Friday, December 26, 2008

Current Situations Evaluated

So... Have you both read Three Men already? It's cool if you have, though I haven't. I'll start immediately however. And if you guys want to move ahead, that's cool. Let's discuss To Say Nothing though.

Anyway, tell me what you kidlets want to do.

Posted with LifeCast

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Similarities to Watchmen

Now, I know that we're actually comparing HSWT with TSNOTD and TMIAB, but Have Spacesuit wraps up with a potential doomsday scenario, and that made me think of Watchmen. I love that even in a YA book, Heinlein gets in the creepiness of "Their planet shall be rotated." A whole planet instantly separated from its sun - now that's scary.

Another similarity lay in the undeniable baseness and evil possible in humanity, and the need for some greater force (Ozymandius, the war crimes tribunal) to deal with the possible fallout of human choices. I love how clear my images of Iunio were, standing in the middle of some vast amphitheater, surrounded by aliens, in full Roman legionairre costume, and shouting "Witchcraft and making horns when the translation pipes in. So wonderful. I think that's something that was missing for me in Watchmen - the silliness and wonderfulness of people, even as they're awful.

Anyway . . . I need to NaNoWriMo. What are others wrap up thoughts in Heinlein?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Moving Right Along

Hello friends!

I just talked to Peter on the phone, and even though he's been busy with school, he has still been reading. :) He said he's almost finished with To Say Nothing of the Dog. I'm sure he'll come weigh in on Spacesuit when he has a moment, but until then, looks like we can move along to our second book!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More Heinlein Love

Where oh where is Peter? PEEEEETTTTEEERR!!!! I don't feel like we can move onto to discussing TSNOTD until we all get to weigh in a few times on HSWT, so . . . Peter come in, this is Junebug. This is Junebug, over. Do you copy? Alpha, Bravo, Charlie . . .

Ok. Here are some more quotes I loved:

Chapter 8: "Of course I'm right!" she retorted. "I'm always right."
"Goodness me! The handy-dandy pocket encyclopedia."
She blushed. "I can't help being a genius."
Which left her wide opena nd I was about the rub her nose in it-when I saw how unahppy she looked.
I remembered hearing Dad say: "Some people insist that 'mediocre' is better than 'best.' They delight in clipping wings because they can't fly. The despise brains because they have none."

As someone who was dubbed a 'wallking talking dictionary' in elementary school and regularly annoyed professors by asking questions they couldn't answer, as well as pretty much constantly self-editing what I reference, I liked this bit.

Chapter 9 "Not even in yourself, because that's what you are - wavicles." Hahahaha - ahh, the particle/wave paradox. So great.

Further on in 9, the descriptions of the viewer and the library sounds just like technology we have now - internet anyone? Wikipedia?

And towards the ends, regarding the Vegans, "I guess their worst vice was that they didn't have any. This can be tiresome."

And then, of course, I loved the end. Quoting Shakespeare, a crazed Roman legionary, a threat to ourselves, the nervous tic, a professor who looked like "an excited Iunio" - fantastic. And, I want a happy thing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome, Amanda!

After much nagging and convincing on my part*, Amanda has decided to join the ranks of the Hack 'n Slashers! I'm very glad she has decided to join us, and I'm sure she'll fit right in.

*OK, so it wasn't so much my nagging and convincing that brought her here. She just hasn't been able to get a hold of our selections from the library until now. She got her hands on a copy of HSWT, though, and she's a quick reader, so I'm sure she'll dive right in.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I really love Goodreads. I think you should post more books on your profile, Lisa. And I think you should join, Peter. It's a great way to review books and recommend books to your friends. I really like to see what my friends think of different books. It's nice to keep track of books you want to read. You can have as many "shelves" as you want. You know you want to be part of it. Do it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Love Me Some Heinlein

Well, I am currently in Chapter 7, although I have read this before so I do know what's coming. Where is everyone else? I want to know what I can and can't write about! For now, I will settle for listing some choice and beloved quotes. I have a hardcover library version at the moment, so I will have to reference chapters and not pages - I'll be picking up a new paperback copy soon. Did you both get the tradepaper edition pictured on the blog?

