Recognize this land from literature?
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a fascination with maps. Having picked up a degree in literature along the way, those two mix very nicely in literary maps.
I don’t know what the first book was that I encountered that had a settings map inside of it. It might have been a Pooh book. I liked having a sense of the places in the book. It reminded…
This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.
I read the novel All Quiet on the Western Frontin 1966. I was 13, in junior high school, and probably still…
They are readers, and in this particular case, they are girls and women. In fact, one of the sadder things about observing the Book Girls in action is realizing that they – walking from author signing to author signing in happy gaggles, toting friends and sometimes parents – are having their voracious reading habits and their devotion to the importance of talking about your feelings socially reinforced in a way that one fears may be far less common for boys with similar impulses. (Learning that it’s okay to talk about your feelings is an important theme for many of the heroines in the books they love.) There are boys and men and older women who love many of the books that the Book Girls do, but it is the Book Girls who scream at authors the way people screamed at the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.
On the young end, they may only be 10 or 11; they remain demographically Book Girls at least through college. And they do, on a broad scale, seen in large groups, seem to emerge as a type that is in a sense unfair to all of them but feels like a weighted average: They dress for comfort; they pull their hair back. They move in groups, they drink iced coffee, they talk about podcasts, I secretly suspect as I eyeball their earbuds that all their music is playlists, and they read all the time. They have The Fault In Our Stars shirts that say “Okay” and “Okay” in word balloons, they are very glad Harry and Hermione never got together because that would have been terribly reductive, and they consider power and individuality to be topics for books that are at least as important as kissing.
The Book Girls are part of the force that has made The Fault In Our Stars, , such a hit. They grew up on J.K. Rowling, they like trilogies, they embrace dark stories, they are ambivalent about Twilight (they read it, but they’re glad Hazel Grace is no Bella), they observe no particular boundaries between high and low culture, and they formed equally overwhelming throngs for Veronica Roth (who wrote the Divergent books) and for Amy Poehler, there to talk about her upcoming book. But in the end, if this was their Comic-Con, John Green is their First Avenger. And he knows it, and he tries to wield that power with some care: he (along with other Book Girl-adored authors) gave a signal boost to #WeNeedDiverseBooks.
We met years after he was dead,
by a river in the Michigan woods,
We fished for trout, read good books,
and talked around the campfire.
He was a brother I never had.
Philosophical fiction isn’t always the easiest to define unless the author clearly states that there was a philosophical framework guiding the text, thus embedding that philosophy within the plot. It’s more common that writers’ personal politics and ideas get them lumped in with a specific movement, making everything in their bodies of work seem like they carry a message hidden carefully between the lines.
10 Great Works of Fiction for Philosophers on Flavorwire
Touching these three-lobed fossils embedded in stone
connects to a vanished ocean once here
in this library 250 million years ago.
Some predators, some scavengers or filter feeders,
roaming aisles of books, touching the past.
It was the Pequod that pursued Moby-Dick,
but in the end Melville wanted us
to remember that it was the Rachel,
searching again for her own missing children,
who came upon Ishmael - yet another orphan.
High Fidelity (2000)
I wonder what his birthday dinner and dessert will be today.
He’s the author of best-selling books about food: The Botany of Desire (2001), The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006), In Defense of Food (2008), and Food Rules (2010).
He has also written a non-food book, A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder, which deals with one of my personal fantasies and enjoyed reading.
To the Lighthouse
Today, her birthday, but I remember sadness -
stones in her overcoat, into the river,