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posted by [personal profile] kchew at 10:53am on 22/04/2009
I forgot to post this list at the time, but I want to have it here for the sake of completeness:

Pole to Pole by Michael Palin
Victory by Susan Cooper
The Tears of the Salamander by Peter Dickinson (these three were library castoffs)
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Jane on Her Own by Ursula LeGuin
365 Unplugged Family Activities by Steve and Ruth Bennett
AIrborn by Kenneth Oppel
The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman
The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein (a double! D'oh!)
Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Nornby

Books bought to date (April 2009): 39
Books read to date (April 2009): 22

I'm not allowed into any more bookstores, anymore.
There are 9 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
 
posted by [identity profile] captainmushroom.livejournal.com at 11:16pm on 22/04/2009
I'm reading Desperaux to the Cremini Kid at bedtime right now. It's a very bleak book, but he's absolutely loving it. I'm enjoying it too. Lots of amusing asides ("Reader, do you know what XXX means? Well, I'm not going to tell you. Go look it up in the dictionary.")
 
posted by [identity profile] kchew.livejournal.com at 05:28am on 23/04/2009
I'm not sure that I found it bleak so much as in the grand British tradition of "life isn't fair." The little abused girl is awfully sad, but at least the rat tries. It is good.

As an aside of my own, I find that kids are much more resilient when it comes to bleakness in books than I remember. Exhibit A: I read Bambi by Felix Salten when I was a kid, and it wasn't until I was much older that I realized it was Existentialism 101 for Children. *That* is a bleak book.
 
posted by [identity profile] nitouche.livejournal.com at 12:21am on 23/04/2009
We have the movie adaptations of Shadow in the North and -- gah, what's the first one called? Blast. Anyway, the first two movies.

Oh! The Ruby in the Smoke!

Let me know if you want to see them & we'll bung them on a dvd for you. Also Sita Sings the Blues, if you haven't seen it already.
 
posted by [identity profile] kchew.livejournal.com at 05:25am on 23/04/2009
I had no idea that they'd been filmed! And I'd love to see Sita Sings the Blues. In return, I have for you a copy of Once There Was and Was Not: Armenian Tales Retold by Virginia A Tashjian, which I found for a dollar at the library today. I hope that you don't already have a copy!
 
posted by [identity profile] wrongradical.livejournal.com at 02:11am on 23/04/2009
Partially on account of reading one of your prior posts, I finally got around to reading Nineteen Eighty-Four. I was in grade twelve (and thirteen) in 1984 and some classes in grade twelve English read the Orwell novel. My class did not read it and I felt gypped. I have felt gypped for the past twenty-five years! So I finally read it. It was just after reading Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth. That must be a new record for me, two novels in a row. John knows how much I love the show "The Price is Right", and tomorrow I will start Bob Barker's memoir entitled Priceless Memories. Then I might have to put down the books and spend my free time rerereviewing my Romansch notes until July, as I don't want to enter the fifth-level class remembering naething from two years ago when I was last in Switzerland. One book I will not be bringing home with me from Brittany: a Breton translation of Le Petit Prince. I had bought Ar PriƱs Bihan nine years ago in the French language section of Helsinki's (and Nordic Europe's) biggest bookstore, Akateeminen Kirjakauppa in the summer of 2000.
 
posted by [identity profile] kchew.livejournal.com at 05:22am on 23/04/2009
How many translations of Le Petit Prince are there that you've found?! (that's so cool)

I'm glad that you read Nineteen Eighty-Four! How did you like it (and the Roth)? I read it and Brave New World as part of a first-year political science course (which was great). Brave New World has much resonance today, particularly in its anticipation of the disposable economy (use and toss rather than repair). I read Animal Farm when I was a tween (10? 11?) and was totally traumatized by it. I think that's why Orwell's essays about bookselling (in part) came as such a surprise.
 
posted by [identity profile] wrongradical.livejournal.com at 04:31pm on 23/04/2009
There are close to two hundred translations of Le Petit Prince. I collect translations based on three criteria:

1) If I know the language (English, French, German, Finnish, Rumantsch Grischun);

2) If I am interested in learning the language (Breton, Maltese);

3) If I have visited a place where they speak that language (Russian, Estonian, Surmiran Romansch, Tunturi Sami, Inari Sami, Swedish, Danish, Italian).

