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Melissa_W
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THE BOOK NOOK: Welcome to the LbW Common Room!

This is our "free-for-all" thread! :smileyhappy:  You can post about anything in this thread - you can also move a conversation into this thread when it gets off-topic in a different thread.

 

Feel free to introduce yourselves if you're a newbie (or an oldbie), too.

 

As a fun (or scary) exercise, I thought it would be fun to list all the books I'm currently reading.  Maybe this will give me the impetus to finish a batch!

 

The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch (obviously)

Feather Man by Rhyll McMaster

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

How to Read Novels Like a Professor by Thomas Foster

The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Why We Read Fiction by Lisa Zunshine

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene

The Millenium Problems by Keith Devlin

How Beautiful it is and How Easily it Can by Broken by Daniel Mendelsohn

I need to start Brick Lane by Monica Ali (for October) and I'm going to get Home by Marilynne Robinson this week (my boss has already read the advance copy because she's neighbors with the author)

 

Hmmmm....it looks like I need to be less ADD with my books.

Melissa W.
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Choisya
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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Welcome to the LbW Common Room!

Thanks a lot Melissa - it is good to have a new coffee room - the other one was smelling a bit stale:smileyhappy:.  I am sure Iris Murdoch will liven it up and I think it will be more of a Lyon's Corner House than a Starbucks!  Nice little video-clip and photos about them here.  My Lyon's favourite was chocolate cup cakes.

 

 

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debbook
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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Welcome to the LbW Common Room!

WOW! I thought I was bad. That is scary. When my piles get even close to that I just put some away and order myself to forget about them for now. We are all book junkies, just encouraging each other to read more and more. I recently had to go through my shelves and take out a bunch to give to the library because I am out of room!!
A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
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Melissa_W
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Book Junkies!

That is so very true!  One of my fellow booksellers is pretty much in the same plight as me - and all we do is enable each other. :smileysurprised: Everytime one of us swears we won't buy anything until we've read the mountain we already own, the other comes along and says, "hey, have you seen this?" 

 

It's such a delightfully viscious cycle :smileyvery-happy:


debbook wrote:
We are all book junkies, just encouraging each other to read more and more.


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
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Peppermill
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Re: Book Junkies! Enablers! Selecting Books to Discuss Together!

Thought I'd see if it is possible to have a discussion on how we select books together -- this is certainly not a smooth opening gambit, but am wondering if others have thoughts they are willing to share.  I like a lot of things about what we do, e.g., nominations, a time and place to lobby for suggestions, voting, selecting for several months at one time, some moderator discretion on the process.... 

 

But, what does "trouble" me a bit is our process of vetting.  For example, Margaret Drabble's Excellent Women was suggested last time.  Now, I think that is an excellent selection, but it happens to be one I have read and I would probably be more interested in trying something else she wrote.  Yet, having already read it offers some assurance that it should hold up well for discussion.

 

Likewise, I should like to read something by Lionel Shriver or Susan Sontag -- I am totally open as to which of their novels might be of greatest interest to others.  (And, of course, they may never make the "A list." )

 

Incidentally, I am truly enjoying our sequencing through time with our choices for the past several months.

 

Anyway, I would love to hear comments and viewpoints of others.

 

Pepper

 

P.S.  Decided to try this in the community room so the nominations column can stay open for actual nominations and for lobbying for them.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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KathyS
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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Welcome to the LbW Common Room!

[ Edited ]

Choisya wrote:

Thanks a lot Melissa - it is good to have a new coffee room - the other one was smelling a bit stale:smileyhappy:.  I am sure Iris Murdoch will liven it up and I think it will be more of a Lyon's Corner House than a Starbucks!  Nice little video-clip and photos about them here.  My Lyon's favourite was chocolate cup cakes.

 

 


 

HA!  A bit stale, you say?  I'm laughing my head off....Musty couches,...newspaper ink laden armchairs, and moldy tea bags under the table...

 

I'm a new oldbee....or am I an old newbie?....or am I an old oldbee?....at any rate, I guess that I'm just a old stale crust of bread, leaving a trail of old crumbs throughout these rooms...creating ants along the way...  The Polish Rider Room has a interesting ring!  But, the Book Nook sounds cozy...or nookie...um, well.  Just serve me a tall glass of iced tea!  Got up to 100 today!  May I also just have a half of one of those orange cupcakes, please?....I'm on a diet. (And I'll pass on the Koon Kakes!)