And now:

From Chapter 2, "[Mr. Charton] said quietly, 'Kip, a reverence for life does not require a man to respect Nature's obvious mistakes.' " Assignment: make your top ten list of people who qualify as "Nature's obvious mistakes." Do it. It's cathartic. I am starting to formulate mine in my head now . . .

Second line, Chapter 4, "It made no noise but a whoosh and there weren't any flaming jets-it seemed to move by clean living and righteous thoughts." I think Peter and I may not be able to fully respond to this question, as I know that I occasionally purposefully revel in unclean living and decidedly not righteous thinking. Jennie, report back on abilities to fly. Check in with Paul too. ;-)

Later in Chapter 4, "Elephants aren't human but they are very nice people." Isn't this a paraphrase of a famous quote? Or did Heinlein coin it?

End of Chapter 4, "He's the synthesist. Everybody else specializes. Daddy knows everything and puts the pieces together." Hey! This is the exact description of what I'd like to be! Cool!

Toward the front of Chapter 5, "Sleep. 'Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care.' " I'm pretty sure this exact quote shows up in TSNOTD. Terence, maybe? We shall see. It's originally from Macbeth, which they quote later too.

In the beginning of Chapter 6, Heinlein refers to Eliza crossing the ice. This is the same poor Eliza from the play in the King and I! Yay literacy!

Fun fun fun! I do love Heinlein.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

No way . . .

So I just got home from hanging out with a friend in Denver, and what should I find on my coffee table but a DVD of The Watcher in the Woods. Now, I don't fully recall the significance of this movie, but I feel like maybe we tried to rent The Way We Were and got this instead . . . or it was something you two watched at Bad Movie Night . . . I don't know. Help me out here if you haven't completely repressed whatever memory this thing is associated with. It's freaking me out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Jennie, Have you been going through and labeling stuff for me? Because I just realized I never do that. You are the best secretary EVER.

I requested my copy of HSWT from the Boulder library system, because the bookstores were taking too long and I don't know what I did with my old copy, except that it is probably somewhere at my parents' house. I should have it in the next day or two and will blast through!

Now, what do I label this post . . .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Have Spacesuit, Will Diagram

Right, so I've read Heinlein before, and enjoyed him. Which is not to say that I'm not enjoying this book. I'm only four or so chapters in, just barely starting. And commendations to him for really putting the science into science fiction.

That said...

I don't care how a spacesuit works. Or is refurbished.

I really don't.


Friday, August 22, 2008

A Triple Play!

Alright, we can keep discussing Watchmen (no hurry), but I figured I'd post about where we're headed next so that we can all work on acquiring the books (yes, I said books, with an 's'!) and start reading!

The idea for this triple selection came when I was lamenting to Lisa almost two months ago that I didn't know what I should choose when my turn came. It is very hard for me to come up with a book that Lisa hasn't read. In fact, she has been my go-to girl for book recs for many years. So, we started discussing things. I had a couple ideas, but they weren't getting me very excited. I still may use one or both of those ideas in the future. They just weren't the right books for us to read next. Then came the epiphany. Ok, ok, it was mostly (basically all) Lisa's idea...but I'm still using it for my turn!

So, without further ado, here are our next three selections:

1. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein

This is the one we'll read first. I've never read it, and it's been a long time for Lisa. It should be a quick and fun read. It's a juvenile science fiction novel written in 1958. I honestly don't know much about it, other than the connection it has with these other two books.

2. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

This book is what inspired the whole idea. Even though both Lisa and I have read it (numerous times), we agree that reading it together with these other two will be intriguing, not to mention tons of fun. Also, you have to read it, Peter. :) Funny and clever, this is one of my favorite books of all time. There should be some interesting parallels between this book and Have Spacesuit, Will Travel.

3. Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome

The obvious conclusion to our little trilogy. :) Again, I've never read it, but I've been wanting to read it ever since I first read To Say Nothing of the Dog. This is the book that neatly ties all three together. It's mentioned in Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, and (as you can see) it inspired the title of To Say Nothing of the Dog (plus the main character refers to it constantly throughout the book). It's an English comedy that was written in 1889. Should be jolly good fun! :)

So, there you have it! I definitely wanted to have something on the more lighthearted side of things to follow the darkness of Watchmen. ;) I think we'll have a good time making comparisons between these three books and seeing how they relate. And it will be interesting to speculate on what made these two modern science fiction writers take note of Jerome K. Jerome and his little comedy.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Discussion Questions and the Like...

I only have a minute, but thanks Lisa for jumping on into a discussion on this. I want to discuss Laurie more, because I definitely came at her with a different perspective, but neither am I a woman so I'm curious to talk more on that. But! Since I'm short on time, here's some curiosities I have for you. Pick and choose, or come up with whatever you want to discuss.

Firstly, did you like it?

Second, strictly from a plot p.o.v. what did you think? Did you know where it was going?(Admittedly I was surprised by where the story was going; I liked the play on the traditional form.)

Do you think Viedt's plan would work, particularly looking at the world he was trying to fix? What do you think of Viedt and Jon's discussion at the end?

Lisa already jumped in on this subject, but this is definitely a character heavy piece, so who did you like, or hate, and why. All of these characters are responding to things in their world around them, what do you think of their motivations?

Third, and my favorite, tell me thematically what you pulled from this book. Is it an accurate representation (if fictionalized) of our world and society (super hero stuff aside, naturally)? What does it say about us as humans? Or about our future? Do you agree? Can you make any parallels to our modern world?

Talk to me about tone, about parts you liked, about anything, really. Why do you think this book is considered significant. Jennie, are you glad I made you read it? What do you think about it in relation to other "super hero" stories, or films. Do you think the film can capture it well enough to be worthwhile?

Tell me tell me tell me!

Lisa, I have more to respond to your comments, but it'll have to wait until after work. Until then...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weighing in on Watchmen

Where to begin? First off, I am very glad that Peter assigned this book. I don't think it's something I would have read otherwise, and it was definitely worth reading. Part of why I say that is because I kept getting pissed off at the book, and I always think that's worth my time, because knowing what makes you angry is valuable and interesting, and it's worth examining.

So . . . let's see. As I said before, I was frustrated with Laurie's character. I tend to be sensitive about portrayals of female characters, and if I get twirked off with how an author (male or female) portrays a woman or women, I get annoyed with the book overall. The best explanation I can give for what annoys me most of the time, and what annoyed me here, was that Laurie seemed fake to me. This was not a real person, let alone a real woman. She was a foil, someone's idea of a woman. Written by someone who apparently has never met a girl. She was constantly in histrionics, yelling or crying or sleeping with someone. Seriously?

On the other hand, I thought her mom was hilarious. "Here . . . take my old comic porn . . . har har har."

I loved the quotes that concluded each section, and the interspersion of articles. I thought they were genius and really added to the overall work. People kept seeing me read it and were like, "I didn't know you read comic books!" and I had to decide whether to get into the graphic novel discussion or debate the finer lines of artwork combined with prose that's part of a complete subset of literature . . . anyway. It's a pretty impressive and seminal work in its genre.

I wasn't really sure what to make of the persistent undercurrents of homophobia in the book - were the authors trying to point out others' prejudice or expressing their own? I found that really unclear. Thoughts?

What else - they kept killing animals, the dogs and the pretty kitty, which was super distracting. I dunno - everyone has their trigger points, and animals is way high on my list. Along with fake people and glaring prejudice. I guess the animals and homophobia could have been included as an intentional commentary on the the overall crappiness of humanity though . . . and maybe the authors thought Laurie represented all of femininity and purposefully made her one-dimensional. I don't think so on her, though, I think they had no idea they were writing her that way, because she seemed like one of the characters they liked and thought was worthwhile.

