Jill Rummages Among Her Books in 2023 - Part the Fifth

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Jill Rummages Among Her Books in 2023 - Part the Fifth

Nov 25, 2023, 4:30 pm

Maybe I'll do a chapter-by-chapter breakouts of The Silmarillion to get me through the month of December like the year I did The Hobbit. Not sure what I'll be doing next -- as I said in my last post on the previous thread, I really want to finish Trollope's The Small House at Allington this weekend.

Nov 25, 2023, 5:03 pm

Happy new thread!

Nov 25, 2023, 6:14 pm

Happy New Thread.

I think I am due another Trollope soon.

Nov 25, 2023, 9:49 pm

Happy New thread and thanks for the book list! I was surprised to see Starter Villain on the list.

Nov 26, 2023, 4:46 am

Happy New Thread

Nov 26, 2023, 9:30 am

Happy New Thread!

Nov 26, 2023, 11:11 am

Most Outstanding Titles Read Thus Far (List shown as of Labor Day 2023)

A History of Reading (1996)
Stories of Books and Libraries (2022)
The Mountain in the Sea (2022)
Nettle and Bone (2023)
The Lost Art of Reading: Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time (2018)
The Original Bambi (2022)

Outstanding Titles Read Thus Far (List as of Thanksgiving 2023)
Translation: Which titles have receded in my head over the intervening two months? Which have surged forward?

A History of Reading (1996)
The Mountain in the Sea (2022)
The Lost Art of Reading: Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time (2018)
Mansfield Park (1814)

Non-Fiction Coming Down The Pike

-- The Science of Reading: Information, Media and Mind in Modern America - great honkin' tome of 500 plus pages of serious material focused on how we think about the activity of reading in the scientific America of the 21st century. Um, rather less trade-oriented than I had anticipated. One chapter at a time, I think. And reading those somewhat slowly.
-- Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed the Publishing Industry and American Literature - fewer pages than the above but rather more accessible prose and subject matter.
-- Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
-- Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans - recommended by my son as something he's assigning to his incoming CS majors. Seems about my speed.
-- How to Suppress Women's Writing. This one is by Joanna Russ and I think I initially read it back in the 1980s when it was first published. I want to see what I get out of it now. Totally fierce and fiery assessment by a woman and author of a few sf titles in her own right.
-- You Are What You Read Interesting title from Princeton Univ Press, written by adjunct faculty at CUNY. Not sure who this one is aimed at, in terms of the target demographic, but it's something to chew on.

Light Fiction (In process or about to begin)
-- Witches Abroad - reading it at bedtime, albeit slowly, as it is not apt to prove challenging or confusing
-- The Small House at Allington - Trollope's prose is quite manageable.
-- Dust Up at the Crater School - I mean, it's a Christmas story.
-- The Kaiju Preservation Society - done for a book group and utterly light weight which Scalzi himself admits in his acknowledgements at the end. Not something that will stick in my brain, I suspect.
-- The Book Hunters of Katpadi - learned of this one via a talk about fiction featuring women working in bookshops. Book group -- the small one that only does sf and mystery -- immediately seized upon it when I mentioned it in passing.

Back to Trollope now...

Editado: Nov 27, 2023, 11:45 am

Trollope might have assigned a better title to The Small House at Allington. To me, his title suggests a single family at the center of a nice domestic fiction. Personally I would have entitled the book A Sense of Obligation. Financial obligation, obligation to family, and obligation to self. The way that I read it, his novel is a response from the male perspective to the various problems that Austen dealt with in Sense and Sensibility. In S&S, you have a family of three women – Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor Dashwood, and Marianne Dashwood. The first is a widow of limited means, the second is a highly sensible young woman in constant possession of herself, and the third is a younger woman who does not yet comprehend precisely how romantic love factors into the practical realities of adult life. Marianne falls in love with Willoughby, a cad and libertine, and Elinor falls in love with Edward, a young man foolish enough to have allowed himself to become entangled with a manipulative female.

In SMA, the situation is similar. Mrs Dale is a widow of small means with two daughters. Lily and Bell. Both of the daughters are attractive and both have suitors. Adolphus Crosbie (the parallel of the caddish Willoughby) has real affection for Lily but is driven by professional preferment while John Eames (the parallel to Edward Ferrars) gets himself tied up with the scheming Amelia Roper, whose mother manages his boarding house in London. In the background are the complicating presence of an Earl’s son who loves Bell as well as the medical doctor who also loves Bell. The ambitious clerk, Eames, genuinely loves Lily although apparently without much success. The individual characters that Trollope introduces have unique characteristics and flaws; but there are real consequences due to those individual flaws and the ambitious scheming to move up the social ladder. My sense is that Trollope felt Austen didn’t provide a sufficiently balanced view of the struggles and rationales driving male behavior, given the social fabric of the time.

There may be other literary interpretations of SMA, but this was what burst upon my brain as I was reading the book without reference to any academic studies. I have a very general sense of what’s going to happen with Lily (frequently criticized for her too-controlled response to her situation) but this is generally a less cheerful addition to the Barsetshire novels. From my perspective, it’s kind of a set-up for what will go on in The Last Chronicle of Barset. Josiah Crawley’s depression and inability to participate in his own defense is just too sad for me to read at this point. But there’s this bit I wrote way back in 2006:

The crux of Crawley's trouble in Last Chronicle is that he's accused of having stolen and cashed a check that properly belonged to the Dean of the Cathedral in his diocese. No one finds it particularly credible that he has committed theft but the evidence of his cashing the check is undeniable. Crawley is deemed to be half-mad by all who know him, but few recognize that the madness is brought on by a mixture of frustration, desperation and pride. Crawley even says to his wife at one point that he either belongs in Bedlam (the famous asylum of the mad) or in jail, given the evidence against him. Socially, professionally, personally, there must be consequences. The Last Chronicle of Barset plays out the consequences of the accusation against Crawley (although, in the end, "the good end happily and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.")

I must now go read something else as outlined in my previous post above. (A friend reminded me yesterday about the title for the Folgers discussion in mid-December, The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Haven't read that one yet either.)

Nov 29, 2023, 4:04 pm

Just sharing a link for the sake of those who may still be looking for good Christmas gift ideas: https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2023/11/29/chefs-selections-best-books-read-...

The next two days will have subsequent "parts" in the series. (And you can always search that site for "best books" and see what was in vogue the past years. I know I had recommended What We Talk About When We Talk About Books back in 2019 and Reynard The Fox in 2020. In other years, Babel. Circe, and Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts were titles I offered as being worthwhile. (I had already written about all of those here in the Pub -- I just polished up the prose over there.)

My colleagues over there are quite diverse in their tastes so this particular post here isn't so much about my favorites as much as me suggesting that some of the Green Dragon crowd might enjoy what my buddies are touting as their enjoyable reads of the past twelve months. (Some of them are a lot more fun to go drinking with than I am.)

Nov 29, 2023, 5:30 pm

>9 jillmwo: I recall having a very good time drinking with you in Philadelphia. Although if memory serves, the beverage was tea.

Nov 29, 2023, 10:27 pm

>9 jillmwo: Thank you for the excellent book recommendations in the link!

Nov 30, 2023, 9:47 am

>10 MrsLee:. Tea is always good with conversation and that get-together in Philly was a great deal of fun!

>11 Karlstar: More for you to sample here: More"Best Books and Favorite Cultural Creations" from my colleagues in part two: https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2023/11/30/chefs-selections-best-books-read-.... The recommendation of Beyond Measure by my colleague, Todd Carpenter, is well beyond my comprehension, but I am quite sure that some of the folks here in the Pub will find it to be of interest.

There's also The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store which has appeared on a number of "Best of 2023" lists this year.

Dez 1, 2023, 8:55 am

Speaking from a purely personal perspective, Chaz Brenchley needs to write more Crater School stories. (Also he needs to produce them at a faster rate.) I held off reading the final chapters of Dust-Up at the Crater School for as long as I could but swept through the last four before I went to sleep last night.

And now there are no others ready for me to consume. I am verklempt.

Dez 1, 2023, 8:58 am

Honestly, I get to hang out with cool people. From the third and final set of selections from the Chefs:

...my favorite comic of the year was Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons, which does not feature the title character but rather creates a new origin myth for the Amazons amidst the machinations of the Greek gods, each volume illustrated by different but equally striking artists.

See https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2023/12/01/chefs-selections-best-books-read-...

Dez 1, 2023, 3:35 pm

>13 jillmwo:
I thought Chaz would like your comment and took the liberty of passing it on. He responded thus:
“ Peter! Thanks so much for passing this along. Please assure jillmwo that more Crater School is on its way; book three is complete, and will appear sometime next year.
If she can't wait that long, the whole text and a hell of a lot more, including a slew of Crater School short stories and novellas, is available on my Patreon for three bucks a month...”

I said I thought he would like to read your comment and his response was:

“ Made my morning, mate.”

Editado: Dez 2, 2023, 3:48 pm

>15 pgmcc: I've avoided joining authors' Patreon subscription sites up until now, but if I find I need a Crater schoolgirl infusion of sense and camaraderie, I may change that. I'm thrilled to learn that there are more titles on the way.

Meanwhile, another long one about how reading one thing reminds you of another thing read you're read in the past.

The past few days I’ve been looking at two books. The first is The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, initially serialized in a children’s publication in 1887, then produced as a play in 1902-03 and then finally released in book form in 1905. The second is A Round Dozen, a collection of short stories by Louisa May Alcott, initially published in 1902 although each story appeared in periodicals well before then. Of the tales in that collection, I’m most apt to remember the stories, “The Hole in the Wall”, “Lunches” and “Jerseys or The Girls’ Ghost”. Read by the modern reader, these specific works seem far too unrealistic to be anything other than charming fantasies. Why would one hand them to today’s young reader? Brenchley's stuff has to be more compelling on any number of levels.

A Little Princess has Sara Crewe as the protagonist whom we meet when she is seven upon her initial arrival at Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Girls. For all intents and purposes, she’s an outsized adult in a child’s body. Sara is the perfect role model of good behavior in the face of others' bad behavior. She’s an avid student, fluent in multiple languages, and unfailingly generous to all of her less gifted, less pleasant schoolmates. The generosity of spirit is surprising, given how outrageously she is indulged by her father. His instruction to Miss Minchin is that seven-year-old Sara is to be allowed whatever she wants (theoretically because she never wants anything that would be bad for her.) That statement alone is apt to cause some readers of sense to fling the book at the wall.

Of course, any reader under the age of 12 is going to recognize that Sara is exaggeratedly good. It’s the adult Miss Minchin who is bad, not caring for those in her household who rely on the business woman for appropriate shelter, food and clothing.

Sara is certainly treated by many of the individuals in the book as if she were already an adult. Her father calls her his “Little Missus”. The French tutor shrugs because there is nothing he can teach the girl: Sara has already matured into full fluency. Sara becomes a surrogate parent to Lottie and Ermengarde, neither of whom seems to be properly cared for. She manages to quell Miss Minchin with a look because she holds adult insights into Miss Minchin’s character, shameful motives that Miss Minchin’s own sister confirms as accurate. As well, Sara faults the invalid Indian Gentleman (Thomas Carrisford) to his face for failing to assume proper responsibility in caring for the interests of his business partner, her father. Throughout the book, Sara shows that she has greater maturity and empathy than any of those surrounding her. She doesn’t look to adults for appropriate conduct because she already behaves as the primary adult in the room.

Burnett’s prose in her novel speaks as much to the adult as to the child reader. This is very different from Alcott’s style of story telling or intended message. For Alcott, the adult usually does know best. In Alcott’s short story, Jerseys or The Girls’ Ghost. In that story, the school girls are shown as being indolent and lazy because they don’t take themselves in hand, by exercising or following a healthy diet. It takes a wonderful young teacher to demonstrate how much better the girls will feel if they abandon their bad habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

In Lunches, the heroines are two elderly ladies who feel sorry for the school boys who buy overpriced, adulterated or spoiled food from the vendor across the street. They are so moved by the harm being done that they march into their own kitchen and whip up healthy cookies and breads for the boys, along with some nice fruit. They charge only a penny or two, underselling the bad guy and putting him out of business. The boys favor the better food and the kind cooks, returning from summer break to find a nice bright storefront being managed by the elderly ladies’ family members. Prosperity and good health for all.

“The Hole in the Wall '' is a romantic refashioning of the Pyramus and Thisbe story with an overly sweet child persuading her father to move immediately to improve the life and lot of their neighbors, a little boy with health issues and his mother. The father, once roused to his duty by his daughter, has both the wealth and insight needed to relieve the issues of both families. On one level, the story is insipid; on another level, for me, it was a memorable idea about society’s obligation to the needy. (Maybe it’s Tasha Tudor’s illustration for this story that I remember as problematic. It shows the socially-aware little girl as being dressed as a fairy in a pink tutu, holding a magic wand, with a flower wreath in her hair. Is it charmingly nostalgic over the 19th century or something else?)

In some ways, I am sure that it was the Crater School stories that returned me to these two books. Brenchley’s students are stalwart souls of pioneering stock. The Crater School girls bond with one another as classmates, whereas the girls at Miss Minchin’s Seminary snipe nastily at one another. Alcott’s girls in Jerseys are not creative self-starters in the way that the competent girls are on Mars. (Yes, I know that we’re talking about books written across at least three separate centuries – Alcott in the mid to late-nineteenth, Burnett in the early twentieth, and Brenchley in the twenty-first. It’s still noteworthy. After all, it’s only been in the last century or so that we’ve seen a substantive recognition that children deserve books written especially for both their entertainment as well as education. )

We prefer competent souls nowadays.

