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KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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huhtikuu 5, 9:20 am

image from Gardener's Path

QUESTION 13: Natural World

It's spring here in the northern hemisphere, at least the calendar says it is. Suddenly the natural world seems to be all around us.

Do you read books about the natural world, or certain areas of interest within it? Do certain seasons inspire you to do so more than others?

Have any books in particular changed your point of view about any aspect of the natural world, including climate?

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 5, 3:22 pm

Q 13: I'd like to say I do, but looking at my reading lists and tags I'm not sure I read very many. I am trying a small straw bale garden this year, so of course I bought a book on straw bale gardening, Straw Bale Gardens Complete. I do read the occasional climate fiction novel, or a natural history book. The latest one that springs to mind is A thousand trails home: living with caribou by Seth Kantor. Looking at last year's lists, I'd also count Julie Czernada's Stratification series, The mountain in the sea by Ray Nayler, and Memory of water by Emmi Itaranta.

ETA & The stone weta by Octavia Cade

huhtikuu 5, 10:35 am

Great picture! That's about what it looks like here in Vancouver right now. Spring is late this year

huhtikuu 5, 11:08 am

Reading The World Without Us, a very nicely written book about how nature might respond if humans were all swept off the planet in one fell swoop. Discusses the way all our junk and pollution will continue to affect climate and landscape for centuries, if not millennia. Quite humbling.

huhtikuu 5, 11:12 am

>3 Nickelini: Michigan still looks like November. We'll get about a half a dozen nice spring days sprinkled through April and May, then we'll get our first 90-degree day and it will be summer until Oct 1. Right now there's tornado warnings out.

huhtikuu 5, 11:32 am

My nature reading is usually through magazine articles, anthologies and essays. I find non fiction nature too slow reading for my taste and while lovely, often is just hard to focus on. . However two recent books really stand out life in the garden and chasing spring were quite well written and kept me reading. I like reading fiction that covers the natural world; Willa Cather's song of the lark covers the natural world of the southwest beautifully. And while I really did not like the book and still don't get why its such a best seller, the nature language in where the crawdads sing is stunning.

huhtikuu 5, 11:35 am

>5 nohrt4me2: I woke up today, April 5, and the temperature was 45F no wonder my veggies look bad. supposed to be 82 tomorros. Its been like that since February - we are getting these cycles of cold and rain, then spikes of lovely warmth, which is making the plants confused and us humans frustrated what clothes to wear one day. Never been like this before; Climate change? what climate change? Urrrrrgh

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 5, 12:10 pm


Plenty of bulbs and blossoms and birdnests (and Bach) here in Holland, which are all signs of spring, but we’re still getting the occasional frosty night, and some hefty downpours last week. So the season still feels a bit precarious.

I think of myself as someone who’s interested in the natural world and reads about it, but I only seem to have eight books tagged “nature” at the moment, and half of those are very old. On the whole I probably don’t read much non-fiction that’s “just” about the natural world. Maybe the most recent was the John Fowles/Frank Horvat collaboration The Tree. But some of the first books I owned fall into this category: I inherited quite a few children’s natural history books from my schoolteacher aunt, e.g. G Bramwell Evens’s Out with Romany series (spin-off of a thirties BBC radio series). Gerald Durrell’s My family and other animals is a book that disappeared from my library at some point, but used to be a favourite too.

These days I read a lot more about the human interaction with nature, e.g. books about rural life and farming (Our village, Ask the fellows who cut the hay, Akenfield), or about journeys through the natural world. And a little bit about scientific exploration/investigation of the natural world (Die Intelligenz der Bienen, Rain: a natural and cultural history).

huhtikuu 5, 2:38 pm

I can't say I read about nature as much as I read about how we humans interact with it. But then, by definition everything we read about nature is written from a human point of view. Also I live in a part of the world where what we think of as nature has been heavily shaped by humans since centuries.

Mostly I read about nature in articles rather than books, and the latest book I read on the subject (well, I read the first part anyway) was due to a misunderstanding: A Sand County Almanac was not at all what I expected, and I felt a bit cheated although I enjoyed it. Aldo Leopold is supposed to be a founding father of wildlife ecology, so I was expecting a bit more science and much less poetry. I still have to read the second half of the book, Sketches Here and There, but the title doesn't sound very sciency either.

The only other book I remember reading on nature was An Orchard Invisible: A Natural History of Seeds, which I found very interesting. Oh, and do the essays of Stephen Jay Gould count? I loved The Panda's Thumb. I am fascinated by evolution, and I guess you could say that Gould actually changed my views, in that through him I learned about what evolution actually is and how it works. I knew nothing about it before reading him. And come to think of it, he's the reason I got interested in the first place.

huhtikuu 5, 2:56 pm

The natural world is one of several nonfiction subjects I like to read as nonfiction, or as subject in poetry and as a kind of "other character" in a novel.

Annie Proulx's Fen, Bog and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis calling to me from a shelf to my right....

huhtikuu 5, 3:43 pm

I read a lot of nature/ecology/biology/botany books, usually though not always with a science base. I grew up on Gerald Durrell - still have most of his books, though I haven't read any recently (I barely need to, I have large chunks memorized...). Stephen Jay Gould, too. I guess the most recent was Braiding Sweetgrass, which was half very good and half ok (I got my usual frustrated when she switched from "look at this" to "and these are the disasters, which will not be fixed for centuries if ever, that humans have caused". Hate it when they show problems with no solutions!). Oh, Gene Stratton-Porter - her stories are ostensibly romances or slice-of-life, but her nature writing in and around the ostensible plot is _amazing_.

huhtikuu 5, 3:55 pm

>9 FlorenceArt: > I was expecting a bit more science and much less poetry.

That raises another aspect of the question. Does the writing have to feel scientific for us to imbibe the message or more like >10 avaland: says in addition to nonfiction ... as subject in poetry and as a kind of 'other character' in a novel'?

huhtikuu 5, 4:04 pm

>7 cindydavid4: My chives, mint, and catnip are up on schedule. Even if we get a frost, they will come back up as hardy perennials. That hops plant in back crawled off the trellis and into the back hedge where it is plotting to take over the bushes there. I have to research this stuff better and pay attention when it says "invasive."

huhtikuu 5, 8:17 pm

>5 nohrt4me2: I'm with you. It was a high of 37 here today, although it has been warmer and the snow is slowly melting. I have patches of bare ground, but the snow is still feet deep over my bulbs. I need to plant some in the bare areas so that next year I will get some blooms earlier.

Q13: For several years when my daughter was young, we read lots of nature books, as that was a passion of hers. Everything from Gerald Durrell to nature journals and lots of books about human-animal interaction (The Good Good Pig, Modoc, The Parrot's Lament, etc.). This question is making me realize how long it has been since I've read adult nature books (I read lots and lots of kids nature books with my nieces).

huhtikuu 5, 10:36 pm

Thinking about nature is these days more heartbreaking than ever. Back when I was a student and began realising the extent of our toxic influence on the environment and other forms of life I still had a naive faith that other people surely knew at least that much too and that someone was acting to change and rectify the evil that had been done. In a small individual way--but because I believed in the common good--I tried to live "green".

Now I wonder if strapping dynamite to myself and blowing up some oil CEO might not have been the better thing to do. Certainly more effective than zero.

We are actually letting those unspeakable Davos fatcats fuck the future of the planet and whoever will survive us (for a while). Children like Greta tried to move us. They too are making the mistake of not using dynamite.

huhtikuu 6, 8:36 am

>1 SassyLassy: Q13 - nature

Yes, early April is typically when the weather here turns decent enough for sustained yard work, though many days are still too chilly / windy / rainy.

The book that had the most tangible impact was Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy, recommended by SqueakyChu of the 75ers not long after I'd bought a house with a yard, after decades in apartments and a previous house with merely a brick patio. I was keen to garden, but initially got what the local nurseries offered, assuming erroneously it was the range of plants suitable to this region. Once I understood the ecosystem aspect, I switched almost exclusively to native plant vendors, and joined several RL native plant and wildlife organizations. Also Doug Tallamy lives in the next county over and frequently gets invited by various local groups to speak. So there's quite a RL network.

I have a slew of native plant / bee / butterfly / bird / wildlife books, but many are essentially reference; I page through and look at pictures and get ideas, but don't read cover to cover. I also have a slew of garden / farm / nature memoirs but read most of them some years ago now. Typically winter is for perusing, spring is for targeted research, by late summer I want everything to stop growing so I can take a break, fall I switch gears to indoor projects.

I'm a fan of E. O. Wilson, who leads in number of books by an author, some I read pre-LT, some are more for reference. He is at the intersection of my nature books and my science/biology/evolution books, so although I typically keep all books by an author together, he is split up, with the narrative non-fiction books in science, the ant books in nature, and the novel Anthill in fiction.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 7, 5:52 pm

We have been big fans of native plants, often getting our seeds from the Native Seeds in Tucson and growing plants from the Phx Botannical Gardens here. Not always possible but we try. Did just get a new book from a blogger on FB dry climate gardening we are using it to redo an area in our yard that needs better use.

Another way of looking at Nature is how it affects our childrens development. the last several years or so educators have been involved in bringing children back to nature the last child in the woods and other similiar books that show how their development in motor,social emotional, language and cognitive skills depend on exposure to their environmment, to learn to explore, take risks, to discover. We are focused on teaching them to care for the earth with recycling etc. But its hard to care about the earth if you don't know about it. They need to understand they are the seeds for our world and our future, and exploring nature is necessary for this (difficult here in the desert when its 100 plus much of the year, but there are ways to expose them early in the morning, or through media.

We made a nature playground at our school that was lots of fun for the kids and educational as well. Here is information about those nature play spaces

huhtikuu 6, 11:24 am

QUESTION 13: Natural World

Unlike most of the club, my ability to grow things is non-existent (I've killed two cacti while I was at school - one dried out, one with too much water...) so I don't have anything green around me usually. My Mom and my grandmothers (and even my sister) have a green thumb but I guess the gene skipped me.

Interesting story here: in elementary school, there was a class where they were teaching us to recognize the seeds of the main agricultural plants that grow in the country - corn, barley, rye, wheat and so on. As I was spending all my summers at the village and my grandfather was the boss in the co-operative, I've been around food production from seeding to harvest so that was an easy class. Some of my classmates had never seen any seeds that were not pre-packaged or in some cases only after they had been processed and ground. Which was why this class was taught I suspect. I don't think they are doing that any more in schools... The question just made me think of that :)

I like most of my nature reading short-ish so I prefer magazine articles (in the magazines or collected later ("The Best American Science and Nature Writing" for example)) to complete books. Which does not mean I am not reading about nature per se - the book about lions I read in February would fit the term nature I suspect - but I do not go out looking for them.

>10 avaland: "as a kind of "other character" in a novel"

Yep - that too.

huhtikuu 7, 2:08 pm

I live differently than most here on LT. I live on 10 acres in the mountains of Montana. I have all sorts of wildlife, including the occasional moose and mountain lion and everything smaller. In addition, I am a retired research microbiologist (technician) and raise a few horses.

So I enjoy outdoor and nature writing, whether it's to consider my four-legged neighbors, enivornmental concerns, stories of pioneers (which are also usually tagged nature) or reading as part of the Glacier National Park Conservancy Book Club. About 10% of the books I read last year were tagged nature.

huhtikuu 9, 4:55 pm

Much of the reading mentioned here is current. Does earlier writing on the natural world and its interaction with humans figure at all? Thinking here of obvious books like Walden, but also books like A Shepherd's Life, reviewed previously by thorold, as well as books by writers like Gerald Durrell mentioned above, and Rumer Godden.

huhtikuu 10, 2:49 am

>20 SassyLassy: I actually read and reviewed The shepherd’s life, by James Rebanks, a fairly recent book (Rebanks is quite a bit younger than me), but it riffs off W H Hudson’s A shepherd’s life (1910), which I read a long time ago. I’ve got some more W H Hudson on the TBR shelf.

I dodged your question about particular books changing my point of view in my reply above. I think it’s more a case of a pile of books collectively reinforcing the mood of the times. People of our generation took in Rachel Carson with our mothers’ milk, anyway: it never occurred to me to doubt that the world was a beautiful and delicate place and that clumsy humans were damaging it irreparably, and that we should get rid of cars and aeroplanes and intensive farming. It still puzzles me that there can be contemporaries out there who don’t think that way. And that I myself still sometimes manage to persuade myself that it’s OK to travel in cars and aeroplanes and buy cartons of dairy products…

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 10, 8:49 am

>21 thorold: My error - I did remember the review, and even ordered both books after reading it, sadly they are still on the TBR pile. Then, this past weekend, when clearing out old NYT Book Review magazines, I came across a review of both by Caroline Fraser (October 7, 2021) so I must have conflated you and the NYT! All of this did get me to dig the books out again.

ETA I see Dan has just finished Rachel Carson's classic.

huhtikuu 10, 4:31 pm

>21 thorold: sing it loud and long and hope people listen

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 12, 1:24 pm

Q13 - I wrote up an answer a while a go, but it turned dark and bitter and I decided to eat the post. Second try

I do try to read books about nature. I find it’s tricky to find good ones today because we’ve long crossed the line from when nature was oppressive on humanity over to where humanity is oppressive on nature. So writers have to avoid romantic delusions and also manage the doom and gloom. And they need to write well, maintaining interest, boiling massive amounts of information down to digestible pleasant sizes, while still being sure to have, themselves, digested and checked out and questioned that massive amount of information. And, they need to find a way to be in tune with nature _despite_ all this knowledge. That’s hard.

Based on my recent experience, second-rate authors tend to be generally well informed but unable to do all the stuff to make their writing not overwhelming in gloom, or destroy the narrative with detail. And they can struggle to find that insightful perspective.