I thought it was really interesting to see how the city was portrayed - it's definitely a representation of NYC in the 1980s, when everything was going to hell in a handbasket. Kitty Genovese reference and all. And of course all the Cold War references, and the despair people felt in the aftermath of Vietnam and Nixon. I think the sorrow people felt with those events was really just the result of technological advances - tape recordings that made it possible to see the machinations of self-obsessed politicians (the machinations and selfobsession being nothing new - Rome, anyone?) and the videos of actual combat situations in 'Nam (Sherman's March to the Sea? the origin of the word decimate?). Anyway, I always think it's adorably naive when people are shocked by their politicians or the realities of war. Not that we shouldn't be upset and hold people to account - but the shock is a bit silly.

Parallels between Ozymandias taking out NYC to cause peace and Truman bombing Japan in WWII. "Hollywood cowboy" reference to RR. Etc., etc.

Hmm- I dunno. Peter, give us some discussion questions!


Ok- I suck. I did finish Watchmen and I will post at length later tonight! Sorry, I've been dealing with international red eye flights, the roommate hunt, starting classes, teaching classes, etc. But I have lots to say and will say it soon! Yay!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Watchmen Weekend

So I apologize for not having written more, but I was in San Diego this last week at... who would've guessed, Comic Con. It was quite an experience, I shall say (Will's life was made when he met Tori Amos). I wasn't able to get into Zack Snyder's presentation on Watchmen, which was unfortunate because I heard him speak about it last year and it sounded like he was making a distinct effort to preserve the comic experience. We'll see how he does (apparently the movie is already 3 hours, and they're doing the pirate sub plot animated, to be released on dvd, then later a special edition cut back in, which would be interesting).

I did meet the costumer of the film, who explained that he had to alter some of the costuming based on demands from the special fx, action choreographers, etc. I think most are okay versions, though Ozymandias I still question a bit. The costumer explained that for the scenes, having that metal thing around his neck didn't work out, which is why they altered that.

Alright, I'm rambling. Its just that this movie if done right, will give people way more than they bargained for. Most people think its just a super hero film, and it really isn't.

Lastly, look! I got to see the owl ship from the film. That's right, its rocking.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dr. Manhattan

I agree with both of you that this book is difficult to discuss as you're reading it, but I was wondering if I'm totally out of line in thinking Dr. Manhattan is obnoxious. I thought he was pretty cool until I read Chapter IV. As I was reading that chapter I asked Paul about what he thought (he's a little bit ahead of me at the moment), and he agreed with me.

People who don't accept responsibility for their actions and always act the victim of their circumstances really bother me. Sure his dad didn't want him to be a watchmaker. Sure he didn't choose to become Dr. Manhattan, both in body and name. But it seems to me a childish and wimpy thing to do to blame everything that's ever happened to you on other people. The fact that he's the most powerful being alive due to accidental circumstances explains some of it. But Dr. Manhattan was like that before he ever became Dr. Manhattan. On page 5 of Chapter IV he says, "That happens to me a lot. Other people seem to make all my moves for me." Am I the only one that finds this sentiment repulsive? Claiming you have no control over your actions makes you seem more like an animal than a human being. Anyway, I'm interested to see where Dr. Manhattan's story goes. As of now, though, I don't like him very much as a person.

Aside from that, I thought Chapter IV was very cool from a literary standpoint. It was intriguing how the skewed timeline and juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated events told a different story altogether. I understand how this was such a groundbreaking novel. I'm really enjoying it. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stuff from EW!

I just learned it's going to be a movie! So exciting. I'm liking it very much so far, but I need to read fast! I don't want to take it to Ecuador with me because I'm afraid it will get hurt. Maybe I'll just have to risk it - it would be such a great and engrossing plane book.

Here's a cool article I found. I'm sure Peter's already read it, though! Too bad we can't all dress up and go to the premier.

