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J. D. Salinger

Holden Caulfield lives.

Half a century of reclusiveness by his creator couldn't make Holden disappear. He's still required reading. I found him to be optional reading too: It's a little book, and you can take another run at it on a whim. How many books have been re-read as often as "The Catcher in the Rye"? Maybe Gatsby. Help me here.

You could probably make a long list of reasons why J.D. Salinger's reputation was undeservedly outsized, and there's no question that he was an odd duck. But he has the immortality that comes to anyone who can create a vivid literary character. Holden Caulfield is still the iconic alienated teenager who runs off to the big city, who has bad habits and a good heart, who affects cynicism but is painfully sensitive.

"The Catcher In the Rye" didn't invent the first-person, coming-of-age novel, nor was it the first to use a strictly vernacular style, nor was it the first to thumb its nose at polite society. Huck Finn did all that about seven decades earlier (as noted, I just saw, in the McGrath piece linked below). But "Catcher" caught the American voice of the 1950s just right, and became, as Henry Allen has written, the definitive meditation on authenticity in an age of phonies. This was how we talked. This was how we thought. Salinger hooked the reader at the get-go:

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap."

Yeah, a lot of that Salinger stuff is dated. And the too-cool-for-school thing has been mined to death. Yardley hated -- hated! -- "Catcher" when he re-read it. He was shocked by the Creative Writing Class-level of sentimentality ("The combination of Salinger's execrable prose and Caulfield's jejune narcissism produced effects comparable to mainlining castor oil").

But call me a sentimentalist -- these literary-lion deaths always get to me a little bit. Salinger not as much as Updike, to be sure, or Hunter Thompson. But it's another page turned. Someone slow down this parade.

I'm perusing Arts & Letters Daily for the tributes.

Henry Allen: "[W]riters were once culture heroes in America, people you wanted to touch, like weeping statues or movie stars."

Stephen King calls Salinger the last of the great post-WW2 writers. And it's certainly true that the giants are mostly gone -- Bellow, Updike, Mailer. But what about Philip Roth? For that matter, Cormac McCarthy has never been bigger, and he's got to be north of 70.

Charles McGrath, New York Times:

The stories were remarkable for their sharp social observation, their pitch-perfect dialogue (Mr. Salinger, who used italics almost as a form of musical notation, was a master not of literary speech but of speech as people actually spoke it) and the way they demolished whatever was left of the traditional architecture of the short story -- the old structure of beginning, middle, end -- for an architecture of emotion, in which a story could turn on a tiny alteration of mood or irony. Mr. Updike said he admired "that open-ended Zen quality they have, the way they don't snap shut. [That's not how I remember "A Perfect Day for Bananafish."]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 29, 2010; 7:58 AM ET
 
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Comments

"call me a sentimentalist" --Mr. A

OK, you're a sentimentalist.

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Joel,

Could I call you a taxi instead? Sentimentalists are thin on the streets of Washington, DC; something about excess emotion emission laws.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I am ashamed to admit I have very little memory of Catcher in the Rye. I know I read it in High School, but it evidently didn't speak to me in the way it has to so many. Not sure what to make of this except as a confirmation of my secure status as literary philistine.

But I recognize Salinger's cultural importance, and, more to the point, I recognize the existential angst that comes when folks like him start to vanish.

I mean, it's a stereotype of aging to lament the passing of a golden age. And I am too ignorant to know for sure if there is a crop of younger writers who can replenish the depleted ranks of literature.

But I wonder, though, how much of the impact of these writers comes from innate talent, and how much comes from the unique characteristics of their era? That is, would a Salinger born 50 years later still create something as influential?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Please do not neglect Kurt Vonnegut when making your list of lost literary lions.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

It is hard for me to lament the passing of someone who lived to 91. He outlived the design of the equipment by a considerable margin. We should mark the passing of anyone who adds value to society and J.D. Salinger did that. "Catcher" still speaks to many youth and that is a good thing, especially from a medium that so few have intimate contact with in this modern pixel era.

It is hard for me to remember the specifics of the novel as well. My youngest read it earlier this year and his pronouncement was, "Holden is such a jerk".

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 29, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Nicely said, RD. As usual.

As a card-carrying member of Nostalgia Ain't Here (NAH) I recognize but don't share in "the existential angst that comes when folks like him start to vanish."

There are always slews of folks out there one can look to for inspiration and a sense of cultural wow. It's a comment about us rather than their multitude when we fail to do so.

As to whether JDS would have been as influential in another era, one could ask that of just about any "great" individual, non?

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

RD:

"If you really want to hear about me, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where to go to my blog covering all about what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents underwent psychoanalysis before they had me, my mood music, and all that Facebook kind of crap."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

And Holden meant Tristam Shandy, not David Copperfield.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes I wonder if the online fanfiction craze will spawn a literary great or three...

Posted by: schala1 | January 29, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Fun activity for the day: measure your blood pressure. Then go read Gerson's column. Then measure your blood pressure again.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I thoroughly detested the character of Holden Caulfield. I had no time for someone like that. However, I never had the impression, really, that Salinger wanted us to admire him -- he wanted us to know him. And so the novel works, even though I deeply dislike the protagonist.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

And, yet, no women writers are named ...

I cringe at the disappearance of good writing -- dare I say "literature" -- and the demise of publishing that isn't electronic. There is nothing like a book in the hand, not to mention a *good* book in the hand.

I loved Salinger when I was in high school and college. Now, not so much. There were some wonders in his other books apart from CITR that I really enjoyed, but it's been closing in on 50 years since that time.

For dialog, I loved Donald Barthelme, whom I read in the New Yorker, until he got inexorably weird, even for me.

I want to get buried in words and expressions, breathless in irony and in laughing until I sob in the pleasure and recognition of the words and expressions right in front of me. The absolute ecstasy of imagination -- mine and the author's.

