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The Columbus Day reading thread

Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Oct 9 2012, 2:34pm

Post #1 of 19 (435 views)
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The Columbus Day reading thread Can't Post

Yesterday was Columbus Day here in the U.S. of A. You don't hear many people these days saying "Columbus discovered America", thank goodness. I've always been enchanted by an image of several canoes full of Chippewa, for example, landing on a beach in Spain and loudly proclaiming they discovered it Tongue

Along with my usual newspapers, websites, and magazines, I did a bit of comfort reading this week: John Mortimer's Where There's a Will. Yes, this is the author of the Rumpole mystery stories, which I love both in the dramatized and written versions. Except this book is a collection of short essays by Mortimer on his life and the state of the world, in the guise of a will. (He did pass away several years ago, sadly.)

The essays range from Shakespeare to Velasquez to women and children to drinking and writing to the practice of law and the existence of God. He writes so well and so wisely that every paragraph seems to hold an aphorism. For example, from the essay on Political Correctness:

"The fact that words are held in such great awe is no doubt flattering to writers. We are dealing in goods which are thought of as being as deadly as bullets, as destructive as Exocet missiles."

The book is a quick but profound read.

And what of y'all? What have you been reading?




Annael
Half-elven


Oct 9 2012, 3:41pm

Post #2 of 19 (180 views)
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comfort reading as well [In reply to] Can't Post

Cold Comfort Farm, for the nth time. It never loses its charm.

Heard back from my committee and I have some weighty reading this week to wrassle with a couple of issues they want me to address. CCF is like a taste of sherbet to refresh and clear the mind before tackling the next meaty course.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Oct 9 2012, 4:57pm

Post #3 of 19 (179 views)
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"Comfort" literally, then! [In reply to] Can't Post

Funny, I once read several chapters of Cold Comfort Farm and just didn't get into it. But I've heard the dramatization is very good.

I'm all for palate-cleansing sherbet books!




NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Oct 9 2012, 6:44pm

Post #4 of 19 (216 views)
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Overlords, Assasins & Happily Ever After [In reply to] Can't Post

Was traveling last week, so I didn't get my report in on time. Hopefully Lily won't dock me a half-grade...

I finished with If I Were an Oval Evillord, er, If I Were an Evil Overlord, the anthology edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Russell Davis. Very entertaining!

Next I moved on to Forever After, created by Roger Zelazny. I found this book quite some time ago in a used bookstore, and anything by Zelazny is fair game in my opinion. Turns out that this book wasn't written by Zelazny, but instead conceived by him, with the beginning and ending written by him. In between, four other authors contributed four parts of the overall story. There's nothing in the book to indicate that until the epilog, which is written by one of the four authors. He gives the names of the other three authors, but doesn't indicate who wrote what. It does explain, however, why the whole book felt a little disjoint from one section to the next. Anyway, the book was a fun, quick, goofy read and deals with the (not so) "happily ever after" time period after an evil overlord was overthrown.

Now I'm on to Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson. I made a deal with my 11-year old daughter: if I read a book of her choosing, she'd read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. She picked CLK, and I'm finding it a very interesting read. It's written at a Young Adult level, but I'm learning tons about Lincoln and his assassination that I never knew. Not sure what it says about me (or her) that my 11-year old reads far more serious books than I do, but hey, to each their own, right?

Notta


Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


Annael
Half-elven


Oct 9 2012, 7:31pm

Post #5 of 19 (179 views)
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actually [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the dramatization (with Sir Ian Mc & Kate Beckinsale) is better than the book!

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Oct 9 2012, 7:46pm

Post #6 of 19 (189 views)
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Oval Evillord! I love it! [In reply to] Can't Post

I love Zelazny's work, too. (Okay, another connection coming up here....) Many years ago I heard him say that any time he saw a book in a bookstore that he thought he might need for research, no matter how far in the future, he got it. It was great advice, but I do blame him a little bit for the vast array of books in my house. Shocked

Another good soul gone too early, sigh.

YA books do tend to give you great overviews of a topic. I think I read more serious books when I was your daughter's age than I do now, too. You get to the point in adulthood that you have to have something to take the edge off Crazy




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Oct 9 2012, 7:47pm

Post #7 of 19 (152 views)
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I'll definitely have to look for it, then! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 




NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Oct 9 2012, 8:29pm

Post #8 of 19 (168 views)
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Imagine if he'd lived & written for another 20-30 years! [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember getting to the end of the Amber books - which ended in a pretty disappointing fashion, I thought - and finding out he'd died. I was so sad!

Notta

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


squire
Valinor


Oct 10 2012, 2:00am

Post #9 of 19 (223 views)
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If audiobooks count, I finally finished listening to "Emma" [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, I'm very pleased with myself. I have never gotten past Chapter 2 of Pride and Prejudice after three tries, and had basically given up on ever figuring out why Jane Austen is such a big deal. But listening in the car while commuting, to a performance by the very skilled reader Prunella Scales, made all the difference somehow. I actually laughed out loud at a couple of scenes, or rather lines, when Austen drove home a particularly pointed barb.

There are some downsides to audio books, mostly the fact that you really have to concentrate or risk missing some part. Unlike a book, you can't (easily) go back and re-read if your mind drifts for a moment. I missed the introduction to Miss Jane Fairfax, and spent the rest of the book trying to figure out just what her relation was to all the others. My original motive was to piece together the connections to Clueless in hopes of doing a lesson on the two - I now see that's not really practicable, given my students' reading levels and Austen's rather ... ornate style.