The Trailer is up

I'm dying to know your thoughts, Peter. Though I imagine you're at a movie theater at the moment, and you'll see it on the big screen tonight.

I'm only about a third of the way through the book, but it was way cool to see some of the scenes brought to life.

What do you think of it, Lisa?

Friday, July 11, 2008

I got bored...

What do you think? Tell me honestly.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

First Impressions

I turned to the first page and thought, "So that's what the cover is!"

Other than that, I'm just 15 pages in, and I'm finding that reading a graphic novel is definitely an adjustment. It's hard to get used to! I'm sure it will get easier as I go. So far it's been difficult to get into a rhythm with the reading and looking at the illustrations. Also, I'm already fascinated with the character of Rorschache, and I'm anxious to delve into the story further.

The adventure continues!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

For Your Consideration...

I considered several different books, but one refused to disappear from the back corners of my psyche, and it seems to have won out. My reasons for suggesting this book are many - the least being that it has received numerous awards including a listing as one of Time's best 100 novels, as well as a Hugo; the most being that I would like to discuss this book with other intellectuals (that is if I might group myself into such an elitist setup, or if I'm not invited to the party I'd like to think I would be jumping up and down at the window straining for a glance in...); but average reasons scatter into categories such as the two of you (I'm venturing a guess here) probably haven't read it.

Okay, so I have read this title, but only once a while ago, and I would voraciously welcome a chance to re-read it, and as I mentioned, rabidly discuss it with others (something I sadly lacked on the first go). So without further ado, I humbly propose the next book of Hack 'n Slash Monthly be Watchmen by Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons.

Its an odd book club choice. But really, who cares? Its fascinating, unusual, pertinent and also kind of disturbing. Let me add that while it is a graphic novel, it is not exactly a light read (in my experience Moore rarely relies on the images alone to get you through). It also seems apropos as the film version (which Moore has adamantly rejected as he does all films based on his works) comes out next year. Tell me your thoughts on this.

On a final parting note...

I'm just curious, as I was thinking about it, what everyone's favorite essay of Ex Libris was. Oh, and why, too. I mean, you gotta have the why.

Personally, while there were many entertaining ones, I think I most enjoyed "Nothing New Under the Sun," purely for the clever detailing of each word/phrase/paragraphs unoriginal history. I also think it took a great deal of work to write.

Monday, June 30, 2008

In Conclusion

I finally let myself finish reading Ex Libris while I was in Colorado. I talked to Lisa about this on Friday, but I had an interesting experience with this book.

I find that when I'm truly enjoying a book I have one of two reactions. One, as with books like Ender's Game, consists of me racing through without stopping because I can't seem to make myself stop. This used to happen frequently...pretty much whenever I got sucked in to a book. In the recent past, however, I have come to experience the second reaction which is what happened with Ex Libris. I'd get going and suddenly have a realization of how fast the pages were going by and how few remained, and I'd stop. I'd sit quietly for a few minutes or even just seconds and then begin reading again. I'd also consciously slow down as I was reading so that I could enjoy it longer. By the end I actually avoided reading at times because I knew I only had a couple essays left. Because it was a book about books, I was especially aware of what I was doing. It was fascinating.

Now that I've finished, I'm sad it's over, but I'm excited that I have made it back to the world of reading for fun (it's been way too long).


On a tangentially related note, I have one last quote from the book to discuss:

"...I realized that books get their value from the way they coexist with the other books a person owns, and that when they lose that context, they lose their meaning" (Fadiman).

This part from the final essay really resonated with me. I feel exactly the same way about my book collection, and I have never been able to adequately put it to words. I have always loved my books as a collection--how they relate to each other or not, how they look next to each other, how the entire collection is somehow different with the addition of a single new book. When I've tried to explain this to people in the past I've come across as materialistic and vaguely obsessed. ;) (Don't you wish you had Fadiman's way with words?)