I liked The Mother Tree because the author is a research scientist who talks mainly about her research. But she works in forests already logged (or dying off through climate change). So it was a little of a “post nature” perspective. But it was unique and informative and there was real passion there.

The Book of Eels worked because the author brought in human history into his discussion and did a good job. But it also, in a way, doesn’t work because it’s not that original to do that.

I didn’t like Braiding Sweetgrass because there’s a forced romanticism. The author knows the state of the world but tries to find a healthier state of perspective. It comes across preachy. (But i liked it enough to mention it here)

So, Rachel Carson. She did a lot of things really well in The Sea Around Us. She managed the knowledge/presentation balance, the doom-and-gloom/nature-is-beautiful balance. And her prose is terrific and her structure is elegant. But she wrote at an interesting point where the information was still digestible. She managed to leave the impression that she covered everything. And you could do that in the 1950’s. It’s a lot harder today. And she was just a lovely writer. She leaves the impression that she’s so excited to know and share all this information we have. She’s so excited we have it. The information is narrative hook and it’s clean in her hands. I really enjoy that aspect of her writing.

— — —

Have any books in particular changed your point of view about any aspect of the natural world, including climate?

Hmm. Well, there was my geology 101 class. And Edward Abbey’s angry classic Desert Solitaire and the politically focused Cadillac Desert on western American water battles (news today). And there is Into the Wild, and the fly-fishing in Montana classic A River Runs Through it (the 1930’s were a nice time for natural innocence and beauty and therefore mainly personal human self-destructiveness).

I took in The Weather Makers on climate change. That fulfilled a lot for my understanding. I didn’t like The Sixth Extinction because the doom and gloom was so heavy handed (but again, I liked it enough to mention it here)

Rick Bass has worked for me - on the nature writing.

But, you know, don’t forget the explorers. The American mountain men and European discovers, and pioneers, down to John Wesley Powell’s Grand Canyon voyage, and, I imagine at least, the arctic discoveries. These are dead white euro-centric men. But they didn’t know that and their narratives of destruction live on their own professed innocence. Texans should consider Goodbye to a River, which is largely about anecdotal pioneer history. Or J. Frank Dobie, who does that too, but differently.

huhtikuu 13, 4:49 pm

I should add that Nature recently spoke to me through the 13th-century Romance of the Rose. Her basic message was that we all should work on becoming better lovers (even if her target was those of you at reproductive ages). Thought you might like to know.

huhtikuu 13, 5:43 pm

>24 dchaikin: There are some titles for the list. Thanks

>25 dchaikin: Another incentive to read Romance of the Rose!

huhtikuu 13, 6:00 pm

image from MIT Press Readers

QUESTION 14: Recommendations for Second Language Learners

Someone whose first language is not that of your country is asking you for reading recommendations in the language(s) of your country. What books would you recommend for different levels of language ability (basic through fluent)?
What factors besides language ability would you take into consideration?

huhtikuu 13, 6:19 pm

I don't know that I'd have specific recommendations, but I can point to some factors that I'd consider.

The plot and style should be fairly straightforward; this is not the time to recommend House of Leaves or Interior Chinatown, or to ask someone to keep track of multiple generations of Heathcliffs and Cathys.

Probably best to avoid comedy, which doesn't always carry well across boundaries. That's especially true of verbal comedy; puns and idioms usually come relatively late in learning a new language.

I'd stick to something contemporary. Someone learning the language doesn't need the added complication of trying to deal with an archaic form of it. This might be less of an issue for some second languages. Shakespeare and Cervantes were contemporaries, but I have been told that modern Spanish speakers can read Cervantes far more easily than modern English speakers can read Shakespeare, because the language has changed less.

I'd ask what kind of books they enjoy reading in their first language. Reading in a second language is a challenge under the best of circumstances; I'd be far more likely to keep struggling through something if I was enjoying the story.

huhtikuu 13, 6:35 pm

>27 SassyLassy: I would tell them to ask someone who learned my language as a second language, preferably someone that has the same native language as the person who asked me. Especially if the are lower intermediate or lower (mid-B2 in the new framework). And not because I want to dodge the question.

Outside of books specifically created for the different levels of knowledge of the language or a teacher/educator who teaches their own language, a native speaker is usually the worst judge of complexity for non-native speakers:
- The advice I see often is "start with the children's books - that's how I learned to read". That forgets that the early readers are built for people who know the language but cannot read - so they rely on a lot of background information (and often daily routines)
- A native speaker has a shared cultural background with the authors of the books - and it is very hard to realize when that will trip a learner of the language. Take something as easy as the school system - a Bulgarian author saying that someone dropped out of school after the 7th grade has a reasonable expectation that a reader knows what that means in terms of age, job prospect and so on. In some way that is the same difficulty that translators face - except that with translators you can add notes and with these... noone even thinks that notes may be necessary. And then you have the mythology, the shared books and so on.
- When you start reading in another language, there are two parts that can trip you - grammar and vocabulary. The latter is the easier to judge and easy enough to evaluate (well, for some value of easy). Grammar on the other hand... I am not saying that one needs to know all the grammar subtleties before they try to read - far from that. But every language has oddities which make a text sound the opposite of what the author means if you apply the rules of your own language.
- Which leads me to the last point - a Russian speaker have very different set of difficulties when tackling Bulgarian than an English one or a Chinese one. A book (not specifically built or adapted to be for a specific level) which is an easy early reader for one of them may be a disaster for the other because of the differences between the languages and/or the culture.

You know, there is a reason why the major languages have a booming industry of graded readers for language learners. Try to learn a less common language though and watch the fun...

Now, if they are strong intermediate, I'd just tell them to pick a book that sounds like fun and try. A translation of a book they know may be a good idea if they are learning a small language. Or the original of a book in the language they liked. My first 2 books in English were an Agatha Christie (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd) and To Kill a Mockingbird - as I jumped into high B2 in a single year, there was literally no time for the graded readers of the lower levels (although after that, I did read a few readers at the B2/C1 (high intermediate/advanced) level - which were a lot easier than a real book - even something as easy as a Christie). I had not read either of them in Bulgarian - it would have helped especially at the start. But I picked them (from a limited choice) - and I wanted to read them. Recommending a book in a genre the reader does not read in other languages makes the whole thing even harder - more study than reading.

huhtikuu 13, 7:40 pm

I've never learned another language to any useful level (I have a bit of Spanish, and phrases in a lot of languages, but could not possibly carry on a conversation in any language but English). One thing I've done for fun and to expand my vocabulary in a language I had a vague grasp of was to read a book in both languages at once. A properly translated book (I mean, one of those with English on one side and the other language on the facing page) would be better - but I've never found one of those I really wanted to read. So most of the ones I've done have been Asterix and Obelix graphic books. Bad idea, since they're stuffed _full_ of puns and wordplay - but at least I could follow along in the story and get a few more words out of it (probably even correct ones!).

Which is to say I agree with AnnieMod - ask someone who's traveled that path ahead of the learner, rather than a native speaker; and one very important factor is that the offered books should be _interesting_ to the learner. Training books very seldom are, but books read to expand vocabulary/understanding are more likely to be useful if they're also fun and interesting for the learner.

huhtikuu 13, 9:44 pm


I've often recommended comics for the abundance of direct speech (at least before the advent of "graphic novels") and slang. Also song lyrics, if they liked music, because that can be a great hook. My first boyfriend was remarkable for the lack of gift for foreign languages but mastered English because he worshiped Jim Morrison and had to know all the Doors lyrics by heart. In the book I finished today the Iranian author's uncle learned French thanks to Jacques Brel!

Watching subtitled television, I've been told, is great for picking up languages.

huhtikuu 13, 10:34 pm

Is this person an adult or a child?I have seen books that are biligual - one page translates the new language from the old one but I think there are the same issues with those that Annie talked about. it also assume the person is fluent in their home language and can read in their own language. if they dont have a good language base in their home language (both in speaking and writing)it will be much more difficult to learn a new one.

Personally I learned what little hebrew I know and what little spanish i know came from emersion Not sure how to translate that into a book

huhtikuu 13, 10:50 pm

>31 LolaWalser: Watching subtitled television, I've been told, is great for picking up languages

Well I know the people these were invented for: the hearing impaired. These have real issues for deaf people , they are often mispelled or a word that sounds like it pops up. It assumes that they can read english (many cant) or they are able to figure it out in context or when words are skipped or sentences are incorrect. Not saying they cant be used by someone who has a good grasp of the language a beginner english learner would have lots of problems

huhtikuu 14, 1:42 am


Well. For Italian I did everything wrong, probably, but it was an easy/easier language. So I would recommend not doing what I did - starting off with old-fashioned language (Pinocchio) and then jumping right into If This Is a Man. I learned a lot of words about mud, ice, starvation, etc though. After that, I read the first two My Brilliant Friend novels.

For Turkish I tried magazines aimed at children - although in retrospect they were aimed at being read to children - as AnnieMod said above, children have a better grasp of the language than learners do, they just can't necessarily read it well yet. So there were words that made me feel hopeless ("this is for children?!"). I have been reading children's books in translation, which is not always the greatest idea but what it adds in translation issues it removes in society and life issues. For example, in a Turkish class we were reading a well-known series of Turkish children's stories. There was so much in there about school customs that just baffled us because they were nothing like any of us were familiar with - so there were issues in understanding that didn't really have to do with language.

I have some contemporary novels I'm looking forward to trying as well.

And now for German, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I will probably still try a translated children's book first. After that I'll be looking for something with a lot of dialogue and that isn't too literary, which is also what I'd recommend to a learner.

huhtikuu 14, 2:49 am


Most of the sensible advice has already been given in >29 AnnieMod:, and I’d agree with that. Children’s books are only likely to be a good idea if you’re a child or a particular fan of that kind of book (e.g. you know them already in your first language).

I find it’s not a good idea to start with the book you most want to read in that language, it’s better to get a bit of a run-up with something unimportant. But it is important to start with something that actually does interest you, otherwise it’s easy to get frustrated.

Non-fiction in a field that’s relevant to you can be a good way in — you probably know the technical vocabulary anyway, and you’ll be able to follow what’s going on more easily than in a complicated narrative.

huhtikuu 14, 1:32 pm

>33 cindydavid4:

I'd guess that subtitles first came into service for translation of foreign languages. At least, it's those I had in mind. I'm not sure when Europe got to adding the option for the hearing-impaired but as I recall it didn't exist back when I was in the position to notice (1980s/90s).

The errors you mention in the same-language subs for the hearing-impaired probably stem from using bad speech recognition AI for automatic generation, so a relatively new thing.

huhtikuu 14, 1:50 pm

>36 LolaWalser: It is not just in the same language - subtitles on English language movies in Bulgarian are a constant source of amusement. Anyone trying to learn Bulgarian by using these is prone to sound like a drunk toddler with a potty mouth. In a lot of cases, you need to translate the "Bulgarian" word for word back into whatever language it started as before you can figure out what it may mean. And that's when they worked from actual script and not from unedited speech to text version of the original - then you first go back to the original word, then think on what may have been the close word that was misheard that way.

There are good translations and good translators of course but a lot of studios save money by either paying peanuts or using google translate on the speech-to-text version and then maaaybe having a human read through it (sometimes I am not even sure they do that).

I am a bit too old to have have the opportunity to learn a language by watching movies. I do not see why it won't work in theory - it is exposure to the language after all. It may be a limited language but it may be a useful addition.

huhtikuu 14, 3:21 pm

>37 AnnieMod:

I didn't think caveats about good translations were necessary. There are crappy, error-ridden books on language-learning too.

And nobody's saying it's a method in itself. It's one more thing that can aid to get a grasp on language.

Actually, there may be some indirect proof of its worth if the link between dubbing and chronic underperformance in foreign languages is real.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 14, 3:26 pm

I guess I would recommend The Stepford Wives. It reflects the American preoccupations with youth and technology; the narrative is linear and the vocab is accessible to an 8th grader; it's not too long; and it looks at gender and marital tensions that, in a general way, we're still struggling with. It's deeply embedded in pop culture. Several movie/TV versions inspired by the book have been made, and and the term "stepford wife" is part of American English.

huhtikuu 19, 7:10 pm

Great ideas here. Thinking of current immigrant and refugee groups arriving in this part of the world, I think I would also add that what works for one group might be offensive to another. Maybe it's not what you need as a new arrival.

>31 LolaWalser: Subtitled TV and films works for me as an adjunct to lessons. They're great for giving a range of accents and dialogue - nothing like watching someone from the bas St Laurent all wound up about the latest DFO directive to make you realize how much you have to learn!

News channels are also great if you know what's going on anyway, sort of like >35 thorold: suggests. That made me think of news magazines, like L'actualité and the columns by Chantal Hébert.

>39 nohrt4me2: Interesting choice sounding like it covers all the bases.

huhtikuu 19, 7:29 pm

image from

QUESTION 15: What Do You Do with Your Most Prized Books? says "Coffee Table Books are a Cliche that you need to ditch right now".

Whether you agree with this or not, do you display those books of yours that are most beautiful to you? If so how?

Do you hide them away so that they can't be damaged by casual browsers, animals, or anything else that turns up?

Do you adopt an ecumenical approach and put them in their natural sorting order with the rest of your books?

What works for you? - pictures welcome if you wish

huhtikuu 19, 8:45 pm

Recently a guy came into our house to cleanout the dryer vent and commented that he liked seeing so many books. I think he's the first person to have noticed any of them in many many years. I stopped worrying about display long ago. Nice books are on various shelves here or there.

huhtikuu 19, 9:43 pm

I'm primarily a reader, not a collector. Once in a while I will come across an eBay listing for a book in my collection and be pleasantly surprised (okay, stunned) at the asking price. I nearly balked, years ago, at the $20 price tag on the original edition of Alice Starmore's Charts for Color Knitting, which now routinely shows up as a collector's item for about $300. (Reprints -- which the Touchstone here is linked to -- can be had for as little as twelve bucks. I'm not sure what the moral is there.) Anyway, the original is still on the shelf with my other knitting reference books.

