Friday, 18 April 2014

Bookish Questions for a Friday

Thanks to Simon of Stuck in a Book for these questions. He did a post sometime back that had more questions but I thought 10 were enough.

10 questions about reading

1. Favourite childhood book?
My favourite childhood books were a series of junior biographies in the Grand Ledge, Michigan library about inventors and explorers. I learned about Madame Curie, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and many others. I read the entire series but don't  remember how many there were. I also loved the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Drew mysteries and Trixie Belden. I loved strong stories about girls doing adventurous things. Old dog stories such as The Incredible Journey (I loved) and those dogs that did heroic things like saving people from fires or finding lost children.  The more I think of those books the more I remember.
2. What are you reading right now?
I'm reading a few books right now. I'm into The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers for our May book group. I'm listening to a series of short stories by Emma Donaghue - Touchy Subjects on audio book and I've just started a non-fiction book called A History of Armchair Travel by Bernd Stiegler that is about 18th and 19th Room Travel. (More on that later I hope).
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
I have a few books on hold at the library but some have a bit of a waiting list on them. One is The Magic Toyshop which I will read in June for the Angela Carter challenge. Also there is  Orange is the New Black, A Year in a Woman's Prison; another Emma Donoghue, Frog Music; and Art as Therapy by Alain de Botton. I don't know why I reserve books at the library but I do. I may or may not get a chance to read the many others I have but I just love going to the library and getting a pile of books to look through. I read some, others I skim, others go back.
4. Bad book habit?
Ha! Me?  Probably starting too many books at once. I generally have about three or four on the go and that can prevent me from not finishing any of them.  But if it really grabs me then I will finish it.  I just love being surrounded by books. 
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
I have two books by Emma Donoghue, Room is one of them and the audio book Touchy Things. I also have Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall. All of them look interesting. 
6. Do you have an e-reader?
Yes, I have a Kindle Fire but I mainly use it when I travel or go camping or somewhere on my big scooter because it is easy to pack.  I can also check emails on it when I am away. I still prefer real books to it but the e-reader is good for out of print books, Gutenberg like stuff and Amazon's cheap deals.  So I do see a place for both e-readers and real books. 
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I think I have covered this questions. I often have a book of fiction and non-fiction going at once and maybe an audio book. They seem separate enough that I don't get them mixed up but if I try to read several books of fiction at once it is a total failure. 

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Absolutely they have. I read my favourite blogs almost every day.  I keep up with a number of them and am always inspired not only by what people are reading but what they do in their daily life. So my favourite blogs are those that talk about the walks they take, the bookshops they visit, their travels, books they read and their pets.  Quite a few people are really interesting and they inspire me in many ways to get out there and read and do things and visit places. I also like the things they cook. Those blogs are perfect when they cover more than just one thing. I'm reading more and learning about authors I didn't know about. The blogs covering translated fiction are very interesting. There are so many genres of books and it is just so much fun learning about all the new books and old classics.9. 
9. Least favourite book you’ve read this year (so far)?  
I have enjoyed all the books I have read this year. I don't go through books as quickly as a lot of people do so if I'm not enjoying it by 60 to 100 pages I generally stop and go to something else. Life is too short to read books you don't enjoy.  
10. Favourite book you’ve read this year? 
So far it would have to be The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCuller's as I love the characters and the locale so much. Another one is Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being.  Also I have read a couple of vintage Penguins that I have enjoyed about Captain Hornblower. I am pretty easy with books. I am not as discerning as some people and like I said I am open to reading anything. I'm generally a good natured reader. her hee.
Well I hope everyone has a good Easter weekend whether you go to church services or just eat a lot of chocolate while going away or lying around the house resting up and catching your breath.   I hope you enjoy the break.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Old Dog Barks Backwards - Ogden Nash

Published 1972

Last week I began the Monopoly Board challenge. It is just a bit of fun and I have linked it to my huge TBR pile of books in the front room library.

When I shook the dice from I ended up on Oriental Avenue.  My assignment that I chose to accept was to:

Read a book with a mostly white cover OR a book whose title starts with O OR a book set in the Orient OR a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in “ORIENTAL”

This book not only has a white cover, it was unread and the author's name and the title begin with the letter O.

Ogden Nash is an almost forgotten figure in the book world. I remember reading his poems when I was a young person in junior high school and at the time I can remember thinking he was fun. No doubt I bought this book somewhere along the line in the name of nostalgia.

Ogden Nash wrote a lot of nonsense verse that satirised social types that he observed. He was a great observer of life. A little known fact about his family is that an ancestor, General Francis Nash gave his name to the city of Nash-ville in Tennessee. *

Ogden was born in 1902 and died in 1971. 

