I undertook this challenge because I’m in favor of anything that makes me stop and think about the books that I own, read or unread.
1. Find an author name or title with a Z in it.
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
2. Find a classic.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
3. Find a book with a key on it.
S T R E T C H I N G
the prompt here
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
4. Find something on your bookshelf that is not a book.
Left: a small moi (replica of the giant stone heads on Easter Island)
Right: a sign of encouragement made by RamonaClaire from rolled-up pages of To Kill a Mockingbird, my favorite book
5. Find the oldest book on your shelf.
Probably Four Afloat by Ralph Henry Barbour. This is from my father-in-law’s childhood collection. The text is © 1907. I can’t find out when this version was published, but, as you can tell, it’s pretty old.
6. Find a book with a girl on it.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
7. Find a book that has an animal in it.
How about lots of animals: Watership Down by Richard Adams
8. Find a book with a male protagonist.
How about a book with two male protagonists: Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh
9. Find a book with only words on the cover.
This copy of Ulysses by James Joyce, which I bought in Dublin.
10. Find a book with illustrations in it.
Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore. This was my father-in-law’s copy, inscribed June 26, 1912.
11. Find a book with gold lettering.
A Backward Glance by Edith Wharton
12. Find a diary, true or fictional.
Since diaries, both real and fictional, are one of my favorite things to study, my shelf contains a lot of books that fit this category. Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman is one of the best.
13. Find a book written by an author with a common name (like Smith).
Breakheart Hill by Thomas H. Cook
14. Find a book with a close-up of something on it.
This edition of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield has a wonderful close-up of a stack of old books.
15. Find a book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period.
That must be Paradise Lost by John Milton, which takes place shortly after the creation of the world.
16. Find a hardcover book without a jacket.
This old, undated copy of The Prairie by James Fenimore Cooper.
17. Find a teal/turquoise colored book.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
18. Find a book with stars on it.
Well darn, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green doesn’t have stars on the cover. But this edition of The Island of the Day Before does.
19. Find a non-YA book.
YA literature has only come into existence over the last few years of my reading life, so most of my books fit this category. I chose The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing because it was close at hand.
How about you?
Let me know if you decide to give this book tag challenge a try.
© 2019 by Mary Daniels Brown
Chinese Malaysian novelist Tash Aw discusses his latest novel, We, the Survivors, and the relationship between literature and the immigrant experience.
Of course there are always local details that make more sense to some. But when a very specific story of racism is committed to paper, it acquires a universality that speaks far beyond its boundaries.
“Our brains are compelled by category violations.”
Every culture has “monstrous mash-ups,” or composite creatures, in their folklore and religion. Think of the Sphinx (half human, half lion), centaurs (half human, half horse), and mermaids (half woman, half fish). Such unexpected hybrids violate our “innate or . . . early developmental folk taxonomy of the world, according to psychologist Dan Sperber and anthropologist Pascal Boyer.” Such monstrous creatures “offer surrogate rehearsals for how the real community (‘us’) will resist actual enemies (‘them’).”
when we center the lives of the victims and their families rather than obsessing over the quirks of killers and accept the costs of being more sensitive to victims’ pain than we are thrilled by murderers’ transgressions, true-crime stories can make a small contribution to making the world a more just, more empathetic place.
In connection with the centennial anniversary of the American Civil Liberties Union, novelist Michael Chabon discusses the significance of the trial that determined James Joyce’s Ulysses was not obscene.
Here’s a very humbling list of the best of world literature, both fiction and nonfiction, produced so far in the 21st century. I’ll never catch up.
© 2019 by Mary Daniels Brown
It’s time for another Classics Club Spin: Spin #21.
Here’s how it works:
I am to post a list of 20 titles of books as yet unread on my classics club list by next Monday, September 23rd. On that date the Classics Club will post a number. I then have until October 31st to read the book on my list with that number.
Here’s my list:
- Brookner, Anita. Hotel Du Lac
- Jackson, Shirley. Just an Ordinary Day: Stories
- Highsmith, Patricia. The Tremor of Forgery
- Cather, Willa. O Pioneers!
- Styron, William. Darkness Visible
- McEwan, Ian. Atonement
- Fowles, John. The French Lieutenant’s Woman
- Rendell, Ruth. The Crocodile Bird
- Agee, James. A Death in the Family
- Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat’s Cradle
- Howard, Elizabeth Jane. The Long View
- Piercy, Marge. Woman on the Edge of Time
- Connell, Evan S. Mr. Bridge
- James, Henry. The Beast in the Jungle
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment
- Wharton, Edith. Ghost Stories
- Jewett, Sarah Orne. The Country of the Pointed Firs
- Hardy, Thomas. Far From the Madding Crowd
- Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom!
- Nabokov, Vladimir. Pale Fire
And now, we wait.
The lucky winner is #5. So I will be reading Darkness Visible by William Styron by October 31st.
Sonia Patel, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has written three YA novels, argues that “YA fiction needs to expand its boundaries beyond safe, popular stories that only affirm and praise different cultures. It needs to push past the expectation that all diverse teens can conquer adversity in a tolerable way.”
In honor of his brother, who died a year ago, Lucas Maxwell decided to read five YA novels dealing with mental health and substance abuse in five weeks. Here he reports on the five books he read and what those books can teach us.
Tom Lutz reminds us that we all were amateur readers before we became critics of what we read.
Having never read anything by Salman Rushdie, I was drawn to this article in which Parul Sehgal argues Rushdie “is the author of nearly 20 books — six published in the last 11 years alone, but of diminishing quality. The novels are imaginative as ever, but they are also increasingly wobbly, bloated and mannered. He is a writer in free fall. What happened?”
Here are two novels that I’ve read recently:
- The Escape Room by Megan Goldin, in which four coworkers become trapped in an elevator and must think about the consequences of their past actions
- The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware, in which a governess faces haunting occurrences in a smarthouse completely controlled by technology
This reading is the reason this article by thriller writer Catherine Ryan Howard caught my eye: “When I sit down at my desk to work on my novels, it’s in this particular corner—the mundane, everyday world of our online lives—that I like to play in.”
© 2019 by Mary Daniels Brown