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Showing posts from April, 2012

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Ze Forumites at Ze Compuserve Zone

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e Forumites are many!
e Forumites are brilliant!
e prolific and awesome Forumites include - and here I've listed only those authors whom I've actually read; visit the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum to discover all the others:

Hélène BoudreauLinda GerberJoanna BourneZan Marie Steadham - I've got an interview with her coming up on Friday!Marte Brenglekc dyerDiana Gabaldon (I would never have discovered the Forum if it wasn't fo her!)Jennifer HendrenLynne Sears WilliamsDeborah KerbelDarlene MarshallVicki PetterssonBarbara RoganMarsha SkrypuchCarol SpradlingKristen Callihan (not to forget the serial story over at All The World's Our Page)
and
Neil Gaiman (yes! he was a Forumite once! wish he'd drop by again sometime...)
Congratulations A-Z bloggers! Thanks to the A-Z team for bringing us together:Tossing It Out (Arlee Bird)Amlokiblogs (Damyanti Biswas)Alex J. CavanaughLife is Good (Tina Downey)Cruising Altitude 2.0 (DL Hammons)Retro-Zombie (Jeremy Hawkins)The Warr…

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Charles Bukowski

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ou Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski.

The first Bukowski I ever read were the short stories in The Most Beautiful Woman In Town ("Six Inches", "Life in a Texas Whorehouse", and more). He used to be (and maybe still is) hard to find in bookstores (though nowadays I suppose you'd just go on Amazon and click on 'add to cart'), even second hand bookstores. I guess he's one of those authors whose books are bought by true fans, who don't turn around and return the copies to the bookstore.

Also, expensive. I was 14 or so when I first read him (based on, get this, the fact that Per Gessle of Roxette read him) and having to shell out over 20$ for each book and spoken word CD was a blow to my limited funds. It was worth it, though. I realised later on (read: as the Internet became more populated) that he's a favourite with those who simply quote his more salacious work. But I don't recall those aspects making mu…

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Hans Christian Andersen

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is for Hans Christian Andersen's The Tinderbox. And all the other stories, including The Snow Queen. I've posted all of The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf before.

Here's The Fir Tree:

Out in the woods stood such a pretty little fir tree. It grew in a good place, where it had plenty of sun and plenty of fresh air. Around it stood many tall comrades, both fir trees and pines.

The little fir tree was in a headlong hurry to grow up. It didn't care a thing for the warm sunshine, or the fresh air, and it took no interest in the peasant children who ran about chattering when they came to pick strawberries or raspberries. Often when the children had picked their pails full, or had gathered long strings of berries threaded on straws, they would sit down to rest near the little fir. "Oh, isn't it a nice little tree?" they would say. "It's the baby of the woods." The little tree didn't like their remarks at all.

Next year it shot up a long joint of new g…

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - White Castle, and E. B. White

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hite Castle, by Orhan Pamuk:

This was the first Pamuk story I read, about a Venetian in the 17th Century, who is captured and taken to Constantinople. I read it in translation and loved the ideas, the words, the exploration of the clash of cultures.

Then I tried to read My Name Is Red in Turkish, and simply couldn't get into it. It sat in my To Read pile for months and months - until last December/January when I fell into it (in translation) and couldn't let go. Among the other narrators in the story, this one, as Paul Auster's Timbuktu (featured on 16 April), features a dog:

"I'm a dog, and because you humans are less rational beasts than I, you're telling yourselves, 'Dogs don't talk.' Nevertheless, you seem to believe a story in which corpses speak and characters use words they couldn't possible know. Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen."
Also, there's this quote about reading: "A letter doesn't communic…

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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oyage of the Dawn Treader, every other book in the Chronicles of Narnia, and all of C.S. Lewis' other work.

The only ones I haven't read yet are Boxen, and his journals from his 20s, All My Life Before Me (I'm halfway through).

I mentioned Pauline Baynes yesterday; here are a few of her Chronicles of Narnia illustrations:

the coverReepicheepEustace as a dragonthe loveliest, cosiest ship ever
And then there's the image that started it all; Baynes' rendition of the image Lewis first saw in his mind, from which all Narnia was derived:

Lucy and Mr Tumnus:
Also, a highly respectable marshwiggle:
No wait, that's a Neil Gaiman.
I meant Puddleglum:

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - UK Classic Children's Stories, and Me on Nutschell

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nited Kingdom classic children's stories and authors. There are so many, I don't know where to begin!

E. Nesbit
J. Barrie
A. A. Milne
K. Grahame
A. Lang
W. de la Mare
M. Chute
E. Blyton
J. Nimmo
B. Jacques
R. Dahl
L. R. Banks
S. Townsend
G. MacDonald
R. L. Stevenson
Honourable mentions to James Herriott, who writes for all ages, and Margery Sharp, who apparently wrote children's stories as well, but I've only read her Britannia Mews, as well as illustrators Arthur Rackham and Pauline Baynes.

