“I may be cynical when I say that very rarely is the beloved more than a shaping spirit for the lover’s dreams. And perhaps such a thing is enough. To be a muse may be enough. The pain is when the dreams change, as they do, as they must. Suddenly the enchanted city fades and you are left alone again in the windy desert. As for your beloved, she didn’t understand you. The truth is, you never understood yourself.”—Jeannette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry (via bookmania)
Her deckle-edge was seductively deep, her endpapers velvety. She was a first edition, probably autographed. Any man would want to write his name in a book like her.
She noticed him perusing her pages, and blushed. He had a hard spine, and a crisp dust jacket. His eyes were capitalized, and in an obscure font designed in Amsterdam in 1768. She caught herself glancing at his flyleaf, and looked away, mortified.
They were in the YA section, and she was acting like a common galley.
“Can I have your ISBN?” he whispered. He could nearly see her addendum.
“Yes,” she cooed, helpless. “Yes.”
A couple of years ago, for the 110th Anniversary of the terrific indie University Bookstore in Seattle, 110 writers wrote pieces of 110 words. This was mine, a miniature romance novel, the only thing in that genre I’ve written. (So far.) Books are sexy. I became a writer in order to get closer to them.
Like the first book, the second does a very good job of embellishing on what I had seen in the movie. My only regret is that I watched the movie first, as there wasn’t much suspense to keep me completely enthralled, so it came off as more of a transition passage rather than a fully developed novel. It’s not the book’s fault that I remembered the major spoilers before reading it. Otherwise, the writing was breakneck compelling, and Lisbeth was amazingly badass as per usual. Only she could make math sexy, among other things.
Cross out what you’ve already read. Six is the average.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte Harry Potter series - JK Rowling To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee The Bible Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman Great Expectations - Charles Dickens Little Women - Louisa M Alcott Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy Catch 22 - Joseph Heller Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger Middlemarch - George Eliot Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald Bleak House - Charles Dickens War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy David Copperfield - Charles Dickens Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis Emma - Jane Austen Persuasion - Jane Austen The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne Animal Farm - George Orwell The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood Lord of the Flies - William Golding Atonement - Ian McEwan Life of Pi - Yann Martel Dune - Frank Herbert Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens Brave New World - Aldous Huxley The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov The Secret History - Donna Tartt The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas On The Road - Jack Kerouac Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie Moby Dick - Herman Melville Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens Dracula - Bram Stoker The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson Ulysses - James Joyce The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome Germinal - Emile Zola Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray Possession - AS Byatt A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell The Color Purple - Alice Walker The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry Charlotte’s Web - EB White The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks Watership Down - Richard Adams A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas Hamlet - William Shakespeare Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
This is depressing, Youth of Today.
I only half-dashed the ones that I started but haven’t finished because I swear I will and I wanted to give myself at least SOME credit aish
Why is six the average. What do people do in schools. I am so poorly read that it’s a bit pathetic, but I read 18 of these for school. Also, very happy to see Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and The Five People You Meet in Heaven on here. (Also Nineteen Eighty-Four, but that’s a given.) I’m surprised The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn didn’t make the list. What is this list anyway.
I don’t understand why Lion/Witch/Wardrobe is separate from Chronicles of Narnia. Moving on.
I know I read obsessively, and I planning on reading at least ten more of the books on this list. But seriously. Six? The sad fact is that that’s perfectly believable in this day and age, no matter what statistics were used to find the number. Sigh.
Well. That was disappointing. I don’t know what most of these people were thinking when they wrote these stories. I technically do, going by the end notes, but obviously something went very wrong between them detailing what inspired them and writing while inspired. The first two stories weren’t half bad. Actually, the second story ‘The Snow Maiden’ was the best of the bunch; it had a novel fantastical setting with an interesting plot and satisfying ending. The only other story I can say measured up near to it in terms of quality was ‘The Color Master’. As for the rest of them, quite a few flat out disgusted me. Too many grotesque descriptions of gutted bowels and skinned cats and bodily excretions for my taste. And the ones that didn’t make me feel nauseous were either trying too hard to be linguistically creative, didn’t make any sense, or were just plain boring. Does this mean I’ve outgrown fairy tales completely? I really don’t think so. Magical realism is one of my favorite genres (emphasis on the magical), and I still have a healthy appreciation of supernatural YA as evidenced by my recent re-readings of some of my favorites. This collection was just bad, and the only reasons why it has two stars is for the title and the two decent stories that I mentioned. I’m hoping that when someone attempts this kind of thing again, they use this book as a reference of what not to do.