Message Edited by KathyS on 09-03-2008 06:59 PM
Melissa_W
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Well, nobody's perfect

Now that I'm sitting at my desk, I realize I forgot three more titles I'm currently reading:

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Grendel by John Gardner

Swann's Way (which I'm stubbornly persisting on reading, even though it seems I never make any progress)

 

On the plus side, I did finish The Time-Traveler's Wife this evening.

Melissa W.
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Everyman
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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Welcome to the LbW Common Room!

And I thought I had a lot of books going at one time!

 

My list is dwarfed by yours.

 

It contains merely:

 

Murdoch, Green Knight

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Various criticisms of JC, mostly individual chapters

Thoreau, Walden and Civil Disobedience

Plutarch, Lives of Caesar, Brutus, Antony

Herodotus, Histories (the discussion doesn't seem to be going anywhere, but I'm enjoying reading him anyhow)

Seth Lerer, Children's Literature

 Trollope, Barchester Towers

Michael Dirda, Bound to Please

Claire Tomalin, Thomas Hardy

Scott, The Heart of Mid-Lothian

Montaigne, Essays (bedside book)

Robert Frost, Complete Poems (other bedside book)

 

 

 

 

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Everyman
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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Welcome to the LbW Common Room!

My goodness.  What a familiar name.  I used to go to Lyons for their Wimpeys Bar nearly a half century ago!


Choisya wrote:

Thanks a lot Melissa - it is good to have a new coffee room - the other one was smelling a bit stale:smileyhappy:.  I am sure Iris Murdoch will liven it up and I think it will be more of a Lyon's Corner House than a Starbucks!  Nice little video-clip and photos about them here.  My Lyon's favourite was chocolate cup cakes.

 

 


 

 

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Choisya
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Re: Book Junkies! Enablers! Selecting Books to Discuss Together!

Most of the time I just go wth the flow and read what y'all want to read!  I buy very few books these days and when I am not reading our club books I revert to my old classics.  I might change when I get my Sony reader which has books already uploaded onto it which I may or may not be recommending:smileyhappy:.

 

 


Peppermill wrote:

Thought I'd see if it is possible to have a discussion on how we select books together -- this is certainly not a smooth opening gambit, but am wondering if others have thoughts they are willing to share.  I like a lot of things about what we do, e.g., nominations, a time and place to lobby for suggestions, voting, selecting for several months at one time, some moderator discretion on the process.... 

 

But, what does "trouble" me a bit is our process of vetting.  For example, Margaret Drabble's Excellent Women was suggested last time.  Now, I think that is an excellent selection, but it happens to be one I have read and I would probably be more interested in trying something else she wrote.  Yet, having already read it offers some assurance that it should hold up well for discussion.

 

Likewise, I should like to read something by Lionel Shriver or Susan Sontag -- I am totally open as to which of their novels might be of greatest interest to others.  (And, of course, they may never make the "A list." )

 

Incidentally, I am truly enjoying our sequencing through time with our choices for the past several months.

 

Anyway, I would love to hear comments and viewpoints of others.

 

Pepper

 

P.S.  Decided to try this in the community room so the nominations column can stay open for actual nominations and for lobbying for them.


 

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Everyman
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Re: Book Junkies! Enablers! Selecting Books to Discuss Together!

Thought I'd see if it is possible to have a discussion on how we select books together

 

Good idea.

 

I just sent a list of suggestions to Melissa.  Thinking about, it breaks down into several main categories.

 

1.  Books I have found rewarding to read in the past and would like to have a reason to re-read with the added attraction of a discussion with this group of great discussants.  (It's different for me being in a discussion which is predominantly female; you often have significantly different ways of looking at books which open whole new dimensions for me.)  In this group as examples are any Jane Austen and almost any George Eliot. 

 

2.  Books which I want to read but haven't gotten around to and probably won't without the impetus of their being on the schedule here.  Examples are some books of Virginia Woolf and Ayn Rand that have been on the TBR shelf for a long time but haven't yet migrated off of it.  Also in this category is Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho; it keeps being mentioned and I have it on my Kindle, but I haven't yet pulled it up into the reading queue.  (With over 300 books on the Kindle, it'll take a while to get through all these even without downloading more!)

 

3.  Just plain enjoyable books that I think it would be fun to share with other booklovers.  An example is West with the Night.  Not a particularly deep book, but a very pleasant read and a chance to look at the life of a fascinating woman.  

 

One problem is deciding in some of these cases which book of a particular author to suggest for the list.  If people want to read Woolf, but four or five of her books wind up on the list, it's likely that the vote for her will be split among them and none of them may make it.   I don't know what to do about that except maybe during the lobbying phase for those who want to read a particular author to hold an informal mini-vote on which of hers to put on the final list and take the others off for this round.  Just a possible suggestion.  

