get to the Maritimes someday... I grew up in Nova Scotia and spent lots of time in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and places like Peggy's Cove in NS as a child. It's wonderful, and I'm long overdue for a trip back to visit family. Everyone is very laid back and the atmosphere of the area is so different from busy cities and fast-paced lives...

Aug 17, 2010, 9:57am Top

laura and lynda - I remember picking it up in the 80's when it came out, deciding to give it a pass. Having just read Gate to Women's Country and liking it, somehow or other dystopic feminist reading is now something I am more interested in. First person narratives can get wearying - the last six or seven books I've read have all been in the first person -- and here is yet another!

faith - Ah -- what a great place to grow up! Well, there are so many things drawing my attention there -- the music, first of all which I love, and then Anne, and then in the late 90's when my daughter was little we happened upon the Canadian children's show on PBS, Theodore Tugboat with Denny.... whatever, from the Mamas and Papas who was the gentle Harbormaster. Oh gosh, my daughter was Theodore (we still have the little red hat she wore for three years, all the time) and that series was based in Halifax. Anyhow, we will make a pilgrimage one of these days.

Not to mention the beauty, of course!

Aug 18, 2010, 7:54am Top

I'll be interested to hear what you think of The Handmaid's Tale. I read this when it first came out, maybe the mid-1980s, I think. From what I remember of it, I'm pretty sure I would be less sympatico with this book now than I was then. I'm not a big fan of "what if" sort of speculative fiction, whether it comes from the right or the left.

The only other novel of hers I've read is Alias Grace which I remember liking very much.

My favorite book of hers is a book of mainly essays called Writing with Intent. I think you and I have chatted about this book, Sib. It's the one with the great essay about Anne of Green Gables.

Aug 18, 2010, 4:31pm Top

Becky -- I think you have and I think I will seek out those essays.

I have more interest in dystopic fiction than I used to -- not so much in the 'what if the Nazis had won' type of stuff, but the more thoughtful kind that *THT* appears to be. Everything Atwood put in it, has been done to women in one culture or another at one time including the present. It is fanciful in a way, but in another way, not at all.

I'm only going to report on the Lessing one more time -- most of the essays I have left are about aspects of Sufi philosophy with some interesting miscellany -- and I will report on the miscellany.

Edited: Aug 19, 2010, 12:28pm Top

Woke up early, wide awake, grrr. But used the time to finish Time Bites. there are a few more essays about writers (A.E. Coppard, a great favorite of mine, for ex.) and writing and cats, however most of the final essays are about Idries Shah and the Sufi way. I knew approximately nothing about Sufism except that there used to be a health food store in Burlington run by Sufis so I assumed it was some sort of weirdish sect. And maybe for some it is. But it sounds as though the way Idries Shah understood and presented it to westerners, that it is a profoundly old spiritual 'path' -- that linked itself to Islam, but in fact preceded it and far surpasses it and anything else. I love the sound of the Shah books, compilations of stories, jokes, poems, and aphorisms.... all meant to shake up your dearly held ideas and get you out of your usual assumptions and positions. As a life-long 'quester' I am certainly interested in checking Shah out.

On a more critical note -- a few of these essays are a bit slapdash, even confusing at times, as she makes assumptions that we know what she knows, of course. She writes with love of cats and their mysterious ways. Some of the very best essays are about reading and books, and in particular, of the literal starvation in Africa for books to read. I found myself wishing I could help somehow with that, or that maybe here at LT we could do something since we are all so passionate about it. Put together suitcases of books to deliver here and there... I don't know... all just wistful fantasy as I can barely brush my hair most days.

Meanwhile I'm 2/3 through the Handmaid's Tale -- rather than dystopic exactly, I see it as a nightmare, a terribly bad dream that turns out to be real. Atwood has shifted certain facts and made it very vague when exactly all this happens..... the present of the time she wrote the book? The 80's?

Also, to quibble there are some usages that are purely Canadian/British 'jobbies' for using the potty -- no americans say that that I've ever heard of.

That said the emotion I feel reading it is tremendous sadness -- years ago I would have been indignant and angry -- but at my current age while I can dismiss the fanciful there is just enough deeper 'truth' about the antagonism between men and women to find it painful to read. There is a moment when the narrator realizes that even her wonderful husband Luke is (albeit unconsciously) having a brief moment of getting off on having control over her once she has lost her job and the right to control her money. It felt very nasty and scarily real to me, and I have about the best sort of spouse there is. Luke doesn't give in to it, but he experiences it. It made me feel physically ill to read that. Part of why I did not sleep well last night. So it is still a powerful book indeed.

Aug 19, 2010, 5:43pm Top

Dear Lucy, I - what? - respect, revere your ability to feel deeply!
(Americans around here do say "job," so I wouldn't have any trouble with "jobbies.")

Aug 19, 2010, 9:50pm Top

Really? Jobbies? Well I'll be durned, as my favorite cow dog, Hank, would say. I've never heard anyone say that, not in the mid-atl or in the NE proper. But perhaps I am living in a bubble.

