BTT ~ Favorite First Lines

July 24, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 14 Comments
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Suggested by: Nithin

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?

It’s funny that this would be a question for this group. When I reviewed The Monsters of Templeton, I basically answered these questions.  I was so drawn in to the story by the first line of that novel:

“The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass.”

I knew that I had to keep reading.  It also called to mind the first lines of two other books that I have memorized:

“Call me Ishmael.”

I absolutely hated Moby Dick, that line is so famous, it will always be in my brain.

My all-time favorite first line comes from my all-time favorite novel, Gone with the Wind:

Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”

So, my post from last year pretty much answered these questions.  It’s a great topic and I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s answers.

BTT ~ Vacation Book Buys

July 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe | 6 Comments
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Today’s prompt is: Do you buy books while on vacation/holiday? Do you have favorite bookstores that you only get to visit while away on a trip? What/Where are they?

When we vacationed at Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge this May, I bought quite a few books at two different discount book stores.  I posted about the books I bought here.  I’ve read and reviewed one of those books and hope to read more of them later on this year.  I keep asking myself why I can’t stay away from places like that when I have plenty of books at home waiting to be picked up and read.  I can’t answer that question.  I guess that’s just part of who I am. 🙂

BTT ~ Literary Doomsday

July 10, 2008 at 9:28 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 1 Comment
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btt button One of my favorite bookstores burned down last weekend, and while I only got to visit there while I was on vacation, it made me stop and think.

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

Whether it’s a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop … what would you do if, suddenly, they were out of business? Devastatingly, and with no warning? Where would you go for books instead? What would you do? If it was a local business you would try to help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other store? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?

I hate to say it, but if my favorite book shop were to go out of business suddenly it would probably be doing me a favor. I have so many potentially great books waiting to be read here at home that I could get along quite fine without another single source of new material for some time – years in fact.

In all seriousness, I’m really sorry to hear about the fire. I’m not attached to any one book shop, brick or mortar or otherwise. If I were, I know how devastating that would be. I’m sure that the store was more than just a place to find new books.

BTT ~ Watcha Reading?

July 3, 2008 at 10:53 am | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 7 Comments
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It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., so let’s keep today’s question simple–What are you reading? Anything special? Any particularly juicy summer reading?

Right now I’m reading Aberrations by Penelope Prezekop, which will be my second book in my July Book Blowout challenge.  I was only able to read 55 pages of it yesterday.  So far I’m enjoying it, but I’m not feeling connected to it yet – if that makes sense.  I wouldn’t thus far consider it a juicy book.  I do have The Gargoyle coming up very soon, and from the reviews I’ve read to date, this sounds like it’s a good candidate for being my favorite book of the year.  We’ll see.

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July weekend.  I’m looking forward to some relaxation and reading over the next three days – if I can only get this work day over with…

BTT ~ What Makes a Reader?

June 26, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe | 17 Comments
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What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

What makes a reader a reader? To be honest, this isn’t something I’ve ever really thought about. My gut reaction to this question is that a reader is anyone who can read in their native language. Really, that definition speaks to a person’s ability to read. It doesn’t take into consideration that person’s interest in reading. I call myself a reader, but that is because I like to read and I spend most of my free time reading. On the other hand, although I enjoy making homemade cards and creating things with stamps, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a stamper. I dabble in stamping, it’s not my passion. Would I be wrong calling myself a stamper? I’m note sure, but that gets to the heart of our question today.

If someone walked up to me and described his or herself as a reader, it would prompt me to ask questions like:

What do you like to read?
What types of books/publications do you like to read?
Who are your favorite authors?
What are you reading right now?
Have you read The Monsters of Templeton? I love it! It’s simply amazing!

It would not make me think about them simply as a literate person. I guess I automatically assume that most adults have at least a basic reading level. I know that this is not always the case and that adult illiteracy is a problem that we face. But, that does point out that I really do define a reader as someone who enjoys reading something or at least thinks that doing so is important.