 

It was a good question, Pepper.  I wonder how others approach the process.

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Melissa_W
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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Welcome to the LbW Common Room!

I loved Bound to Please, but there is a caveat...Dirda will make you want to read every book he talks about in his essays. :smileyvery-happy:


Everyman wrote:

And I thought I had a lot of books going at one time!

Michael Dirda, Bound to Please

 


 

Melissa W.
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Everyman
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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Welcome to the LbW Common Room!

That's true.  My TBR list is growing each time I read another essay!

 

The same thing I get when I read Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan. 

 

But that's not, by the way, true with Nancy Pearl.  I was able to pass on many of the books she talked about.  Not sure whether it was the choice of books or the quality of the essayist; I think quite a bit of both.

 

 


pedsphleb wrote:

I loved Bound to Please, but there is a caveat...Dirda will make you want to read every book he talks about in his essays. :smileyvery-happy:


Everyman wrote:

And I thought I had a lot of books going at one time!

Michael Dirda, Bound to Please

 


 


 

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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Welcome to the LbW Common Room!

[ Edited ]

On the nominating of books:

 

Any that I nominate will be likely to be books that I own.  I would categorize them similarly to Everyman.  Some would be books that I have already read and want to share with others or hear others' opinions on.  They could be favorites, or ones that I read a long time ago and perhaps don't remember that much about.  Others would be books on my TBR shelf, so that I can get them off the shelf and stay motivated to read them, along with most likely getting more out of them at the same time, through the concurrent discussion.

 

If a book is selected that I do not own, I would evaluate whether it appeals to me enough to buy it.  I have more books than I have space for already, so it would have to fall into an area of interest for me in some way.  In general, I go for classics and favorite authors and subjects.  Some examples of books I have purchased for past discussions here or on the old BNU are David Copperfield (I love Dickens, but had never actually read that one), and The Daughter of Time (I love mysteries, and also the history concerned with the Princes in the Tower, so that was a double hit).

Message Edited by dulcinea3 on 09-04-2008 12:14 PM
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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Books on Books

I think it is also partly WHO the writer is -- Nancy Pearl is a librarian (in Seattle?) and I think she has had to address a very different audience than either Dirda or Fadiman. 

 

I agree that one can pass on many of the books she talks about, but she gives quite a range of choices across a vast number of categories.  I do not own either of her "Lust" books, but I enjoyed the time I have spent with her and might well use her as a reference if I was looking for ideas in a category I don't usually explore.  I suggest her especially to (young) readers who are exploratory, Dirda or Fadiman or Denby to those who are honing their reading plans or are asking if they want one. 

 

(If I remember correctly, "French Revolution" is a topic for which I would go back and look at her suggestions if I decided to pursue that area.  I might not finally choose what she suggests, but I suspect her top two could lead to what would interest.)


Everyman wrote:

That's true.  My TBR list is growing each time I read another essay!

 

The same thing I get when I read Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan

 

But that's not, by the way, true with Nancy Pearl.  I was able to pass on many of the books she talked about.  Not sure whether it was the choice of books or the quality of the essayist; I think quite a bit of both.

 

 


pedsphleb wrote:

I loved Bound to Please, but there is a caveat...Dirda will make you want to read every book he talks about in his essays. :smileyvery-happy:


Everyman wrote:

And I thought I had a lot of books going at one time!

Michael Dirda, Bound to Please

 




 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: THE BOOK NOOK: Books on Books

Plus, she was the model for the librarian action figure.

 


Peppermill wrote:

I think it is also partly WHO the writer is -- Nancy Pearl is a librarian (in Seattle?) and I think she has had to address a very different audience than either Dirda or Fadiman. 

 

I agree that one can pass on many of the books she talks about, but she gives quite a range of choices across a vast number of categories.  I do not own either of her "Lust" books, but I enjoyed the time I have spent with her and might well use her as a reference if I was looking for ideas in a category I don't usually explore.  I suggest her especially to (young) readers who are exploratory, Dirda or Fadiman or Denby to those who are honing their reading plans or are asking if they want one. 

 

(If I remember correctly, "French Revolution" is a topic for which I would go back and look at her suggestions if I decided to pursue that area.  I might not finally choose what she suggests, but I suspect her top two could lead to what would interest.)


Everyman wrote:

That's true.  My TBR list is growing each time I read another essay!

 

The same thing I get when I read Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan

 

But that's not, by the way, true with Nancy Pearl.  I was able to pass on many of the books she talked about.  Not sure whether it was the choice of books or the quality of the essayist; I think quite a bit of both.