Conference Call awaits. Toodley Boodley until later.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 29, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Chuckie K's column was far worse for for my blood pressure.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I liked Catcher in the Rye as a teenager, enough that I sought out and read Salinger's other works. As is true with many other authors, I never felt compelled to re-read any of it as an adult. I suspect I would not have enjoyed the books as much, but that's okay. They showed me new worlds and new ways of thinking which helped shape my own sense of possibilities. For this reason I mark Salinger's death.

As you can see we still have power. I slept in (hurrah) and woke to small steady snowflakes interspersed irregularly with big fat snowflakes. Snow is still coming down, treacherously hiding the thick layer of ice coating all outside horizontal surfaces. It is pretty to look at, dangerous to experience. Isn't that some kind of life metaphor?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

ftb:

"I want to get buried in words and expressions, breathless in irony and in laughing until I sob in the pleasure and recognition of the words and expressions right in front of me. The absolute ecstasy of imagination -- mine and the author's."

Just don't do it in Culpeper County... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Books I've re-read just because....
The Prince (sometimes a different translation, but mostly a particular version); Canticle for Leobowitz; Atlas Shrugged; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Grapes of Wrath. Re-read The Picture of Dorian Gray a couple of times, but only in order to discuss it with the kids.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 29, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

So what's the first question, who are the literary lions still alive? Yes, Roth is certainly one. Gore Vidal is still alive, as of five minutes ago, anyway.

ftb mentioned women: Maya Angelou and Erica Jong. One might make the claim that Jong is not an especially terrific writer, but that would miss the point. She belongs on this list because her one book "Fear of Flying," became so famous and iconic, much like "Catcher," which is to say, whether people thought it was "good" or not.

William Goldman is still alive, at 78. He was never in the top ranks as a novelist (though IMHO he deserves to be much higher than he is), but one needs to throw in his screenplays, and then he's right at the top of anyone's list. I mean, Butch Cassidy and the Princess Bride. Jeez.

OK, how many books have been re-read as often as Catcher. Joel's right: Gatsby. Catch-22, possibly. Not in the current era, but if we went back two generations, I think we'd find Look Homeward, Angel, the usual Twains. Booth Tarkington's "Seventeen." The YR books like Little Women and Black Beauty, etc. Treasure Island, perhaps. (Not Moby-Dick--that seems to me to be a one-timer.)

I have lots of books I've re-read five, six times, but I wouldn't put any of them on this list under discussion.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Hadn't yet read Gerson and Krauthammer but they were both recommended as blood pressure checks, so I did. My take:

Gerson: Another voice heard from regarding the SotU Address. I was left wondering how many times the impressionable young Gerson had been sent to the principal's office.

Krauthammer: Let's remember the guy relies on his ability to find travesties for his livelihood. No travesties, no paycheck. Given the opportunity, he'd find one or two in the White House Rose Garden.

Blood pressure normal, off to find more coffee.

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

LiT mentions To Kill a Mockingbird; that might be on the all-time re-read list.

I'm trying to think if any Hemingway makes the cut. Not sure. I've re-read four or five of them repeatedly, but I'm not prepared to assert that anyone else has. I still like "The Sun Also Rises," but I'm not sure I'd put it on the list.

Back in the day, Sinclair Lewis got re-read a lot, but not in the past half century. I still love "Arrowsmith," though.

Kinda hate to say it, but "Gone With the Wind" might make the list.

Does "The Invisible Man" (Ellison, not Wells) get re-read, or is that a one-timer, too? Maybe some Jules Verne?

Now, Catcher: yes, I liked it a lot when I first read it, at just about the only age one CAN read it the first time. If you wait until you're 40, just forget it. But I never went crazy over it. It drew me to "Franny and Zooey," and then to "Roofbeam/Seymour," whuich is when I became a devoted Salinger fan. And we once boodled here over my contention that "The Laughing Man" was his best short story, and to me ranks as one of the best of all time. Wilbrod, as I recollect, disagreed rather vehemently.

I suspect there are a lot of "niche" novels that get re-read quite a lot, but that don't register in the high-lit field, stuff like "The Once and Future King," Tolkien and his LotR trilogy, Mart Stuart (The Crystal Cave), Asimove's Foundation trilogy, Dune, Vonnegut, Riders of the Purple Sage or other westerns deemed too low-brow to count, etc. Certainly a boatload of mysteries, Agatha Christie, Tony Hillerman, etc. I don't think I know anyone who is a big mystery reader who doesn't also re-read them like crazy.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Not Mart Stuart, you moron. Mary Stewart.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Gibran's "The Prophet"?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Mart Stuart, as I recall, wrote the little-known trilogy about Merlin's second cousin Morton, a wizard of an accountant. The books were filled with gripping descriptions of long days spent at MOrton's desk with an abacus, totting up the levies which made King Arthur's Grail campaigns possible, so dedicated and pure of focus he never took a break for fighting or encountered beautiful damsels. Despite this, the series never caught on.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Add LeCarre to the literary lions (at least I would). I've re-read his books a lot. Toni Morrison, Peter Matthiessen, Joyce Carol Oates. Amy Tan, Michael Chabon.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 29, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I think was Salinger had going for him was his reclusiveness. The mystery, the unobtainableness.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 29, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

LeCarre was the very first one I thought of, seasea, but I suspected we were talking about Americans.

But sure, if we go international. Then add Gabriel Marquez to the list. "100 Years" gets re-read a lot.

Yes, Oates is definitely on the majors list. Good call. Morrison and Matthiesen, too. Not sure if Tan gets re-read, but I'll take your word for it. Not ready to put Chabon up there yet.

Anybody want to go for William Golding and "Lord of the Flies" as a re-read (before the schools found it and ruined it for everybody)? Back in the day it was a re-read, as was "A Separate Peace." The vogue died out, alas.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I liked The Onion's obituary:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/bunch_of_phonies_mourn_j_d

I only read Catcher for the first time a few years ago, and respected it.

I try not to re-read too much, knowing how much there is out there I haven't read. For Whom the Bell Tolls a few times.

Posted by: engelmann | January 29, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I have a lot of admiration for DeLillo, although I dropped "Falling Man" after maybe 1/3 of it. "Libra" and "Underworld" I enjoyed and was amazed at. "Point Omega" is getting mixed reviews from the advance copies.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Ah, screw it. I just decided: I want to nominate William Goldman for the Nobel Prize for Lit, for his body of work. ftb, you got any contacts in Stockholm? Joel, can we get Yardley working on this?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

>I think was Salinger had going for him was his reclusiveness. The mystery, the unobtainableness.

Being mysterious is easy when you drink your own urine. You just have to make sure you write a famous novel first or you're just a plain ol' crackpot.

Posted by: engelmann | January 29, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I should have mentioned Vonnegut. I think Slaughterhouse Five" is worth the second read. And yes, Catch-22. I'd put Anne Tyler in the pantheon, for Homesick Restaurant and Accidental Tourist (I really enjoyed Back When We Were Grown-ups). I've made two runs through Iris Murdoch's Under the Net but I don't think I've read anything else by her. I might re-read Humbolt's Gift sometime but doubt I'd re-tackle Augie March which bout kilt me the first time. I've re-read The Sun Also Rises and some of the short stories, like "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber," which is great. But I'm such a slow reader, and such an easily distracted reader, and there are so many good books I haven't read, that I'd rather move onward in general and try to read all the great books I've never cracked.

Posted by: joelache | January 29, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Since I don't read books (much if at all) I think I will go back to spending a typical day as a panda. I started the day by drinking some water and playing with my big ball. I was staring out the window and wondering what the passers by taste like, then I spent an hour eating a 100 pounds of bamboo, ah, the same old thing.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - have you ever read Goldman's memoirs? They are wonderful. And after reading them I know that if you want to sound like an insider you refer to movies by the most significant word in the title. I'm sure this knowledge will come in handy one day.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

One other quick thought: In this kit I lumped together Salinger, Roth, McCarthy, Updike, Mailer, etc., but it occurs to me that Salinger and Mailer were WW2 vets and the others would have been too young. So the question, really, is, are there any literary figures still alive who had that searing experience of the world war? Anyone know?

Posted by: joelache | January 29, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Structure of TV news. Some coarse language:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtGSXMuWMR4

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Re: Passing of WW2 writers, see this:

http://m.gainesville.com/gv/db_39970/contentdetail.htm;jsessionid=BCE705727417EEC597394A7D3272B0BC?contentguid=umX6rxwT&detailindex=2&pn=0&ps=5&full=true

Posted by: joelache | January 29, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Elmore Leonard is one.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

News flash

It took 37 minutes of deliberation for a Wichita jury to find "right to life" nutbag Scott Roeder guilty of the murder of abortion doc George Tiller.

The question now is what did they do for all that time?

Posted by: kguy1 | January 29, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, they debated whether to stretch deliberations out long enough to order lunch.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't think when it is required reading in your school years,if all the book and meaning and just the shear joy of the book are realized. That is why I have "reread" so many of the books we were required to read.

Although there are a few which I enjoyed very much as a kid and again as an adult
Tom Sawyer,Old man and the Sea,Moby Dick just to name a few.

I didn't fully appreciate Salinger's works in school as it was required. Maybe just a bit too busy thinking about recess,lunch and Miss Hecroates French class.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 29, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Aw, I used to, Mudge. But the guy who had a chair at the table of the literary types who picked the Nobel Prize winners died a couple of years ago (Lars Forssell), but I'm still in contact with his widow (an absolutely lovely woman who I think is turning 85 this year and who called me on New Year's day to wish me a good one).

Does that count?

I'd like to read Dr. Zhivago again. Normally, in relatively recent years, I have been put off by LeCarre's writing. But the Karla Trilogy, which I reread recently is a stupendous piece of work and I would argue that The Honourable Schoolboy is a masterwork -- the best of the lot.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 29, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Coming-of-age novels about women?

Well, there's always "Little Women." Or perhaps "Meridian" by Alice Walker? Or "Coming of Age in Samoa" by Margaret Mead. Perhaps something from Judy Blume, but this choice is straining the way-back synapses of my brain and memories of Teacher Corps.

Can't remember reading "Catcher" at all. Ever. But passages about death from "Catcher" that I heard on one of the morning shows this a.m. have me nodding my head in agreement.

Posted by: laloomis | January 29, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

i first read The Sun Also Rises in 1967. i didn't get it. by 1969 it made sense. i re-read it every year for a long time, and its meaning changed somehow. it took me a long time to realize that the book was the same, but it was me that was changing. now when it read it i still marvel at what hemingway could do with very simple words, but i remember (forgive this) the kid who didn't get it back in 1967. he was just too innnocent, as if that were a bad thing. but 1968 took care of that 'problem'.

i think salinger was a genius, but so very deeply troubled. may he rest in peace.

Posted by: butlerguy | January 29, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I know what you mean, gwe, required reading in school just ruined George Eliot for me. Looking back now all I can think about the experience of reading Silas Marner is "There's several hours of my life I'll never get back."

OTOH I have read and reread Jane Austen many times as an adult and she gets better every time.

Posted by: kguy1 | January 29, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

p.s. sorry, i forgot the point of the kit.

william styron's Sophie's Choice was worth re-reading several times. for my money it was the most important, astonishing novel of the last 50 years.

Posted by: butlerguy | January 29, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

kguy I was going to reply that I thought they took 37 minutes because they ordered pizza but that seemed to flippant.

I am terrible at remembering the books I have read, let alone reread. A few come to mind, The Diviners - Margaret Laurence, The Prince of Tides - Pat Conroy, The Power of One, The Great Gatsby. and Great Expectations.

Off to see the male teachers and a few male students at younger daughters school get their heads shaved, the result of a school fundraiser for Haiti - much admiration for the students and teachers for offering to do this.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 29, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The jury might get a free lunch after 30 minutes of deliberation.

Good luck with Goldman Curmudgeon. The Swedish snobs have been ignoring my suggestion, Michel Tournier, for years.

I've re-read the best Stephen King novels(It, Insomnia, The Dark Tower, etc.) a few times. I'm probably not alone.

Gunther Grass has been in WWII, albeit on the "wrong" side.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

That's an interesting observation, Joel, about the passing of the WWII veterans. Although it is impossible to know if these writers would have been successful in another era, I am confident that they would have been different. I am sure their war experiences altered their outlook. I mean, how could it not?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Paul Fussell is still alive, Joel. No, not a novelist, of course. And his best book was about WWI -- but its stands as a classic. Fussell did write some good stuff about WWII.

Herman Wouk is still alive, 95 ye4ars old. No idea what shape he's in.

Thomas Keneally (Schilndler's List) is still alive, as is E.L. Doctorow: both lived through the war but too young to have served. J.G. Ballard died last April.

I think that's it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Gore Vidal served in the Aleutians.

Posted by: engelmann | January 29, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, glad you still have power, I was thinking of you this morning when the news reported how awful things are out that way.

I'm more likely to reread non-fiction than fiction. I have read Lonesome Dove two or three times tho'.

I'm sure the jury just wanted to get it over with and go home early on a Friday. After all, what's to deliberate?

Great Kit yesterday, I really enjoyed Ivansmom's posts. Why does there always have to be some non-issue that overshadows the important matters - it couldn't be that the public wants to spout off rather than think, could it?

Posted by: badsneakers | January 29, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I've re-read the Princess Bride a few times. And I've re-read Twain more than once. You see different things in Twain when you are 40 then when you are 20. But I guess that goes without saying for most good books. Of course, I've re-read books by Roald Dahl *many* times, but that's kind of different.

Still I admit that most of the books I have re-read are non-fiction. Not to suck up too much, but I've certainly re-read both Captured by Aliens and The Grand Idea. (Do insiders refer to these books as "Captured" and "Grand" like Goldman suggests for movies?)

But my favorite book to re-read is "Coming of Age in the Milky Way" by Timothy Ferris. This one is an annual tradition, as it should be for right-thinking people everywhere.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Scott Roeder's murder conviction:

The verdict came back too early for lunch.

One of the jurors is an accountant and describes the time thusly: 3 minutes to get settled in the jury room, 5 minutes to introduce themselves, 4 minutes to elect a foreman, 18 minutes to find paper and pencils for the secret ballot, 3 minutes to vote and tally the results, 1 minute to verify, and 3 minutes to file back into the courtroom.

Had paper and pencils been readily available, they could have tried for a Guinness World Record. They're pretty pissed about that.

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

kguy;

Perhaps the pre-polling preliminiaries took 36 minutes?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Owe you an answer, Padouk: yes, I've read Goldman's Hollywood memoirs-- terrific stuff. I also hold out for his "small" novels, like Soldier in the Rain, The Temple of Gold; Your Turn to Curtsy, My Turn to Bow, etc.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I had mixed reactions for Catcher too. At first I enjoyed it but by second reading (I was a teenager both times), by mid book I was rolling my eyes and Holden's alienation looked like a phony affectation. It's probably worth a third look.

Butlerguy, I totally agree about Hemingway. I've only read Islands in the Stream which many have told me is a lousy book, and I was fascinated by how he could make the mundane extraordinary.

Mostly I'm trying to locate some more Dos Passos. Vonnegut has been recommended to me now so many times it's a wonder I never remember in the bookstore.

Joel, I read almost every book at least twice. I never absorb it all the first time.

If anyone is looking for female characters coming of age and some serious alienation I recommend the movie Ginger Snaps (warning: gory horror movie but intelligent).

Posted by: qgaliana | January 29, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I am an inveterate re-reader. I'm sure I've read Tolstoy and Eliot at least 10 times, John Irving often, Penelope Lively, Austen, 2 Brontes, Donna Tartt, Julian Barnes, the list goes on and on. It is like visiting old friends; we don't stop just because there are new people to meet.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Great minds, MsJS...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Mention of Gunther Grass naturally makes me think of "The Tin Drum" and the extraordinary 1979 film adaptation by Volker Schlondorff which won the Foreign film Oscar (which is only appropriate considering the name of the protagonist) and the Cannes prize. Although the film does not cover all the novel (it stops at the end of WWII) it remains IMHO one of the very best translations from page to screen ever made and I recommend it highly.

If you can find the Criterion DVD of "The Tin Drum", it contains a documentary detailing the film's banning in Oklahoma in the mid 90's. The judge in the case objected to one scene which he characterized as child pornography. I found the case very interesting because I first saw TTD at a cinema society screening in Oklahoma City more than a dozen years prior.

Posted by: kguy1 | January 29, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I loved "Islands in the Stream"; it's one of the four or five Hems I re-read. I like the first two parts best, the man and his two kids on the boat, then the man and his second wife. The final third part, the hunt for the submarine, is OK, but the first and second parts are better. The youngest boy battling the swordfish just makes me verklempt at the end. It could be a perfect stand-alone short story or novella.

I like much of Dos Passos, too.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I picked up Fussell's books because they were on sale by Oxford University Press. It's funny how university press sales shaped my reading in the days before Amazon, when visiting an actual book store might take at 2-hour drive.

Fussell reminds me of my father's stint at Yale during World War II. When walking the campus with him during a college tour, he recalled quite a bit about the place, but had nothing to say about why the Army had sent him there. About the only war-related comment I ever heard from him was to the effect that New Guinea was an awful place for fungus infections.

I've never read much fiction; one of the bigger doses actually came from high school Spanish classes. In a small school, no one much was interested in Spanish III or IV, so the teachers dug up the likes of Jacinto Benavente and Miguel de Unamuno to keep my busy. Benavente's "Hamlet" was easier readng than Shakespeare's.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 29, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, how about some of our other guys - Azimov, Heinlin and the like. I know a lot of folks dismiss S-F, but some of them are definitly worth re-reading too.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 29, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I offer this home page link headline without further comment:

"Bachmann drops Tea Party event over ethics"

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I read "Islands in the Stream" every decade.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Tom Sietsema has an interesting video (he's seen from the neck down only, of course) on wine, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/01/27/VI2010012701615.html?hpid=talkbox1 He says you can puit an ice cube in a red wine for a minute or two if its too warm when served. Quel frommage!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Not being a devotee of contemporary fiction, I have nothing to offer. You folks know my fixation with Jane Austen. I've reread Dorothy Sayers, still love the ending of Gaudy Night.

To Kill a Mockingbird, yes, I should pick that one up again.

As I get older, I'm more interested in biography and history. I'm still reading the Mitford sisters' letters at bedtime, what a wonderful set of corespondence. I enjoy Barbara Tuchman, anything she writes fascinate me.

Not too long ago I went through a kick of reading about Southern history, specifically the history of my family, and thoroughly enjoyed The Scotch-Irish, A Social History and The Great Wagon Road. My mother's family came down the Great Wagon Road through the Shennandoah Valley from Pennsylvania and settled in Cabarrus County, NC around 1750. Thank heavens for regional presses that publish good books like these.

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

For a good laugh, read The Reliable Source, and be sure to read the comments too.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2010/01/surreal_estate_george_stephano.html#comments

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 29, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I just watched Obama meet with the GOP and thought it was so refreshing to finally see some real discussion of the issues from both sides. It gave me a sense of hope. Very wise move for Obama. It is a turning point...I hope.

Posted by: Windy3 | January 29, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

President Obama just had an amazing discussion on cable (CNN) with the Republicans at their retreat. He basically made the point that their tactics for winning seats is getting in their way to help govern. They kept going to the Pelosi is strong arming them discussion and Obama volunteered to bring the leadership of both parties together on a regular basis to remove that "problem." At the same time, he pointed Frank Luntz and made the point that they are constantly looking ways to establish tactics to win politically and not running the government.

Obama also blew holes in the argument that the Republican plan to cap Medicare payments was in effect a bit disingenuous since it didn't address costs for health care but just limited reimbursements. Thus, quite correctly, their plan was cutting the real benefits to seniors and he then pointed out what the Republicans had said about his plans that could be painted in a similar fashion.

If you get a chance, check out the session.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Each time one of these WWII vets dies, it's like remembrance day at the VFW. Everybody mourns their passing without noting all those that have filled the ranks. Here are some writers I've read in rough chronological order of their rise to acclaim.

John Barth
Ken Kesey
Jay McInerney
Toni Morrison
John Kennedy Toole
Dave Eggers
Jonathan Franzen

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I spent twenty minutes stuck in traffic trying to get to Cross Street for lunch because Obama decided to come to Baltimore. We just barely missed the traffic on I-395 on the way back and took surface streets instead.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

For a suburb analysis of WWI, through the eyes of a woman, I recommend "Testament of Youth" by Vera Brittain. Her book "Testament of Friendship" is also worthwhile reading. I read a biography of Vera Brittain that I got at Hatchards in London (my favo(u)rite bookshop there, even if it is no longer what it used to be in the old days) -- her daughter had written a foreward (I think) and was at the time a minister in the LibDem party in Parliament (Shirley (something)). In that foreward, she noted that all her life, she never *ever* saw her mother laugh -- ever. Having read the book, I certainly understand why that was.

Imom -- I'm churning towards the end of the second book. Just a bit more than 200 pages to go. I was thinking of taking some time off before diving into the third one, but WTH, I think I'll just exchange one book for another. I understand that the English translation of the third book is due to come out in May. I hope to be all done by that time.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 29, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Fear is the great motivator and, right now, the Republicans are not afraid of the President. The fortunes of his presidency ride on the unemployment number and the perception of the economy heading into November.

Good news is especially good news for those in power.

As a side, I find it funny that Democrats find solace in blaming Republicans for their problems governing. If the GOP ever got the Presidency, a large majority in the House and a filibuster proof Senate, legislation would move like the wind.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 29, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

Lots of good suggestions and thoughts about enduring literature, particualrly post WWII.

I think the most influential American post-WWII writer is Dr. Seuss.

Seriously.

I've reread the Seuss oeuvre more than anything else in my life (OK, I'm a parent). When the politics of the day weigh on me, I still find hope in stories "The Sneeches" "Yertle the Turtle" and "The Lorax" (perhaps Seuss' magnum opus). And really, is there a more widely read American writer?

As far as books without pictures go, I've reread the Ellisons - Ralph and Harlan - frequently. Shakespeare.

I happen to like Margaret Atwood a lot, but I can understand that she's not everyone's cup of tea. cormac mccarthy i'm ok with but thought he was getting a little reptitive before the road. personally i don't see him as a capital g giant.

Hemmingway and Fitzgerald seem to me to be a lot more influential than Salinger ever was. Perhaps Faulkner, though he, too is not everyone's cup of tea.

I thought Saramago's "Blindness" was spectaularly good, though there's always the question of translation. Can't remember who did the one I read, but it was starkly beautiful despite the subject matter.

Sign me up for 'Mockingbird' and 'Canticle,' too. I've probably read that last more than any other.

Steven King, perhaps underrated due to his prolific output(s). I think I've reread "The Stand" a few times; still does it for me.

I should reread Voltaire more often.
More often than my collection of Bazooka Joe gum comics, anyway.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 29, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, I still reread Asimov, Heinlien, Clarke, Bradbury and the like every so often. Find it sweet and enjoyable to reminisce while I do so.