Dez 2, 2023, 9:28 pm

I'm more than a little under the weather and therefore not operating on all cylinders, but two things come to mind: the A Little Princess Easter eggs scattered in the latest of The Rook series (please don't ask me to remember its title), and to ask if you've read another slightly askew girls' boarding school series, Kim Newman's Drearcliff Grange School books (which I loved.)

Dez 4, 2023, 6:29 am

>13 jillmwo:. >15 pgmcc: I am saving Dust up at the Crater School to read over Christmas. It's great news that another book is coming soon!

Dez 6, 2023, 2:55 pm

>17 Marissa_Doyle: I'm sorry you were not feeling well (although I'm hoping that four days following the original posting, you're feeling better by now). I have not read either of those two series but am adding them to the remarkably lengthy list of Books-Recommended-By-LibraryThingers-Who-I-Know-Recognize-A-Good-Book-When-They-See-One. (Seriously, that's the name of the list.)

>18 Sakerfalcon: I was an impatient child and could not wait until Christmas. Clearly, you're far more mature as an adult than I. I'm no longer the child who throws herself down on the floor and kicks her feet or threatens to hold her breath until she turns blue. I am more like the wicked Grasshopper who played all summer and then had to rely on the responsible ant when winter arrived.

Dez 6, 2023, 5:44 pm

I was following something down a rabbit hole and remembered this conversation here in the Pub. https://www.librarything.com/topic/48303#856608 Of course, I had to go revisit it.

I was soliciting advice about British goods, MrsLee was making crumpets on her own and that led to people talking about the best topping to spread on a crumpet (butter vs. honey, etc.).

Dez 6, 2023, 8:35 pm

>20 jillmwo: Clotted cream and strawberry or cherry preserves, of course.

>19 jillmwo: Unfortunately, it was the plague. Just finished Paxlovid today and hoping for better things soon. I'm just annoyed because we'd avoided it completely till my DH went to test-drive a vehicle the Monday before Thanksgiving and (ahem) didn't mask.

Dez 7, 2023, 2:12 am

>20 jillmwo: Of course I followed the link! Did you ever get an answer to the question about leatherwood honey? Leatherwood honey is a monofloral honey made from the nectar of the leatherwood, Eucrypha lucida (see here). I've tried it but don't recall really liking it that much — too flowery for me, I think. Here it's about double the price of your ordinary honey.

Dez 8, 2023, 8:32 am

>22 haydninvienna: Come to think of it, I don't think anyone had ever responded to the inquiry about Leatherwood Honey. So thank you for the clarification. (And having never heard of Leatherwood honey before, I was simply trying to pay attention to new information at the time.) I tend towards strawberry jam on my muffins/crumpets/toast. (Although in trying to avoid additional weight gain these days, I've done my best to keep away from the crumpets...)

Dez 11, 2023, 9:17 am

Editorial on reading from the Editor-in-Chief of Library Journal. (https://www.libraryjournal.com/story/re-ignite-reading-editorial)

For the record, this is Jill "bringing coals to Newcastle". This crowd doesn't need to be persuaded as to the value of reading as a leisure activity.

Dez 11, 2023, 10:44 am

>24 jillmwo: I have a set (2 decks) of cards from my husband's grandma. One of the non-essential cards has this on it; "This is your book mark. Read for Knowledge and Pleasure, Play cards for Relaxation."

Editado: Dez 15, 2023, 9:51 am

Quick Casual Reads

The Christmas Appeal - Told in the form of an epistolary novel using text messages, electronic mailing lists, and one-to-one emails, this is something of a fun Christmas mystery. Although it takes a bit of time to get to the actual body, this is a relatively fast read featuring a community theater group holding their annual pantomime play to raise money for the Church roof. And because it’s a theater group, of course, there is DRAMA, familiar to those whose spouses immerse themselves in such efforts. (Note: The giant THING in which the body is hidden is, by itself, worth the price of the book.)

Murder Under the Mistletoe - Well, this is a nice short seasonal novella. What is Christmas without a wedding? It’s not Redvers and Jane’s wedding, of course. But it does involve meeting Redvers’ family – some of whom are perfectly nice people – and thus, crime does find a spot at the hearth.

The Book Hunters of Katpadi - Odd. No touchstone for this one. See an interview with the author here: https://heavenlymonkeybooks.blogspot.com/2018/02/ Lots of book collecting history and arcane tidbits of India’s book culture. Although it’s listed as being a bibliomystery, it’s not as fast-moving as it might have been without those aspects included, but certainly very, very informative. The author is more known in India for his essays which appear in a weekly column of one of the leading Indian papers. Most interesting as a factoid, is that this novel was only printed in hardcover/paperback for distribution in India. The rest of us have to rely on Amazon Kindle, which may be why there is no working touchstone here. (Thereby hangs an interesting discussion, I am sure, about the use of printers in India and the reliance mainstream publishers have on overseas manufacturing…)

Post After Post-Mortem – One in the Martin Edwards / British Library Crime Classics collections. Super-smart, intellectual family living under somewhat Edenic circumstances experiences murder under their own roof. Published in 1936, Edwards thinks this is E.C.R. Lorac’s best crime novel, suggesting that fans of Gaudy Night will enjoy this one. (FWIW, I am enjoying it…)

NOTE: Edited to correct the error that @claimairy noted; original post timestamped as Dec 13, 11:45am.

Dez 13, 2023, 12:16 pm

>26 jillmwo: It's here: The Book Hunters of Katpadi.
Sounds interesting!

Dez 13, 2023, 2:12 pm

>27 clamairy:. First of all, thank you for that correction. (Folks, it appears that my spelling can't be trusted these days for whatever reason. Brain not connecting properly w/ the fingers doing the typing...). Secondly, the book is interesting; I will check a bit later to see if the book in English has a translator noted. Because I'm wondering if he wrote it in English or not. Again, it was primarily distributed in India (where he's undoubtedly better known). I learned of it during a specialty webinar on book history that focused on fiction featuring women in bookstores. Honestly, I'd never have tripped over the title otherwise.

>25 MrsLee: I do love the "extra" card and its message.

Dez 14, 2023, 6:38 am

>26 jillmwo: Both Post after post-mortem and The Christmas appeal sound good. I enjoyed The appeal quite a lot for the epistolary form and the drama society antics.

Dez 16, 2023, 5:40 pm

Okay, this is the kind of Christmas it's going to be. Heaven knows what we're going to be dealing with in terms of family connections for the holiday. One of the sons' in-laws is in the hospital and the other son is dealing with an annual work THING (he works for a not-for-profit) so he's not sure what his calendar or travel may look like. Both would be traveling from out of state so we're not sure how the arrangements are going to shake out.

I'm already feeling the push-me-pull-you of the holiday and we've still got another ten days before New Years. It's gonna get weird. At least, they both called to let me know.

Dez 16, 2023, 8:06 pm

Dez 16, 2023, 8:38 pm

>30 jillmwo: Sorry about the stress, I hope the SIL in the hospital is feeling better soon!