“This is probably going to get quoted in every publication just because I said it. And I’m not even saying anything. I’m not talking about my films, I’m not talking about my life, and I’m not talking about the world. And yet, the media will print it simply because I said it. And at this moment in time, I bet there is an artist around the corner of this hotel, on the street, with a mind far beyond ours, but we will never listen to him simply because he has not appeared in a movie. And that is what is fucked up about our culture.”—Robert Downey Jr. (via quote-book)
Cheiloproclitic - Being attracted to someones lips. Quidnunc - One who always has to know what is going on. Ultracrepidarian - Of one who speaks or offers opinions on matters beyond their knowledge. Apodyopis - The act of mentally undressing someone. Gymnophoria - The sensation that someone is mentally undressing you. Tarantism - The urge to overcome melancholy by dancing. Autolatry - The worship of one’s self. Cagamosis - An unhappy marriage. Gargalesthesia - The sensation caused my tickling. Capernoited - Slightly intoxicated or tipsy. Lalochezia - The use of abusive language to relieve stress or ease pain. Cataglottism - Kissing with tongue. Basorexia - An overwhelming desire to kiss. Brontide - The low rumbling of distant thunder. Grapholagnia - The urge to stare at obscene pictures. Agelast - A person who never laughs. Wanweird - An unhappy fate. Dystopia - Am imaginary place of total misery. A metaphor for hell. Petrichor - The smell of dry rain on the ground. Anagapesis - The feeling when one no longer loves someone they once did. Malapert - Clever in manners of speech. Duende - Unusual power to attract or charm. Concilliabule - A secret meeting of people who are hatching a plot. Strikhedonia - The pleasure of being able to say “to hell with it”. Lygerastia - The condition of one who is only amorous when the lights are out. Ayurnamat - The philosophy that there is no point in worrying about events that cannot be changed. Sphallolalia - Flirtatious talk that leads no where. Baisemain - A kiss on the hand. Druxy - Something which looks good on the outside, but is actually rotten inside. Mamihlapinatapei - The look between two people in which each loves the other but is too afraid to make the first move.
“Perhaps love is a minor madness. And as with madness, it’s unendurable alone. The one person who can relieve us is of course the sole person we cannot go to: the one we love. So instead we seek out allies, even among strangers and wives, fellow patients who, if they can’t touch the edge of our particular sorrow, have felt something that cuts nearly as deep.”—Andrew Sean Greer, The Story of a Marriage (via helplesslyamazed)
Well, it had to happen. But that’s what rereading is for, after all. I can see why my younger self considered this a favorite. The story was an interesting blend of childhood and introduction to science that isn’t common to the realms of YA. It’s a bit unconventional, really, to bring in terms like ‘tesseract’ and famous quotes in a number of different languages into a story meant for children. But it made for some real enjoyment. That’s what earned it the four stars. Other than that, well. I’m afraid I require more descriptive turns of phrase and in-depth world building nowadays. As well as more cohesive characters and plot. Agh, this is horrible. Going to stop critiquing now, it pains my nostalgia too much. I’d still recommend it for children, of course. It’s a wonderful first taste of science and the outer bounds of human knowledge. A simple one, but still enjoyable.
At first I was debating whether I would retain the five star rating in honor of my younger self’s first loves, or adjust it accordingly. I needn’t have worried. This is a masterpiece of world building and character creation and subsequent development. I love worlds that have so much depth and complexity in the believable sense, worlds that you could imagine living and growing and thriving in. What makes them even better is that hint of otherworldlyness, that small smidgen of magic and adventure and supernatural that takes realistic events and infuses them with a sense of wonder. Imagination is a wonderful thing, but knowing that there is potential in your dreams being realized is priceless. And character creation. Lyra is brave, bold, and clever beyond belief. She is twelve, yes, so she is brash and childish as she should be. But you cannot deny the complexity and truth of her emotions, and there is never a time where she acts in a shameful or unrealistic fashion. Like many child protagonists, she grows up without real interaction with her known parents, but this was no ploy to attract the readers emotions or force the character’s development to ridiculous heights. She finds her parents, and finds herself past them. There is no love lost nor overwhelming desire to cater to their whims. She has already found the love she craves with others, and is satisfied with loving them in return. Not to mention all the other characters. The panserbjørne, the gyptians, the witches, the Tartars, the Scholars, the dæmons. It is a veritable feast of descriptive power, and there is no possibility of mixing up the many races and creatures with each other. Each have their own culture and creeds, characteristics so ingrained within that had Pullman made a mistake in describing them, the reader would have realized it immediately. But he didn’t. And it is a pleasure to visualize these beings in their full physical form using the many descriptions Pullman so graciously provided. It’s not enough for Pullman to build an amazingly detailed world and fill it with beloved characters. No, he has to have a historical background to encompass it all, a feeling of the past that is fully realized in the descriptions of the political machinations of the Church and those who dwell within it. This may be a children’s book, but Pullman does not stint on embellishment of theological arguments and shady dealings. Finally, the concept of Lyra’s destiny. The ‘chosen one’ trope is in as it says, a trope, but here, this trope is done beautifully. It is made clear that Lyra’s future is not one filled with amazing power ups and ultimate happiness. She will suffer in ignorance of her potential, and in suffering she will save everything. An everything that started with her world, one that has been enriched to the point of magnificence, and yet is just the beginning. There are worlds upon worlds outside that of Lyra’s view, and her quest is just beginning.
As I said, I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue. I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. And that’s why, in addition to everything we’ve done in this administration — rolling back Don’t Ask Don’t Tell so that outstanding Americans can serve our country; whether it’s no longer defending the Defense (of) Marriage Act, which tried to federalize what has historically state law — I’ve stood on the side of broader equality for the LGBT community.
And I’d hesitated on gay marriage because, in part, I thought civil unions would be sufficient, that that was something that would give people hospital visitation rights and other elements that we take for granted. And I was sensitive to the fact that, for a lot of people, the word ‘marriage’ is something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs, and so forth.
But I have to tell you that over the course of several years, as I talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed, monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines, sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf, and yet feel constrained even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they’re not able to commit themselves in a marriage — at a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married.