I really like the idea that a person's books and how they "coexist" have a very individual meaning. No two people have the exact same collection of books. I also like the way my collection represents me. From the cheesy teen lit to the overwhelming presence of Orson Scott Card. From the books that were obviously assigned by teachers to the many that have been recommended to me by Lisa ;). Some books have changed my outlook on life and others I haven't even read yet.


Anyway, I very much enjoyed our first selection for our little book club. Peter- Lisa and I decided that you should pick our next book. We have to rotate who picks so that Lisa can read books she hasn't read before. We discussed the possibility of reading books none of us have read before. The worry is that we'll get stuck reading an awful book...but we can always ditch it if we all agree. I need more time to find a book for us (Lisa has been my go-to for recommendations for quite some time now), so yeah, your turn! :)

Also, are we adding anyone to our club? It's fun as just three of us, but it would also be fun to have more contributors, n'est-ce pas?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Injured Dwarf Man

Ok - I realize I have never played Hack n' Slash, so it's pretty normal that I don't quite get it, but who is the dwarf man? Is he injured or is that someone else' s blood? Why aren't there any pretty princesses in pink in this game? I feel that most of these things fail at reality based on the fact that it's impossible for a character to seduce the third brother in line to the throne, marry him, get pregnant, have a boy, and then arrange for a fall off a horse for brother #1 and an unfortunate run-in with some poisoned wine for brother # 2. C'mon now. Killing all the people in your way directly is so blase. Just backstab your way to the throne!

Let's all take a moment to be grateful I wasn't born a royal without a conscience.

The goal of this game is to chop people to bits, isn't it? I can see that. Cathartic.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Love vs. Just Plain Destructive

I'm farther along, and I'll comment on these essays in a bit, but I reread Jennie's post about being a courtly lover - which I most definitely am - and while I wish that maybe I put notes or thoughts in books, i have to balance that with my love of a nice edition which reverences, to me, the great content. Really, if a work is a masterpiece, who am I to be throwing my lame-sauce thoughts in there? The author certainly didn't need me when he/she wrote the work.

On the other hand, I see the value in noting what that work has come to mean to me personally, as an experience.

But! The point here is that Ms. Fadiman clearly thinks carnal lovers are better than the crazily compulsive and disturbed courtly lovers she knows. But the last few lines of the essay bothered me quite a bit, in which George jotted some notes down on the flyleaf and ripped it out and gave it to her.

There's a difference between loving a book, wearing it hard/writing on it/enjoying it to pieces, and using it as a notepad for things you need to hand off to your wife. Ripping pages out in such a manner hardly shows adoration for the work; quite the contrary, to me it seems an utter disregard for the content (even if it is just a flyleaf), since you value it so little as to be using it for a post-it note. Anyway, that's all I'm saying.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Insert a Caret

I think this article from Stuff White People Like dovetails nicely with the book.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Sir, you must never do that to a book."

Yep, me again. I went back to reading after my last post, and I thought it was hilarious when I got to this essay! Apparently I am part "courtly lover". Ha ha!

It's actually pretty fascinating to me. I've come to the conclusion that I am part courtly lover and part carnal. I definitely love keeping my books beautiful and undamaged. My Harry Potter books collection is a thing of beauty, and I've already told Paul our children will not put their hands on it (they're restricted to the paperbacks). But it seems that the courtly lover in me only applies to certain books. I already mentioned my copy of Ender's Game, and scanning through my bookshelves, many of the books that I have enjoyed most (and read multiple times) are quite ravaged. Crime and Punishment has millions of post-it tabs sticking out the top. Le Petit Prince has a bent cover and numerous dogeared pages. And I totally agree with Fadiman regarding cookbooks. You should see the Snickerdoodles page of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook--it will never be the same after the day I made four double batches in record time to give to my Provo High students as a goodbye present.

And yes, as I'm writing this post, my copy of Ex Libris is sitting next to me open and face down on the couch.