I would add that I also still own a Schwinn Stingray that desperately needs a restoration. Rode it last year, just 'cause. Fun, though it didn't make my kids do double-takes the way I did when did kick-turns on my daughter's skateboard.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 29, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

A lot of good work is being written in science fiction. Neuromancer by William Gibson is worth reading once a decade. Enders Game by Orson Scott Card has made it onto middle and high school reading lists. As a 'boarding school in space' book it seems to take the place of A Separate Peace which I thoroughly despised in high school. The only book I hated more was Ethan Frome.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Howdy, edbyronadams. I admire your focus on politics, but we've followed Joel's lead and are talking books now. You seem pretty well versed in U.S. politics/history. What else might you read?

At one point in my life I reread "Anthony Adverse". I'm not sure I can do it again. That was a great story, wholly overshadowed by Gone With the Wind, but not a casual time commitment.

I have all kinds of categories of books I reread for all kinds of reasons. I admit most of it isn't Literature. I often return to the Alice books - WOnderland and Looking-glass. There's quite a bit of Literature I might re-read (please note my flexibility in punctuation here) but the unread books on the shelves keep insistently diverting my attention. Ah, you should see 'em come round me of a Saturday night, for to get my attention, y'know.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

And you cannot read enough Neal Stephenson. If Snow Crash didn't exist, The Diamond Age would be a science fiction classic. Cryptonomicon is the Ulysses or Gravity's Rainbow of the last twenty years.

I am finally about 40% through The Baroque Cycle and just stunned by the breadth and scope of the epic, which is basically Winds of War/War and Remembrance with pirates and bankers (and often the distinction isn't that great).

I hear so many good things about Anathem but I don't see that spine getting cracked until about June.

And to the novice staring down 5,000 pages of Stephenson, none of which are bad, it's a pretty daunting view.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Re: Alito Wednesday night - "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream". With that, off to the 'Burg for the weekend.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 29, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

This is a good time to say that there are still three days left in National Just Read More Novels Month.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2010/01/national-just-read-more-novels-month.html

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

bc, when you restore that Sting-Ray, try not to remove or alter the original paint and decals. It will better preserve what you loved about it in your memory and, if you decide ever to part with it, it will substantially increase its value to collectors. I'm not sure of the opinion on tires -- personally, I'd prefer to replace them with fresh tires to maintain mechanical functionality. I'm not a big fun of "collectibility" when it interferes with the object's basic functionality. If you replace the pedals, you should keep the original pedals as well. My vague understanding is that you are free to replace cables, ball-bearings, spokes, and so forth without altering its collectibility.

Best thing, though, is to make it rideable and then do so.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I am just now finally reading Ender's Game. I read the original short story in first publication, then shied away from reading it stretched into novel form (much less multi-novel form). It's not the best -- yet I find its extremely engaging and keeps me reading well past my bedtime all this week.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Eliza is one of the greatest heroines in recent memory, yellojkt. This is relatively unknown outside the SF community. Not only IS she a character, she HAS character.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Avoided scifi since we seemed to be discussing more traditional literature but count me in for all those named. I cannot recommend Dan Simmons enough. David Brin and Larry Niven (with or without Pournelle) deserve accolades for sheer inventiveness. The best scifi writers don't seem to get the credit they deserve as they're lumped into a genre with a weak reputation.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 29, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

lol, ebtnut. Offski for me too.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Back from the event at the school, my head has almost stopped hurting from all the screaming. A fun event the school raised in excess of $5600 for Haiti - school population a little under 400 students. Local TV and paper were on hand to document the event, a local hair salon donated some staff to shave the heads - 6 students and 4 teachers. As well a good presentation with pictures and songs of Haiti before and after the quake.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 29, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Best of Wikipedia, Canucki Division nominee:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amor_De_Cosmos

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Recent re-reading of Niven shows me that he doesn't hold up well in many respects. The casual misogyny, the general 1-D character of characters (1/2-D for female characters). Some aspects of his future-conception are possible -- lots of smoking in the future, casual categorization of people by genetic heritage (nature trumps nurture in Niven's characters, and any attempt to deviate from "nature" creates or is created by mental illness) -- but these seem to be in the nature of unexamined background assumptions rather than intentional features that have a back-story. But I agree that we have to give him props for his inventiveness with respect to technological advancement, evolution of alternative sensory complements and physiology for aliens, and that sort of thing.

But he's no Cordwainer Smith.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and let me say: Gene Wolfe.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Amazingly, Amor isn't the craziest politician coming out of BC. The competition is stiff in Lotusland. It's the SC of Canada.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Snort Shriek.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 29, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

On the subject of both SF and re-readable writers, I'd have to add Douglas Adams to the list.

Mudge mentioned earlier that if you wait until you're 40 to read Catcher, forget it. From my own experience, I'd push that back to about 30. It was never assigned in school, and I never happened to pick it up on my own until my early thirties, at which point I found Salinger's "vernacular" painfully artificial, to the point of being phony. I tried to read it twice and never made it more than twenty or thirty pages either time. Unfortunate, since I rather suspect I would have enjoyed it in my teens.

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

You make an excellent point, edbryonadams: Republicans are quite proficient at passing wind.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I agree about Eliza and I always get a little verklempt when she and Mr. Darcy finally get together.

Posted by: kguy1 | January 29, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

This is the second time in a month I have heard Gene Wolfe name-checked. I haven't read any of his books and wouldn't know where to start. Here is a very controversial, and in my mind rather incomplete, list of science fiction novels.

http://thisrecording.com/today/2010/1/18/in-which-we-count-down-the-100-greatest-science-fiction-or-f.html

A lot of the SF deans came out of WWII as well, including the aforementioned Asimov and Heinlein.

John D. MacDonald, my official second favorite writer, was a vet of the The Great War as well. There was just something about the post-war era that made people sit down and write. Part of it was the huge market, but there seems to have been something else in the zeitgeist as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Yet another pillar of D.C. radio has packed up his microphone and gone home...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/29/AR2010012902637.html

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

A few years back I made a vow to reread my Travis McGee novels at the rate of one a month. Time to renew that pledge.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

New thing out west, "Man Cave" cooking ware parties. A fool and his money are soon parted. Beer can chicken cooking for $25.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/01/29/DD701BNP52.DTL

Posted by: bh72 | January 29, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The interactive Catcher In The Rye map of New York:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/01/28/nyregion/20100128-salinger-map.html

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Arrggghhh! I knew that there would be a passing-wind joke in there somewhere, but I just couldn't come up with a good presentation. I might have done better, had I given it any thought. Either way, Mudge has beaten me to it.

