Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Salon: How to Read, Use, and Abuse Beautiful and Pointless Novels Like a Professor





Problem Posed

I love to read, but I don’t know how to read well.
I read widely, but I don’t read deeply.

So what can a busy reader do to correct this?  

Read books, of course.
Read books that teach one how to read deeply.
Of course.

I nervously chose three books.
Three books that promised
to help me read more deeply.

Here were the three I tried:


 I read all three.

What did I find?
Am I now an erudite and cerebral literary pundit?
An au courant belletristic virtuoso?

Well, no.



The Bad News

Two of the books were grim reads.
I love books. You know that about me.
But what probably you don’t know is
 that there are some books that I don’t like,
some books I actually hate.
Yes, it’s true.
I hate textbooks.


I loathe textbooks.
I hate the pompous, condescending tone of textbooks.
I hate the know-it-all attitude of textbooks.
I hate the way textbooks don't care if they are well-written;
textbooks know people will read them anyway
because people are forced to read them.
I hate textbooks.


Sadly, I found The Use and Abuse of Literature to be a textbook.
 I felt used and abused while reading this book.
This book is a case of the abuse of literature, in my view.

Sadly, I also found How to Read Novels Like a Professor:
A Jaunty Exploration of the World's Favorite Literary Form
to be a textbook.
There is, sadly, nothing jaunty about this book.
I liked How to Read Literature Like a Professor,
this author’s previous book.
But maybe Foster used up all his jauntiness in that book.

In any case, I was bored to death reading these two books
and that’s a shame.


The Good News

I love poetry
but I know nothing about poetry.
Would I find anything of value in
Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry?

Yes, happily, I found Beautiful and Pointless
to be a useful and clever book about poetry.
The text of this book is poetry,
with lots of apt metaphors and similes.
It’s humorous, too, which I found a great relief.


How about you? 
What did you read this week?
Could you recommend anything to help me
on my quest to
become an erudite and cerebral literary pundit?
Preferably something jaunty....



Today is the last day to enter
the July Giveaway here at Readerbuzz...


And it's international!




What is the Sunday Salon?
Imagine some university library's vast reading room.
It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in.
They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,
and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go.
Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and
compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....



That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual.
Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon
get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read.
And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs.
Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon,
an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities
 and fall into a good book. 
Click here to join the Salon.


Friday, July 29, 2011

BBH and FF: Bonjour! Enchanté! ¡Buenos días!

Book Blogger Hop

It's that time again.

It's time for the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Crazy-for-Books.com

First, let me introduce myself.
Bonjour! Enchanté! ¡Buenos días!


I am Debnance at Readerbuzz.
I love to read.
I especially love travel memoirs,
children's books, books about happiness, 
creative nonfiction, and literary fiction.

 I'd love to visit your blog. 
If you like, follow me and leave a comment and
I will hop over and follow you.

I also invite you to:
Befriend me at Goodreads.
Follow me at Twitter.
 Befriend me at Facebook

And this week's prompt from the Book Blogger Hop:
“Highlight one book you have received this week
(for review, from the library, purchased at the store, etc.)
that you can’t wait to dig into!”

Falling for Me:
How I Hung Curtains, Learned to Cook,
Traveled to Seville, and Fell in Love
by Anna David


And the prompt from Follow Friday:
"What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?"



                 
Don't forget!
Only a few more days to enter
the July Giveaway here at Readerbuzz...


And it's international!




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top Ten Books Tackling Tough Issues



Maus: A Survivor's Tale
The Holocaust


Reading Lolita in Tehran
A teacher dares to start a book club for women in Tehran.


No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning
Author Abigail Thernstrom takes a close look at the racial gaps that still exist in learning and proposes causes and solutions.


Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
A hurricane unnerves a town.


Columbine by Dave Cullen
How did two boys become killers?


The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams
Athletics is a way out for many in poverty.
But is it really?


Material World: A Global Family Portrait
What things does an average family in America have in their home?
How about in Egypt? Denmark?
Peter Menzel finds an average family in countries around the world
and photographs their possessions.


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
What is wrong with our world?


Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Ehrenreich explores what life is like for those earning minimum wage in America.


Bowling Alone
What happened to the sense of community in America?


What are your favorite top ten books tackling tough issues?


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Why do all the good books arrive at once?!

I have no idea what to read next. Advise me, please!

Here's what is sitting on my nightstand:


 
 

What are you reading today?!



And don't forget!
The July Giveaway here at Readerbuzz is...


And it's international!




