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Tag-ging Along…

May 15, 2007

Mrs Blethers (Chris) has tagged me with a meme I quite like… in fact, I’m going to be adapting it for class use before the end of the week!

It consists of three questions on books and so I’m happy as the proverbial pig! Here are my answers:

How many books do you own?: Absolutely no idea! Lots is a sufficiently vague answer. They are in boxes in the attic (probably too many for safety!), on several bookshelves around the house, and the overflow sit on shelves in my classroom!

PasschendaeleLast Book I Read: They Called It Passchendaele by Lyn Macdonald. I’m the first to admit that I know more about the Somme than the Ypres Salient, and I’m busy trying to remedy that. Not least because I’ve only recently learned that I have a great-great-uncle buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery. On my recent trip, I was within sight of where he died and was buried and hadn’t realised… Macdonald’s account is a remarkable piece of research, and as the last of the survivors pass away, unlikely to be bettered.

Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me: Massive question! In no particular order I’ll go for…

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever – Stephen Donaldson (OK, I read it as a trilogy… but it’s covenantavailable as a single very big book so I reckon it counts!): I first read this a long time ago, and I’ve kept returning to re-read it over the years. It is a frustrating book at times… Donaldson goes on and on and on about Covenant’s leprosy to the extent that it verges on boring… and then with a few spectacularly chosen words, he is back on track. The one thing I took/take from the novel(s) is Donaldson’s evident love of language. This is a book for word-lovers… which leads me neatly onto my next book…

DictionaryChambers 20th Century Dictionary (Now just known as The Chambers Dictionary): Yes… dictionaries, and especially Chambers, are one of my great joys. I spent a lot of time with my nose in a Chambers 20th Century when studying for my Higher English and then my degree… often looking up words from Thomas Covenant! Another book I encountered when studying was…

Revenge of the Lawn – Richard Brautigan: Brautigan was a part of the beat movement and this collection of short stories illustrates him at his best. He is able to distill vast tracts of Americana onto a single page. At times whimsical, at times poingant, and at times hilariously funny, his writing is always thought-provoking and rewarding. One technique he used extensively was the extended metaphor, and in this respect, I always found him redolent of John Donne who wrote…

Donne01Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions – John Donne: I adore Donne! He is clever and obscure and emotional and richly satisfying! I could have picked his poetry, but it is the Devotions (sermons) that have moved me most as I have grown up and had to deal with that which life has thrown at me. I know it’s a cliché, but I still feel that Donne’s Meditation XVII has one of the most prescient statements on humankind:

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee…

Papa Hemingway sure knew where to find a good title!

And for my final choice… (cue drum roll!)…

MortMort – Terry Pratchett: I like to laugh, and Terry Pratchett has caused me to laugh out loud more than any other writer. I’ve chosen Mort, but just about any of his recent Discworld novels would have done. Anyone who thinks that Death speaks in capital letters is on to something… and of late, his novels have developed into very thinly disguised commentaries on our own society. Pratchett has easily assumed the mantle of Swift!

* * *

And so there you have it! I’m supposed to be preparing for a very important meeting (I’ll tell you about it later!), and thanks to Chris I’m in for yet another very late night… the very least I can do is pass on the favour so, step up to the plate: John, Drew, Liz, Ollie and Christian!

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2007 6:44 am

    Orra best for that meeting! Sorry about the late night – but I had one because of Ewan….

    See you soon.

  2. May 16, 2007 8:35 am

    Thanks Chris… do the letters PT mean anything to you? 😉

  3. May 16, 2007 10:56 pm

    Yes … yes …and you’re smiling? Is that a yes?

  4. May 16, 2007 11:41 pm

    Interview is at 9am, Thursday 17th… I should know sometime in the afternoon…

    Just as well I’m not an avid twitter user as most of my comments at the moment would be to do with unsavoury mid-riff movements! Nervous… me… never! (as if!)

  5. May 17, 2007 1:49 pm

    It’s nearly 3pm on Thursday. Wish you did twitter!

  6. May 17, 2007 6:20 pm

    Neil –

    Just saw your post – I have been offline all week – staying in Glasgow with the parents whilst I did the second half of my feuerstein course -more later about this…

    Will attack the books thing asap.

    You like Pratchett? I have never read him… must have a look.

  7. May 18, 2007 1:08 pm

    Hi Liz…

    I’ve grown up with Pratchett’s books. The early ones (eg: The Colour of Magic) are pretty much mickey-takes of established Fantasy. But after a while, he started to write about the real world in a fantasy setting (Soul Man) and of late, he has become a really good satirist…

    He’s also fastidious about grammar and punctuation… something I can admire and respect… and he’s very very good at readings/signings. I had the pleasure of taking a group of pupils to see him at my last school and nothing was too much trouble for him (as long as he could get time on his MacBook to keep working on his latest novel).

    We’ve also just taken delivery of a class set of The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents for use with a junior class!

    Are you going to eLive in Edinburgh next week?

  8. May 19, 2007 9:01 am

    I wish I could! But think I have had my quota of away days for a while!

    Are you going, and if so, what are you looking forward to?

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