Dez 16, 2023, 8:44 pm

>30 jillmwo:
Big hug! Best wishes to your son-in-law for a quick recovery. Good luck to your son for his work THING.

I hope this holiday shapes up and gives you a peaceful, happy feeling.

Editado: Dez 17, 2023, 8:42 am

Yikes. I hope you're son's in-law is out of the hospital ASAP. There's never a good time of year to be in the hospital, but this is definitely one of the worst. I also hope the work situation improves for your other son.

Dez 17, 2023, 12:38 am

>30 jillmwo: Hugs from Australia too.

Dez 17, 2023, 3:47 am

>30 jillmwo: And from South Africa.

Dez 17, 2023, 11:09 am

>31 Jim53: >32 Karlstar: >33 pgmcc: >34 clamairy: >35 haydninvienna: >36 hfglen: Thank you all! The name of the game in parenting is to be flexible. And to do one's best not to make their lives more difficult than absolutely need be.

On the upside, in de-cluttering this past week, I happened across a box with post mail date from January of 2022. Inside the box were at least two things intended for sons' Christmas! Can't think why they never got tucked into the stocking. Maybe I'd ordered 'way in advance and subsequently got distracted? (Wouldn't be the first time.)

Dez 17, 2023, 1:55 pm

>37 jillmwo: You are correct about that, excellent attitude. I have to remind myself of something similar every year at this time when we're talking about Christmas plans with the girls.

2 fewer things to buy this year!

Dez 17, 2023, 5:28 pm

Facebook tells me that in 2009, I was asking the following: Is the fact that the Grinch was presented as a male character an instance of a gender bias in Christmas literature? Discuss.

It was an off the cuff question at the time but a diverse crowd of FB friends responded. I am now wondering (14 years later) what this crowd might think.

Dez 17, 2023, 5:30 pm

>39 jillmwo:
So what you are saying is that Christmas literature demonises men; is that correct?

Dez 17, 2023, 7:46 pm

>40 pgmcc: Almost all literature and movies demonize men, but there are also many examples of good guys.

I'm trying to imagine a female grinch. I think it could happen, but not in the Dr. Seuss world. There have been good movies (well, ok) with a female Scrooge. Only, we are used to seeing images of mom and grandma making cookies, wrapping gifts and decorating the house. I know families where this is not so, and dad does those things if they get done at all.

Editado: Dez 17, 2023, 7:56 pm

>40 pgmcc: I am asking a question. I am not making a declarative statement. I hope merely to spark a lively discussion. Frankly, I imagine that in any male-dominated society, the blame might be more publicly and more frequently placed on those in power -- as with Ebenezer. The question is whether Scrooge deserved to be blamed. I point out that only Bob Cratchit corrects Mrs Cratchit for her unwillingness to extend charity to her husband's employer. She yields for the sake of the day, not because she feels she's wrong otherwise. One might make the case that Dickens was more concerned with a single man's reformation in The Christmas Carol than he was in challenging the general mindset.

Allow as well that there have been NUMEROUS Hallmark movies featuring female Scrooge-like protagonists. So there's been some attempt to readjust the perception.

Dez 17, 2023, 8:08 pm

>39 jillmwo: If the Grinch was supposed to be a cartoon Scrooge, or in the tradition of Scrooge, I guess it makes sense. Plus the Grinch is the anti-Santa.

Dez 17, 2023, 8:09 pm

>42 jillmwo: Haha! I only knew of the one. Maybe the one I watched years ago was Ebbie? I have no recall.

Dez 17, 2023, 10:09 pm

>39 jillmwo: I have no problem imagining the Grinch as genderless, like Sibling Dex or Cleric Shih, but I don't think I'd want to explain that to the children who are the main audience (even though a lot of us are part of it too). I wonder if it's just that the default for an independent adult creature, good, bad, or indifferent, was male.

Dez 19, 2023, 8:00 pm

>45 Jim53: I think you may have landed on the right spot when you mention that the Grinch's male-ness was essentially a default.

Dez 19, 2023, 8:02 pm

From the New York Times today -- an article about reading parties.

"It's My Party and I'll Read If I Want To" (It's reading with ambiance...)

Editado: Dez 20, 2023, 9:51 am

From The Silmarillion:

Then she began a great labour, greatest of all the works of the Valar since their coming into Arda. She took the silver dews from the vats of Telperion, and therewith she made new stars and brighter against the coming of the Firstborn; wherefore she whose name out of the deeps of time and the labours of Eä was Tintallë, the Kindler, was called after by the Elves Elentári, Queen of the Stars. Carnil and Luinil, Nénar and Lumbar, Alcarinquë and Elemmírë she wrought in that time, and many other of the ancient stars she gathered together and set as signs in the heavens of Arda: Wilwarin, Telumendil, Soronúmë, and Anarríma; and Menelmacar with his shining belt, that forebodes the Last Battle that shall be at the end of days. And high in the north as a challenge to Melkor she set the crown of seven mighty stars to swing, Valacirca, the Sickle of the Valar and sign of doom.

It is told that even as Varda ended her labours, and they were long, when first Menelmacar strode up the sky and the blue fire of Helluin flickered in the mists above the borders of the world, in that hour the Children of the Earth awoke, the Firstborn of Ilúvatar.

Yes, there are an intimidating number of unfamiliar names in that paragraph, but it's a lovely set of images associated with Varda's work with the constellations in the night sky.

Dez 20, 2023, 11:41 am

>48 jillmwo: I love Tolkien's writing of the Creation of that world. It is a poem not written as a poem, even the names add to the nuance and rhythm. I can see a storyteller at the fire telling the children how things came to be.

Dez 20, 2023, 2:44 pm

Golly gosh: I did have badgers~~~

Added 9.59 feet and 125.92 pounds to your book stack!
You need 0.63 IKEA billy bookcases to hold your new books for 2023.
Or, if you store them in the garage, you need 3.40 U-Haul boxes.

And make sure your floors will support the added weight of 6.52 adult badgers!

Actually, I'm wondering what the top number of badgers might be across all of the Pub or across all of LT.

Dez 20, 2023, 2:48 pm

>50 jillmwo:
That would be interesting to know. However, if anyone was loading a legacy library, or just started an account and were loading their own books, that would give them high badger count and distort the picture.

6.52 badgers? That is a lot of badgers. I hope you are looking after them well.

Dez 20, 2023, 2:52 pm

Not the exact information you were looking for, but not far off.

All LibraryThing
LibraryThing members added over 18 million books in 2023.

LibraryThing members have added 2,273,993 feet to their bookstacks this year. That's more than 78 Mt. Everests and 1.70 times to the International Space Station!

Dez 20, 2023, 3:04 pm

>50 jillmwo: and others: Are badgers territorial? What if your 6.52 badgers start a turf war?

Dez 20, 2023, 4:19 pm

>50 jillmwo: Do we know if ebooks add to the badger count? I would guess they would not? Should we have a measurement for e-badgers? What about mushrooms?