 

 


pedsphleb wrote:

I loved Bound to Please, but there is a caveat...Dirda will make you want to read every book he talks about in his essays. :smileyvery-happy:


Everyman wrote:

And I thought I had a lot of books going at one time!

Michael Dirda, Bound to Please

 




 


 

 

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Peppermill
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Re: Book Junkies! Enablers! Selecting Books to Discuss Together!

:smileysad: :smileymad: :smileysurprised: Correction:  In an earlier post, I incorrectly attributed Excellent Women.  The author is Barbara Pym (not Margaret Drabble). 

 

Here is a list of novels by Margaret Drabble:

(Not all may be readily available.)

 

A Summer Bird Cage, 1964

The Garrick Year, 1965

The Millstone, 1966

Jerusalem the Golden,1967

The Waterfall, 1969

The Needle's Eye, 1972

London Consequences: A Novel, 1972

The Realms of Gold, 1975

The Ice Age, 1977

The Middle Ground, 1980

The Radiant Way, 1987

A Natural Curiosity, 1989

The Gates of Ivory, 1992

The Witch of Exmoor, 1997

The Peppered Moth, 2001

The Seven Sisters, 2002

The Red Queen , 2004

The Sea Lady, 2006



 

The Radiant Way is the only one of her novels I have read; it seems to be available only(?) as a used copy.  I would be interested in reading something else written by Drabble, but am open as to what. (Drabble edited the 1985 revision of the Oxford Companion to English Literature.  The sixth edition, 2000, still carries her name as editor.)

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Everyman
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Re: Book Junkies! Enablers! Selecting Books to Discuss Together!

(Drabble edited the 1985 revision of the Oxford Companion to English Literature.  The sixth edition, 2000, still carries her name as editor.)

 

I always get a bit of a start when I see the name of somebody I know from one context show up in a totally different context.  I know Drabble well from the Oxford Companion, but had no idea she was a novelist.

 

The same sort of start I got, for instance, when I realized that Isaac Asimov, who I grew up with as a science fiction writer, had written a fantastic companion to Paradise Lost.  Which sadly is virtually unavailable except in a few rare copies at great cost.  

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Re: Book Junkies! Enablers! Selecting Books to Discuss Together!

Here are some comments on Barbara Pym:

 

"More significantly, she revised Some Tame Gazelle and submitted it to the publisher Jonathan Cape in 1949. To her delight it was accepted and published in 1950, to favorable reviews. Her career as a published writer was launched.

"From then on every few years a new Pym novel was produced. Excellent Women was published by Cape in 1952, followed the next year by Jane and Prudence. 1955 saw the publication of Less Than Angels, A Glass of Blessings in 1958, and No Fond Return of Love appeared in 1961. To scholars and critics, these six early novels form the Barbara Pym canon, a body of work that establishes her unique style and presages her lasting importance. In them, she probes the human condition, seen through the prism of such quotidian events as jumble sales and walks in the woods. Her characters are unassuming people leading unremarkable lives; Pym became the chronicler of quiet lives."
 

Unsuitable Attachment

Sweet Dove Died
Jane and Prudence

A Few Green Leaves

Quartet in Autumn (audio)

Crampton Hodnet

Civil to Strangers (audio)

An Academic Question (novel?)

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Book Junkies! Enablers! Selecting Books to Discuss Together!

Less Than Angels and Quartette in Autumn are both excellent. I think that books that are not voted in one time can certainly be nominated another time. Sometimes there are just too many appealing things on the smorgasbord.

 

Excellent Women is available as a Penguin Classic.


Peppermill wrote:
Here are some comments on Barbara Pym:

 

"More significantly, she revised Some Tame Gazelle and submitted it to the publisher Jonathan Cape in 1949. To her delight it was accepted and published in 1950, to favorable reviews. Her career as a published writer was launched.

"From then on every few years a new Pym novel was produced. Excellent Women was published by Cape in 1952, followed the next year by Jane and Prudence. 1955 saw the publication of Less Than Angels, A Glass of Blessings in 1958, and No Fond Return of Love appeared in 1961. To scholars and critics, these six early novels form the Barbara Pym canon, a body of work that establishes her unique style and presages her lasting importance. In them, she probes the human condition, seen through the prism of such quotidian events as jumble sales and walks in the woods. Her characters are unassuming people leading unremarkable lives; Pym became the chronicler of quiet lives."
 

Unsuitable Attachment

Sweet Dove Died
Jane and Prudence

A Few Green Leaves

Quartet in Autumn (audio)

Crampton Hodnet

Civil to Strangers (audio)

An Academic Question (novel?)


 

 

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton