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Rachel Fox [userpic]

I'm falling asleep and this looked fun...

October 11th, 2007 (02:40 pm)
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Taken from alissamarie.

These are the top 106 books tagged “unread” in
Librarything. Why 106? Nobody knows…

The rules:
Bold what you have read, italicize books you’ve started but couldn’t finish, and strike through books you hated. Add an asterisk* to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your TBR list.

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina*
Crime and Punishment*
Catch-22
One hundred years of solitude
Wuthering Heights*
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose*
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre*

A Tale of Two Cities*
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
Emma*
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations*
American Gods
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Atlas shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
Quicksilver
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian
A portrait of the artist as a young man
Love in the time of cholera
Brave new world
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula
A clockwork orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
1984
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and sensibility*
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist

Gulliver’s Travels
Les misérables*
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere
A confederacy of dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The unbearable lightness of being
Beloved
Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Persuasion*
Northanger Abbey*
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Rachel Fox [userpic]

Save the Date!

March 16th, 2007 (10:55 pm)

So there's this book sale...the one I usually talk about once a year after I go.  Here's the information so plug it away into your calendars, because I may remind you and I may forget. ;)

Altadena Library Book Sale

May 17th - Members only

May 18th Morning thru Afternoon

Rachel Fox [userpic]

Harry Potter and the Money Making Machine

February 8th, 2007 (01:51 pm)

From The Herald:

Harry Potter and the Money-Making Machine

MELANIE REIDFebruary 08 2007

There are some things which have to be said, even if they make one desperately unpopular with a nation's children. Some of us - and I'm speaking in a whisper here - are glad that the seventh and final Harry Potter book has been finished. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, we're indescribably, heel-clickingly overjoyed that J K Rowling has written "fin" for the last time.

The author herself, it seems, feels the same way, describing a simultaneous sense of "heartbreak and euphoria" in signing off a publishing and marketing phenomenon which gave children's books a much needed boost and made her one of the richest women in the world.

But are we allowed, politely, to heave one very big sigh of relief as well? Some of us are weary of the hegemony even more than the hype. Some of us - well, OK, quite a lot of us - have come to regard Harry the global brand as a total bore, as predictable as Coca-Cola, as stimulating as a Big Mac and as profitable as Nike. We will be happy never to hear the name mentioned again. [My favorite quote]

Certainly, it is possible to describe as cultural tyranny the way in which Harry has dominated popular taste for the past decade or so. An astonishing 325 million copies of the books have been sold around the world, which has little to do with the intrinsic merits of a jolly saga about a boy wizard battling evil, but everything to do with the power of the marketing industry, children who are both less literate and more overtly consumer-conscious than previous generations, and parents clutching at a liferaft in the sea of their busy lives. This is a thing peculiar to its time.

The Harry Potter books are, as entertainment, inoffensive. But they're not literature; they're middle-brow pot-boilers. I will not presume to go as far as the great Yale professor, Harold Bloom, author of The Western Canon, who said of J K Rowling's work: "The writing was dreadful; the book was terrible. As I read, I noticed that every time a character went for a walk, the author wrote instead that the character stretched his legs'. I began marking on the back of an envelope every time that phrase was repeated. I stopped only after I had marked the envelope several dozen times. I was incredulous. Rowling's mind is so governed by cliches and dead metaphors that she has no other style of writing."

But I'm with Bloom in his demolition of the well-rehearsed argument which says that at least children are reading something, and that Harry Potter will lead them on to a life of reading - and, by inference, erudition. Now the first part of this argument does have something going for it: no doubt some children who would otherwise have spent their lives playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on their games console have been rescued from zombiedom by the gripping tales of Voldemort and Hogwarts.

But the second part doesn't hold water. Harry Potter will not lead children on to Swallows and Amazons, the Just So Stories, Wind in the Willows or Alice through The Looking Glass. What it will do, as Professor Bloom declared, is train them to read Stephen King. (Not, one gathers, a writer he admires greatly.) Certainly, in my own experience, the craze for Harry Potter books was a peer group thing for children, not unrelated to wearing the right brand of trainers. They were bought as status symbols and then languished, a quarter read, for years under the bed. How many of those 325 million copies failed to change the trajectory of the modern TV-raised child who, tragically, does not read for pleasure and probably never will? More than a few, I suspect.

Where I really quarrel with Harry Potter is not in the quality of the writing but in the marketing. This Harry – Harry the brand – really is a monster of the first order.
 

So that's the elitist argument against Rowling, if you like: that her work is part of a general dumbing down; that in a way the whole Potter phenomenon represents a missed opportunity to stretch children's imaginations and teach millions the use of supple, challenging, original writing.

It's all a little harsh. Rowling's books are not that bad and have brought pleasure to millions. I remember as a child exactly the same kind of literary snobbery attaching to Enid Blyton books: speaking personally, I was forbidden Noddy and Famous Five books on those very grounds, but made up for it later with wall-to-wall absorption of Mallory Towers, read illicitly under the bedcovers by torchlight. Some would say they can see the malign influence still.

Where I really quarrel with Harry Potter is not in the quality of the writing but in the marketing. This Harry - Harry the brand - really is a monster of the first order. Somewhere along the line the author waved bye bye to her creation and saw it become a global money-making colossus, one which exploited the thrill of the chase and the tribal yearning to be part of something. It wasn't a book; it was a badge of belonging; a cult, Warner Bros. And more than 70 million Google entries. "I've got mine. Have you got yours?"