Editado: Dez 20, 2023, 5:16 pm

>54 Karlstar: I've no idea how ebooks might factor into this particular stat. Hmm. But mushrooms might be a "no" because mushrooms are a fungi and you don't want fungi near the paper product.

>53 hfglen: It is my understanding that it depends on whether you're talking about European or American badgers. If too densely crowded into the living space, I find a reference in the journal, Nature. indicating that European badgers may become territorial. Looking at American badgers, the state of Michigan indicates that they may become territorial if cornered (who doesn't?) but the Maryland Zoo has a more benign view of them and says they're not strictly territorial. Apparently, much depends on the circumstances of your badger's general environment.

Thinking about this, hfglen, I think you may be right to raise concern about turf wars in the house. I will stand no nonsense, however, and the first badger that starts something will be chucked out into the harsh cold winter.

I'd like to believe all of MY badgers would be like Badger in The Wind in the Willows -- civilized and serious.

Dez 21, 2023, 4:40 pm

>52 pgmcc: The 1.7 times to the ISS is a mind boggling stat, to me. Who needs rockets or space elevators, let's just stack up books!

Editado: Dez 21, 2023, 7:29 pm

Quote from Strangers to the City by Michael Casey

To read well one must be at leisure. Disinterested reading involves moving into a different zone that permits placid reflection. A good book, like good wine, cannot be savored in hurry. It needs room to breathe. A mind cluttered with many preoccupations is not free for reading...

One more from this book:

Rushing through a book to reach its finish will, more often than not, yield little fruit. Rapid reading delivers to us the most superficial layer of the text’s meaning; to find its deeper sense we often have to read the text several times, stopping to mull over the meaning of words and phrases, and stepping back to survey the logical development of the theme as a whole.

Granted he's speaking from a monastic perspective, but his chapter on reading was a good one.

Dez 22, 2023, 1:55 am

>57 jillmwo:
Very interesting and logical. He probably had a lot of time on his hands.

Dez 23, 2023, 9:35 am

>58 pgmcc: *snort*

Shifting from the monastics, a different quote from The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs

...for heaven’s sake, don’t turn reading into the intellectual equivalent of eating organic greens, or (shifting the metaphor slightly) some fearfully disciplined appointment with an elliptical trainer of the mind in which you count words or pages the way some people fix their attention on the “calories burned” readout—some assiduous and taxing exercise that allows you to look back on your conquest of Middlemarch with grim satisfaction. How depressing. This kind of thing is not reading at all, but what C. S. Lewis once called “social and ethical hygiene.”

The visiting offspring are in and out today and tomorrow. I still have wrapping to do and of course, we need to feed people now and again. But there may be one or two additional posts before regular life resumes late Tuesday morning.

But if I haven't said this to you yet this year, thank you for engaging with the books and the thinking on this thread. I have a real fondness for this particular social platform and everyone's willingness to tolerate informal blathering.

Dez 23, 2023, 9:41 am

>59 jillmwo:
Have a great time, Jill, and thank you for all the interaction and commentary. Informal blathering is to be encouraged. It is good for the blood pressure and is rumoured to have innumerable other health benefits.

Dez 23, 2023, 2:06 pm

>59 jillmwo: seconding what Peter said. The benefits of informal blathering are profound for the health of all concerned.

Dez 23, 2023, 7:37 pm

>59 jillmwo: Enjoy your visit with the family! I appreciate you allowing me to blather on your thread.

Editado: Dez 24, 2023, 10:03 am

One son's COVID test just came back positive; he went ahead and tested himself because his fiancee tested positive last night. She's up in Rhode Island with her family and is showing symptoms. My son is not. (The other son - traveling up to see us today with his wife - upon hearing the news of the positive test, wisely turned the car back around to return to Maryland.) I will be cancelling the family luncheon reservation at the local brewery. Fortunately Amazon was able to deliver a working thermometer to me overnight so we can at least check on that as needed. Thus far he's asymptomatic, but we're not sure what happens from here.

I have no prior experience with nor have I any fall-back plan in my head for this kind of holiday.

Happy holiday.

Dez 24, 2023, 12:26 pm

>63 jillmwo:
Sorry to hear the COVID news. Hopefully it will be mild and you and your husband will not catch it.
Have as good festivities as possible under the circumstances. If you are anything like us the house is full of food and there will be limited necessity to venture out.

Keep well and squeeze the season for as much fun and joy as you can.

Dez 24, 2023, 12:58 pm

>63 jillmwo: Sorry to hear that. Hopefully he won't go through what we've been going through this month. Masking and separation may work, we had no luck with that. We cancelled our dinner plans with my parents for today, just can't take the chance.

Sounds like the holiday menu should include soup, soup and more soup? Maybe cheese?

Dez 24, 2023, 3:15 pm

>63 jillmwo: Best of luck with it all. We down here at the warm end of the world are at least spared this sort of Christmas anti-miracle.

Editado: Dez 26, 2023, 11:48 am

From The Lost Art of Reading: Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time by David Ulin

This was what I’d been missing, that full-bore immersion; this was what reading had to offer, that balance of first and second sight, of knowing and unknowing, of finding yourself in someone else. My initial response was one of relief, and not just because I’d slid into the book so easily. It had been decades since I’d read The Great Gatsby, and I hadn’t known for sure how it would be. Rereading can be a tricky process, in which, for better or worse, you’re brought face-to-face with both the present and the past. It’s different than reading, more layered, more nuanced, with implications about how we’ve changed.

It's those last two sentences that resonate as particularly truthful.

Editado: Dez 26, 2023, 3:11 pm

>66 haydninvienna: We're managing but my Christmas spirit this year is not what one might wish for. OTOH, I suppose time and circumstances will shift away from that mood. At some point, I'll pick up a book and try to pretend all is right with the world. Anyone thinking of Archimedes in The Sword in The Stone turning his back and trying to ignore Wart's presence? Merlin seeks to introduce the boy to the bird to which Archimedes insists hopefully (or stubbornly) "There is no boy".

In this instance there is no elephant in the room.

Dez 26, 2023, 3:11 pm

From The Secret Life of Books by Tom Mole:

To own a book (especially one that you could borrow from a library) is to insist on having a private relationship with it. But to own a book is also to join a collective, to become part of the public for whom the work has been published.

Editado: Dez 26, 2023, 3:20 pm

From Lost Horizon by James Hilton:

"...We do not follow an idle experiment, a mere whimsy. We have a dream and a vision. It is a vision that first appeared to old Perrault when he lay dying in this room in the year 1789. He looked back then on his long life, as I have already told you, and it seemed to him that all the loveliest things were transient and perishable, and that war, lust, and brutality might some day crush them until there were no more left in the world. He remembered sights he had seen with his own eyes, and with his mind he pictured others; he saw the nations strengthening, not in wisdom, but in vulgar passions and the will to destroy; he saw their machine power multiplying until a single-weaponed man might have matched a whole army of the Grand Monarque. And he perceived that when they had filled the land and sea with ruin, they would take to the air …. Can you say that his vision was untrue?”

“True indeed.”

“But that was not all. He foresaw a time when men, exultant in the technique of homicide, would rage so hotly over the world that every precious thing would be in danger, every book and picture and harmony, every treasure garnered through two millenniums, the small, the delicate, the defenseless—all would be lost like the lost books of Livy, or wrecked as the English wrecked the Summer Palace in Pekin.”

In a variety of ways, perhaps, an unlikely vision from Father Perrault, but one does worry about the chances of it becoming real.

Dez 26, 2023, 7:17 pm

>68 jillmwo:
In this instance there is no elephant in the room.

Are you sure? I would never be so rash as to make a statement like that.

Editado: Dez 26, 2023, 7:39 pm

>71 pgmcc: and >66 haydninvienna: Frankly, I was in a bit of a mood when I posted that in #68. I've snapped out of it to some extent...The world continues to turn and there's no call for continued crankiness. I am hopeful that the elephants will circle back around and trumpet their ideas on redemption and/or next steps.

Dez 26, 2023, 8:43 pm

How's everyone's health?

Dez 26, 2023, 9:36 pm

>73 Karlstar: At the moment, things are calm. I hesitate to say more lest by doing so I "tempt the wrath of the whatever high atop the thing". (West Wing)

Dez 27, 2023, 1:48 pm

>74 jillmwo: That's brilliant. I must save that to use for, well... the rest of my life!

Dez 27, 2023, 2:59 pm

>74 jillmwo:
I bought The West Wing box-set for my wife one Christmas. She insisted on binge watching it. We watched all 157 episodes in two weeks. If an episode ended at 3am my wife would look at me and say, "Just one more episode." When that episode was over she would repeat the mantra.

Dez 27, 2023, 3:24 pm

>75 clamairy: and >76 pgmcc: One of my sons quotes this line with a certain amount of frequency. He will correct me when I get it wrong as I see I did in my post. It should read "lest I tempt the wrath of the Whatever from high atop the thing" Aaron Sorkin had a way with a phrase.

Editado: Dez 27, 2023, 4:40 pm

Another quote from The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs

It’s what you’re reading that matters, and how you’re reading it, not the speed with which you’re getting through it.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of that...

Dez 27, 2023, 5:17 pm

>77 jillmwo: Thank you for the correct quote, but I think I like yours better.

>78 jillmwo: Even more important to me is what I'm getting out of/from the experience. Sometimes it's just pure pleasure and zero enrichment, and it's taken me years (maybe decades) to embrace that.

Dez 27, 2023, 10:23 pm

>78 jillmwo: Excellent point.

Editado: Dez 29, 2023, 2:02 pm

Interpretations like this one from The Darcy Myth by Rachel Feder overlook some pertinent details:

In another Austen novel, Mansfield Park, one of the characters is forever punished for a passionate affair with a seductive rake who broke her heart, then came calling once she’d settled for a marriage of convenience. The titular family home is haunted by the violence of colonial slave labor, which supports the family’s folly from a distance. When we reread Austen through a Gothic lens, we see that threatening men, ruined women, and the everyday bloodshed of life under capitalist patriarchy haunt the margins of her love stories.

The author conveniently overlooks the fact that Maria Bartram was given the opportunity to wiggle her way out of that same marriage of convenience. Her father had no great opinion of Mr. Rushworth and would have given her a pass on the problems associated with a broken engagement. But Maria's pride is what's hurt -- not her heart. She insists on sticking with her projected marriage but then feels she needs to take sister Julia on the honeymoon with her. I mean, where's the accountability insofar as the woman is concerned...

There's so much more that I'm wrestling with in this book. (I'm not the target audience, I know, but still...)

Dez 29, 2023, 2:25 pm

>81 jillmwo: Ok, I'm curious, what is the target audience?

Editado: Dez 29, 2023, 5:22 pm

>82 Karlstar: I rather suspect a younger population under the age of 35, all of whom have absorbed too many romanticized Hallmark movies and binge-watched bad adaptations of Austen's Pride and Prejudice too frequently. Her point is that some of the romance novel tropes most deeply embedded in pop culture arise from such novels as P&P and/or Wuthering Heights. This contributes as an underlying cause to so many bad and/or dysfunctional relationships in modern life. She seems to think -- although I may have got this wrong even now -- that we need to rethink our analysis of P&P. Which is a view, but she's not really supporting it as well as I think would serve her argument.

From the introduction: So whether you’re a goth ready to paint Pemberley black or a tried-and-true Jane Austen aficionado deeply resistant to the idea that Pride and Prejudice might offer anything other than just deserts and a sweet resolution, excavating the novel for its hidden darkness is an important exercise because it helps us uncover what is harmful about our shared ideas of romance.

There's a certain validity to the idea that we need to dial back the fantasy element of romance novels, but I don't think laying the problem at the feet of Jane Austen is really the right answer. Maybe Wickham is a sexual predator (as she consistently presents him as being) but the author doesn't include some of the much-needed context that would bring in a more balanced assessment. OTOH, I'm thinking this is supposed to be a light read rather than a serious academic presentation.

One other quote about Austen from the author: her works—especially Pride and Prejudice, and especially the Lizzy-Darcy dynamic—have had an outsize influence on British and American popular culture over the past couple of centuries.

She's right in that we constantly need to remind people of Oscar Wilde's wisdom when Miss Prism explains to Cecily that "The good end happily and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means."

Dez 29, 2023, 6:10 pm

Dez 29, 2023, 6:33 pm

>83 jillmwo: Two observations:

1. Too many people (often men) claim that reading romance fiction gives the readers (often women) unrealistic expectations in their real-life relationships, which I've always thought is the height of condescension. It's akin to people criticizing lovers of fantasy fiction that reading too much fantasy gives them a skewed vision of reality.

2. My husband had to read P&P in seventh grade. He loathed it. He re-read it in his early forties, and is now a confirmed Janeite--partly because he now understands enough of the history and customs of the time to get the jokes and humor, which seem to us to be the heart of the story, not the romance.

I'm undecided as to whether I should read this.

Dez 29, 2023, 6:51 pm

>85 Marissa_Doyle:. I don't think you are the intended audience any more than I am.

Dez 29, 2023, 6:53 pm

>84 Bookmarque:. I love the Piffle Party poster. I really, really do.

Dez 29, 2023, 7:49 pm

>83 jillmwo: And so there were no bad/dysfunctional relationships before Jane Austin wrote her books? I'm not even a huge fan of Austin, but when I read her books I thought they were terrific warnings of all the things that could go wrong in a relationship if one was not careful. I never thought she was promoting it. Because others have used her material to sensationalize, is not her fault.