It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between! D This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! As part of this weekly meme Book Journey loves to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. Book Journey offers a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment telling me how many you visited.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Top Ten Books That Should Be Required Reading for Teens


For many people, the last time they pick up a book is in high school or college.
So I want that book to be drop-dead amazing.

I've always had the notion that it would be fun for kids in high school or college to spend a semester reading children's picture books. Children's picture books are surprisingly rich. And it would set kids up in a mighty fine fashion for reading aloud to their own children in a few years.
So here are ten picture books that might work for teens. (If you have other suggestions for this category, I'd love to hear them.)

How about...




The Empty Pot

The Little House

Rotten Island

The Giving Tree

Window

Tadpole's Promise


The Other Side


The Big Orange Splot

Martin's Big Words

First the Egg

14 Cows for America

What would you have on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Salon: In Which I Travel to Bhutan and the North Pole, with a Stop at a Convenience Store in Brooklyn



 Radio Shangri-La by Lisa Napoli

What's going on when a country bravely tosses the idea of measuring a society's worth in GNP and seizes upon attempting to measure it instead with Gross National Happiness? I've always been curious about Bhutan. Sadly, Napoli reveals in this book that the food in Bhutan is abysmal, but in every other way Napoli finds a small Eden, epitomized by the fact that Bhutan is a country where the king's phone number is actually published in the local phone book.

(Side note:  Just when I was feeling all gooey and lovey-dovey about Bhutan, I went to a family get-together last week and my nephew started telling me the sad story of a new fellow at his job who is a refugee from Bhutan, fleeing Bhutan because of persecution there for his religious beliefs. So you might wait a bit before you start packing....) 



 
The Magnetic North by Sara Wheeler

Wheeler takes her readers places no one has been, places no one really wants to go except via books. This time, she guides us through the frozen north, the lands and waters north of the Arctic Circle. She's an ideal guide, one who seeks out all the coolest (in both senses of the word) spots and who finds all the best of the Arctic stories, and relates her tales with a delightfully literate vocabulary.


 

My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder Howe

There are books I read that make me wish I were as good at reviewing books as I am at reading them. This book is one of these. 

Howe is the WASP-iest of WASPs, with Pilgrim ancestors who came over on the first boats, and an A+ education. He's an editor at the Paris Review which, to the five of us who continue to salute the written word, is up there with the Supreme Ruler of the Western World. He's married to a woman who is a new immigrant, with that killer drive which leaves the rest of us watching her zip by as we watch by the edge of the highway, dazzled and dazed.

The story is really the story of America today told with both humor and sadness, an America sitting proudly on its crumbling throne, an America where new immigrants vigorously race around to throw together businesses that fail nevertheless, where intelligence doesn't work, where energy doesn't work, where nothing works, where everyone is left sad and bewildered. All in a humorous way.

What are you reading today? 


And don't forget!
The July Giveaway here at Readerbuzz is...


And it's international!


What is the Sunday Salon?
Imagine some university library's vast reading room.
It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in.
They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,
and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go.
Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and
compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....


That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual.
Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon
get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read.
And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs.
Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon,
an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities
 and fall into a good book. 
Click here to join the Salon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Scene of the Blog


I'm thrilled to be featured this week on Scene of the Blog!
Scene of the Blog is a weekly feature on
Kittling: Books that spotlights
the creative spaces of book bloggers around the world.
Please stop by and take a look
at my beautiful Meditation Room
where I do my blogging!



And don't forget!
The July Giveaway here at Readerbuzz is...


And it's international!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top Ten Twenty-Seven Authors I'd Love to Meet


Here's a rather long list of authors I'd love to meet,
in no particular order:


Robert Pirsig

Mark Twain

Dr. Seuss

E. B. White

William Carlos Williams

Michael Dirda

Nancy Pearl

William Steig

Herman Hesse

Haruki Murakami

Anne Lamott

Terry Pratchett

Bill Bryson

Ray Bradbury

Billy Collins

Tracy Kidder

Truman Capote

Esme Raji Codell

Madeline L'Engle

Shel Silverstein

Roald Dahl

C. S. Lewis

Chris Van Allsburg

Bill Martin, Jr.

Cynthia Rylant

J. R. R. Tolkien

Mark Salzman

What authors would you love to meet?

******************************************************

I'm happy to announce that tomorrow
my blog will be featured on Scene of the Blog,
a weekly feature at Kittling: Books!

******************************************************

And don't forget!
The July Giveaway here at Readerbuzz is...


And it's international!


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.