The 'story' is the least interesting thing in the book -- the swirling undercurrents and confusions -- should keep Atwood on the A-list a long time.
I'm nearly done and today as a reward for the work I'm doing at the library (I've expanded from the Book Sale to also helping organize the SF collection, long story), I found Alistair Reynold's Redemption Ark which I never got around to purchasing and now I won't have to. I guess that is most likely what I will read next before Revelation Space entirely melts from my mind. -- The ship of the rogue Romulans in the new Star Trek movie reminded me of the ship in RS. For what it's worth. (not much, I know.)

Aug 19, 2010, 11:13pm Top

Serendipity! I decided day before yesterday to read Absolution Gap before Redemption Ark is entirely gone from my mind. WHEN I expect to read it is another question, but I've at least made a beginning. Did you read Chasm City, Lucy? It may be my favorite if *RA* is not - hard to say.
I don't do movies, so I can't comment on the Romulans. (It's a matter of $ and time; I'd rather spend both on another book.)

Aug 20, 2010, 10:48am Top

Oh Peggy, I am so hopeless, I am hoarding Chasm City. I started with RS and so am determined to read that 'series' -- even if the books stand alone perfectly well -- before pushing on. I've read only one, and already I'm hoarding. It's getting out of hand. I could make a list of all the authors whose books I am currently hoarding and it would amuse. Maybe I will. It might be instructive to me if no one else!

Meanwhile, I finished The Handmaid's Tale. Verdict? Readable, and still 'relevant' although perhaps not quite in the way Atwood intended. In brief: The US is taken over by puritanical fundamentalists fueled by panic at the low birthrate. Women who have proven they can bear children are forced into service as 'handmaids' assigned to the homes of the infertile members of the elite to provide children. Any deviations are likely to result in severe punishment or death. As I may have mentioned I regard it not so much as dystopic than as a nightmare -- Atwood uses quite a lot of imagery to suggest that so I don't think I'm so far off -- . How do I think it is relevant still? -- It is the flowing and shifting emotional subtext, I guess you would call it, that grabbed me and convinced me: the careful parsing of the subtle accommodations, flashes of resentment and of sudden lusts and impulses to harm oneself, balanced too by flashes of true affection and of loyalty and passion... I like it that the protagonist is no heroine, she is ordinary, afraid, cowed, doesn't want to die.

I didn't mark many passages, but this demonstrates some of what I mean: (I hope!)
Of the Commander: "Perhaps he has reached that state of intoxication which power is said to inspire, the state in which you believe you are indispensable and can therefore do anything, absolutely anything you feel like, anything at all. Twice, when he thinks no one is looking, he winks at me.
It's a juvenile display, the whole act, and pathetic: but it's something I understand.

It's not the greatest quote, but it is typical -- a harsh observation followed by her own admission that he is only human. The protagonist 's greatest appeal is her humility -- she doesn't pretend to be better than anyone else, and I like that. It makes her very empathetic and keeps the book from any sort of feminist overkill.
****1/2. The 1/2 is for the handling of serious matters rather than straight literary merit.

Meanwhile I discovered (I knew they were lurking somewhere) a huge heap of unread NYers and even though I intend to a) finish the Aeneid and b) start Redemption Ark I am going to plow through a bunch of those. One good thing about letting them sit a long time is that it makes it easier to just read the funnies, stories, reviews of the movies you've already seen, and call it a day.

For Penny fans -- My eyes was caught by a review of a book called Still Life and the first sentence goes like this: "Milgrom's engrossing study of taxidermy...." needless to say, I read no further.

Aug 20, 2010, 11:17am Top

Gosh, I just noticed how high my comment numbers are getting.... urk - new thread soon. I meant to add that although maybe this isn't how it is done (someone tell me!) I would be happy to pass on the Lessing Time Bites -- my notes are extensive enough I don't think I'll need the book again. If whoever wants to reciprocate, just see if you have anything up for grabs on my wishlist, I guess.... it's long enough! Or just have faith you will have something to give me sometime. It's not suitable for our little library here. Contact me on my profile page.

Aug 20, 2010, 11:25am Top

Lucy, thank you for that insightful look at *Hm'sT* from today's perspective. I don't believe I'll need to look at it again for a long time. I do, however, need to find a place for Oryx and Crake which waits patiently. You castigate yourself for a little hoarding? What do you think of me and my 5,000+ book library!?? (I don't believe I want to know.) I just figured that if I read 100 books a year for the next 40 years and don't buy anything else, I can read them all. Not a chance!

Edited: Aug 20, 2010, 1:00pm Top

I just figured that if I read 100 books a year for the next 40 years and don't buy anything else, I can read them all.

Peggy, you make me laugh. I had the same sort of epiphany lately. Good grief, I really don't need to buy any more books, but I think maybe I'm hoarding them the same way that some people hoard gold coins in a shoebox underneath the bed--"for a rainy day" or something. Ha.

Uh-oh, Sib, we just put you over the magic number of two-five-zero. Oops.

Aug 20, 2010, 10:30pm Top

New thread can be found here

Apr 2, 2011, 1:40pm Top

trying to experiment with some photos:

Apr 2, 2011, 2:01pm Top

How cute!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2010

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