He was a great one for knocking language out of shape and making wisecracks with it.  His comic verse is pointed by rhythms that become funnier the more strained and tortuous they are. *

He did quite a lot of free lance work and finally became a staff member for New Yorker magazine in 1932. 

This book is an assortment of verses throughout that make statements about all kinds of social situations and people from times gone by.  I enjoyed reading through this book.  It reminded me of a time of growing up in midwest America and the gentleness that I remember the small town I grew up in to be.

I imagine many people would think his poetry is quite simple and dated by today's standards but I quite enjoyed it.  It was fun visiting an old school book of authors we studied in the 1960's.  

I have always enjoyed American poets and although Longfellow and Whitman were my favourites I do remember seeing Ogden Nash's short verses throughout some of my English textbooks.

This book was very much like visiting an old friend.  

*A History of American Lit by Richard Gray.  
So before I leave you here I'll post up a couple of his poems and hope you too enjoy them.

Family Court  
One would be in less danger
From the wiles of a stranger
If one's own kin and kith
Were more fun to be with.

To keep your marriage
brimming, With love in the 
loving cup, Whenever
you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, 
shut up.

If you don’t want to work
you have to work to earn
enough money so that you
won’t have to work.

A Lady Who Thinks She is Thirty
Unwillingly Miranda wakes, 
Feels the sun with terror, 
One unwilling step she takes, 
Shuddering to the mirror. 

Miranda in Miranda's sight 

Is old and gray and dirty; 

Twenty-nine she was last night; 
This morning she is thirty. 

Shining like the morning star, 

Like the twilight shining, 

Haunted by a calendar, 
Miranda is a-pining. 

Silly girl, silver girl, 

Draw the mirror toward you; 

Time who makes the years to whirl 
Adorned as he adored you. 

Time is timelessness for you; 

Calendars for the human; 

What's a year, or thirty, to 
Loveliness made woman? 

Oh, Night will not see thirty again, 

Yet soft her wing, Miranda; 

Pick up your glass and tell me, then-- 
How old is Spring, Miranda? 


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Sweet Moments To Get Me Through The Week

I think this subject will become a regular because it makes me look for loveliness during the week and reminds me there are many things that may be simple, but make me happy.
I hope others will join me and Dolce Belleza in this endeavour because being mindful of good things when they happen can't be a bad thing.

Monday our book group met at Fuller's Book shop. It meets in the evening and when I get there early I am able to roam around the closed shop and look at all the books for sale. They really are beautiful.

In the evening when things are hectic putting the house to bed Eddie makes me smile once he goes to sleep.

Who can resist a sleeping kitten?

One day last week I took myself into the city and walked around looking at clothes, books and bedding. Winter is just upon us and who can resist beautiful bedding and wonderfully warm pyjamas. So I did a bit of shopping and then I took my bags into a coffee shop and relaxed.

I wonder what I will experience this week.

Monday, 14 April 2014

A Bookish Catchup

I have been in a mad reading mood lately and have gotten through a few books in record time which for me is unusual. I'm generally a bit slow about these things.  Here are three very different books, 
all of which I enjoyed.

The Boy Who Fell To Earth by Kathy Lette is a story about her and her son who has Asperger's Syndrome.  It was a great story about her relationship with her husband and soon to be ex-husband. Then she gets a very zany boy friend who seems completely irresponsible but he does show her a different way of relating to her son that is quite useful.  I enjoyed this book every step of the way. However if I could change anything, Kathy Lette cracks a lot of jokes. Every other sentence seems to be a joke and while they are quite funny I got weary of all the wise cracks.  Sometimes I found the jokes interfered with the story so I would have tamed it down a bit.


The Young Desire it by Kenneth Mackenzie is a coming of age tale written in 1937. It takes place in Western Australia and is the story of a teenage boy dealing with being sent to boarding school in a quite English establishment and his relationships with teachers, students and a girl from his hometown.  The writing is absolutely beautiful and it pulls you into the boy's story.  I found it a trifle long and would have liked firmer editing but I couldn't argue with the characters and the style of the book.

In Search of Hobart by Tasmanian writer Peter Timms.  I have put off reading this book although I have wanted to. When I saw the audio version (unabridged of course) in the library I checked it out. I played it while doing some cooking one day and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you were going to visit Hobart then by all means read this book first. It tells you about the population, the weather, the shops, the culture, the history. I was amazed at how much it covered regarding all aspects of Hobart and there is quite a bit of humour in it which I thought was quite entertaining.  Although it's definitely a specialty book to this area it is very interesting and I got a real feel for the city I live in from a different perspective.

Happily I enjoyed all three books and would certainly recommend them.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Animals Reading Books

Book lovers seem to also enjoy cats being around them. So this is the photo I found for the day.