Another prize, this time from a second-hand store, was The Art of Bev Doolittle, for twenty bucks. It was selling new for about $65. No idea what it's worth on the collector's market. It's just on the shelf with the other oversize books, and I still look at it from time to time.

So ... no special handling. They're just arranged in an order that makes sense to me. It seldom takes me more than 5 minutes to locate a particular book in the permanent library, and the casual reads come in, get read, and go out via UBS exchanges or through an online swap group I belong to.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 20, 3:01 am

Q15: Display

I think my library is more about hiding-away than display — the non-fiction is in the study and the fiction stacks are in what the architect thought of as a walk-in closet, so what spills over into the more “public” space of the living room tends to be oversize books, many of which are also quite presentable, and some of which don’t fall into obvious places in the classification. They are often eye-catching for visitors in a coffee-table way, and sometimes serve as talking-points. People love to pick up the Dutch topographic atlas, especially, even though it’s so out of date that it doesn’t show the suburb where I live.

The actual coffee table is liable to be piled up with books I’m reading at the moment, or library books, though.

Part of my “display” shelves:

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 20, 11:57 am


I am currently displaying several of my prettiest books, especially beautiful Tolkien editions, but that is because we currently have too much self space. Yes, it's true!
We moved here about one and a half years ago and have deliberately installed more shelves than we needed at the time, and as I have been quite restricted with my book buying and am also using an e-reader now, there are still a few empty shelves that I use to display books so that they do not look empty. However, over time these shelves will fill and one by one will look more like usual shelves. Apart from that, our apartment is too small to really display books, and the space that would be useful for that is occupied with stacks of book that we are currently reading or that we just bought.

huhtikuu 20, 12:08 pm

>41 SassyLassy: QUESTION 15: What Do You Do with Your Most Prized Books?

I read them. :)

I love beautifully made books. And I like beautiful books in general (these two thins are different - it is great when a book fits both). But I am a reader more than anything else so if a book made it to my house, it is because I plan to read it - not just to display it.

For the most part my shelving is on the principle "it fits? there it stays" although I try occasionally to order by publisher or genre or something like that.

I have a few books with somewhat fragile spines and/or covers and these tend to be on the bookcase where I rarely pull books from unless I need something from there (and which happens to be almost behind my reading chair so it is hard for a casual browser who happens to visit to get to them). Other from that - I really do not have space for actual displaying - my tables have the books that had just arrived or I plan to read soon or something like that and displaying books takes too much shelf space. I may decide a particularly interesting spine at eyes level just so I can look at it when looking at the shelf but that is about it.

huhtikuu 20, 5:22 pm

My (ridiculously) big books (mostly comic collections - Prince Valiant, Girl Genius, etc) are on the top shelf because my shelves hang on the wall so there's space above them. Other than that, I try to shelve books by category (genre/subject), so I have a fighting chance of finding them. The other thing that gets on the top shelf is art books (including The Art of Bev Doolittle - her stuff is so gorgeous!). I don't pull them (any of the big books) down often but I do occasionally read/look at them. I have never had a 'coffee table book', in the sense of 'pretty object to take up space on the table' - I need that space! If a book was lying on the table, it would quickly be covered with papers, other books, etc...I'd try not to put cups/glasses on it, but I'd likely forget... Nah, much better to get them into the shelves, or at worst into a box (worst because they're not easy to find/pull out that way).

huhtikuu 20, 6:59 pm

I don't own a coffee table and our end tables are covered with books, papers, writing supplies, etc. With the two munchkins at my house during the week, my nice books are kept at least three feet off the ground, lol. One of the first things I taught the youngest one was not to climb the bookshelves, and then which shelves are hers. I have hundreds of picture books, etc. so I don't feel too bad keeping mine out of bounds until they're a little older. That said, I sometimes pretend not to see them "reading" my books in their hideout behind the big leather chair. These are some of Auntie's books, hidden behind the child detritus:

huhtikuu 22, 9:23 pm

When we moved here, we decided that there would no longer be books in boxes. We used the bookcases we had, but also hired a local carpenter and had him build in the "wall o' books" and install a ladder (I'm sure some of you have already seen these this pic)

I guess this is where most of my treasured fiction books (Atwood, Oates, Carter to name three), it also houses some old books up in the peak. LeGuin or other SF&F authors, or non-fiction (i.e. favorite histories) have their own spaces.

huhtikuu 22, 10:07 pm

There's some accidental display going on in my bedroom, if by "display" we understand any configuration that allows a body to see SOME books:

But most of my apartment looks like an illustration for "no seeing the trees for the forest"

huhtikuu 23, 9:49 am

I don't even know what I'd consider "most prized" at this point... I don't own anything particularly valuable (that I know of), so I'd say that definition is pretty evenly distributed between books I love, books I'm excited to read, and really cool thrift shop/library sale finds. And everything is just on my shelves or tables, lumped together—I know where they are, and it's not like people are coming over to my house to ooh and ahh at my fabulous book collection. I do like to gaze on them as a form of, I don't know—not meditation, because I meditate and it's not that. Just peaceful and pleasing periods of resting my eyes on things I love. And it works better for me to have everything together, not separated out.

huhtikuu 23, 10:19 am

>50 LolaWalser: Great definition of "display", but I'm far more familiar with the forest approach.

>51 lisapeet: That's exactly what "most prized" is.

>48 labfs39: No coffee table here either.

>44 thorold: Very tidy indeed - I want a railway atlas!

>45 MissBrangwen: "too much shelf space" - if only!

My own inclination is to hide prized books away where other hands will not crack the spines, leave greasy fingerprints, or otherwise be damaged. In a guest room in a previous house I had to think seriously about what could be on the shelves to avoid such events. I had a book on politics in West Africa there, which I thought would definitely have a limited audience, but sure enough, a brash person pulled it out, cracked the spine and fondled the pictures. This was someone who knew nothing about the area, and had probably never thought about it before!

huhtikuu 23, 11:25 am

I have a rare book collection of early illustrated childrens books. They are in a lawyers style book case in a part of the house that gets no sun, but does have a cozy chair and light nearby for when I want to read any. Most of the books are similar to the ones I had as a kid,others were illustrated by fav illustrators, and others had very cool inscriptions or dedications.

We have collected many over sized books from museums over the years, esp on architecture (Tashen) and art. We also have large collections of fav comics: doonesbury, far side, MAD, calvin and hobbs. All of these are in our living room area with tall shelves my dh put together.Our sci fi and fantasy books and travel books are in our bedroom and other fiction and general non fiction in our office. Also have a stack of tbr books in my AZ room

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 24, 1:58 pm

SassyLassy has asked me fill in for her this week while she is away. As I’m a bit nervous that I might forget, I’m posting it today….


There are many kinds of histories…for example:

Political History
Social History
Economic History
Diplomatic History
Art History
Food History
History of Science and Medicine
Cultural History
Women’s History
Intellectual History
Environmental History

This is just one list, and each of these categories have seemingly endless subtopics….Surely*, we have all read histories of one kind or another…beyond our schooling and higher education…books that we chose to read…..

So, tell us about some of your interests within the history category, some of your favorite books, and why they are so
(maybe keep the latter under a dozen?).

*don’t call me Shirley!

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 24, 12:41 pm

NOTE: I kept my question relatively general so that SassyLassy can dig deeper into the subject during the remainder of the year - should she wish.

Before someone asks…the books in the photo are:

King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa ,Adam Hochschild
Africans: The Story of a Continent, John Iliffe
Victorian Culture and Society, Adam C. Roberts
The History of Jazz, Ted Gioia
Worn (History of Clothing),Sofi Thanhauser
October (Russian Revolution), China Mieville
Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier, Joanna Stratton
Famous Works of Art and How They Got ‘that Way, John Nici
Twelve Thousand Years: American Indians in Maine , Bruce J. Bourque
ART: A History of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Frederick Hartt

huhtikuu 24, 12:30 pm

When I searched my collection for "history", I got 1145 hits. If I just use my rather haphazardly applied history tag, I get 262. I like reading about WWII, Russia and Eastern Europe, and a smattering of everything else. Here are some of my favorites:

Bloodlands : Europe between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (the gold standard of history books, IMO)

Between silk and cyanide : a codemaker's war, 1941-1945 by Leo Marks

A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II by Adam Makos

A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France by Caroline Moorhead

The whisperers : private life in Stalin's Russia by Orlando Figes

The Endurance : Shackleton's legendary Antarctic expedition by Caroline Alexander (illustrated with ship's photographer Hurley's photos)

Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus by Samuel Eliot Morison (a real eye-opener for someone who grew up in the US celebrating Columbus Day in school)

Three who made a revolution : a biographical history by Bertram D. Wolfe

Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War by Ben Macintyre (and everything else I've read by him)

Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum (another eye-opener as it was written after the fall of communism and with archival access thus upending some of the things I thought I knew)

Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by David McCullough

A History of God by Karen Armstrong

and that's 12!

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 26, 7:27 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

huhtikuu 24, 2:41 pm

Q16 Histories

All of the above, I suppose. I tend to pursue particular lines of interest for a while and then move on to other fields, so there are a lot of little clusters of history books that don’t really map into anything very coherent.

Recent clusters include
— rural oral history (Osebol, Ask the fellows who cut the hay, Akenfield, etc.)
— queer history (Homintern, Bad gays, etc.)
— Dutch oddments (Etta Palm, Dutch light, 1000 Jaar Amsterdam, Moresnet, etc.)
— oceans and navigation (Beyond the blue horizon, Empires of the Monsoon, etc.)

But general European political/social/cultural history, history of music, history of technology, history of language, … , all sorts of other things, in fact, do keep coming up.

>56 labfs39: Mine: “History” keyword = 1366 (28%), “History” tag = 247, “History” genre = 398.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 24, 5:31 pm

I only have 29 "history" tags in my LT library, but I'll admit I'm not very consistent about adding tags. Looking at my personal journal, I've got about 250 in the last 10 years, and they skew heavily toward "women's history" and general biography.

Women's Work is a favorite, along with biographies / autobiographies (which often tell as much or more about the history of the era as they do about the subject) including America's Women, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, and Will Rogers: The Man and His Times.

huhtikuu 24, 7:57 pm

All Collections:“History” keyword = 1891, “History” tag = 440, “History” subject = 882.
Read collection: “History” keyword = 507, “History” tag = 212, “History” subject = 220.
My personal current owned books: “History” keyword = 517, “History” tag = 205, “History” subject = 232.

History is often a comfort read for me. Many years i was not reading any literary fiction, but instead i read a lots of history books. I think I loved them best as historical memoirs. (Now I really like when any good authors writes a good memoir.)

I like them best when:
- they’re well written :)
- they manage that trick of providing a new captivating perspective. So a history of spices, or of Americans in Paris, or of the world from Middle Eastern perspective, or of the study of Stonehenge (not a history oof Stonehenge, but of the people who studied it), or of some country or topic I’m unfamiliar with, but still links in to things I am familiar with.
- World trade, quirky 17th-century Europeans developing scientific ideas, and the American founders always seem to reward. The history of science and technology sometimes, but not always.
- i used to like the history of art. But i now think i would like more on the history of literature - if well written.

huhtikuu 25, 9:11 am

LT claims somewhat over 40% of my non-fiction is history. I've tagged as history/biography somewhat over 25%. In general I want the historical context of whatever, so I have history of math/computer/science/technology/medicine, along with standard political/cultural. I prefer history through biography or focused on relatively few people or a specific event or project, rather than a grand sweep. Skimming lists, several pop out as read years ago and memorable: Time, Love, Memory, Lords of the Fly, The Great Arc, A Thread Across the Ocean, A Feeling for the Organism, Naturalist, Dr. Mutter's Marvels.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 25, 10:58 pm

Heh. 1375 books from a History search, 375 tagged History - I am amused at the coincidence of numbers.

History of science is a perennial favorite, back to a textbook I had as a kid and still have and have read and reread - Prehistoric America by Anne Terry White. Fascinating stuff about dinosaurs and the sea coming in and out and so on - but also about things like the guy who spent a year camping on a glacier and demonstrated that it actually moved. I think the book is older than (acceptance of) plate tectonics, thus doesn't cover that - another I read recently (ahem, 2017...), Earth: An Intimate History has more on that subject (not just the theory, but how and by whom it was developed and fought against).

One I have and want to read (it's been eluding me - I only find it when I'm involved in another book, and then I put it somewhere where I can get it easily...which I've forgotten by the time I'm ready for it...) is Mauve, about the development of coal tar dyes and specifically the color mauve (or a fast dye for it).

Anything by Stephen Jay Gould - well, no. Any of his essay books. When he writes at length he still writes in essay style (tell you, tell you again, tell you what he told you) which gets REALLY ANNOYING to me at book length. Again, science, and largely but not entirely history of science (not what is known (or "known") now, but how the theories/knowledge were discovered and why and by whom).

On another subject, Consider the Fork - a history of food and cooking by looking at the implements available at different times and in different places. _Fascinating_.

Glass, Stones and Crown (a heavily illustrated book) and Brunelleschi's Dome, two on architecture and how two famous buildings were designed and built.

Semi-fictional collections of essays about a time and place, written at the time - Mrs Miniver (which leans more to the fictional) and Windfalls and the rest of that series by A.G. Gardiner, both set in England in wartime (I think both WWII but Windfalls may be WWI). I love seeing a place and time through concurrent eyes, not written after the fact when they can focus on the _important_ stuff but just day by day.

Food history - The Taste of Conquest about spices, Chocolate Wars about Cadbury and its rivals, Banana : The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World about, well, bananas - banana republics, and all the nastiness that went into making whole countries designed around growing fruit for the US. Also about the disease that killed the Gros Michel and is now threatening the Cavendish (what used to be the standard banana and the current standard banana).

