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Everything posted by Calliope

  1. There's an article about it here http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/books/opinion-split-in-twain-over-books-substitution-of-slave-for-nword-20110105-19g8s.html I've been trying to find more about John Sutherland's perspective. The American lecturer who wanted the word nigger changed to slave because he'd be more comfortable teaching it that way shouldn't be teaching literature at all. Don't the best books take us out of our comfort zones, force us to confront things we might not really like? Twain wrote clever social critique but he used the word nigger. To use an expression I'm sure that American college lecturer hears all the time... get over it. It's a slippery slope once we start Bowdlerising books to suit political purposes however admirable those purposes might be.
  2. I think they should bring in laws arresting all oddly-haired, unmanicured, poetry-reading potential gays to get them off the street before they kill anyone. It would keep us all so much safer.
  3. So you wouldn't do anything achievement-oriented like - say - continuing on with a book long after it ceased giving pleasure? ;p I'd never consider any fiction reading as an achievement. I either enjoy it, or I put it down. I'm quite ruthless about that. On the other hand I've read some really dry educational theory stuff this year that was an achievement, if achievement means I was glad to get to the end of it. More to come, though!
  4. Best Book? Peter Temple, The Broken Shore Worst Book? something unbelievably trashy and unfinishable by Karen Rose, can't remember the name Best Film? Animal Kingdom (just crept in, saw it yesterday) Worst Film? Avatar. Breathtakingly awful. Best TV? Branagh's Wallander, by a HUGE margin. Worst TV? dunno, too much is awful, I turn it off and forget it instantly. Highlight? getting married! Lowlight? visa worries - but they were sorted out eventually.
  5. 9. Henning Mankell. The Troubled Man. Current read. 8. Martin Booth. The American. 7. Catherine Brady. Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction. Current read. 6. Justin Evans. A Good and Happy Child. Creepy and believable. 5. Jose Borghino. Pereira Maintains. Canongate read. 4. Henning Mankell. Faceless Killers. 3. Howard Jacobson. The Finkler Question. 2. Lee Child. Worth Dying For. Top notch thriller. 1. Bertolt Brecht. Mother Courage and Her Children. For the mute Kattrin.
  6. And overwrought imagery! (I have too many pet hates)
  7. I've just been reading HP2 to my kids I think the full anagram is "I am Lord Voldemort". (We're starting HP3 tonight)
  8. I've got Freedom weighing down my top bookshelf. It looks a bit daunting, to tell the truth. (And I'm wary of the comparisons with Updike and Delillo. It would be good to see a somewhat younger American writer take up the mantel but The Corrections was not in the league of Rabbit, Run...) (I think I might need to take most of my thoughts on the matter over to the whyaresomanybookssobloodylong thread). I was interested in Franzen making the cover of Time but not the National Book Awards shortlist. Whatever the level of his literary talent, he's brilliant at hype. The very well publicised tiff with Oprah turned out in retrospect to be a masterstroke. Fancy getting to make up with Oprah. No wonder so many people are buying the next book.
  9. Got caught out in a tremendous hail storm this afternoon... had to pull over to the side of the road as it was literally impossible to see or even hear where I was going with all that clattering on the roof and on the windscreen. I notice that the title of this thread refers to fires and it's hard to believe how recently Melbourne was at risk. Right now it feels like it hardly ever stops raining. The country town where we are getting our new puppy from is just about impossible to get to because of road closures due to floods. Driving past, you can see what look like long time lakes -- except they have trees growing in them and fences running into them.
  10. I like that when you quote an image you get to see it again, and I just couldn't resist having three lime mankinis in one thread. Sorry. Hope you enjoy your new responsibilities, Gram
  11. Wow, Gram, you really have shed some pounds in the photo (among other things...)
  12. We went out today and didn't come home with a puppy We will be bringing her home in January though - she's only 2 1/2 weeks old right now. I've made her photo into my avatar, I wish it captured her properly... she's gorgeous. Her name's going to be Ciara and she's a black labrador. Very excited children here have never had a pet before. My 10 year old keeps saying, I never thought I was even going to get a fish!!
  13. I found the book incredibly spooky, and saw a version of the play in the Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House. Brilliant location and also a very, very spooky performance. I'm not sure if it's the same version as is staged Over There and don't want to give away any spoilers but it really was one of the most memorable performances I've seen. Susan Hill is great with spooky. 'The Small Hand' is my chilly read of the year. Nice and short, too!!!
