Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A First!

Before I get to the "business" of the day, Brad sent me the cutest quote this morning:

"Know Yourself. Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful." -- Ann Landers

I had never heard this one before and laughed for about 5 mins. So then I got to thinking about the the cat equivalent of this quote. Maybe something like this?

"Know Yourself. Don't accept your cat's disdain as conclusive evidence that you are NOT wonderful."???

Anyway - The lovely Anna tagged little ole me today! This is a first and boy did she pick the right topic - books!!

Warning #1: I can go on and on and on about books.
Warning #2: There is no knitting related content in this post but Clapotis will be finished tonight so expect stylish pictures tomorrow!
Warning #3: Don't say I didn't warn you.

1)Total number of books in your house:
Hmmm...far too many to count...somewhere in the hundreds I suppose. I've been an avid reader far longer than I've been an avid knitter. :-) I majored in English Lit. at University so have some large tomes from those days along with everything else I've accumulated over the last 10 years or so. I don't mind parting with books that aren't special to me - I've sent out a number of them through (very neat site/concept) but the majority of them do stay with me.

2)The last book you bought was:
I was at the bookstore last Thursday and came home with Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson and The Iliad.

What possessed me to buy the Iliad? Not sure...I was walking by, saw it there and realized that I've never read it in full. So I compared a few translations and went home with the one that appealed to me most - it's the "epic story of Troy" for anyone who is wondering.

I've been looking for Isaac's Storm ever since I read Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - I really enjoy his writing style. The man does years of research about an event and then writes an historically accurate account of what happened. You'd think (at least I thought) that that sort of thing would be a bit dry but he pulls it off without seeming textbookish whatsoever. Isaac's Storm recreates the worst natural disaster in US history - a hurricane that wiped "6000 souls and the town of Galveston off the map" - through the telegrams, letters and reports of Isaac Cline - a meteorologist of the day. Sounds like an interesting story to me... Also, the day before this I put through an online order for 2 knitting books: The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook by Lynne Vogel and Vintage Knits by Sarah Dallas. Fun!

3)What was the last book you read before reading this?
The last book I read was The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. I'm a big Margaret Atwood fan and had never read this particular novel. It was not my favorite but pretty good. I'm currently reading My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - it's our bookclub pick for this month (about 8 of us get together once a month to discuss a book) - it's quite good so far - about a 13 year old girl who was conceived to be a donor to her older sister who has a rare form of leukemia. It's very captivating and a bit heart rending at times - I hear the ending is going to be difficult to read. Should be plenty to discuss...

4)Write down 5 (or 6) books you often read or that mean a lot to you.
In no particular order:

1. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - I must have read this novel a dozen times over the course of my undergrad. It is short but brimming with imagery. I've dissected it over and over again and always seem to find something new. "The horror, the horror!"

2. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - the full title is actually Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness At the Fair That Changed America. How cool is that? This book was excellently written and I finished it feeling much smarter than when I began.
It is set in 1890s Chicago and follows the lives of 2 men: Daniel Burnham (architect of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair) and H.H. Holmes (one of America's first serial killers who used the circumstances of the Fair to his advantage). You will learn a lot reading this book and it carries an interesting cast of characters including some young, later-famed architects of the US (you'll recognize the names).
One interesting factoid that I was not aware of was that the very first Ferris Wheel was unveiled at the Chicago World's Fair in answer to the Eiffel Tower which was the highlight of the 1889 World's Fair in Paris. It seems odd in this day and age to compare a common Ferris Wheel to the Eiffel Tower but I guess it being the first one would have been QUITE a scene and it was apparently VERY large.

3. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood was another book that I could read again and again. It is a fictional account of the life of Grace Marks who in 1843 was convicted for her part in the murder of her employers (at age 16). It's very well written and not as dark as you would imagine from my description - gives a good glimpse into society of the time. Also by Margaret Atwood on my could read over and over list are: Oryx and Crake (her latest), and The Handmaid's Tale (The Blind Assassin is excellent too!).

4. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn is in the category of life changing novels. It offers a whole new perspective on the issues facing humanity like overpopulation, pollution...etc.

I think I've gone on long enough with this now... :-)

5. Oh wait! One more - Testament by Nino Ricci - I just read this book last year and it was really worth the time - it is an alternate version of the life of Christ or at least a view of him as an everyday person living out his life not the Bible version of things - it was very appealing.

6. And one more. Lest you should think that I don't read anything fun (I just realized the list is relatively heavy with 2 books involving murders(!)). How about The Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle? It's actually 3 novels: The Committments, The Snapper and The Van. I was literally laughing out loud at the Rabbitte family antics. Reminds me of some folks I know! :-)

If you've made it to this point and are still awake, it's OVER and I did warn you!

5)Who are you going to pass this onto and why?
I will be passing this on to Crafter's Addiction, Knitting on an Island, Domestically Challenged if they don't already have it. Anyhow, these girls seem like interesting folks and I'm curious to see what they like to read. Sorry guys... :-) I'm curious about what Knitting Wench is reading too but I believe she's got a sore wrist so I won't trouble here with any more typing that blogging already takes!!


Anonymous Janine said...

ooh you rat! I wish I had read your blogg before I sent you my answers! They make my list look really lightweight. Still I have read the Iliad both in translation and the origional Latin - It was the set book when I did my GCSE Latin (which I failed miserably).

12:20 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I am 100% sure that my cat tells me to piss off ... especially when I try to lock her out of the bedroom at night so I can get some slepp without her sitting on my head :)... I cannot wait to see your Clapotis... :D

8:35 PM  
Blogger KnittenKnots said...

haha! Oh no - don't get me wrong...things like the Iliad aren't normally on my reading list! I actually almost didn't include it on the blog because of that but then I thought "well, I did buy it". Now we'll see if I actually read it. ;-) Reading it in latin is VERY impressive!!!

6:49 AM  
Anonymous anna said...

very interesting to see what other people read. i recently bought james joyce's Ulysses - we'll see if i ever read it it looks pretty impenetrable at first glance. And now reading your list I wish I had included some Margaret Atwood on mine. I think Cat's Eye is my favourite.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous anna said...

very interesting to see what other people read. i recently bought james joyce's Ulysses - we'll see if i ever read it it looks pretty impenetrable at first glance. And now reading your list I wish I had included some Margaret Atwood on mine. I think Cat's Eye is my favourite.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I am so glad that someone besides me is obsessed with The Devil in the White City. I was telling people facts I learned from that book for months afterward. I also loved Alias Grace--and if you liked that you might also like (OK, now I'm Amazon) Affinity, by Sarah Waters.

And I wish, by the way, that I thought for one second that Bailey was thinking "you're wonderful!" when she looked at me. Really it's more like "Treat! Now!"

5:54 PM  

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