I like knowing where things came from and how. I pick up a lot of history books, of varying sorts - from pop culture explainers to in-industry puff pieces (The Art of Rug Weaving). There's always something worth learning.

Oh, and you hit me with a book bullet - I got Worn from the library, sounds very interesting and right up my alley.

huhtikuu 26, 7:26 am

Let's lay aside the numerical counts, we don't really need to know how many history books we all have to be able to talk about some of our favorites....

huhtikuu 26, 3:31 pm

>66 KeithChaffee: Okay, Adventures in Unhistory just went onto my wishlist. I've been a Davidson fan since his "Peregrine Perplexed" short stories in IASFM.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 26, 8:10 pm

>67 LyndaInOregon: It’s a fascinating book. The prose style is ornate and occasionally meandering, which drives some folks nuts, but it worked for me. It’s as if you’re being told stories by a magnificently erudite, slightly dotty favorite uncle. (ETA: Should probably also include a warning that the essays were written decades ago, and the attitudes and prejudices of the era occasionally pop up.)

huhtikuu 26, 11:46 pm

Wow that book isnt cheap, even bookfinder is showing a $56 price tag (amazon is 150!!)

huhtikuu 27, 2:30 pm

>68 KeithChaffee: "a magnificently erudite, slightly dotty favorite uncle.'

That’s exactly how he came across.

I had the pleasure of “meeting” Mr. Davidson in the hospitality suite of a con somewhere, umpty years ago. He was seated in the room’s most comfortable chair with a pretty girl on each arm and a glass of something darkly amber (on-the-rocks) in his hand, holding forth.

Contemporary complaints about his various “___isms” are fully justified; however, he was ultimately (as are we all) a product of his times, both personally (born 1923) and of the genre in which he worked. SF of the 40s and 50s pulp era was written largely for (and frequently, by) adolescent white males. Reading some of the “masters” – E.E. “Doc” Smith comes to mind – can be positively cringe-inducing.

huhtikuu 27, 3:58 pm

>69 cindydavid4: Davidson's nephew has recently started a publishing company, hoping to bring all of his work back into print, so maybe a more reasonably priced edition will be available someday. This week happens to be Davidson's centennial, and The Avram Davidson Treasury is available as a free Kindle e-book this week; it's a collection of his best stories, each accompanied by an introduction/tribute by another SF author.

huhtikuu 27, 7:11 pm

oh thanks for that info! I actually haven't read anything by him justs clicked, and its mine! perfect timing coz I was inbetween books at present

huhtikuu 28, 8:12 pm

well into it; enjoying the stories as well as the introductions of other sci fi authors showing him to us. The Dentists save the world had me laughing

Im also reading a crown of feathers at the same time; some of Singers stories sound like some of davidsons and vice verse;lots of similar themes

Kindle doesn't have an index of the stories; curious if
Adventures in Unhistory: Conjectures on the Factual Foundations of Several Ancient Legendsis included

huhtikuu 29, 7:48 pm

Just read let us sleep and it had me in tears. He does pack a whallop

huhtikuu 30, 9:49 pm

ok I am totally hooked. Author author is pure genius haven't finished it yet but it is hilarios, while thought provoking at the same time. Time to get more of his works

toukokuu 1, 2:16 am

My turn to fill in for SassyLassy. This question has been on my mind because I’ve been spending the last week touring châteaux of the Loire. And because a whole bunch of normally quite sane people have told me they are going to be glued to their TV sets to watch an excessively rich man become nominal head of state of an impoverished minor European country next week…

Question 17: The rich man in his novel….

Most of us are probably descended from generations of peasants and industrial workers, but we seem to love reading about the rich and powerful. Part of that is obviously because the consumption of literature used to be a pleasure restricted to the rich, but it somehow persists into modern times when we can almost all read and afford to buy books.

What are your favourite novels (or biographies if you like) about the rich and powerful? Do you feel guilty about reading them? Can you suggest some good antidotes?

(Feel free to talk about the French 17th century if the picture of Chateau Brissac inspires you)

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 1, 5:41 am

Im assuming this includes richand powerful women?

Nicolas and Alexandra

Eleanor and the four kings

Marie Antionette: The Journey Antiona Fraser

Legacy susan kay Probably the best novel I have read about Eliz 1

the kings pleasure Catherine of Aragon, the best novel Ive read about Catherine of Aragon

Wolf Hall

Sailing to Sarantium Justinian II and Queen Theodora in Constantinople

the court of the lion Minghuang Emperor of the Tang dynasty 8th century

Nope dont feel guilty in the least. Fascinated, horrified and saddened more like. But cant feel shame for loving wonderful books no matter who its about!

I think theres a sense of perspective reading these seeing how their lives are really close to ours; they have the same emotions the same failings, the same longings, they go through the same stages of life, perhaps reminding us tells us to be happy with our lot?

toukokuu 1, 7:04 am

>76 thorold: Oh, interesting topic. Must have a think on this.

toukokuu 1, 12:24 pm

I think about this as I read through Edith Wharton’s novels. She was both part of, and wrote about the American leisure class - that is the fabulously wealthy. Her family was apparently -the- Jones family behind the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”.

A lot of her story tensions are about staying in this class, especially women, because they can’t do the things you need to do to make boodles of money. They are entirely dependent on their partner’s and parent’s finances. And the cost of not having obscene wealth can, apparently, be fatal or worse (with appropriate drama). The most savvy manage to get their money, with no scruples interfering.

Anyway, I don’t feel guilty reading Wharton. She’s a really pleasant writer to spend time with, prose and writing skills cleanly hidden from the happy reader. But i do feed a little removed from reality when reading her.

An antidote might be Willa Cather.

toukokuu 1, 12:29 pm

>76 thorold: "Do you feel guilty about reading them?"

Why would one feel guilty about reading about the rich or powerful?

toukokuu 1, 1:56 pm


What are your favourite novels (or biographies if you like) about the rich and powerful?

The ones where their chopped-off heads roll away in the dust.

Not sure I have a more precise answer. I don't read hagiographies of the rich and powerful nor am I interested in their own cacklings. I don't give a damn about the Poor Little Rich Bastard trope. Princess Anastasia can go hang... over and over. Of course, any number of my reads involve or relate to the lives of the rich and powerful, but typically it's from a critical or historic angle.

To hell with the rich and powerful.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 1, 2:31 pm

I think there's a certain "well, at least" going on when we read about the foibles of the rich and powerful -- as in "Well, at least my husband didn't regularly entertain hookers in the marital bed while I was out of town." We can gasp at the excesses and feel morally superior to the less-than-admirable actions and assure ourselves that "money doesn't buy happiness". (It can, however, buy a much more comfortable state of misery..........)

Anyway, it turns out that although I read a lot of biographies, few of them deal with The Royals or with the ultra-rich. Those topics are better represented in my fictional reading-list, and of course the accuracy of those have to be taken with a huge heaping of salt.

One fictional work in this category that I greatly enjoyed was The Last Days of Night, which looked at the feud between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over the "electrification" of America, and also devoted quite a bit of time to Nikola Tesla, whom I find endlessly fascinating.

I'm also a sucker for that whole six-wives-of-Henry XIII and Queen Elizabeth saga, and have enjoyed Philippa Gregory's fictionalized books on the topic, as well as speculation from other authors. Robin Maxwell's trilogy, Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, Virgin, and The Queen's Bastard are a Tudor-phile feast!

I did, however, recently give up on the highly-rated "docudrama" television series, "The Royals", simply because I couldn't summon up any more enthusiasm for watching spoiled and privileged people whine about how hard their lives were.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 1, 5:31 pm

>81 LolaWalser: wow ok. I read those because of my interest in history more than anything

>82 LyndaInOregon: I made it through her first book, barely but was so disgusted with the anacronisms and lack of historical accuacy, I bailed. I love the series by Norah Jones and Eliz Parraget.then there is Wolf Hall

toukokuu 2, 2:05 am


What I was mainly thinking about when I asked about feeling guilty were the kind of books I enjoyed uncritically when I was young and I didn’t quite register that there was a great gulf separating “normal people“ like us from these people I was reading about, who never had to work for a living. I was far too immersed in P G Wodehouse in early life. Once I realised that I actually agreed with the boring people who liked to tell Bertie Wooster that he was a selfish drone —even though I still enjoyed reading about him— it made me feel a bit guilty about having been taken in by the escapist nature of Wodehouse’s fictional world. And similarly for Brideshead revisited and Howards End and numerous other books that take it for granted that there is something inherently superior about people with inherited wealth.

Of course, it’s a bit silly to worry about that. There are plenty of good working class novels available, too, and reading about the “upper classes” doesn’t necessarily make you aspire to join them. The reverse, more probably.

toukokuu 2, 11:55 am

>81 LolaWalser: I'm kind of in LW's court (no pun intended). I don't mind reading historical accounts of kings and despots because they all get what's coming to them, by and large. But that whole Masters of the Universe genre of books that was so big in the '90s left me cold, and having grown up among the old moneyed I don't really care to hear more about them either. I will admit to having snagged a galley of Pineapple Street just because the privileged Brooklyn thread sounds like fun, but that's a very NY-specific interest, driven a little more by a fascination with the real estate than the people involved.

toukokuu 2, 2:05 pm

Hmm, I don't read about celebrities, royalty, or politicians, so that cuts out a large swath of the rich. Dan mentioned Edith Wharton. And I did read a book about Teddy Roosevelt's childhood once. Does Mr. Darcy count?

I've given up feeling guilty for anything I read.

toukokuu 2, 3:12 pm

>86 labfs39: "I've given up feeling guilty for anything I read."

This! One of the joys of getting older is ... okay, TWO of the joys of getting older are ... I don't have to eat brussels sprouts, and I no longer feel compelled to limit my reading to "quality" Literature. (Not that I ever did either one ... but now it's "colorful" rather than "stubborn".)

toukokuu 2, 5:19 pm

With the exception of long-ago reading of literature of the Gilded
Age, where, yes, the stories were those of the rich and powerful; the haves... (but also the have-nots ...think Mark Twain)... I don't seem to be attracted to modern fiction about the rich and famous.

Regarding the rich and powerful in non-fiction, I do read occasional memoirs or biographies, mostly of women (exceptions would be Julián Castro's memoir and David Cay Johnson's book on Trump) My dentist was trying to get me to read Prince Harry's book.... but I wasn't interested (yes, I have conversations about books with my dentist, don't you?)

toukokuu 2, 5:23 pm

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

toukokuu 3, 12:50 am

>1 SassyLassy: The plants I moved from the farm in October are starting to come up, even though it has been quite cold here. Feels as if we are a month behind climate-wise. Yes, indeed I read books about nature, animals, science, cosmology, anthropology, etc. Most of my reading as a child was non-fiction. So far this year, I have read or am reading:
Unraveling which touched on matters of ecology.
The Nutmeg's Curse
Sparrow Tree - poetry revolving around birds
As Kingfishers Catch Fire - essays on birds and books
The Forest Unseen

toukokuu 3, 1:19 am

>27 SassyLassy: Ha ha. Well, I jumped into learning Welsh with Pwyll Pendevic Dyfed (The Mabinogian) in Middle Welsh. It was a crash course in grammar and mutations. After that, it's just about adding vocabulary.

But seriously, I now teach adults Welsh, and for translating I use books written specifically for learners. Then move on to something like a middle grade children's book. After that, it's newspapers and magazine articles on contemporary events. With my advanced students we might get into poetry. But poetry can be difficult, as words can have multiple meanings and it doesn't always follow grammatical rules... And there's a brilliant series of Welsh classics, abridged for learners with some grammar and vocabulary notes.

toukokuu 3, 10:07 am

Due to my recent travels and then being wrapped up in the logistics surrounding our upcoming move, I've been away from this thread for a while. Stepping back for a minute to address the history question, I'll say that I most frequently read histories pertaining to Jewish history, African American history, and American history in general. Over the years, I've read a lot of military history, particularly pertaining to the American Civil War and WW2, but that's tailed off somewhat over recent years. I'd say a good 80% off my non-fiction reading is history and/or biography, though I do enjoy memoirs as well. I seem to read very little about science or psychology or nature. C'est la vie.

As to the current query, I've always held a grudge against novels in which the protagonists have a large segment of daily problems stripped away by the fact that they have a ton of money. Sometimes such books can provide a lot of good writing and even insights into human nature, but it's always seemed to me to be a cop out of sorts on the part of the writer. Yes, of course people who don't have to scrabble for a living have time to fixate on their relationship woes and such if they have other people to do the gardening and fix dinner. So no matter how good the writing is, rich protagonists take a bit of the edge off of the reading for me.

I do enjoy reading about people in the halls of power, though, if those books deal well with the responsibilities and burdens of that power, and/or the dangers of letting it all go to one's head. So I love the Shakespeare history plays I've read. Henry IV parts 1 and 2 especially, and Henry V. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown! Also MacBeth, of course. And Wolf Hall was certainly enjoyable, though I haven't read the sequels yet. I've also been very much enjoying my gradual read through C.P. Snow's Strangers and Brothers series, which, after the first few books, gets around to great portrayals of how people (i.e. middle-aged and older white Englishmen) act within the halls of power in academia and government. Those are the examples that come to mind.

toukokuu 3, 12:32 pm

I have no more issue reading about the rich and powerful than I do reading about any other part of the social spectrum. For me, fiction reading is about being transported into someone else's shoes and experiences for a short time, and I don't feel remotely guilty about enjoying any well written book where the protagonist happens to be well-heeled. It's all enjoyable escapism.

Biographies I'm not a massive reader of (the me-me-me thing isn't a big draw), but I do read the odd one if someone's done something very interesting in their life. There's a difference between rich and privileged, and if someone's worked hard for their living I've no issue reading about the fruits of their labour.