Bravo, sir. Well played.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Ah SciFi. All I read from about 6 until 16. If it had that little flying saucer sticker on the spine, I read it. The good. The bad. The Heinlein.

I can't say I remember too much of it, actually. I mean, after 30 years a lot of it kinda globs together into a glowing mass. But, gosh darn it, it kept me sane.

Well. Mostly.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Arther C. Clarke is pretty re-readable, but I'm pretty sure he's dead. He was in WWII, though. I think he worked in radar.

My latest re-read, though, has been in the zombie-graphic-novel genre. I'm not a comic-book guy, but "The Walking Dead" series is superb. For anyone who, like me, just wants the apocalyptic zombie flick to keep on going, this story by Robert Kirkman does just that. I re-read Volumes 1-10 last week when #11 came in, just to get caught up. Now I gotta wait till summer for #12. Go on, give it a try.

Posted by: Gomer144 | January 29, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

It is still snowing here (yes, I know you've been wondering). It is really starting to pile up on roads, branches, just all the outside really. I trust the dogs are in their cozy house. I can't go out to look because they'd come out to greet me. Fortunately the power outages seem to be connected with high winds snapping poles and downing lines, and we've been spared the winds today.

I'm glad I joined the shopping locusts on Wednesday in anticipation of Snowbomination (or Icepocalypse, if you prefer). It doesn't look as if we'll get out for a couple of days.

I just located my Complete Alice illustrated by Ralph Steadman (perhaps the most peculiar of our several editions). I'm saving it for a treat after I finish this trial transcript.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I never liked Catcher in the Rye, but J.D. Salinger was a very important writer to me. I read all his published books when I was in high school and then re-read them often. In college I used to spend hours in the library searching out his short stories that had only been published in magazines (he was all over, not just in the New Yorker). I felt as if his mind and his understanding of existence was in tune with something I had previously thought only I was experiencing. The concept of learning spiritual truths before academic truths (and, paradoxically, of reaching spiritual truth through intellectual pursuit,) of somehow basing one's life on the eternal realities, and making it a PRACTICAL choice--I still think I'm the only one who really knows what he's talking about, but his popularity indicates that I'm probably wrong about that.

There are concepts in Salinger's books that return to my mind over and over. One is the identity of Jesus as described at the end of "Franny." One is the idea of sentimentality being "when we love a thing more than God does." I remember fondly Seymour's statement that he is "a paranoiac in reverse: I suspect people of plotting to make me happy." I also grooved on Franny's quest for "prayer without ceasing" and believe that Salinger was not mocking that character, but that Franny was a kind of saint, the kind that he believed in. The practical kind.

I have avoided accounts of Salinger's life and character, and I have no opinion about his personal merits. His body of work changed my world, and I am grateful for it.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 29, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I think I'd start with "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories" (not a typo). "The Book of the New Sun" series is brilliant, but reactions are highly divergent -- some readers quickly catch on to its extravagant verbosity and overwrought language, others are totally turned off and can't get through the first chapter. The writing style is a distinctive conscious choice, meant to evoke the nature of the world and the protagonist, but it can be an insurmountable barrier for a reader who prefers that the text should get out of the way and be unobtrusive. A matter of taste, not artistic merit. One benefit of developing an interest in Wolfe is that I have seen him several times at Balticon on his own dime, not as a guest of honor. Rub elbows with greatness.

Reputedly, after a book reviewer inadvertently misnamed "The Book of the New Sun" as "The Book of the Long Sun", Wolfe went and wrote a book of exactly that title. I have not yet read that one.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh Ivansmom. Stay warm and safe.

OMG - Lewis Carroll meets Steadman?

Bad Craziness.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Karen, I agree completely Salinger was not mocking Franny, or any of the others. He loved those people, all of them. There is simply no other way to read those books than to believe that.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The fifties and the sixties were the end of Literary Fiction as a pan cultural touchstone. Now it is just another genre, one that seems to have retreated in ambition. Alternately, some of the best writers today seem to be working in genres. King, Gaiman, Stephenson, Leonard just to name a few.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Stay safe Ivansmom.

I think your area could benefit from the excess salt from this facility and perhaps this might help prevent a layoff.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/sifto-lays-off-80-at-ontario-salt-mine/article1449564/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheGlobeAndMail-Front+%28The+Globe+and+Mail+-+Latest+News%29&utm_content=Google+International

Doing everything in my power to stay away from salt mine jokes.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 29, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, RD, it is a fascinating book. Apparently Steadman did "Wonderland" in 1968, followed it "Looking Glass in 1972, and "Hunting of the Snark" in 1975. This 1987 Salem House edition collects all three, with a lot of color illustrations and fourteen new ones for this volume. I remembered, paging through it, why this wasn't the edition I read to the Boy when he was a toddler. Most of the illustrations are just Steadman-odd, but some are disturbing as only he can be. The Boy likes them now, though.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, glad you are provisioned and ready to be snowed in. Hope your power stays on.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Take care you, I-mom.

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'll have to read some of Salinger's other work, then.

I was going to mention Anne Tyler, too...and Barbara Kingsolver. And Isabel Allende, who may be an American citizen now.

My brother recommended Gene Wolfe to me many years ago. I think I started with the Book of the New Sun, but was put off by the descriptions of torture. Or maybe I got the Long Sun book...

Posted by: seasea1 | January 29, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Hello, friends. I went back and read the last kit, and Ivansmom and Science Tim, you rock. It was just like being in class, and the folks that asked the questions did great! I didn't get a chance to see the STOU speech. Here lately I just fall out when I finally get in bed.

