Thoughts

Gaps in Reading

While discussing literature, philosophy, the ways of the world and the weather with a new friend, it occured to me that there is considerable gaps in my reading experience. I have mainly focused on contemparary books classified as ‘literature’ and the English, Greek and Roman classics. I had never heard of Don DeLilo until last year and nor did I pay much attention to post-modernist or science fiction novels.  I’ve been trying to include more Russian and French classics into my readings. I’m not stuch in a reading rut but I’m mindful of trying to broaden my horizons and curious too. I’ve discovered some great names and titles from this friend and likewise for her (I hope).

New acquisitions this week (I really need to stop buying books…):

1. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

2. She Came to Stay by Simone de Beauvoir

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Dan Brown newie – dun, dun, dun

So it was announced this week that Dan Brown will finally release a new novel this September entitled The Lost Symbol and again starring Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbolist who also featured in Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. When this is released it will be five years since the now infamous Da Vinci Code was released and there will no doubt be huge pressure resting on Brown’s shoulders.

I think it is so remarkable how a single book could become so popular simply by word of mouth. I remember sitting on the train each morning and every second person was reading Da Vinci Code. I think I’m one of the few who feels no shame in saying that I enjoyed it immensely. Despite what everybody else says about the thin plot or weak characters, I thought the plotting and subject matter was fascinating and fun. It got me thinking about art history and symbols and religion. The research that Brown takes to his books should be applauded. The fact that he takes liberties with his research is his prerogative and to make the research into fiction is his artistic choice. If nothing less, Brown’s novels are thrilling and fun reads.

Anybody else going to have a look in into his new book? Will you hold it on the train, in full view of the public, or will you wrap plain paper around the covers?

Rain, rain

The rain is splattering harshly against my window as I am snuggled among pillows and doonas. Grey skies peep through my blinds and a faint breeze rustles through a small opening in the window, reminding me of the bitter cold outside. A steaming mug of tea is sitting on my bedside table. The heavy rain drums out any noise that may come from the streets leaving me to feel as if I am the only person on earth. Completely and peacefully alone.

Perfect weather and conditions for reading, wouldn’t you say?

Booking Through Thursday

This week’s BTT

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

I think I would like to see Harry Potter be made into a movie … oh wait, it already is! :-p

A book (s) I would like to be made into a movie would be the Tomorrow series by John Marsden. The series spans through seven books and it’s one of the the most amazing piece of writing I’ve read. I guess one could call it the Australian Harry Potter because the story swept up both children and adults (the books are young adult). In saying that, while I don’t doubt that the studios can fund the special effects and all that jazz, it is their willingness to invest in keeping the integrity of the story is what concerns me. I can see cost cutting, amalgating the seven books into … three movies (which is perhaps do-able) or switching the cast and setting from Australia to America.

Booking Through Thursday

This week’s BTT.
We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?

This is a very hard question! There are so many great books that I haven’t read yet let alone attempt to pick out one single title. In fact, I’ve been attempting this book challenge in hopes of actually getting around to these marvellous titles.

I’m going to cheat here and put down two titles – a fiction and non-fiction.

Fiction – War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Non-Fiction – Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault

I was hoping to absorb myself in Foucault last year at uni but I seriously misjudged my time frames so I did not have the time. Soon, soon…

Booking Through Thursday

A new BTT

Do you give books as gifts?

To everyone? Or only to select people?

How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?

I usually always give books as gifts to friends who I know would appreciate or enjoy them. I have some friends who don’t read at all and yawn and pout if I steer them towards a bookstore. Even so, I think books are one of the best gifts one can give because it’s so personal, lasting and a historical marker. I write a message in each book I give and I hope that some time in the future, they will look back on the book and my message and smile. I’m always intrigued by messages in second-hand books and I imagine what the original owners were like and why the book has ended up in a second-hand store.

It is most ironic, then, that I rarely receive books as gifts! Friends think that because I’m always buying books that I won’t need any more (when we all know that it doesn’t work that way). Or that they say that find my tastes intimidating and selective (which generally aren’t if they stick to classics and good literature) or that they don’t know what I’ve read or bought and they don’t want to overlap (which is fair enough). I do get some books as gifts but they are mainly from other bookish friends or some bizarre titles.

A friend once gave me Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating and when I raised my eyebrows at her, she just shrugged her shoulded and smirked.

One can never get enough of books. Or books about books. Or even bookish things and accessories.

Writing

I have pretty much given up on Nanowrimo, unfortunately. I started off strongly but I was just completely derailed by it. I still like my story and I’ll continue to work on it over time. Who knows – perhaps I might be able to get it published a decade down the track. 🙂 I think I’m much more suited to short stories. I have a short attention span and little stamina. On the other hand, I’ve been writing some poetry lately, something I’ve never done before and it’s very fun.

There’s some good news though. My short story piece was chosen to be included by the other editors on the uni creative writing anthology. Since I’m on the editorial team, it was extremely nerve wracking and not for the faint hearted (character building, I guess…) to sit there with the others while they judged and discussed my piece. As I have never done any creative writing classes since all the way back in high school, filled with teenage angst, this piece is my first, ‘serious’ work. Although it will only be published in a student anthology, I’m still very excited because, in a way, I’ll be a ‘published’ author. 🙂 It’s very encouraging.

On other news front – I have applied for a place at another university to do a graduate diploma in Information Management, which means, if I get accepted I’ll be a librarian! I decided to apply despite thinking I’ll take next year off and do other things. But with being unemployed and global financial uncertainty, I thought I’d apply and defer if things get better. But I’m still very excited at the prospect of being a librarian. I hope I won’t be disappointed.