And where would we be without the amusing stories from history of the privileged aristocracy and royalty?

toukokuu 3, 4:35 pm

>93 AlisonY: ditto what you said about reading the rich and powerful

Ill read biographies depending on the author and relarionship with the subject. Tend to stay away from memoirs>

toukokuu 4, 3:26 pm

>94 cindydavid4: Sorry, I meant autobiographies rather than biographies. I will read the odd one, but it's not a genre I actively seek out.

toukokuu 4, 4:27 pm

>95 AlisonY: :) Yeah cant remember tha last time I read one

toukokuu 10, 6:49 pm

>54 avaland: Question 16: Nonfiction - Histories

Living without history books in all kinds of areas of interest is something I can't imagine. My grandmother got me started with children's series and it was a natural progression from there.

History books that I return to again and again include:

The Origins of Family, Private Property, and the State by Friedrich Engels, just to keep me pondering how things work

The Making of the English Working Class a classic which influenced so many

Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas as it's a wonderful study of a time when people's entire concepts of their world was changing and how they dealt with it

many books on China, including
The Opium War by Julia Lovell for a study of outside interference
Mao's Great Famine by Frank Dikotter for internal interference
The Conspiracy and Death of Lin Biao an object lesson for all who are second in charge

other history books in no real order:
Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto and the Contest for the Center of the World by Roger Crowley a book that made me start looking at European history from the eastern end of the Mediterranean, changing the perspective completely

Threads of Life: A History of the World through the Eye of a Needle by Clare Hunter which tells the story of political activism through 'acceptable' means for women

Much Depends on Dinner by Margaret Visser eating with others is fraught with peril

Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama - time for a reread

toukokuu 11, 4:31 pm

>76 thorold: Question 17: The Rich Man in his Novel...

There was a full set of Muhlbach* novels in the house when I was growing up. They centred around people who were not only rich, but in most cases powerful too. I gobbled them up, with favourites being those about Marie Antoinette, and the Empress Josephine.

That somehow led me to novels about Catherine II of Russia. Once I discovered the Russians, the concept of absolute wealth struck me like a fairy tale that actually happened. Furs, beauty, jewels, palaces, clothes: they had it all. I was young, and writers of the novels I was reading did not spend much time on the misery that was the basis for all that wealth.

However, I still read any and all novels I find about the Romanovs, feeling no need to apologize for this quirk in my otherwise fairly unescapist reading. I guess suitable antidotes in this case might be someone like Richard Pipes and his Russia under the Old Regime!

*Luise Muhlbach 1814 - 1873 wrote a series of novels, all historical fiction. Given the period in which she wrote, they were suitable for children.


>79 dchaikin: But i do feed a little removed from reality when reading Edith Wharton

That's the way I feel when reading about her gardens - more reading about the fabulously rich.

>76 thorold: ...glued to their TV sets to watch an excessively rich man become nominal head of state of an impoverished minor European country next week…

I was lucky enough to be somewhere where this barely made the evening news. What sensible people the Finns are!

toukokuu 11, 5:05 pm

Thanks so much to avaland and thorold for their questions while I was away.

One thought that did occur to me while I was gone brings up this question

QUESTION 18: Travelling Reading

There is 'travel reading'; the books we read to find out about different places, and the books we read about the journeys of others.

What about reading while travelling though?

Does your approach to reading differ when you are travelling? Do you find yourself reading different kinds of books, or books on different topics?

Do bookstores in your travels feature prominently, or not at all?

What's your best find from 'away'?

toukokuu 11, 5:27 pm

Nope. I read less when I travel, because I only travel to do something (either attend an event, or spend time with my family). But I read what I read. I might be more drawn to a book about/set in the place where I am, but it doesn't make much difference. And now that my reading is primarily ebooks, even the form factor doesn't change when I travel.

I will always stop in a used book store (not a new one, they basically have the same stuff everywhere), if I can persuade the people I'm with to spend the time. There have been times when we split up - Mom went to a clothes or makeup place, Dad and I went to a bookstore, my sisters went with one or the other or to a third place. It all depends on where you want to spend time...

Um. I picked up Freckles in a B&B once...I don't think I managed to finish it while we were there, so I bought it (and a good many other Stratton-Porters) afterward. Some not-English Asterix and Obelix books in various countries (Portugal, Germany, Spain, maybe others). It's generally more about the book than where I got it, especially since the "will stop for a UBS" applies at home too.

Hmmm. I haven't been doing a lot of traveling since I started reading primarily ebooks; a UBS is somewhat less interesting these days (I have waaaaay too many physical books already!). It won't stop me buying entirely, but the book has to be interesting to start with _and_ something that doesn't (or isn't likely to) exist as an (obtainable) ebook.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 11, 6:47 pm

Q18: Well, I don't bring big heavy books with me on vacation, so that's one thing. Otherwise, I'm likely to bring just about anything, subject matter-wise, along with me while traveling. Purchases are limited, of course, by luggage space.

But, yes, bookstores feature prominently in my travels. I love to visit bookstores (and I'm with Jennifer in strongly preferring used bookstores over new bookstores for this purpose) while on vacation or on any other sort of trip away from home. In fact, I don't really consider any trip to be complete without at least one bookstore stop (and purchase!).

One travel/book tradition I have has to do with my love of Joseph Conrad. Whenever I travel to a country where English is not the native language, I like to buy a copy of a Joseph Conrad novel translated into that language. So I have a couple of Conrad novels in Spanish (Spain, Mexico and Argentina {I try to find a copy actually published in the country I'm in.}), one or two in French, plus Conrad novels in (off the top of my head) Croatian, Czech, Italian, Finnish, Portuguese and Hebrew. The bookseller in Helsinki where I found my Finnish Lord Jim reminded me that Finland actually had two official languages, Finnish and Swedish, so that I should also buy a Swedish Conrad from her. I just laughed and said, "Nice try." I also have a copy of Portnoy's Complaint and one of Catch 22, both in Czech.

toukokuu 11, 8:43 pm

>98 SassyLassy: However, I still read any and all novels I find about the Romanovs,

Oh yes, me too. I focus less on the wealth and power and more as human beings in difficult situations,

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 11, 8:50 pm

Q18 I read while I travel, sometimes about the place we are going to other times something totally different Our traveling has been limited due to my physical issues so often I am reading travel books so I can 'travel' vicaroously. And I always seek out used books stores and indie stores, and have no trouble taking home a stack despite my current TBR mountain

best finds rare copy of little woman in Alcotts home, east of the sun west of the moon in a thrift store, stampkraft in a tiny bookstore that lead to me collecting them.

toukokuu 11, 11:25 pm


Traveling isn’t good for routine. And, as a routine kind of reader, i don’t tend read so well when traveling. I do tend to read well while on a plane, though. It’s one time I much prefer plot driven books. (The Trees was a nice fit, recently)

I do tend to read about places i’m going to in the future as a sort of mental prep. I mean, it doesn’t help me plan anything, but it gets me thinking about the place. This has gotten me through great books about Florence, Hawaii, Israel, London, and other places. However, once the trip is over, that drive fades and the books i was hoping to read as a trip follow-up tend to find secure spots on the tbr shelves.

toukokuu 12, 9:16 am


It varies for me: I often read more when travelling, especially if there’s dead time on trains and planes (or waiting for them), and some trips have a lot of relaxed moments when there’s far less to distract me from books than there would be at home. But other trips can be quite hectic, especially if you’re with other people all the time. I’ve just come back from a two week trip where I only managed to read one book, admittedly a very long one (ebook). But I’ve had others where I’ve been tearing through a book a day.

Travel is often good for finding books that I’m unlikely to come across at home, whether because of the subject or the language. I tend to look in bookshops and little free libraries, or on the shelves of holiday accommodation, wherever I happen to be, especially in Germany or France. I do try to resist the temptation of museum and gallery shops, though: there’s a high risk of coming home with heavy and expensive books that are beautiful but never get looked at again once the excitement about that particular exhibition has faded.

Landmark Trust are particularly good at equipping their houses with interesting books relevant to the specific area: I’ve found some things there that I didn’t know about and really enjoyed reading.

I don’t always come back with actual books. Sometimes I’ve had to take a note of titles I couldn’t read on the spot or easily transport home, and seek them out after the end of the trip.

toukokuu 13, 7:13 pm

>18 AnnieMod: This question reminds me of the time I went into a bookshop in Reykjavik to see of they had any more installments of Indridason's mystery series (which was not in the US yet but I have the first installment from the UK). Well, sure they had more Icelandic!!! Slightly embarrassing...

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 14, 10:29 pm

When traveling, I always try to bring books that will be engaging enough to keep me reading through a long plane flight, but not so compelling that I'll resent having to put them down when I land and then constantly thereafter whenever my traveling companions inexplicably insist on me doing things other than reading while on vacation. I also try to pick stuff that's not going to be incredibly intellectually demanding, since all that being around people and doing things other than reading tends to tire me out. In other words, I guess I tend to bring "airplane books." Stephen King is semi-reliable standby. Blake Crouch is just about perfect.

I also tend to bring way, way more books than I'm ever actually going to read, because I am terrified of running out. Since I almost exclusively read paper books, that usually means toting a very heavy carry-on.

I do love buying books when traveling. More often than not I find myself picking something up in national park visitors' centers and museum gift shops. And I do love visiting distant bookstores. A trip to visit my sister in Oregon almost always also means a trip to Powell's, hooray! And possibly my most memorable vacation disappointment was on a trip to Hawaii, when I went looking for a wonderful-sounding bookstore that my guidebook promised was very nearby, only to discover that it no longer existed.

toukokuu 15, 5:29 am

>107 bragan: and then constantly thereafter whenever my traveling companions inexplicably insist on me doing things other than reading while on vacation.

I know, it’s terrible! Even when you go on holiday with bookish people, there’s still all that dead time when you have to look at things or sit in restaurants or sleep. Three full days in Paris last week, and I didn’t get any bookshop time at all…

Maybe we should just stay at home. Or spend our holidays camping in large libraries…

toukokuu 15, 7:34 am

>108 thorold: Or spend our holidays camping in large libraries…

Ooh, yes, where do I sign up for that?

toukokuu 16, 9:33 am

QUESTION 19: Round II - Name a Book You Have that

a - is full of adventure

b - has "farmer" in the title

c - is from a country whose name in English ends in the letter y (if you live in one of these countries, use a different country ending in y)

d - someone gave you as a present, but you still haven't read it - why?

e - is written by a poet

f - is the most battered book in your collection - how did it get that way?

g - you go back to again and again

h - is one of a series featuring the same main character, who is not a detective or someone of that ilk

i - was the basis for a favourite film

j - you've had the longest

k - has a cover in your edition that you find striking

l - you've read in a second language

m - you'd love to be able to read in its original language

n - has "theory" in the title, but isn't a work or textbook

o - has a title with omnamatopeia

toukokuu 16, 11:39 am

Q 19f

toukokuu 16, 12:16 pm

Q19: Round II - Name a Book You Have that

a - is full of adventure
Railway adventure, L T C Rolt’s wonderful account of the early days of running the Talyllyn Railway as what’s now called a heritage line.

b - has "farmer" in the title
Nothing. I’ve got three with “farm” in the title, though: Farm engines and how to run them, The story of an African farm, and Cold comfort farm.

c - is from a country whose name in English ends in the letter y (if you live in one of these countries, use a different country ending in y)
Hijo de hombre and Yo el supremo, by Augusto Roa Bastos (Paraguay), have both been on the TBR pile for some time. I must get to them…

d - someone gave you as a present, but you still haven't read it - why?
I think the oldest present on the TBR pile is La noche de los tiempos, which I received as a Christmas present about three years ago. Still unread because it’s very thick and I need to reserve time for it, but I am looking forward to it very much.

e - is written by a poet
There are about two hundred books in the poetry section, but that’s probably not what you meant. How about Walking home, Simon Armitage’s account of walking the Pennine Way?

f - is the most battered book in your collection - how did it get that way?
There are lots of candidates. At the moment the worst is probably my cheap 1920s edition of Round the Horn before the mast, which looks as if it could have been through what it describes, but in fact the damage is probably simply the result of fifty-five years in a school library, from which it was discarded to enter my collection (pending repair…) in 1977.

g - you go back to again and again
At the risk of boring everyone, since it creeps into every one of these list exercises, but I really do keep picking it up off the shelf: The Oxford Book of English verse 1250-1918.

h - is one of a series featuring the same main character, who is not a detective or someone of that ilk
I guess this is looking for books that are part of a series, but where we have only read one? In that case, how about The adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan, where I enjoyed the first book so much that I thought it would probably spoil the magic to try any of the sequels, or indeed to reread it…

i - was the basis for a favourite film
Jules et Jim. Terrible novel, great film.

j - you've had the longest
Difficult to know, because I haven’t been very consistent about dating things when I acquire them, but it might be the Everyman paperback of Alice in Wonderland, the one with with Carroll’s own illustrations, which I remember my father brought back from a trip to Oxford some time in the late sixties. Most of the books I had as a small child were passed on to other children, of course.

k - has a cover in your edition that you find striking
The first one that came to mind, I’m not sure why, was this Geoffrey Salter cover for P G Wodehouse’s Hot Water:

l - you've read in a second language
That gets too complicated. I’m not sure what a second language would be for me — English and German both have strong claims to be my first language, German chronologically and English on the strength of quantity of use. And everything else is at least a third language…
If you take it to mean “books you’ve read in more than one language”, I could maybe cite something like L’étranger, which I had to read in English translation for a “modern literature” course, but had already read in the original.

m - you'd love to be able to read in its original language
Eliminating things I probably could/should read in the original with a bit of work, and allowing my fantasy to run riot, I’d say anything Japanese, especially Tanizaki or Natsume Sōseki. But only if knowing the original language also meant understanding Japanese culture well enough to pick up all the subtle references.

n - has "theory" in the title, but isn't a work or textbook
Nothing. There are about ten in my list, but they are all textbooks of some kind, either physics or literature.

o - has a title with onomatopoeia
Tricky. I don’t have many children’s books, so not much chance of finding something that has “Woof-woof” or “Miaow” in the title. The Wikipedia item includes Coleridge’s “furrow followed free” as an example, so on that basis I could maybe nominate Oceano mare (a lightly less wave-like Ocean sea in English) by Alessandro Baricco.

toukokuu 16, 2:43 pm

>111 dchaikin: That one is certainly well used!

toukokuu 16, 3:09 pm

>111 dchaikin: Amazing that you’ve still got the original duct tape!

toukokuu 16, 4:05 pm

>111 dchaikin: You win!