There are clubs where collectors of different editions can get together and brag about their finds. I like to compare the translations and also to have these books as a "linguistic souvenir" of my travels. Most bookstores will have a translation in stock. This book is so widespread that even in tiny bookstores in Romansch Switzerland, they had it.

Nineteen Eighty-Four was more of a tedious read than I thought. I wanted to be scared, like in some kind of a future shock thriller. I wanted to not want to put the book down. It didn't thrill me that way. The twenty-odd pages of political gumbo from "The Book" that Winston reads was the biggest bore of all. I suppose Orwell meant it to be as such; cultlike indoctrination and policy policy policy. In the novel, Winston finds an old-fashioned clock and had difficulty reading it. The idea of keeping time in 1984 totally blew my mind because for years I have wanted to invent a 24-hour face clock too, one that would show noon at what appears to be 6 o'clock on our clocks. I read Roth's Portnoy's Complaint after having that book kicking around my house for close to twenty years. I read about it being banned in many places for its sexual content and I wanted to read for myself why. I had many a laugh reading it. The protagonist (Alexander Portnoy)'s train of thought and mile-a-minute speech pattern made it a hilarious read. These paragraphs often had no punctuation and had to be read in their entirety; if I was interrupted mid-page I would have to start all over again, or otherwise look for the capital letter denoting a new sentence. The sexual content was tame (really it was mostly Portnoy's excessive masturbation and some sex acts with women) but nothing that anyone would worry about today. Quite tame even.
 
posted by [identity profile] kchew.livejournal.com at 03:08am on 24/04/2009
I'm sorry that 1984 wasn't as good a book as you had hoped. Reading it back in the day (I read it in, tah dah, 1984) made it seem more prescient. There are elements of it, to be sure, that have resonance today, mainly to do with obsessive surveillance and other Big Brother-like activities, and the erosion of privacy. Oh: how many Big Brothers does it take to change a lightbulb? None! Big Brother can see in the dark!

It's good to know that you read books that have been hanging about that long too. I actually have to pack up a good number of my books because we have no room, and I'm trying to decide if I should sell them or just store them carefully. I'm thinking that I'll have to sell them, because if I keep them in the garage (and there is nowhere else), then the mice might get at them. That, to my mind, would be worse than selling them. I'm keeping a spreadsheet of all the titles that I pack up, so that if I change my mind, I'll know either where to find the item or when I sold it. Obsessive record keeping is how I deal with my dislike of selling my books...
 
posted by [identity profile] wrongradical.livejournal.com at 01:46pm on 24/04/2009
Mark gave me a new bookcase for Christmas 2007 and already it is full up save for one shelf. All the other shelves are now stacked with books that had heretofore taken up residence on my library floor. Now I have started to undertake a project that would have been considered heretical only a few months ago: weeding my book collection. I am not a fan of fiction (I know that sounds really snobby) and the majority of novels (those that I do read) are library copies which go back whence they came. However, since I have worked in a library for the past 27 years I have taken home quite a lot of donated novels that the library didn't want. There is no emotional attachment to these books; I consider them as "permanent loan" library items, which I could read whenever I wanted. That is the reason the last two novels I have read had been sitting on my fiction shelf for close to twenty years. After Portnoy's Complaint, I donated it back to the library. After Nineteen Eighty-Four, the same. I need bookshelf space, and this summer will be a book-buying bonanza as I visit Breton bookstores for the first time. Where will I put everything? So I have cleared my bookshelves of two novels already. I did a count and there are twelve library donation rejects sitting on my one lonely fiction shelf right now. If I read them all, I could clear out an entire shelf. So maybe I will focus on fiction this spring, in conjunction with my Romansch reviewing.

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