  14. YES!!! It annoys the hell out of me. I've given up saying what I feel about half the books I read because I almost always think that they would have been better if they were shorter. Or make a comment about editorial departments apparently simultaneously running out of red ink. My shame file includes (just looking at my shelves) Nicola Barker (Booker for Darkmans surely if it had been 1/4 shorter) Jonathan Franzen (Wish his editor had the Freedom to make Corrections ) Richard Powers Hilary Mantel (especially Beyond Black) Give me Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan any day - because they know how to keep a story to the word length it needs. I could kiss McEwan's boots for making On Chesil Beach the read it was.
  15. I'll start getting excited when my invitation to Hazel's party arrives.
  16. I'm trying to find a labrador puppy for my boys for Christmas. It's quite time consuming!!! I had no idea... I guess I just thought you rang a breeder and they... um... bred one for you.
  17. Crikey. Though I suppose if she's a good NaNo-er, that would only be two days' work
  18. Very strangely, this is my second positive review from someone who just discovered the software, in two days. I'm starting to wonder if I should get a copy. (OTOH what I really need is just to make/find/steal some time and spend it actually writing )
  19. I'm sick of the cliched novel ending that goes: hero(ine) finds himself in terrible trouble. His life or even worse, his relationship might end! but he miraculously defeats his enemy or solves the crime or gets the girl he thinks or talks about it for a bit and generally feels better the end. (in simpler form, crisis => climax => resolution) and wondering what books have really good, satisfying endings. The best one I can think of is a film (Hannibal Lechter in The Silence of the Lambs. "I'm just having an old friend for dinner". shiver shiver) but there have to be some books that do it well too. Not just a twist in the tale... but something really satisfying. I'm surprised now I've started to think about it by how many books I've bought because I like the premise and the set up, but how few endings I can actually remember. Can anyone recommend any books that have particularly satisfying endings?
  20. Thanks so much, everyone We had a lovely day - over two weeks ago now! I'm just checking back after flying back from Kathmandu late last night. It was lovely to come back to all these messages. I'll see if I can find some one or other photo that would work. Maybe of some of our adventures while away. We went paragliding!!!!! (PS No, I'm not going to be known as MrsHG!!!! )
  21. Books don't always affect me in a good way. I almost hate to confess it but sometimes they make me vaguely anxious. Books I should be reading/should have read. Time I should spend writing. Books written by people who have published two or three books in the time it takes me to work through one manuscript... Time I should be able to find to do things like read except I don't have enough, and I waste what I have....
  22. Dark in the city night is a wire Steam in the subway earth is afire Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo Woman you want me give me a sign And catch my breathing even closer behind Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo In touch with the ground I'm on the hunt I'm after you Smell like I sound I'm lost in a crowd. And I'm hungry like the wolf. Straddle the line in discord and rhyme I'm on the hunt I'm after you. Mouth is alive with juices like wine And I'm hungry like the wolf
  23. Telephone exchanges click while there's nobody there The Martians could land in the carpark and no one would care Close-circuit cameras in department stores shoot the same video every day And the stars of these films neither die nor get killed Just survive constant action replay Nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all The needle returns to the start of the song And we all sing along like before And we'll all be lonely tonight and lonely tomorrow
  24. Me three. I'm reading Helen Dunmore's The Betrayal at the moment. It's been longlisted for the Booker prize which is how I came upon it. The reason I hadn't read it earlier was because I tend to steer clear of historical fiction. I think I've always considered it too 'genre' and by that I think I meant too rule bound. Too likely to be predictable. Not likely enough to say anything interesting on any level other than plot. Now... I think the discussion we've had going about what makes literary fiction literary was really interesting -- until it got caught up with that list, which really was just one person's opinion and not worth more than the opinions of anyone else here. I would really like to continue that aspect of the discussion that Nellie, lunababy, Hazel etc had going before we went down that dead end.... ...partly because I think I might have missed some good reading opportunities when I dismissed certain books as just genre titles. This year, Australia's most significant literary award (the Miles Franklin) went to a crime novel! It was interesting to see Ruth Rendell recently longlisted for the ''missing Booker" prize (for the year 1971, but only announced a few months ago) though none of her books have had that honour when first out. Crime, at least, seems to be getting proper literary recognition. Sometimes. Could romance or science fiction ever take that step?
  25. To me, literary form comes far more into play with literary fiction. A good literary novel often has something to say about the novel itself (or about writing itself, or about language...), as well as the plot, if that makes sense. I suspect literary fiction is a case of everyone knowing one when they see one, but no one being able to articulate very effectively what makes it so.
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