I used to have a paperback copy of East of Eden that was in that bad a shape, but I finally broke down and replaced it!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 16, 5:19 pm

Question 19 - Round II

a - is full of adventure – The Huntress, Kate Quinn

b - has "farmer" in the title - nothing

c - is from a country whose name in English ends in the letter y (if you live in one of these countries, use a different country ending in y) – The Vanishing Sky, L. Annette Binder

d - someone gave you as a present, but you still haven't read it - why? – I can’t remember the name because it went straight to the swap shelf and someone snatched it up. But it was a vapid “inspirational” type book from a religious tradition to which I do not subscribe, and no, I’m not going into detail.

e - is written by a poet – The Big Sea, Langston Hughes’ autobiography

f - is the most battered book in your collection - how did it get that way? Probably my Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary, which is currently being held together by binder clips. I have at least a dozen knitting stitch dictionaries, but this is the one I go back to time after time, and it shows! It's been carried around in knitting bags, opened flat and pressed down on photocopier screens, loaned to friends, chewed by pets, and occasionally wept on when a particularly difficult stitch continued to elude me.

g - you go back to again and again – Hawaii, by James Michener, but I just replaced that with a Kindle edition. If you're looking for a physical book, probably Steinbeck's East of Eden -- I'm on my third copy.

h - is one of a series featuring the same main character, who is not a detective or someone of that ilk – Nurse, Come You Here, by Mary MacLeod

i - was the basis for a favourite film – Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff

j - you've had the longest – The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran - The only college-era book to survive two marriages, nine moves, and 5+ decades!

k - has a cover in your edition that you find striking – Cosmos, Carl Sagan

l - you've read in a second language - monolingual, so no candidates

m - you'd love to be able to read in its original language – Hamlet - Because "you have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon." (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that.)

n - has "theory" in the title, but isn't a work or textbook - nothing

o - has a title with onomatopeia - Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy, by Hallie Lieberman

toukokuu 16, 5:46 pm

Question 19 (A Poor Showing from Me)

a - is full of adventure: The City & The City

b - has "farmer" in the title: The Old Farmer's Almanac Colonial Cookbook

c - is from a country whose name in English ends in the letter y (if you live in one of these countries, use a different country ending in y) Will come back to this….maybe…

d - someone gave you as a present, but you still haven't read it - why? Can’t think of any….

e - is written by a poet: Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood is a writer and poet; you didn’t specifically ask for one of their poetry collections {:-)

f - is the most battered book in your collection - how did it get that way? Really, I can’t think of one.

g - you go back to again and again: Handmaid’s Tale

h - is one of a series featuring the same main character, who is not a detective or someone of that ilk….I’m going to go with Harry Seldon of the “Foundation” series (SF)

i - was the basis for a favourite film: Doctor Zhivago

j - you've had the longest: The Little Schoolteacher by Kate Douglas Wiggin

k - has a cover in your edition that you find striking: (no comment)

l - you've read in a second language — Around the World in 80 Days

m - you'd love to be able to read in its original language … (no comment)

n - has "theory" in the title, but isn't a work or textbook: The Theory of Clouds by Stephane Audeguy

o - has a title with omnamatopeia (too easy to get these off the web….)

toukokuu 16, 5:57 pm

>113 markon: >114 thorold: >115 LyndaInOregon: that dictionary dates from my Freshman year in college (1991) and lasted until … well, awhile. It was my go to. It wasn’t until 2013 that i got a smart phone and eventually moved to “the Free Dictionary by Farlex” app. Now, of course, i need to keep it around for nostalgia.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 16, 7:24 pm

a - is full of adventure the three musketeers

b - has "farmer" in the title Farmer Brown's Barnyard Tales well loved series from my classroom collection

c - is from a country whose name in English ends in the letter y (if you live in one of these countries, use a different country ending in y) ?

d - someone gave you as a present, but you still haven't read it - why? tuesdays with morrie havent read it because of the it being too sacarrine and sold it back to a used bookstore

e - is written by a poet inside out and back again

f - is the most battered book in your collection - how did it get that way? songs of peace,freedom and protest so battered from me using the music to practice guitar, and me flipping through it to find lyrics to sing to, that it fell apart and I now have another copy. Of all of them favorite song is "bread and roses

g - you go back to again and again wolf hall, good omens, hitchikers guide trilogy, once and future king

h - is one of a series featuring the same main character, who is not a detective or someone of that ilk just one damned thing after another

i - was the basis for a favourite film The Talented Mr Ripley

j - you've had the longest kim had since I was 16.

k - has a cover in your edition that you find striking major pettigrew last stand

l - you've read in a second language x

m - you'd love to be able to read in its original language dangerous liasons

n - has "theory" in the title, but isn't a work or textbook X

o - has a title with omnamatopeia the snake who said shhhh

toukokuu 16, 7:29 pm

>116 LyndaInOregon: it was a vapid “inspirational” type book from a religious tradition

yup. If I wanted a sugary morsel they could just give m e dark chocolate instead

toukokuu 16, 7:38 pm

QUESTION 19: Round II - Name a Book You Have that

a - is full of adventure The Sot Weed Factor by John Barth

b - has "farmer" in the title. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

c - is from a country whose name in English ends in the letter y (if you live in one of these countries, use a different country ending in y). The Life of Cesare Borgia by Rafael Sabatini - Italy

d - someone gave you as a present, but you still haven't read it - why? Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of an American Troubadour Haven’t gotten to it.

e - is written by a poet. I never Told Anybody: Teaching Poetry Writing to Old People Kenneth Koch

f - is the most battered book in your collection - how did it get that way? Poems by Robert Burns--Reprinted from the Original Editions with Explanatory Notes - been in the family a long time

g - you go back to again and again The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach

h - is one of a series featuring the same main character, who is not a detective or someone of that ilk. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies - part of the Deptford Trilogy. It’s not the same person in each book but it’s not a mystery series.

i - was the basis for a favourite film Thirty-nine Steps

j - you've had the longest In the Winter of Cities - poetry by Tennessee Williams


k - has a cover in your edition that you find striking

l - you've read in a second language

m - you'd love to be able to read in its original language

n - has "theory" in the title, but isn't a work or textbook

o - has a title with omnamatopeia

toukokuu 16, 9:19 pm

>99 SassyLassy: Q18 - Travel Reading

I've done some wonderful reading while traveling. I definitely look for books set in the location that I'm travelling to, but I don't limit to that. It really depends on what is going on during my trip though. On my recent trip to England and Italy, I did very little reading just because we didn't have a lot of downtime. I also used to read on trains, but now I just like to look out the window and enjoy being somewhere else and observing where I am (I think that's a holdover from having travel cancelled during COVID). I also used to read on planes, but now with the wide variety of entertainment available at your fingertips on overseas flights, I catch up on movies that I haven't been able to see. Although my system froze on my way home the other day and so I read the last 200 pages of my novel rather than bugging the flight attendant to reset my screen.

Memorable holiday reads and fails:

1. Tried to read James Mitchener's Caribbean on my Caribbean cruise honeymoon. I'd liked other books of his, but this one just didn't click. On the plane coming home we met a couple who had spent two weeks on some obscure island and the husband said he'd had a great time and read 11 books. I looked at my husband and said "that's the vacation I want to take one day". (We've been married almost 30 years and have never taken another cruise)

2. Reading Ishiguro's Remains of the Day on my first driving tour of England when the protagonist described driving narrow roads bordered by hedgerows. My husband has PTSD from those roads.

3. Spending a day on the beach in Maui ignoring my husband and kids while I was engrossed in Enduring Love by Ian McEwan (beginning to end in one sitting). Who is that annoying man with those girls and why do they keep talking to me?

4. An earlier trip to Maui where my husband was busy at a conference and I'd taken along She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb because it had a watery blue cover. Such a fail as a beach read, and really a terrible book too. My alternate read that trip was a non-fiction book about James Cook that was too academic. Fail!

5. When I was 19, I spent December and January in Papua New Guinea, and had lots of time to read. My only source of books was the missionary library (which had a decent selection, including books about cannibalism that I didn't get to). I read countless Agatha Christies, and the Thorn Birds, and having just spent 3 months in Australia I was all over the moon about. One day my sister-in-law and I spent the entire day just reading and it was glorious.

6. When I went to Australia at 19 I didn't realize I craved reading so much, so I didn't take anything to read with me. Within two weeks I felt starved and was in a second hand bookshop looking for something I could afford (books in Australia were CRAZY expensive there compared to Canada at the time). An older couple* helped me decided on Papillon, a thick book I'd never have picked up on my own and loved. And it took me weeks to read, so it was perfect. *Older - not sure, but I'm going to say they were early 30s. A friend that I met took a wonderful picture of me sleeping with Papillon clearly displayed. I love that picture.

7. No books listed here, but I used to get a lot of reading done when we went to Italy because we had days that were just visiting my husband's family and I didn't understand or speak Italian and really they just wanted to unload their problems on him. On this recent (my 6th) trip, I can now understand enough Italian, and he doesn't let them carry on anymore . . . so we were out doing more, and no time to read. But I do have nice memories of reading great books while family drama was going on in the background that didn't involve me, and that my husband would just shake his head and roll his eyes when we reconnected.

toukokuu 18, 9:30 am

>111 dchaikin: Best ever!

>112 thorold: h - Sometimes I fall into the error of thinking everyone can read my mind, but when they don't it often leads to great twists like this! I completely understand the idea of not reading anymore because would probably spoil the magic to try any of the sequels, or indeed to reread it….
However, is there one book in a series you actually have that also fits?
k - great cover

>116 LyndaInOregon: c -had to look this up - Germany
d - I thought some of those "vapid inspirational" books might show up here.

>117 avaland: e -glad you and others picked up on this not necessarily being poetry

>119 cindydavid4: f- love this explanation

>121 dianeham: was that the old black and white Thirty-Nine Steps? The ending was different from the novel, which somewhat threw me off, but otherwise it was well done.
Hope you come back for the rest.

>122 Nickelini: Re Papillon as a thick book: some friends of mine travelling in Bali back about that time told me that English language paperbacks were priced be thickness, as it was so difficult to get books in English

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 18, 11:02 am

>123 SassyLassy: h: Well, according to I have books from 498 series in my library! When you filter out the duplicates, the publisher series, the detectives, the non-fiction, the series where I only have one book, and the series where there is no repeated central character, that still leaves quite a lot to choose from.

Stabbing a pin in the list, how about Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage?

>116 LyndaInOregon:, >121 dianeham: c:
I must have had a complete mental block there, somehow the only countries ending in y I could think of were Uruguay and Paraguay, even though there are quite a few others much nearer at hand and much better represented in my library! It looks as though I have at least something in my library for seven of them, and with a bit of cheating I could probably manage Vatican City as well. The “Territories with names ending in y” are harder, since half of them are in the Antarctic. I can probably manage Jersey and Guernsey, with a bit of cheating…

toukokuu 18, 11:57 am

>123 SassyLassy: remember reading Papillon when I was in Israel as a kibbutz volunteer. dont remember it being thick but remember it was falling apart about the time I wa coming home

toukokuu 18, 5:46 pm

>124 thorold: Pilgrimage certainly counts

>125 cindydavid4: But did it fall apart as much as Dan's? (see 111 above)

toukokuu 18, 7:36 pm

Ha! well, it was paperback so using any kind of tape wouldnt do much good. Kept it together with a rubber band then finally tossed when that didn't work. So in proportion the paperback looked as bad a his hardback. So its a wash!

toukokuu 19, 2:27 pm

Coming in late . . . .

QUESTION 19: Round II - Name a Book You Have that

a - is full of adventure
The Adventures of Captain David Grief by Jack London

b - has "farmer" in the title
Not quite "farmer," but
A Farm: Reflections of Yesteryear by Philippe Dumas

c - is from a country whose name in English ends in the letter y (if you live in one of these countries, use a different country ending in y)
A Time For Trolls: Fairy Tales From Norway

d - someone gave you as a present, but you still haven't read it - why?
Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life by Bill Madden - I just haven’t gotten around to it.

e - is written by a poet
Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes

f - is the most battered book in your collection - how did it get that way?
A collection of Balzac’s Short Stories from a series called Great Short Stories. As to how it got that way, you’d have to ask my father, as it was his.

g - you go back to again and again
Heart of Darkness

h - is one of a series featuring the same main character, who is not a detective or someone of that ilk
The Ghost Writer, the first book of Philip Roth’s featuring fiction writer Nathan Zuckerman

i - was the basis for a favourite film
I'll go with Heart of Darkness again, as the basis for the movie Apocalypse Now

j - you've had the longest
Horton Hatches the Egg

k - has a cover in your edition that you find striking
The Growth of the Soil, by Knut Hamsen. My Modern Library Edition cover:

l - you've read in a second language
The only book I can claim to have read in a second language is The Little Prince, which I read in French class in 11th grade.

m - you'd love to be able to read in its original language
I’d love to be able to read Väinö Linna’s Under the North Star trilogy in the original Finnish

n - has "theory" in the title, but isn't a work or textbook
Theory of War by Joan Brady, a novel about the Civil War that I haven’t read yet.

o - has a title with omnamatopeia
Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Asian-American Writers edited by Mark Chin and others

toukokuu 20, 12:12 am

>123 SassyLassy: Sorry I didn't specify that The Vanishing Sky was set in Germany. Brain fart!

toukokuu 24, 10:56 am

Sneaking in before the question changes...