Marginalia and Big Brain Academy

Do you write in the margins of your books?
"We kept my Middlemarch, read at eighteen, in which were registered my nascent attempts at literary criticism (page 37: 'Grrr'; page 261: 'Bullshit'; page 294: 'Yccch')" (Fadiman, 8-9).
(Coincidentally, and of no particular importance, I'm actually reading Middlemarch right now. Small world.)

Aside from making me chuckle, this little passage got me thinking about my own journeys through literature.

I think I took my mom's directive, "Don't write on the books!" too much to heart. I never even thought to write down the things I thought of while I was reading. On the contrary, I treat my books with an almost reverence. I take pride in their beauty. I'm not sure I have a single book in my meager library with writing in the margins with the exception of those I was assigned to read for classes in high school and college. When I was reading about Fadiman and her library, I was sad that I couldn't look back at my childhood discoveries and attempts at scholarly critique. I'm sure it would have been quite comical at the very least. :)

It's important to note, well-loved and oft-read books have their own beauty. Take my copy of Ender's Game (my favorite to date) for example. It's a mass market paperback copy covered in Contac Paper by my mom years ago. The Contac Paper is all bubbled and flawed, the binding is bent, and the pages are worn. The part of me who loves beautiful, clean, new books thinks I should buy a new copy. The current one is dwarfed by the gorgeous, hardback Harry Potters and, well, pretty much every other book on my shelves! But then again, the part of me that read Ender's Game back in the Seventh grade loves the history behind it and finds it irreplaceable. How could I ever buy a new copy?

As far as the Sesquipedalians Quiz goes, as I expected, I didn't know a single one. (Though admittedly I knew the general subject of ithyphallic. *blush* And, I also happen to vividly remember the individual who introduced me to the definition of the word phallic (if you guessed Brandon Burton, you are correct!). ) However, this selection particularly resonated with me, albeit at a much less intellectual level:
"...I was about to subject my friends to the killer quiz when my editor, who had no desire to become a victim himself, said gently, 'Hold your horses, Anne. Not everyone loves tests as much as you do.'

He had a point. When I was growing up, not only did my family walk around spouting sesquipedalians, but we viewed all forms of intellectual competition as a sacrament" (Fadiman, 14).
Now, I don't claim to have spouted sesquipedalians as a child, but I do think that my mom raised us to enjoy intellectual stimulation more than your typical person. We were raised on brain stimulating memory games, reading, math worksheets, memorization activities, and the like, and we thought of them as entertainment.

Paul and I are nerds, as you both know, so when we got our Wii as a graduation present this year, what's the first game we went out and bought? Oh yes, Big Brain Academy. It's a game full of IQ Test type activities! You can see the size of your brain! You can race each other to see whose brain is bigger! We think it is the epitome of fun. But, as Anne Fadiman had to be reminded by her editor, not everyone loves tests. We've introduced it to several friends, and most often the reaction ranges from apathetic to negative. I guess we can't all be nerds!

(As you can see, my book came a day earlier than I expected! Hooray!)

On Marrying Libraries

I love love this bit:

"A particularly bad moment occurred when he was in the process of transferring my Shakespeare collection from one bookcase to another and I called out, 'Be sure to keep the plays in chronological order!'
'You mean we're going to be chronological within each author?' he gasped. 'But no one even knows for sure when Shakespeare wrote his plays!'
'Well,' I blustered, 'we know he wrote Romeo and Juliet before The Tempest. I'd like to see that reflected on our shelves."
George says this is one of the few times he has seriously contemplated divorce" (Fadiman, 6).

I would totally pull a stunt like this. It's going to take a special man . . .

My odd shelf - I think I don't have a large enough collection of any particular odd books to have an odd shelf. Mine would be a hodgepodge of things you wouldn't expect to find in my library. I have the Elfquest graphic novels, that's pretty random. And I love etiquette books. Exactly where should you seat the pope and the US president and the French ambassador for dinner? And I have a sprinkling of books about managining finances, like Making the Most of Your Money and Smart Women Finish Rich. Those aren't really working out so far, though.

I also knew grimoire. And despite having read this book several times, I can never remember the rest.