I defend Austin because I have respect for her work, mostly through listening to other educated people (and Nero Wolfe) talk about her. When I first read the books, in my early 20s, I thought they were full of spite and gossip and nasty people. In the years since then, I have grown some. My next goal will be to reread them, when I can read again

Dez 29, 2023, 8:21 pm

Persuasion is fairly hilarious, and yet I hate all the characters. I was unimpressed by P&P when I read it in my 30s, but at least I finished it.

Dez 29, 2023, 11:00 pm

>83 jillmwo: Thanks for the explanation.

Dez 30, 2023, 12:49 am

So, two piffle parties. The great thing about LibraryThing is the ability to attend two, or more, parties at the same time.

Dez 30, 2023, 9:14 am

>84 Bookmarque: This is adorable! 💚

Dez 30, 2023, 10:34 am

As Our Clam said in another thread, a good Piffle Party needs sustenance.

Dez 30, 2023, 10:47 am

Sorry that I bugged out so early last night. But there was a different bit of piffling to be done. (A zoom cocktail hour New Year's Eve party held early to accommodate everyone's schedule. I won the Bingo.)

At any rate, I cannot adequately stress that The Darcy Myth is aimed at a much younger group of readers (see #83 above). The author has a specific agenda -- a message that the romantic leads in 19th century classic literature ought not to be taken by womn in the 21st century as reasonable models for selecting a lifetime partner. Heathcliff was abusive; Willoughby in S&S was abusive; the more recent Christian Grey in 50 Shades Of... was abusive. Women who say to themselves "oh, I can help him" or "oh, I can fix him" are fooling themselves. I am absolutely on board with that message. How might we need to readjust the positioning of romantic love in the context of marketing such novels as a form of leisure reading? I don't know, but it might be worthwhile to think about.

Her analysis of the novels by Jane Austen had one or two interesting "what ifs" that sparked some interest in my own thinking. I hadn't thought really considered some of the perspectives and thus, that allowed me to consider new possibilities. (Always good in one's reading.) The bibliography included in the book was short but useful.

I still wouldn't necessarily recommend the book to anyone in this crowd. (And that has nothing to do with anyone's enjoyment of or familiarity with Austen, Bronte, Byron or the woman responsible for the sparkly vampires in Twilight. Yes, the author of The Darcy Myth talks about Twilight as well.)

Moving on to Jane Austen's Wardrobe. (Yes, Marissa, you do want to read/own this one.) I love the photographs of the actual clothing and the context in which Davidson sets her discussion. (Each item photographed is referenced in some way via surviving letters written by Jane Austen with regard to her wardrobe requirements.)

I am sitting in a very quiet house on a dreary grey day. Do I try to tidy and declutter or do I continue with my avoidance of housekeeping by dipping into one of the other books sitting on the ottoman?

Dez 30, 2023, 10:49 am

>93 hfglen:. That looks absolutely delectable. Let us continue piffling. (I need to step over to Marissa's thread and so some productive piffling over there, I think.)

Dez 30, 2023, 10:58 am

You'll also need some liquid refreshment

The outfit that makes this runs a herd/flock of 800 goats, who supply the wherewithal for CHEESE. So their wines include Goats do Roam, The Goatfather and Goat Roti. The French, who have no sense of humour whatsoever, objected to a blend called Bored Doe.

Dez 30, 2023, 11:01 am

>96 hfglen:. Bored Doe? I am ROFL.

Dez 30, 2023, 11:12 am

From Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Drinking in the Drum has been likened to diving in a swamp, except that in a swamp the alligators don’t pick your pockets first. Two hundred eyes watched the pair as they pushed their way through the crowd to the bar, a hundred mouths paused in the act of drinking, cursing or pleading, and ninety-nine brows crinkled with the effort of working out whether the newcomers fell into category A, people to be frightened of or B, people to frighten.

I do like the humor found in Wyrd Sisters.

Dez 30, 2023, 11:17 am

>94 jillmwo:
Do I try to tidy and declutter or do I continue with my avoidance of housekeeping by dipping into one of the other books sitting on the ottoman?

You need to ask?

Dez 30, 2023, 11:20 am

>98 jillmwo:
Wyrd Sisters was my first Pratchett and I loved it. It was recommended to me by a friend as a good place to start Discworld.

Dez 30, 2023, 11:40 am

>96 hfglen: "Bored Doe". Hilarious.

Dez 30, 2023, 11:41 am

Anyone have any suggestions for a group read in 2024?

Dez 30, 2023, 11:55 am

>96 hfglen: I will now never try to pronounce that any other way. Bored Doe indeed.

Dez 30, 2023, 11:57 am

Oh we used to drink Goats do Roam when we lived in NH. It was pretty decent and I loved the play on words. Of course the French have no sense of humor. They love Jerry Lewis! This book, hilariously side-splitting, goes right over their heads 1000 Years of Annoying the French.

Dez 30, 2023, 12:06 pm

>96 hfglen: Bored Doe. I am snickering here...

>94 jillmwo: I think you're looking at this the wrong way. Picking up and reading one of the books on the ottoman IS decluttering, is it not?

Dez 30, 2023, 12:08 pm

>105 Marissa_Doyle: *cheers and clapping for you*
Of course that is the only proper way to begin the cleaning and decluttering process.

Dez 30, 2023, 2:11 pm

>105 Marissa_Doyle: and >106 MrsLee: You are AMAZING, the two of you. I agree that I was looking at it from the wrong perspective. I am thrilled. A whole new, unused rationalization now in place!!

But as an aside, were others aware that the Library of Congress Subject Headings apparently include "Libertines in Literature"? I found it included on the copyright page of The Darcy Myth. I think one should really study that page when reviewing a title. Sometimes it doesn't surprise the reader; other times it opens up whole new avenues of thought. I mean, there could be a whole volume written.

Dez 30, 2023, 6:11 pm

>107 jillmwo: Not to change the tone or meaning, but I have managed to read 3 chapters AND vacuum the guest apartment and furniture today. I only say this being extremely proud of both activities because usually I have been glued to my chair to low energy perhaps a result of the prednisone I started today.

Dez 30, 2023, 6:22 pm

>108 MrsLee:
Well done. Taking back control.

Dez 30, 2023, 6:28 pm

>109 pgmcc: You get me. Also, I see that (at least I'm blaming) prednisone affects my sentence formation skills after reading my last sentence up there. Sheesh. Either that or I have been reading too many comments in my FB groups lately.

Dez 30, 2023, 8:21 pm

>110 MrsLee:
That's right; blame the drugs.


Dez 31, 2023, 10:09 am

Nelson! Feet off the ground! (You may need to be a cricket lover to understand this.)

Dez 31, 2023, 10:10 am

>108 MrsLee: I am properly chastened by the magnitude of your effort to maintain order amidst the chaos of life and circumstances. But >111 pgmcc: is right. Blaming the drugs is an useful line of defense to hang on to.

Meanwhile my productivity has been limited to completing the Roundup Hunt and finding all 12 fireworks. Oh, and sending out an email to those participating in one of my book groups this afternoon.