QUESTION 19: Round II - Name a Book You Have that

a - is full of adventure: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

b - has "farmer" in the title: The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, Recipes for Using Eggs from Farmers' Markets, Local Farms, and Your Own Backyard

c - is from a country whose name in English ends in the letter y (if you live in one of these countries, use a different country ending in y): The Pendragon legend by Antal Szerb (Hungary)

d - someone gave you as a present, but you still haven't read it - why?: From Eve to Dawn, volume 1 of a series of women's history that is daunting in its length

e - is written by a poet: Memories look at me : a memoir by Tomas Tranströmer

f - is the most battered book in your collection - how did it get that way?: Poems of Henry W. Longfellow was chewed by a puppy but since it was my great-grandfather's, I've kept it.

g - you go back to again and again: Sibley Guide to Birds

h - is one of a series featuring the same main character, who is not a detective or someone of that ilk: Outlander features a twentieth century nurse in the eighteenth century

i - was the basis for a favourite film: Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth

j - you've had the longest: hard to say as I still have a lot of books from my childhood. Perhaps The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

k - has a cover in your edition that you find striking: Wuthering Heights with etching by Fritz Eichenberg

l - you've read in a second language: Boule de suif by Guy de Maupassant

m - you'd love to be able to read in its original language: Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata because even in translation the language was beautifully poetic

n - has "theory" in the title, but isn't a work or textbook: Theory of War by Joan Brady, an historical novel of the American Civil War

o - has a title with omnamatopeia: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

toukokuu 25, 9:44 am

>130 labfs39: Guess I'll sneak mine in too. Always happy to see Swallows and Amazons in a response!

Name a Book: Round II

a - is full of adventure - The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson adventure, and fun too

b - has "farmer" in the title A Farmer's Year: Being his Commonplace Book for 1898 by Rider Haggard - not the kind of book you expect from this author, and I like the idea of commonplace books

c - is from a country whose name in English ends in the letter y (if you live in one of these countries, use a different country ending in y) The Door by Magda Szabó - Hungary

d - someone gave you as a present, but you still haven't read it - why? - not telling - don't want the giver to know!

e - is written by a poet - The Heart of Midlothian by Walter Scott - not always thought of as a poet today, but in his time his poetry was widely read

f - is the most battered book in your collection - how did it get that way? - a toss up between Middlemarch and Smallwood the Unlikely Revolutionary, one through sheer usage, and the other from being caught and crushed in some nasty grease in my wonderful old TR6, unfortunately long gone (the car and Smallwood that is, not the book}

g - you go back to again and again - the above mentioned Middlemarch

h - is one of a series featuring the same main character, who is not a detective or someone of that ilk - Wolf Hall, the first of the Mantel trilogy featuring Thomas Cromwell

i - was the basis for a favourite film - definitely Doctor Zhivago

j - you've had the longest - difficult to know, as some of my books were given to me when I was an infant, but I suspect Now We Are Six

k - has a cover in your edition that you find striking - The Children's Book by A S Byatt - the embossing and colours don't stand out as well here as in the real thing

l - you've read in a second language - La Cousine Bette by Honoré de Balzac

m - you'd love to be able to read in its original language - Crime and Punishment

n - has "theory" in the title, but isn't a work or textbook - The Theory of the Leisure Class, an older book which still says a lot

o - has a title with omnamatopeia - drawing a blank here - lots of alliteration though - possibly The Wind in the Willows depending on how the "w" is pronounced

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 26, 3:45 pm

image from CTV news

QUESTION 20: Inappropriate Books

We've spoken of banned books and censorship before, but in some parts of the world, the insidious process of removing books from schools and libraries is becoming pervasive. The most recent example is Amanda Gorman's inauguration poem being removed from a Florida elementary school library after a parent complained of indirect "hate messages".

Is this where book banning starts?

Have you experienced instances where books were withheld from you at school or work because of their content?

If you participate in a religious group, does it list proscribed books?

Do you feel there are certain books children shouldn't read based on the age of the child, or do you leave it to the child to discover that the book is beyond him or her?

Should there be a process to get the complainants to actually read the books they want banned, before this happens? How would you design this?*

Any and all thoughts welcome.


See edited version of this in >147 SassyLassy: below. Original question not edited so that Keith's comments make sense.

toukokuu 25, 1:12 pm

Q20: Inappropriate Books

I don’t have much to add: I was lucky enough to grow up in a time and place where we had access to (almost) anything we wanted to read, and where the mood of the times was distinctly against restrictions of any kind. It doesn’t seem to have done me any harm.

I don’t have children myself, but I can accept that it’s reasonable that the parents of at least young children should have the right to protect their children from reading things that they consider potentially distressing or harmful. But it also seems to me that the act of sending a child to school involves putting your trust in the professional skill of the teachers there, and accepting their judgment on what kind of texts should be used in the classroom or available to kids in the library. I don’t see how schools can function properly in a system where any parent can stick their oar in at any moment and insist on the curriculum being revised. And where that kind of discussion invariably blows up into a big political row. I’d hate to be a teacher, or a student, in that kind of setup.

And it all seems pointless: it’s not real censorship, just silly political gesturing. I’m sure the more intelligent of those Florida kids all Googled “Amanda Gorman” on their phones as soon as they heard about it. When I think about my mother going to primary school in Germany in the 1930s, it’s a different story…

toukokuu 25, 3:24 pm

Deleted comments on Florida and the US in general.


As for personal experience: I grew up with practically unrestrained access to print. Certainly, my parents weren't actively putting inadequate fare into my hands, but neither did they exercise such control that I couldn't sneak stuff off the top shelves. Just the vague sense that something is "for adults" and not for children did make me curious. My dad kept a lot of politics, philosophy etc. in his study. This, unlike the living room library, was less exposed, but I still managed, in his absence, to take stock of it. I remember pulling out Das Kapital at the tender age of eight or so. I understood only the epigraph: "Segui il tuo corso e lascia dir le genti!", nodded sagely, and put it back.

I wasn't aware of any political censorship and can't think of any now. Pulp fiction and pornography were long available. So were foreign language press and books. (In Yugoslavia; I suppose there were various restrictions in Syria and Egypt.)

I've no idea how one would go about delineating what is and isn't suitable for children, except that I think the emphasis should be on expression and language. If, as is currently the case in Croatia, it is found "suitable" for children to teach them catechism, then it ought to be equally suitable to teach them that atheism is an option.

Identity-based discrimination should simply be illegal and not countenanced in any degree to begin with. LGBTQ people, racialised people, ethnic and other minorities exist and this simple fact is why there ought be books about and with them.

People who are demanding that these books be banned are not just fomenting civil discord, they are preventing society from cohering into a cooperative unit. They read "hate" into poems written celebrating the passing of hate. They are saboteurs, they are oppressors, and tomorrow they will call to take arms to preserve their dominance.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 25, 3:49 pm

What does banning really mean post-internet? It’s largely symbolic, a postering. It’s also awkwardly promotional (banned books sell). And accidentally impacts only those with limited means to access stuff not in their school libraries.

What was most disturbing to me, personally, was a neighbor who posted about books their daughter were assigned that has sexual content. One was by Margaret Atwood. They parent had a passionate fb post and got shares from other parents. But they hadn’t read the books, hadn’t contacted the school or teacher and got the assignment and books wrong. It was a religious mom big scary world freak out, maybe. It bothers me that this was even tolerated. This to me should have been a humiliating moment for original poster. Instead she was encouraged.

But mostly I feel like banning books today is an effort to grab attention to oneself, and glam their privilege.

Is this where book banning starts? i think backhanded book banning is book banning. It’s not a start, it’s an already full-on process

Have you experienced instances where books were withheld from you at school or work because of their content? no

If you participate in a religious group, does it list proscribed books? - it’s not a Reformed Jewish thing. No.

Do you feel there are certain books children shouldn't read based on the age of the child, or do you leave it to the child to discover that the book is beyond him or her? No limit to access. But forcing is different. Assignments are a version of forcing a work on a child. So there should be some form of universally acceptable stuff. So, maybe that’s a yes.

Should there be a process to get the complainants to actually read the books they want banned, before this happens? How would you design this? there should be really high standards. Complainants should have read the work and gone past various predefined issues. Ideally, there should be an easy way to dispose of bad complaints without drawing attention. I think that if school boards deal with more than one a year, then standards on complainants aren’t high enough 🙂

toukokuu 25, 4:32 pm

My parents were not huge readers, and I don't know that they ever knew what I was reading other than seeing it at the breakfast table. They gave me rides to college libraries starting in middle school so I could get things unavailable locally, so they facilitated my reading. No one cared what I read in school either, as long as it wasn't Anna Karenina in history class when I was bored. In short I was a completely unfettered reader.

As a parent, however, I did run into an issue once. My daughter grew up on a diet of LM Montgomery and Eleanor Estes, as she was very empathic and had trouble with any violence or discord. I had to read the Harry Potter books and tell her the gist so that she would fit in socially but not have to read them herself. In second grade she was assigned a novel about a boy during the Gold Rush. In it dogs were abused and a person's leg was amputated with a searing knife due to frostbite. She was traumatized. I was a bit surprised that this was assigned to seven-year-olds, but I simply explained to the teacher and she gave my daughter a different book to read. It was a case of a book not working for my kid, but who am I to say it wouldn't be thrilling for another? If a parent doesn't like a book, why can't they just ask the teacher for an alternative? And if a parent wants to monitor their child's reading, get another copy and read along with them, or go with them to the library. Why try to dictate for everyone? I just don't understand that mentality.

What I find terrifying is the new law in Florida restricting what can be taught in universities and colleges.

The bill specifies that a Florida College System (FCS) institution, state university, or associated support organization may not expend any funds for programs or campus activities that violate the FEEA*; advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion; or promote or engage in political or social activism.

The bill establishes content standards in the general education core subject areas, and specifies that general education core courses may not distort significant historical events or teach identity politics and specified concepts related to discrimination.

* Florida Educational Equity Act

toukokuu 25, 4:51 pm

My parents never worried about what I was reading, and there were never any restrictions on what I could check out of the local library. (It wasn't a particularly good library, this being a very small and very poor town, but I was allowed free run of the place.)

I think schools, teachers, and librarians generally do a good job of choosing books that are age appropriate as part of their curricula. There might be cases in which a parent finds book X unsuitable for child Y for some reason, but such cases should be very rare. Being exposed to uncomfortable ideas and historical realities, and learning how to deal with that discomfort in an adult fashion instead of simply crying "take it away! don't make me look at it!" is (or at least should be) a critical part of education.

"Should there be a process to get the complainants to actually read the books they want banned, before this happens?"

I reject the premise of the question, which is that there should be a process that allows books to be banned. If anything, the process should work in the other direction: Parents and concerned citizens should be easily able to demand that material be added to the collection to make it more representative of the community, not removed to make it less so.

toukokuu 25, 5:01 pm

>134 LolaWalser: LGBTQ people, racialised people, ethnic and other minorities exist and this simple fact is why there ought be books about and with them.

YES. The full awareness of that, and the availability of books that fit that slot, was the one really big thing that was missing when I was at school. Now that such books have been and are being written, there is absolutely no excuse for not making them available to kids.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 25, 6:57 pm

>137 KeithChaffee: Being exposed to uncomfortable ideas and historical realities, and learning how to deal with that discomfort in an adult fashion instead of simply crying "take it away! don't make me look at it!" is (or at least should be) a critical part of education.

Surely not all seven-year-olds need learn to deal in an adult fashion to all historical realities. Having been both a teacher and librarian, I feel that children are individuals and mature and develop at different rates. I do not believe that one size need fit all. Just as not all children at that age can even read at the same levels and thus require differentiation. The very best teachers and librarians, in my opinion, are able to reach children where they are and encourage and inspire, not push them to accept adult realities before they are ready. (Again, we are speaking of very young children not tweens or teens.)

I gave the example as the only time in my life either as a student or parent where I encountered any sort of issue with an assigned book, and it was easily resolved without any fuss. The class was reading three different books (due to differences in reading ability), and my daughter simply switched to one of the other books being taught in the class. I do not believe that she missed out on a critical part of education.

Edited to add link to post

toukokuu 25, 8:08 pm

>139 labfs39: Fair enough; “adult” was the wrong word. But yes, I do think that there are age-appropriate ways to introduce even young children to the uglier parts of history, and that parents should not — except under very rare, very unusual circumstances — be allowed to “protect” their children from those realities. That’s censoring of those kids’ education just as much as outright book banning is.

toukokuu 25, 9:36 pm

I grew up Catholic in the 50s & 60s. The Catholic church had the "index" of forbidden books. When I was 18 I went to a Catholic women’s college and they had all those books locked away in a special part of the library. I think you could get access if it was academically needed. I didn’t last very long at that school so I never got to see the secret room.

toukokuu 25, 10:59 pm

>136 labfs39: I blanced when I read that; I do not understand how such a bill is constitutional and I suspect this will be appealed or fought by the American Civil Liberties Union. And its not just Florida. In AZ the legislature, with the superintendent of instructions lead, will fine teachers if caught teaching advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion; or distort significant historical events or teach identity politics and specified concepts related to discrimination Thank goodness we have a democratic governor who will veto the hell out of this. But it sickens me

>136 labfs39: Im sorry that happened to your daughter; I can empathize I remember reading The Red Pony in 5th grade and that really upset me. I think schools need to give parent options if they dont want there child to read something; but not to outrght ban it

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 25, 11:38 pm

in the 60s the ed director at our synagoge often included mention of the Holocaust in our Sunday School classes. I was about 5. I didnt really understand till I read Diary of Anne Frank in 5th grade. when I suddenly realized what he was talking about. I wasnt protected, no one complained and he wasnt censored; considering how little my parents talked about it, it was probably a good thing we were being exposed to it. But I agree with Lisa; schools need to consider age and understanding of material before its introduced and let parents know what they will be reading. and alternative reads need to be allowed.

toukokuu 25, 11:36 pm

Have you experienced instances where books were withheld from you at school or work because of their content?