I'm sure I've forgotten some - which authors would you add?

Meanwhile, a while back, I was featured on Nutschell's blog!

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - The House of All Sorts by Emily Carr

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he House of All Sorts by Emily Carr.

You know what's odd? I can't remember how I discovered the writing of Emily Carr. I must have picked up Klee Wyck at the Ottawa or Montreal gallery, but I wonder what drew me to her - was it the back cover copy? The brief biography on the last page? I wonder, because now I can't remember what it was like not to know her.

I urge you to read her stories - that link to Klee Wyck is to the Australian Gutenberg site, where they have it for free! Meanwhile, here are a few of my favourite paintings:

Shore and Forest, Cordova Bay
Tree in Autumn
War Canoe, Alert Bay
Westcoast Seashore

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Swiftly Tilting Planet, A by Madeleine l'Engle

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wiftly Tilting Planet, A, and the other three books in the Time Quartet by Madeleine l'Engle: A Wind in the Door, A Wrinkle in Time and Many Waters - as well as An Acceptable Time.


Fewmets. Mitochondria. Just a couple of things I learned about when I first discovered these books. Kything - I wish I could kythe with some people. And even now the thought of Unnaming frightens me.

Which special words have you learned from your favourite books?

By the way, Rach is having an awesome month-long contest for the A-Z!

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

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illa of Ingleside, the last book in L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series.


I love this series since it reveals so much about what life was like in Canada at the turn of the last century, and this book especially, as it's set during World War I. I know it sounds odd whenever I say that, but I really do love reading stories about ordinary people in World War I and World War II.

Would you believe I still haven't visited Prince Edward Island? I have been to Guelph, Ontario, though - the University there has a collection of Montgomery's writing, apparently, which I only just found out about (next time I go to the Fergus Scottish Festival, I'll definitely have to stop by) including her journals - I'd love to read those! - and exciting pages such as this, a handwritten page of Rilla of Ingleside:


Bernice Thurman Hunter, in her Middle Grade series about Booky, featured a scene where Booky meets L. M. Montgomery, based on Hunter's own meeting with Montgomer…

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Quin, the Mysterious Mr., and Recalling Details of Books

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uin, the Mysterious Mr.

Or anything by Agatha Christie. My grandmother had a lot of her books and I would reread them every summer. Except for, maybe, the culprits in The Hallowe'en Party and And Then There Were None/Ten Little Indians, I always tend to forget who the murderer is.

Is it just me? I can't tell if it's because I read too quickly, or because I don't take notes (I tend to remember things better if I've written them down).

Instead of the culprit, I easily recall the more emotional matters - who was in love with whom, who felt slighted by a former ally.

And, of course, the fun details, like Miss Marple's knitting, and Poirot teasing Captain Hastings.

Which parts of your favourite books do you remember best?

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Peter, Lord Views the Body, and Fan Fiction About Real People

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eter, Lord Views the Body, by Dorothy L. Sayers.

I discovered Dorothy Sayers late in life - one of the last Inklings I turned to - but perhaps that was a good thing. Her style isn't as straightforward as, say, that of Agatha Christie (coming up tomorrow!) and I might not have understood half the references in her stories at the age of 13. I still find the crossword in The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will impossibly obscure.

Last year, when I organized a charity book fair at work, I came across a book called Dorothy and Agatha, a murder mystery by Gaylord Larsen featuring both of the authors. I haven't read it yet - the pile is growing large - but I wonder about it from time to time. It seems almost fan-fiction-ish, to write about two real-life authors as though they were characters.

Has anyone ever read a story like that before? Back in high school, I wrote a couple of romances featuring two singers I was certain were hiding their affection for each other. Neve…

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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utlander by Diana Gabaldon. The whole series, in fact.

A friend of mine lent me Outlander at the end of summer 2005. I don't usually read books that others lend me because they're not my type, but this one sounded really promising - World War II era, Scotland, history, how could you go wrong? - yet I nearly stopped reading at the point where Claire Randall mentions how full the shops in Scotland were just a few months after the end of the war. I was worried that the rest of the book might have other such discrepancies. Ha! Never have I been so glad to be so wrong (Diana is a master at historical research and accuracy) and not since The Lord of the Rings have I been so excited to have a book enter my life.

A great book affects you not only at an emotional level - when you can't let go of the characters - or at a mental level - when you learn new words and information at every reread - but at a life level.

It's a stack of dominoes - if I hadn't read Outlander, I woul…