Jennie, do you still want nonfiction suggestions? I just found that text.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coffee and Bats

After doing some deep soul searching, I suspect I collect more than just a singular odd shelf - my books tend to be, like my music, erratic and spontaneous explosions of subjects that I've become interested in or whimsically looked into. I have an affinity for coffee table books in particular, with their glorious pictures and enormous sizes. They don't sit on a shelf well because they are meant to spread out and take up space, sprawling and beautiful just because they can. Coffee table books are the Beverly Hills of books. I see them as gifts from the absentee host, to his neighbors and friends as they sit in his living room waiting his return; the savior of awkward conversations or parties turned terribly dull. I don't know why I love them, but I do.

Despite that, I haven't a living room, nor a coffee table. They sit in the closet, on their own tall odd shelf, waiting for me to acquire the space to show them off as they deserve.

In truth though, the strangest collection of books I have, perhaps a little more closely tied to some of Anne Fadiman's examples, are my Batman books. Maybe its not that odd if you know me (and the two of you do; one has even been to a couple Batman murder mysteries written by the one and only). Okay, I'll admit it, I have a love affair with Batman. He's the a fascinating hero who has culminated thousands of pages and adventures since his birth. His dual nature is an intriguing character study - the philanthropic playboy vs. the tragedy-stricken man fighting for moral high ground in a dark, savage and criminal way. There is passion and the complex roguery; like the dichotomy between his arch-nemesis, the Joker, in their eternal struggle of between chaos and the Batman's quest for order in a dark and violent world. He is the acting agent in the face of helplessness, yet not exactly a soldier of light. Frankly, he represents a whole lotta grays in a world that wishes it were black and white, but doesn't have the luxury. And consequently, I've collected several limited and key-to-the-mythos graphic novel editions, novel adaptations (oft-times horrible), art books dedicated to the Dark Knight, and even guides to the animated series, and the comic world. Could be I want to be Batman. Could be. But regardless, he's taken up a good chunk of shelf space in my collection.

Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and say that's probably my odd shelf.

How about yours?

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
"My Odd Shelf"

Concerning the Sesquipedalian Quiz...

Right. So my score: 1 of 22.

The only word I knew was Grimoire, the meeting of which I cannot describe in great detail, but am fairly certain came about while reading Wishsong of Shannara before I realized what shameless and poorly conceived counterfeit Tolkien Terry Brooks was dolling out. Anyway, hooray for my young love of fantasy novels. They led me to know at least one linguistic oddity.

I will say that of the list, I found "retromingent" most interesting. I mean, urinating backwards has my mind picturing all sorts of bizarre things.

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader,
"The Joy of Sesquipedalians"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Labels and Comment Notification

Okay, one more administrative post from me for today.

I figured using labels would be a good way to bunch together all the posts for each book. That way we can always access them quickly in the future if needed. So yeah, when you post something about blog logistics, set up, or whatever, just label it 'admin'. And when you post something about a book, label it with the title of that book.

Also, if you want to receive email notifications of comments, it's not a default. All you have to do is go under settings and then comments and add your email at the bottom of the page where it says something about receiving notifications of comments. I like to receive the notifications simply because otherwise I'm afraid I might miss a comment to an older post. I always look for comments to the newest entry, but not older ones. Anyway, whatever you guys prefer.

-The Secretary: Keeping Things Organized since 1983

Book 1: Ex Libris

Alright - our first book is Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader. It's a collection of essays she wrote for the Library of Congress and falls into the category of Books about Books. I think it's a good jumping off point.

I also find it hilarious. But that may be because I'm a huge dork. It's a little book, so we may get through it fast. Deadline is July 17th or whenever we're all done!

Too Dark?

Post your layout thoughts here.

(Sorry I messed up your red title, Peter. You can change it back. It defaulted when I changed to the black template.)

Feel Free to Mess Around

Would you believe was taken? I don't know...did you take it, Peter? ;)

Once you all have admin status, you can mess around with the layout as you wish.