Otherwise I'm reading Beren and Luthien and associated scholarly activity about the work. (Lest the question arise in someone's head, I do not anticipate doing any kind of compare-and-contrast discussion of Mr. Darcy and Beren...)

Dez 31, 2023, 11:18 am

Quote taken from A Passion for Books:

Yet if a book is to be left unread at last, the fault must ultimately rest on the author, even as the brilliant Lady Eastlake complained, when she wrote of modern English novelists: “Things are written now to be read once, and no more; that is, they are read as often as they deserve. A book in old times took five years to write and was read five hundred times by five hundred people. Now it is written in three months, and read once by five hundred thousand people. That’s the proper proportion.”

Note: this particular title is an anthology of essays, extracts, etc. focused on book collectors.

Dez 31, 2023, 11:34 am

From Slow Reading in a Hurried Age by David Mikics:

Your challenge is to find the nut in the book you read: the central thoughts, the pivotal images and characters, the essence of the world it creates.

Dez 31, 2023, 2:17 pm

"Beren as an Exemplar of Toxic Masculinity" may have already appeared in an issue of Journal of Sindarin Studies.

Dez 31, 2023, 3:11 pm

>113 jillmwo: That poem is beautiful and tragic. The more you can lose yourself in its rhythm and imagery, the better it is. Hope you enjoy.

Dez 31, 2023, 3:42 pm

Dez 31, 2023, 5:03 pm

Jill, you still a few more Piffle Posts to get to 150.

Editado: Dez 31, 2023, 5:27 pm

>119 pgmcc: I'm working on it, but how many more uplifting quotes about reading (masquerading as Piffle) will folks in this Pub tolerate?

Dez 31, 2023, 5:40 pm

From Robert Darnton's book, The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future

It is important to get the feel of a book—the texture of its paper, the quality of its printing, the nature of its binding. Its physical aspects provide clues about its existence as an element in a social and economic system; and if it contains margin notes, it can reveal a great deal about its place in the intellectual life of its readers.

In some ways, I do respect the man's thinking, but in other ways, Darnton was a bit of an old fart.

Editado: Dez 31, 2023, 5:48 pm

Two from The Telling by one of my very favorite writers, Ursula K. Le Guin:

Books, thousands of books, in leather and cloth and wooden and paper bindings, unbound manuscripts in carved and painted boxes and jewelled caskets, fragments of ancient writing blazing with gold leaf, scrolls in tubes and boxes or tied with tape, books on vellum, parchment, rag paper, pulp paper, handwritten, printed, books on the floors, in boxes, in small crates, on rickety low shelves made of scrap wood from the crates. In one big cave the volumes stood ranked on two shelves, at waist height and eye level, dug into the walls right around the circumference.

It's a wonderful image, isn't it?

But nobody in one lifetime could read more than a fragment of what was here, this broken labyrinth of words, this shattered, interrupted, immense story of a people and a world through the centuries, the millennia.

Editado: Dez 31, 2023, 6:17 pm

A piffling we will go!

For Christmas I got my husband a ridiculously expensive and exhaustive book about pizza because he has been making handmade pies for a while now (The Modernist Cuisine people did a pizza book). He just read me part of a bit that reveals that Suck Fairy can also sour us on our favorite pizza joints of youth. Once you know what good pizza is, going back for your old favorites can certainly suck. I'm forewarned and will not try!

Dez 31, 2023, 7:29 pm

I would love to stay and piffle, but it is 00:28 on New Year's Day here, so HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dez 31, 2023, 7:58 pm

The art of finishing a piffle party out is short posts.

Dez 31, 2023, 7:58 pm

>122 jillmwo: I love the book quotes, but they do seem like a lot of work.

Dez 31, 2023, 7:59 pm


Dez 31, 2023, 7:59 pm


Dez 31, 2023, 7:59 pm


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Dez 31, 2023, 8:00 pm

For both reader and poster.

Dez 31, 2023, 8:01 pm

I have to go prepare for a two year old boy invasion, so you are on your own. YOU CAN DO IT GREEN DRAGON!

Dez 31, 2023, 8:03 pm

We've completed our New Year's Eve in Brussels party, so I'm reporting for pifflation duty...

Dez 31, 2023, 8:23 pm

01:22 here and I am snuggly reposing in my bed. Just popping in to see how the party is doing.

Dez 31, 2023, 8:23 pm

14 posts outstanding.

Dez 31, 2023, 8:24 pm

How are you going to get to 150?

Dez 31, 2023, 9:47 pm

Sorry I'm late to the party!

Dez 31, 2023, 9:47 pm

Happy New Year!

Dez 31, 2023, 9:54 pm

Happy new year from Brisbane (where it's been 2024 for nearly 13 hours now).

Editado: Dez 31, 2023, 10:07 pm

How much more time do we have before it's 2024 where you are, Jill?

Dez 31, 2023, 10:24 pm

About an hour and a half (US Eastern Standard Time). Piffle piffle piffle...

Dez 31, 2023, 10:25 pm

That should be time enough, even if we don't resort to one word per post.

Dez 31, 2023, 10:35 pm

Plenty of time left! I doubt I'll be here at midnight though.

Dez 31, 2023, 10:50 pm

Almost there. Keep up the piffle.

Dez 31, 2023, 11:09 pm

Piffle piffle piffle...

Dez 31, 2023, 11:12 pm

I love the LeGuin quotes!

Dez 31, 2023, 11:12 pm

And I wish you a very happy new year.

Dez 31, 2023, 11:18 pm

Must be time for some poetry:

Good Riddance, But Now What?
By Ogden Nash
Come, children, gather round my knee;
Something is about to be.
Tonight’s December thirty-first,
Something is about to burst.
The clock is crouching, dark and small,
Like a time bomb in the hall.
Hark! It’s midnight, children dear.
Duck! Here comes another year.

Dez 31, 2023, 11:20 pm


Jan 1, 12:50 am

>150 haydninvienna: Hurray! Great poem for the last needed post, and I am starting to identify with his thoughts in the last line, lol.

Happy New Year jillmwo! May you find your challenges in reading and also your delight, and may you and your family prosper in the new year.

Jan 1, 8:14 am

You all are splendid! We did a very low-key evening (but did watch some of the fireworks through the magic of satellite tech) and were in bed relatively early. This morning I woke up to find that I had been pushed over the 150-post barrier by MrsLee, pgmcc, haydninvienna (who I thank most particularly for the Ogden Nash), Jim53, Karlstar and Marissa_Doyle. Such quality piffle is to be cherished and held in memory for generations.

Once I've had my coffee, I'll get with the program and open up a new 2024 thread. But in the meantime, to you all, Happy New Year!!

Jan 1, 8:17 am

>153 jillmwo:
Many happy returns.

I believe that is the appropriate response to various seasonal greetings, but what does it mean? Go frequently to the bottle bank and enjoy yourself?