All the same, I now quite gaily admit that I do feel as if I had managed to surrender to our dearest Miss Austen the justice to which she is, as I have no longer the slightest doubt, entitled.

Next audio book: Crime and Punishment. See you in a couple of months.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Oct 10 2012, 1:32pm

Post #10 of 19 (144 views)
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Yes, audio books do count! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can see where Austen would work better in an audio book, with her witty if, as you say, ornate style. I'm sure Prunella Scales, who to me will always be the amazing Sybil Fawlty, did an excellent job reading the novel.

Crime and Punishment? Oh my.... Yes, please report back!




Patty
Immortal


Oct 10 2012, 1:44pm

Post #11 of 19 (170 views)
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Prunella Scales is an excellent reader/performer... [In reply to] Can't Post

I am listening, for about the 1 millionth time, to her reading of 3 books in the Mapp and Lucia series. I also have audiobooks of her readings of Love in a Cold Climate (truly excellent) and Cranford.

I have Emma but it's read by someone else--I don't remember who at the moment.

Have you ever watched the miniseries of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. If you watch it, you may be able to enjoy Jane Austen even more, and then you'd enjoy the book more still. On rare instances, a film has lead me to love a book I might not otherwise have gotten into.

Permanent address: Into the West






AlassŽa Eruvande
Valinor


Oct 10 2012, 2:29pm

Post #12 of 19 (147 views)
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Ha! [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote: "All the same, I now quite gaily admit that I do feel as if I had managed to surrender to our dearest Miss Austen the justice to which she is, as I have no longer the slightest doubt, entitled."

She gets us all in the end. Smile



I am SMAUG! I kill when I wish! I am strong, strong, STRONG!
My armor is like tenfold shields! My teeth like swords! My claws, spears!
The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath, death!


AlassŽa Eruvande
Valinor


Oct 10 2012, 2:32pm

Post #13 of 19 (155 views)
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Same for me with P&P. [In reply to] Can't Post

I had read the book first, and really struggled with distinguishing all the characters. But once I saw the A&E P&P, it all clicked beautifully. Same thing with Emma Thompson's S&S.



I am SMAUG! I kill when I wish! I am strong, strong, STRONG!
My armor is like tenfold shields! My teeth like swords! My claws, spears!
The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath, death!


AlassŽa Eruvande
Valinor


Oct 10 2012, 2:36pm

Post #14 of 19 (196 views)
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Squire, do you think your students would [In reply to] Can't Post

sit through the movie, Emma with Gwynneth Paltrow? I think it is very well done, and even my cowboy-golfer brother enjoyed it. Maybe they'd relate better to the book after they'd seen the movie. Then you could compare it with Clueless.



I am SMAUG! I kill when I wish! I am strong, strong, STRONG!
My armor is like tenfold shields! My teeth like swords! My claws, spears!
The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath, death!


Elberbeth
Tol Eressea


Oct 10 2012, 6:29pm

Post #15 of 19 (174 views)
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The Last Plantagenets [In reply to] Can't Post

I read Thomas Costain's triology a long time ago, and I have a copy of The Three Edwards, but have yet to lay my hands on The Conquering Family, which is the first one. The Last Plantagenets runs from Richard II through to Richard III. I really like these historical books. Costain manages to impart so much information, but in a very readable style, not at all dry. And I like books where I have to make notes to look up vocabulary and terms I don't understand.

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


Annael
Half-elven


Oct 11 2012, 2:54pm

Post #16 of 19 (164 views)
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"Mr. Collins was not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by education or society" [In reply to] Can't Post

her barbs may be gentle, but they are barbs, all right. Her tongue is firmly in her cheek most of the time.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


squire
Valinor


Oct 12 2012, 2:03am

Post #17 of 19 (162 views)
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I dare say, I feel tempted to treat your offer as kindly as I should your company. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been thinking the same thing. When I first toyed with the lesson idea, I rented the film, tried it, and found that like the book the language was arcane, slow, and difficult to follow without some training. To work in a two-hour lesson, I'd need to focus on just a couple of key scenes, and have everyone really study and talk their way through them, to be sure everyone gets it. But now that I've read/heard the book, I have a little better idea of where in Emma are the scenes that most closely parallel the Clueless screenplay. Then perhaps those same scenes are rendered well in the film, and I could use them to put the lesson together. I'll have to put this on my to-do list for the upcoming year.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


zarabia
Tol Eressea


Oct 14 2012, 2:55am

Post #18 of 19 (143 views)
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I really enjoyed Crime and Punishment [In reply to] Can't Post

It works on so many levels. It has a lot going on philosophically and psychologically, but it's interesting on a "who-done-it" level too. Okay, you know who-done-it, it's more "does anyone else know-who-done-it? Smile

BTW, glad to hear you're enjoying J.A. She really is fun.


(This post was edited by zarabia on Oct 14 2012, 2:57am)


zarabia
Tol Eressea


Oct 14 2012, 5:58am

Post #19 of 19 (251 views)
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Haha! Love it! [In reply to] Can't Post

   

Quote

You don't hear many people these days saying "Columbus discovered America", thank goodness. I've always been enchanted by an image of several canoes full of Chippewa, for example, landing on a beach in Spain and loudly proclaiming they discovered it Tongue



As for what I've been reading: I had been attempting to read Harry Potter y la Camara Secreta. I thought I remembered enough Spanish to slog through something like Chamber of Secrets (which I know pretty well and is fairly easy reading) in Spanish to practice and improve...however, not so much Tongue So I ordered some review material and am trying to relearn what I've forgotten. I think I'll be able to try and make it through La Camara Secreta in a few months. I'll give it a go anywaySmile

 
 

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