Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ah, Frances

The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf
Kathryn Davis

Ah, Frances, she said, why couldn't you assign form to your life the way you could to an opera? It would be so much easier, although without any firm knowledge about the circumstances of the ending, of course it was impossible. At least the religious disposition had the advantage of being able to acknowledge the twin portals of birth and death, both giving onto a world of pure spirit. But if you didn't believe in God, the symmetry was less pleasing, and the potential for happiness implicit in the fact of having been born was outweighed by despair at the prospect of dying. Only the creator of such an arrangement could find its symmetry pleasing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Julie & Julia

The dust jacket was an enticing sea green, the raised letters in pastel orange and pink; friendly, inviting. A chartreuse bowl held a mound of cream begging to have fingers stuck in it. The disgruntled duck-whisk lying on it's side said this book would not be without conflict. But the color scheme reassured me: It'd be a pleasant journey.

Many of us readers rely on book covers to let us know if it is a book we want to read; publishers try to make covers as appealing to the intended audience as they can, to get the attention of those most likely to buy the book.

Little, Brown and Company: You have failed me! Julie & Julia was not what the cover promised! It was not fluffy, it was not pleasant! It was not as adorable as a kitchen utensil shaped like a fowl!

Where on the dust jacket does it tell us the book will be whiney and histrionic? The narrator tells us Julia Child saved her pitiful life, but at the end of the book I can't much see what the difference is.
The book was pleasant in that it was constantly talking about food, but then, I could just as easily read a cookbook.

The longer I look at that little ducky, the more sinister it appears.

Recommendation: If this cover appeals to you, watch the movie, forget the book.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Negative Impact of Twilight on the Quileute

Here's an article about our vampire-fighting wolf friends, the Quileute, made widely known through Twilight.

I think the article has good points, but I note that it doesn't actually quote or give the opinions of the Quileute themselves.

One of the reasons this is of interest to me is because it's a local issue. I live in Washington, and visited Forks long before Twilight was published.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dear John

A letter to author John Green, posted on his YouTube channel.

Dear John,

You will be in Bellingham on Saturday as a speaker at the Children's Literature Conference at my school. I wanted to go, but alas, I must save my funds for such things as college tuition.
Is there any way we could have some sort of Bellingham Nerdfighter Get-Together? Perhaps Afternoon Tea?


Hey, Esme,

They're keeping me pretty busy at the conference and also they (understandably) want a bit of a monopoly on my time while I'm there, so that people will part with their college tuition money to go to the conference (which I can attest will be excellent). But I'll be back in the area soon, I bet! Sorry! -John

I had to try, right?

Opera and Pudding

But for opera I would never have written Leaves of Grass.
-Walt Whitman

When one goes to an opera or a play, one should remember to dress in their finest; the eyes of society are on you. Like Oscar Wilde, be a mystery in plain sight. Wear a flower in your buttonhole.

But most importantly, eat dessert afterward. Watching a performance creates an appetite. Partake in something sweet while discussing the fine art you have witnessed.

I've started reading The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf by Kathryn Davis, about a woman haunted by an opera writer. It seemed only appropriate that I kick off the book by seeing an opera. The Marriage of Figaro to be exact. I made a chocolate pudding pie for the occasion, quick to make before you dart to the performance, delicious to eat after. I used the pudding recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, but if you're especially short on time vegan pudding can be made by using soy (or other) milk with the packaged pudding powder.

The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf

The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf
Kathryn Davis

Women, she would say, were the world's inventors; it was only after the fact that men came along and discovered whatever it was that women had already invented. The act of invention was basically lawless, whereas the act of discovery required the making of laws, an endless cataloguing, describing, judging, and ultimately, dismantling of the thing discovered.