Oh, we fell for it. We were sent to spend nights queuing in the cold on Sauchiehall Street, in order to be the first to purchase one of those doorstopper hardbacks for our employers. This is when I perceived another worrying phenomenon: the rise of the adult fan. Frequently, the grown-ups queueing for their copy weren't doing it for nieces or nephews, but for themselves. In some cases their lips were moving when they scanned the lines, in other cases they didn't even have that excuse.

Read children's opinions of the Potter phenomenon, and they are surprisingingly thoughtful. "It's the most well-written book since Roald Dahl, but I still think it's over-hyped"; "Most kids don't know who Harry Potter is and only follow the crowd"; "When the film comes out I want to see if it's as good as the book".

Far more infantilised are the adults who have latched on to Harry Potter. Last weekend my colleague, Damien Henderson, in an admirable and thorough testimonial to J K Rowling's undoubted achievements, explored the commercial phenomenon that is Harry. He received an e-mail from an adult female Potter fan in the States, telling him she felt an "emotional, intellectual and personal" connection with him because of what he had written. The books, she said, had made her reflect on her own childhood and she was "enriched and satisfied".

Now all this is very sweet; and one can only be pleased that she and millions of fans like her are happy, but one does have to question whether J K Rowling is now being hijacked into territories which she never intended to visit. In that sense it is interesting that both the author and the young actor, Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry in the (largely lamentable) films, have expressed sincere relief at the end of the saga. Is it too presumptious to suggest that everyone creative connected with Harry has been imprisoned for too long in an immense money-making machine; one which has came close to crushing the original joy of an adequate story? I don't think so.


© All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Rachel Fox [userpic]

news of the morning

February 1st, 2007 (08:26 am)

Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows out 7/21/07.   

any more need to be said?

Rachel Fox [userpic]

A poem for today

November 16th, 2006 (12:12 pm)
thoughtful

current mood: thoughtful
current song: Sleeping Beauty Waltz

The Attic
 
We have ascended to this paradise,
Make-believe angels hurrying to our choirs.
Imagination is our Sunday vice;
We are alone, alone with our desires.
 
We are enchanted by the sound of rain;
Darkness, half-light, and light combine and blur.
This is the national treasury of Cockaigne,
Of which we are the keepers, as it were.
 
Time is our Midas. We are of his line;
His touch descends to us on either side –
That golden touch. One gesture will refine
This dust into such realms as dust would hide.
 
These beads are pearls disguised as imitations.
This broken chair, my dear? It is a throne
From which you may survey the lesser nations,
Those lands that cannot claim you as their own.
 
This box contains the music of the spheres;
Its Swiss machinery records the stars.
Ever the listener given to fancy hears
The strings of Venus and the drum of Mars.
 
Time and Imagination – what are they?
They are, my dear, the pseudonyms of Change,
The smooth, indifferent author of our play,
Master of both the common and strange.
 
My sister, it is autumn in Cockaigne,
And we are weary, for we’ve come so far
-- To far to be enchanted by the rain.
We are alone, alone with what we are.
 
Henri Coulette

Rachel Fox [userpic]

(no subject)

June 12th, 2006 (09:04 am)
current mood: half-asleep
current song: Rollin' on a River...

Morning.

And its Monday.  I thought I didn't want to do anything this morning except sleep, but apparently I wasn't the only one as my ipod erased itself on the way to work.  That was probably when I woke up, for a moment or two as I saw the empty artist list.  I am glad that I picked up a cheap alarm clock/radio last week for work, or else I'd really be asleep now.

 

Its been a busy weekend, but it was great.  Every weekend is great actually just because of the days off of work, but this weekend was better than most.  Like God just decided to bless you, with a Dragon Sushi Roll (and wow, I should have had a camera because it did look like a dragon!) and Cold Soba on Friday, to the beach at night on Saturday to taking out a few brothers and sister to the movies yesterday.  It was a fun weekend.  I'm exhausted and there's a long list of things to do today, but it was worth it.  I'm willing to play catch up all week for it. 

Rachel Fox [userpic]

(no subject)

June 6th, 2006 (01:20 pm)
current location: the box
current mood: bored out of my mind
current song: michael medvid on liberals intolerance

Last night we went to see an early showing of a movie called "The Painted Veil."  It is actually a famous book by Magrum, but I didn't know that going into the movie.  If anything, see it for the beautiful pictures of China.  Naomi Watts is in it, and she did a pretty good job.  I was pleasantly surprised how much I really liked the movie. 

 

And tomorrow night, well we're going to go see early showing of Nacho Libre at the Chinese Mann.  

Seriously.  Should be fun.

Rachel Fox [userpic]

Is Asia the Next Africa?

June 5th, 2006 (12:51 pm)

What I heard a couple days ago, but am finally finding longer more detailed articles now at MSNBC. Other than immigration, Bush loosing his mind or military loosing their minds, there are other problems that exist in the world.

Rachel Fox [userpic]

ITS FRIDAY!

April 14th, 2006 (09:49 am)
current location: office cubicle eating my tootsie roll pop..
current mood: happy?
current song: Frankie Vallie - Can't Take My Eyes off of you...

And I could barely be any happier this morning...I've barely touched the ground yet...

So I was telling a co-worker. Yes, it doesn't take much to make me happy sometimes.

Just this rain and allergies are the only viable oponents in bringing me back down to Earth. Its just one of those days...(in a good way)...

Rachel Fox [userpic]

God is good

March 10th, 2006 (08:08 am)
happy

current mood: happy

Last night I heard that the father of one of the families stayed with when I was in Japan was baptized. I am so incredibly happy for him and his family. His wife and daughter have been praying for a long time, along with others in the church.

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