Friday, 26 September 2008

Friday thoughts at the end of September

Samantha at Bookworms and Tea Lovers has thoughts on this month's Bookworms Carnival, about how she finds new authors, here; I like her list of how she finds new authors, and it got me to thinking about finding books and authors. How do we? I've worked in bookstores, both new and used, and so I've seen how books are marketed, how the sales people push certain books forward. I've seen Oprah push reading in general, and then books she likes. Up here in Canada, Heather who owns the Chapters and Indigo book mega-stores, has her picks for the season. But do they affect what I read? No. I turn to magazines - any magazine that has a book corner, I'll look at out of curiousity, but my favourites are of course Locus and Realms of Fantasy for new science fiction and fantasy and horror, and then for mystery, it's really word of mouth, mystery books my mother and I buy each other, and the occasional hyped book in general sales. Yes, I read Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, and it was enjoyable, but nothing new and terrible dialogue. So for me, publishers and the bestseller lists can't usually be trusted to find the really good reads. Best of all, are our blogs, where we discuss the books we love, and why. I have found so many good books here - A Wrinkle in Time, Suite Francaise, The Terror (it was on someone's list last year!), and so many new authors to try, as well authors that have been around for a while now, like AS Byatt,and Salman Rushdie.

I am happy in my book reading now, because I am averaging 6 books a month, which for my busy life, is fantastic. My goal of reading more has been achieved! I'm at 48 books now, which is more than any of each of the last 8 years. I didn't keep a thorough list of what I'd read in 1998 or 1999, so I can't go back further. What reading these books blogs, and discovering all of you has brought me, is a wonderful community of people who live for reading. So you encourage me to read, and make me aware of books I'd never be aware of otherwise. So on this last Friday in September, I'd like to say to each of you, my dear Gentle readers, thank you! For reading, for sharing your love of books on the internet. You know something else? We have proven that books will overcome kindle, e-books, digital/pdf and whatever else they come up with - that books themselves, in their wonderful shape and size, are here to stay. and we are just as good as book reviewers as any official paid reviewer or critic out there - because we care about story.

I suppose that this is a prelude to my one year anniversary next week of being a book blogger! Things I've learned, the joys book blogging has brought me - as well as the time and effort put into my posts, and reading your comments, and circling the globe to catch your thoughts and book reviews. My life is certainly richer for having this blog! Thank you to all of you who come and comment, because I read them all, and appreciate everything you have to say.

Now, on to two final things before my 'other' real life takes over again for the evening! -
Dewey is holding another Read-a-thon, here . I would sooo love to join it, but with two children 5 and under, I'd have to leave the house and rent a hotel room for the 24 hours. While that is a lovely, lovely thought! - it's not practical. So I have to pass again, but I'm thinking of being a cheerleader instead, and maybe read a book or two around the readathon!!! Check it out if you are looking for a way to get yourself reading before the end of the year becomes too busy - unless you're the lucky few who get to read over the holidays, my reading drops dramatically then, and with us being in England for 3 weeks, while I'll be buying lots of books! I'm not sure I will get much read at that time.

Finally, many book bloggers have been reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory; Nymeth here
has the latest review of the book. And you know Nymeth and her reviews, it's very good! I gave her a link to a poem written by Sir Thomas Wyatt in the 16th century to her, which, because it's Friday and it's one of my favourite poems, I am going to print here (as well I gave the link to the original site with the poem:

HE LOVER DESPAIRING TO ATTAIN UNTO

HIS LADY'S GRACE RELINQUISHETH THE PURSUIT.

W HOSO list to hunt ? I know where is an
hind !
But as for me, alas ! I may no more,
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore ;
I am of them that furthest come behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer ; but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow ; I leave off therefore,
Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt
As well as I, may spend his time in vain !
And graven with diamonds in letters plain,
There is written her fair neck round about ;
' Noli me tangere ; for C├Žsar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.'


[AJ Notes:
Thought to be about Anne Boleyn, with whom
Wyatt had a relationship before the King
became interested in her.
Noli me tangere, "touch me not." ]

If any of you have watched The Tudors (the current BBC production of Henry 8 and his wives, season 2 is about to begin in Canada) or read the book, or seen the movie that came out this year starring Scarlett Johanssen and Natalie Portman, this poem was written by one of Anne's possible lovers. Reading it brings me closer to that time than anything else does. There is an immediacy to this poem, a directness of his reproach, bitterness, longing - and a glimpse of Anne from across the centuries. I see her like a wild creature, impossible to hold or tame. It's probably the same quality that drew the king to her, and what caused her death in the end. Wyatt does have a bit part in the Tudors, and I can't remember if he is in the movie. I have yet to read the book, which is, of course, on my to-get list!

Have a good reading evening!

6 comments:

Chris said...

Thank you too Susan for all of your wonderful posts and book suggestions :) A year already!! I can't believe that...it seems like you just started blogging! Glad to see you're a reader of Realms of Fantasy...that's one of my absolute favorite magazines out there! And good to hear that you like The Tudors (or at least watch it) :p I loved season 1 and now I'm just patiently patiently waiting on season 2 to come out...

Charlotte said...

Congratulations on your anniversary! I also find that the best recommendations for reading matter come from other bloggers. I'm a big fan of Phillippa Gregory, and have also just watched The Other Boleyn Girl, which was surprisingly close to the book.

Eva said...

You are wonderful! :D

And I loved what you said about book bloggers caring about story; it's so true.

Aren't blogiversaries fun?!

Nymeth said...

Thank YOU, Susan! Your presence in this community certainly enriches it. Congratulations on your upcoming blogiversary!

And yes, you should totally be a cheerleader for the read-a-thon. Even if you can only be around for an hour. It will be fun for sure!

Susan said...

Chris: I'm thrilled you read RoF too! Aren't Terri Windling's Roots of Folktales fantastic columns? And I love the short stories, they are usually very good. The Tudors starts in two nights! Hurray! and thanks for the compliments on my posts :-)I hope they are interesting, when I write them, and enjoyable to read. It doesn't feel like a year, either. And you know you are one of my favourite bloggers :-)

charlotte: Did you like the movie? and thank you for the congratulations. I know you celebrated your anniversary last spring. I still can't quite believe the number of fantastic people I have met (including you, of course, with your delightful posts!)

eva: thank you! so are you, wonderful! and even with your chronic illness, you remain so cheerful and eager to experience life and read just about anything, I admire you. I love how you read such a wide variety and can discuss them so honestly.

nymeth: thank you! I'm still getting over how large the community is, after all the doom and gloom in the papers about no one reading, to discover there is a whole community of people reading the world over! It's like I opened a treasure chest and found one of my heart's desires!!
And then there's you, Nymeth, one of the best and sweetest bloggers out there, you know you're one of my favourite bloggers. I think you are essential reading for anyone who does read.
I think I will be cheerleader. It seems to be the only weekend free for me in October, too!

joshua said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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