In HS there was a gated section of books labled "for AP students only" (advanced placement) because I was one of the lucky ones I was allowed to check them out. I don't remember any book in particular; I do remember passing them on to other kids who wanted to read them....

At the childrens museum I volunteer at, one book I was planning to read for story time had paper covering a page. When I looked, it showed a black and white drawing of some people dancing naked. I was told a parent complained. I do know that during the holidays we are encourage to chose non religious books to read, which Im ok with. They dont ban religious books but suggest to keep other religions in mind

If you participate in a religious group, does it list proscribed books?

Jews have always prized learning and reading was always a big part of our religious instruction. I do not recall any rabbi talking about banning books tho that might be different in Orthodox or Hasidic communities

Do you feel there are certain books children shouldn't read based on the age of the child, or do you leave it to the child to discover that the book is beyond him or her?

We had complete freedom to read what we wanted, and I remember asking my dad if I had questions, and he never restricted what I was reading (he did catch me reading Valley of the Dolls and told me to give it to him when I finished cox he wanted to read it!) I would hope that all children are given that freedom but I know thats not the case

Its the job of schools and librarys to offer a wide range of books available to kids of any age. With their guidance Id leave it u to the child. If I had kids, I might explain to them what its about and let them decide if they want to read it.

Children dont know books are out there unless they are introduced by librarians and teachers. So this banning is making teachers and libraries look like the enemies to parents. I just dont get this.

Last thought: Kids get "inappropriate messages" from movies, tv programs, commercials, are we going to censor everything?

Should there be a process to get the complainants to actually read the books they want banned, before this happens? How would you design this?

Impossible to do unless a judge tells the complaining parent to read the book before the case will be considered. Then we are depending on judges which isn't always good either

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 25, 11:42 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

toukokuu 26, 3:41 pm

>137 KeithChaffee: I reject the premise of the question, which is that there should be a process that allows books to be banned.

Thanks for following that through. You are absolutely right, given how I worded the question.* I did not think of it as a step toward banning as the conclusion.

*original question before editing: Should there be a process to get the complainants to actually read the books they want banned, before this happens?

toukokuu 26, 3:44 pm

Rephrasing a question in >132 SassyLassy: thanks to >137 KeithChaffee:

Should there be a process to get the complainants to actually read the books they want banned? How would you design this process? If complainants did actually read the books, and still wanted a ban, what then?

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 26, 7:41 pm

>147 SassyLassy: re what then? - you might have a more intelligent conversation. It’s always possible someone has a valid reason for wanting a book filtered. But it would be nice to weed out the crazies without granting them attention - it feels like crazies drive 99.999% of ban efforts.

toukokuu 27, 10:40 am

>132 SassyLassy: Q20 - inappropriate books (WaPo gift link)
Apparently most individual complaints are from relatively few people. This doesn't seem to cover e.g. school boards though.

I'm in an adjacent county to the intelligent design trial and a more recent book ban which was vigorously protested.

I don't recall being told I couldn't read anything as a kid. This was the 1960s-70s, and school and public library books were relatively tame. At age 11 or so I read Black Like Me borrowed from the next door neighbor, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X plucked off a shelf at home, without understanding much of the context. Nothing of this sort was at school that I'm aware of, but I'm often oblivious to cultural stuff so I may be wrong. The next door neighbor was a UCC minister and on the faculty of the local theological seminary, and involved in various civil rights and anti-war activities. In my family, a brief stint with the UU church fizzled out and that was that for religion.

>147 SassyLassy: My policy would be along the lines of you can express concern about anything your child is reading, and perhaps make alternative arrangements depending on the situation, but you can't ban a book for everyone else. If numerous parents are alarmed about a particular book or the way it is being discussed, that's a useful signal for a school to regard community sensitivities in the approach.

toukokuu 27, 11:15 am

I still have a notepad with answers to Q19 in the works, but Q20, oy. Censorship/freedom to read challenges are something I read up on every day for my job, and my thoughts are big on the subject. Suffice it to say I don't believe in censorship in any form, or limiting the books that kids, teens, and adults need to be able to access to help them make sense of or celebrate their lives and differences.

Of course there's material that's not appropriate for kids and teens, but library and school collection development staff are trained to filter that out of their collections. Nobody's putting porn on the shelves. On the other hand, any kid who has a cell phone or internet connection—or a friend who does—can see extremely inappropriate content any time they want to. Far, far worse than anything on a library shelf. The school and library—and now state legislation—book-banning efforts originate less with legitimate concerns and more because libraries are a convenient political battleground for the far Right. Readers are the pawns here.

I grew up reading whatever I wanted off of my parents shelves—no one ever thought to ask what I was looking at, much less keep me away from it. A lot of it was age-inappropriate, but none of it traumatizing, even if I didn't completely get what was going on). Not just my mom's copy of Fear of Flying, which at least had some literary merit, but even the brown-paper wrapped copies of The Happy Hooker that one friend brought to school in seventh grade and that we passed around endlessly. I obviously didn't get the dark power dynamics involved in prostitution at that age, but instead remember taking away what Hollander clearly wanted as her selling point: a certain transgressive, titillating sex-positivity. What did traumatize me? Sybil, which was on every paperback rack in every drugstore in the '70s, was the subject of a made-for-TV movie with Sally Field, and gave me nightmares for years (about multiple personality disorder that evolved from extreme child abuse).

>137 KeithChaffee: I reject the premise of the question, which is that there should be a process that allows books to be banned. If anything, the process should work in the other direction: Parents and concerned citizens should be easily able to demand that material be added to the collection to make it more representative of the community, not removed to make it less so.

Agreed that there should not be a process for outright banning. But in public libraries, at least, having a process for challenging or expressing concern about a book has to be included in library policy. Because a library is a publicly funded entity, the public can request reconsiderations or file statements of concern as part of their legal and constitutional right to petition the government—and not every request originates with a pro-censorship group’s agenda. Having those policies actually benefits libraries, and serves as a kind of pressure valve to address legitimate questions and leave librarians more resources to battle the Moms for Liberty–type groups.

toukokuu 27, 3:27 pm

>150 lisapeet: What would you consider a legitimate reason to have a book banned from a library's collection? I'm struggling to see how such requests can be anything but "pro-censorship."

toukokuu 27, 4:45 pm

>151 KeithChaffee: I don't think there's ever a legitimate reason to ban a book, unless I suppose some violent white supremacist text had made it into the collection somehow. But as per the discussion of age appropriateness above, if a parent feels that a book in the children's area, say, should be in the teen or adult section, they have the right to be heard out on that. And in fact they have the right to be heard on any request—which doesn't mean that the library (or its board) have to act on that request, and that should be spelled out clearly in the library's policy. A challenge or expression of concern doesn't equate to banning. But the strong-arm pressures of these groups and politicians are doing their best to blur those lines.

toukokuu 27, 6:55 pm

>151 KeithChaffee: no answer, but as a point of departure, consider really sinister misinformation - the types that encourage racist, or antisemitic, or other views that, if believed, can cause harm. Do you want holocaust-denial books shelved next to scholarly history books? That kind of thing. (Of course, you have that online anyway)

toukokuu 27, 7:06 pm

>153 dchaikin: Those titles wouldn't belong in the average public or school library, but those librarians wouldn't choose those titles for their collections in the first place. But they have a place in university or other research libraries.

toukokuu 29, 3:10 am

Right. Make them write a book report explaining - with page citations - exactly what the problem with the book is. If they can't write such a report, their complaint will not be considered (and the person taking the book report will check for plagiarism!).

I have known (and been a) children who could read at a high level and handle just about anything, and ones who could read at a high level but couldn't handle...violence, ghosts, animal harm, whatever. And ones who weren't great readers (at or below grade level) but could handle any subject, and ones who could neither read above grade level nor handle some subjects. The parents should have a say, the teachers should have a say, and definitely the child should have a say - but it should be, as above, a different book for that child at that time, not banning a book for everyone.

Unfortunately "should be" and "is" are very far apart these days, in various locations for various reasons. Argh.

toukokuu 29, 3:37 am

>152 lisapeet: A challenge or expression of concern doesn't equate to banning. But the strong-arm pressures of these groups and politicians are doing their best to blur those lines.

Yes, that’s the problem. And the conflict is rarely about the actual book, in reality: as I understand it, the objectors are primarily out to persuade uncommitted parents that there is a conspiracy of dangerous radical teachers and librarians determined to indoctrinate their children with subversive ideas, and that society as we know it today will break down unless we vote for the right-wing populist of the moment. So it’s all about maximum fuss and publicity, minimum rational argument.

toukokuu 29, 8:37 am

>156 thorold: Such as in Florida where the cry was originally, "save the children from dangerous and subversive books" and has now extended to universities. How is that protecting children? It never was about the kids for the majority of the loudest voices. It was a way to get a toehold.

toukokuu 29, 10:47 am

>155 jjmcgaffey: Some libraries' Request for Reconsideration policies require the person filing it to live in the library's service district, which I think is a good and easily enforceable condition.

>156 thorold: >157 labfs39: Exactly. Libraries are the battlegrounds, but the ones getting hurt are the individuals who need to be able to access these books.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 29, 8:39 pm

>153 dchaikin:> >154 KeithChaffee: >144 cindydavid4: I come from a country that once banned books. Lady Chatterly’ Lover was banned, as well as a kids’ book for children in hospital called “Fun in Bed” . By banned it mean completely censored.

The upshot was a large number of people left the country and went to the UK. Australia had a brain drain.

I can’t see how we can ban or make access to books so difficult that they are unattainable to be allowed in a country that believes in free speech.

I’m talking of access by adults here. The pushing of ideologies on children is a completely different matter, no matter what form that forcing takes.

toukokuu 29, 11:25 pm

>159 kjuliff: I’m interested in the books in question that are pushing ideologies on children. Pulling a blank. Can you elaborate?

Does a book have to be assigned reading? Or is any book sitting on a classroom or library shelf equally questionable?

toukokuu 29, 11:32 pm

>160 Nickelini: I don’t know of any such books. I know there are allegations leveled at some school boards in Florida. I know that some books have been removed from some school libraries.

I put that sentence in to cover myself. But it may be there are some books that some parents think are inappropriate and that are pushing gender identification and pronouns.

toukokuu 30, 9:25 am

>152 lisapeet: Interesting and somewhat reassuring view of how the public library works. How is the Board selected though?

>160 Nickelini: My mind just turned the "pushing ideologies" thought around, and for some reason went to how bland children's books, and consequently vocabularies, are becoming in cases where the publisher (Oxford Junior Dictionary) has removed what I would think of as "neutral" words: acorn, conker, otter, to name just a few. That's without getting into less neutral words!

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane is a beautiful book dealing with words from the natural world

toukokuu 30, 10:11 am

>162 SassyLassy: That’s a good point. And changing words is a form of censorship and is pushing an ideology. The people doing this are keeping the meaning of words from children.

One would hope the choice and placement of books in libraries would be done by professional library curators. Having parents involved is bound to bring in politics. And unfortunately the school librarians are often under pressure.

Re the peer of the school boards in the USA, I’m not used to school-based parent groups policing content. I can see problems where schools differ in what is taught sand read on such a small level. Surely if brook A is dangerous in area A in a state (let alone at the across states level) it is dangerous for all children.

toukokuu 30, 11:24 am

>163 kjuliff: Books in the running brooks?

toukokuu 30, 2:19 pm

It's funny how one hears accusations about "ideology" whenever the topic of diversity and minorities comes up, but never in connection with the relentless, ubiquitous, smugly self-satisfied utterly suffocating propaganda for heteronormativity and the bourgeoisie.

kesäkuu 1, 1:13 pm

New month, new thread, new question - follow the link

kesäkuu 1, 1:21 pm


kesäkuu 1, 1:35 pm

>167 cindydavid4: You're quick on the draw, quicker than LT!

kesäkuu 1, 4:17 pm

kesäkuu 3, 11:25 am

Before moving on to the next thread, >162 SassyLassy: Library boards can either be appointed by the municipal officials that have oversight of the library, or they can be elected in a general community election. I'm not sure exactly what the rules are that decide which applies to what libraries, but I think it has to do with how their funding structures are set up—independent tax district or local funding. You'd think I would know that but I'm fuzzy on those details.

kesäkuu 4, 6:23 pm

>170 lisapeet: Thanks for responding. I was wondering about the selection process as it seemed a way to manipulate content one way or another.

In the realm of the "whoever would have thought...?"

At one school I attended, it was taught in English literature class, not as religion.

kesäkuu 4, 7:37 pm

>171 SassyLassy: I think it's a way to make a statement: what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If religious conservatives want to ban LGBTQ books and those dealing with racial identity, then the same lens should be applied to books that these same religious conservatives are trying to place in the classroom. I've read the King James Bible several times as literature and taken a college course in it. But if you look at it through the lens of all these new book banning laws, there are certainly passages that would fail the test. Lot and his daughters come to mind. First he offers them to the Sodomites, then they get him drunk and sleep with him to bear his children. (That's not to say that I think it or any other books should be banned.)

kesäkuu 4, 9:30 pm

>171 SassyLassy: yup, I cheered loud over that one. Not sure how long it will last but its worth it for a place like Utah to do (I lived there for three years in the 80s and definitely found a alternative community very strong, supported by the Unitarian Church, community radio KRCL and bookstore THe Kings English. so im not surprised but very pleased)
Tämä viestiketju jatkuu täällä: QUESTIONS for the AVID READER Part IV.