Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Bestselling" Out of Print books

Now here's something interesting. My daily e-newsletter from Publisher's Weekly, just alerted me to this "Bestsellers List" for out of print books.

Actually, it's just a report on what out of print titles were the most requested on during the last year. I'll have to see if anything I've ordered shows up on the list. Probably not. I have a hard time imagining there's much of a demand for Fortune Made His Sword by Martha Rofheart or My Lord John by Georgette Heyer.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 20, 2006

What a great idea

I just found out about this new blog today. Inspired by Evil Editor's "New Beginnings" feature, this blogger has decided to post the first 150 words of contributor's favorite novels.

That falls under fair use, right?

In any case, I'm dashing off an e-mail about Katherine right now.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, August 19, 2006

My Girl Emily

Emily of New Moon
Emily Climbs
Emily's Quest - L.M. Montgomery

I just reread the Emily of New Moon trilogy by L.M. Montgomery, the author best known for the Anne of Green Gables series. As much as I've always loved the Anne books, I really remember identifying with Emily as a teenager. I can still remember bawling all the way through Emily's Quest the first time I read it at age 14 because I thought the romantic misunderstandings between Emily and Teddy were so true to life. With apologies to Emily's teacher, Mr. Carpenter, I had to use italics: the book spoke to me.

Now I find myself wondering what would have happened if she'd married Dean. He was one of the most interesting characters in the series. I had a much different impression of Emily and her younger friends this time around. She seemed much saucier than I remembered her. Anne was a dreamer who found herself in trouble with the adult world often enough, but Emily often gets into her trouble by making snarky comments and defying her relations. Her bohemian best friend, Ilse, is a far cry from sweet, Diana Barry.

Emily's childhood sweetheart (there always seems to be a childhood sweetheart in L.M. Montgomery books) was not exactly the true-hearted Gilbert Blythe either. (Gilbert may have escorted Christine Stuart around Redmond College events for a while, but he wasn't the biggest flirt on Prince Edward Island.)

Supposedly, the Emily books are the most autobiographical of all Montgomery's novels. I believe it. I've read her childhood journals and some of Emily's experiences are taken almost word-for-word from her own.

Perhaps you have to be going through teenage angst to fully appreciate this story, but I still enjoyed my reread. I'd recommend Emily to any young, aspiring writer. Emily's Quest has one of the best writer's encouragements I still have ever read. I have the last words of that wise educator, Mr. Carpenter hanging on my wall, within sight of my computer:
"No use trying to please everybody. No use trying to please critics. Live under your own hat. Don't be led away by those howls about realism. Remember - pine woods are just as real as pigsties and a darn sight pleasanter to be in. You'll get there sometime - you have the root of the matter in you. And don't tell the world everything. That's what's the matter with our literature. Lost the charm of mystery and reserve."

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Reading Lists

Someone asked me the other day how many of the BBC's Top 100 books I've read. So, I sat down and made a list:

2. Pride and Prejudice
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
6. To Kill a Mockingbird
7. Winnie the Pooh
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four
9. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
10. Jane Eyre
12. Wuthering Heights
17. Great Expectations
18. Little Women
21. Gone With the Wind
22. Henry Potter and the (Sorcerer's) Stone
23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
30. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
33. The Pillars of the Earth
36. Treasure Island
38. Persuasion
40. Emma
41. Anne of Green Gables
43. The Great Gatsby
46. Animal Farm
47. A Christmas Carol
51. The Secret Garden
62. Memoirs of a Geisha
63. A Tale of Two Cities
70. Lord of the Flies
74. Matilda
75. Bridget Jones's Diary
82. I Capture the Castle
95. Katherine

That's 31, in case you were counting. A piddly 31 percent. And this is a reader poll, based on a survey the BBC took in April 2003. If you post an"expert's" list of 100 great books, I fare even worse:

2. The Great Gatsby
13. 1984 (Do the Brits spell out the title while Americans don't?)
18. Slaughterhouse Five
24. Winesburg, Ohio
31. Animal Farm
41. Lord of the Flies
74. A Farewell to Arms
86. Ragtime
88. The Call of the Wild

Uh, that would be nine. And most of them I didn't even like all that well. It seems just as heavy on old, white dudes as the first list was on Harry Potter. And The Modern Library's "reader list" seems to have been highjacked by Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard fans. I didn't do a whole lot better on that one:

2. The Fountainhead
5. To Kill a Mockingbird (the "experts" didn't pick this one??? What???)
6. 1984
13. The Great Gatsby
20. Animal Farm
23. Slaughterhouse Five
24. Gone With the Wind
25. Lord of the Flies
53. The Handmaid's Tale
75. The Call of the Wild
77. Farenheit 451
81. The Hunt for Red October (but the movie's better *g*)
91. A Farewell to Arms

I can't believe what books weren't on any of these lists. Where was Pearl S. Buck's "The Good Earth"? Chaim Potok's "The Chosen"? Alex Haley's "Roots"? Heck, if "Gone With the Wind" made the lists than "Outlander" should have too!

Maybe one of these days, I'll have to come up with the definitive "Poohba's Top 100."

Labels: , , ,