Those who read what I write professionally, whether that be user manuals, system requirements, software design specifications, or even emails, are my readers. I think about their background and even their personalities when I’m writing for them, but outside of the business world, I try not to think about them at all. 🙂 More often than not my professional audience chooses not to read what I’ve written for them. I find that they’d rather be walked through the software in person or over the phone. Those who actually do read what I’ve written typically scan through the documentation. They are not careful readers at all. They are like those who choose to read The Old Man and the Sea through Cliff Notes. They don’t take the time to fully comprehend the documentation or even think that doing so is important. They just want to be able to give the impression that they have if they’re ever asked about it directly. Those who read my documentation thoroughly and challenge concepts and facts really are my readers. They push me to improve my writing and make my job enjoyable.  I get the most job satisfaction when I know that I’ve made someone else’s job easier or make sense by what I’ve written.

Of course, the best readers in the whole world are those who read The Literate Housewife Review and other things I’ve written for myself.  I’m blessed to have each and every one of you.  Creating and nurturing this blog is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I am so thankful to Danny, Trista, and Mark for encouraging me to write and for being my role models.

So, are you a reader?

Out of Whack

June 26, 2008 at 11:03 am | Posted in LIfe | 3 Comments
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Do you get any indication of how my week is going based on the fact that I just now realized that today is Thursday instead of Wednesday? All day yesterday I prided myself on remembering to do my Tuesday Thingers post on Tuesday – only to now realize that I was really a day late and a dollar short. 😉 Now that I know that it’s Thursday, I need to head over to Booking Through Thursday to find out what our topic is today. Last week’s question was great, but I never got a chance to write it. This week I’m going to try much harder.

I hope that everyone else out there is more organized and aware of the calendar than I am! Be thankful I’m not in charge of keeping the world on track. 🙂

BBT ~ Evolving Tastes in Books

June 5, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Posted in Books, Gothic Fiction, Guilty Pleasure, Historical Fiction, LIfe, My Life with Books, Reading | 15 Comments
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Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?

Since I started this blog at the beginning of 2007, the biggest change I’ve noticed in my taste has been my almost glutenous love for historical fiction. That discovery has really taken me by surprise. Barnes and Noble featured Philippa Gregory and The Boleyn Inheritence in their book club. On a whim, I ordered the The Other Boleyn Girl and the rest is history (pun only intended if it doesn’t offend). Thinking back on that, I can’t believe that I didn’t look into that earlier on my own. I’ve always loved history and Gone with the Wind is my favorite novel. It would be a no brainer if I had known that there was a historical fiction category.

In general, I’ve always preferred to read books that challenge me and those tend to be on the more serious side. For example, I read Crime and Punishment on my own in college after finding out, much to my disappointment, that it wasn’t a requirement in my college curriculum. Still, I’ve discovered that I enjoy reading memoirs and have come to enjoy reading books I would catergorize as guilty pleasures. I’ve definitely grown in my ability to admit to those guilty pleasures. Sometimes you need to just let your mind play and Janet Evanovich comes in quite handy in that regard.

One thing that hasn’t changed is how much I enjoy Gothic fiction. I might not read it all of the time or have the same compulsion to read it as I do with Historical Fiction, but I immediately feel at home when reading Edgar Allen Poe, Daphne du Maurier, Charlotte Bronte, and Patrick McGrath. When I get the bug to actually write on my own, I find my work to fit in that category. I’ve never been able to write anything else. If I ever do write that novel, I could only hope that my work would be compared to any of those authors.

The great thing about reading is that you are free to evolve in any way your fancy takes you. Where else in your life do you have that freedom?

BTT ~ Reading, Fundamentally

May 29, 2008 at 8:08 pm | Posted in LIfe, Reading | 7 Comments
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This short week has me all off kilter. Sorry for posting this so late putting up my post for Booking Through Thursday. A special thanks to Devourer or Books, whose excellent post on this week’s question reminded of what day it is.

BTT LogoWhat is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.

In the younger, idealistic days of my early to mid-20s, I prided myself for having “taste” in books. I would look down at anyone reading a book written by a living author. There were enough proven novels written in the past for me to even bother with something new or within my parent’s or grandparent’s lifetime. Today I am much more confident in myself and in my reading*. I sometimes read for education, edification or simple entertainment. Each way, I’m exercising the most precious gift my parents gave me after my birth: a love for learning.

I encourage everyone to read what they want to because it’s what they want to read. Sometimes you may be compelled to read something, but look at that as a challenge. The more you read, the more doors the reading life will open for you.

* I must confess that I still take much pride in having read Ulysses, but I no longer judge those who haven’t. 😉

BTT ~ Books or Movies?

May 22, 2008 at 4:57 pm | Posted in Books, Film, LIfe, Reading | 6 Comments
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BTTBooks and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

My first thought is that books and movies are entirely different things, but that’s not true.  Both tell stories.  Both can entertain and educate.  They can both move you at a very deep level and stay with you for a long time.  They can both make you scream and want the part of your life that you spent with it back (Talented Mr. Ripley and The Emperor’s Children are my cases in point).  They both stem from someone’s desire to communicate with the rest of humanity.  I’m glad to be living in a day and age that has both mediums.

Still, they should not be judged on the same level.  I most definitely read for different reasons than I watch a movie.  I wish that I could fully explain the way that I feel while I’m reading a good book.  All at the same time I am outside my body and experiencing another reality while I’m sitting (hopefully) someplace comfortable consciously feeling the texture of the book cover and pages and breathing in the scent of a book’s pages, which is the most calming scent on the earth to me.  When I’m in this place, I feel the most connected to myself, this world, and all that it contains.  I wouldn’t call it sacred necessarily, but it is a positive force in my life.

Movies, when they are good, also take me someplace new.  It’s not the same type of experience.  It’s more purely entertainment.  It is no less an art than writing, but it doesn’t reach me in the same manner.  This is entirely personal, though.  I believe what I experience with reading my husband experiences with movies.  What is wonderful about a movie is that the experience of seeing it can change based upon who you see it with.  For example, I love Gone With the Wind.  I’ve seen in countless times alone or with a few extra people.  It wasn’t until it was re-released maybe about 10 years or so ago that I belly laughed as I watched Mamie on screen.  The group dynamic added to the experience of the movie.  For me with books, reading in a large audience would be distracting and detract from my experience.  It wouldn’t enhance it in that way.

Long story short, I love both books and movies, but I approach them in much different ways.  How about you?

Booking Through Thursday (BTT) ~ Manual Labor

May 8, 2008 at 10:27 am | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 7 Comments
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I’ve been seeing these a lot lately, so I’ve decided to join some of my favorite book blogging buddies.

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Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?

There is a part of me that longs to write a novel.  I wrote my first short story in the second grade and I still proudly remember how my mother typed it up – exactly how I spelled everything (I remember because being spelled incorrectly – but I can’t remember how).  It was about a lazy cat who almost gets kicked out of the family for not catching mice before he becomes the cat he ought to be.  I read it in front of my class.  So, I do have several how-to writing guides.  I get suckered into them and never get further than about 50 pages.  There is one exception.  Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is incredible.

As a (now former) technical writer, I have bought several manuals of style, etc., that I’ve read at least part of for work.  There is one grammar-related book that I’ve bought and am about a third of the way through that is absolutely fabulous and hilarious – and yes, it’s about grammar – Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss.  I’m rather behind the curve on this one as it was published a while back now.  The good thing is that you can purchase it relatively cheaply at this point.  I would highly recommend it thus far.  I can’t imagine how the author would critique my blog…  Scary.  I know I don’t meet her standards. 🙂

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