I've been to rehab today, and crutches are tricky. Just trying to adjust. They do help.

We're expecting the bad weather too. Mostly ice and freezing rain. I don't believe this is weather that I should experiment with the crutches? Take care everyone, and check on the elderly.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 29, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

If there were descriptions of torture, seasea, it was The Book of the New Sun (Volume 1: The Shadow of the Torturer). How did you feel about the anthropophagy party, when they ate finger joints from the recently-dead woman while tripping on illegal drugs? If you thought that was icky, you should try the final chapters of the last book, The Citadel of the Autarch (notice anything structurally about the titles in this series?).

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

My worker says that I-mom's storm is going to swing south and hit the Carolina boodlers worse than us DC area folk. I had planned on spending the weekend in bed reading, so it doesn't matter to me either way.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I should mention, Cassandra, that edbyronadams pointed out a significant and important flaw in what I said about the accuracy of Republican condemnations of Obama: specifically, I was incorrect and Obama really *did* say "foreign corporations", not the more nebulous and more-defensible "foreign interests", which is what I thought he had said.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'd probably avoid the crutches on ice or snow. Of course, that's because I'm pretty clumsy, so I'd certainly fall.

ScienceTim, I'm glad you described some of your Gene Wolfe. I've certainly read and enjoyed books with icky, including descriptions of torture and worse, but I don't usually seek them out. I won't fall over myself looking for these.

Thanks for the good wishes. I know I'm being tediously informative, but I just feel so lucky in having escaped the worst of this. In parts of southwestern Oklahoma apparently so many utility poles are down that they don't expect power to be restored until Monday or later.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I think I'll ransack my sons storage bin of books for some Wolfe before I plunk down hard cash. I got too many books in the in-pile already.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I was impressed by some of Wolfe's short stories (The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories, The Death of Doctor Island, particularly), and bought the Book of the New Sun tetralogy. Unfortunately, my brother and sister are among those who seem to feel that books are communal property, and do not need to be returned, so one of them absconded with the books before I ever had the chance to read them. I've never gotten around to buying new copies because of the faint suspicion that one or two may be in some boxes that came out of my Dad's attic.

I found that most of the "hard" SF authors I read in my teens and early twenties didn't seem to hold up very well by the time I was in my mid-twenties -- Heinlein, Niven, Blish, even Clarke and Asimov. Tim mentioned Cordwainer Smith, who is an exception, not so much for his novels, which were rather lightweight, but oh, those short stories. It was nice when a new generation of writers came along (Brin and Benford, more recently McDevitt and Hamilton, who are arguably the heirs of those earlier writers, but who I find so much more readable as an adult.

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Kb, nice sampling of Salinger you used.

Yello, I've read some Wolfe. Never grabbed me, don't remember him, and SciTim's description suggests I probably put it down before the torture description got really explicit.

I must say I haven't read much heavy speculative fiction or fanasty in the last 10 years or so, I got bored with all the recycled cliches described at length.

By now, I keep going, "okay, so it's a new fantasy world, fine... I get the point.

But, do, do I really have to know every last geographical detail to enjoy this story? If so, why not set it on this planet so I can learn some real geography as I read, then?
Too much research and reading, you say? But that's what you're asking ME, the reader to do. Why don't I just go read a sea story instead?"

Harry Potter worked because of limited but detailed fantasy locations, mixed with real life-like locations.

Likewise, Sci-fi so often suffers from technobabble (or sociobabble syndrome) which often means lengthy exodus and slow story ignition.

I'm not saying I don't read Sci-fi and fantasy anymore. I just read the light kind only. Pratchett is my major re-read guy whenever I need some witty fluff to help me drift off to bed.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Is Bradbury so out of date he doesn't even get a mention any more?

Posted by: nellie4 | January 29, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, Take it from me: I spent 4(!) months on crutches - January through April, in Chicago. You do not want to attempt using crutches in the ice and snow. I'd recommend a walker, and even then, I'd be reluctant to go outside in the worst of it.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 29, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

What about Ursala LeGuin? Isn't she considered a very good SF writer?

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 29, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Bradbury I've read recently, and Le Guin. Both explore issues outside hard SF, which makes their work endure a bit more.

Re Asimov-- I'd say "The Gods Themselves" does hold up, mainly the middle part, and I can think of other works that still does-- he was never an "character" writer, but more an "idea" writer, and some of his ideas still are well-done.

Brin is quite good, more of a biological background, but I'm just off the genre emotionally for now.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

LeGuin is the best, the absolute best. It is a joy to read her. Every now and then, I like to step out of the story and just marvel over the perfection of a well-crafted sentence and the subtle flavor she imparts through connotation.

Wilbrod, I have to amend what you said: "BAD Sci-fi so often suffers from technobabble (or sociobabble syndrome) which often means lengthy exodus and slow story ignition." This is the kind of crap that appears in most of the later Star Trek renditions. The writers of the early ones (The Original Series), like the writers of the Twilight Zone, and like the serious science fiction crowd from which they were drawn, understood that technical explanations are (a) dull, and (b) lies, anyway. Real people do not stand around commenting on telephone technology, they just use the danged thing. Likewise for cars and laptops and coffee makers. There is lots of hard science fiction that does NOT succumb to the urge to techno-babble and yet remains "hard stuff". I suggest you go check out a copy of the Hugo Winners collections and the Nebula Winners collections for a good catalog of the best science fiction writers in practically every sub-genre of the field, then you can look for novels by the ones whose short stories you like. If, you know, you want to go that way.

Brin is actually a former planetary scientist, a comet guy. The Astrophysics Data System lists only two professional publications for him, but I think that the continuing effort to digitize old journal records has not yet gotten to the journals in which he published, as I definitely recall a friend showing me a reprint of one of his papers in cometary science. The most recent of the papers listed in the ADS is from 1991. I think he has completely dropped out of active scientific research and is working as a full-time writer and blogger.

Bradbury is good, very good, but it's been a very long time since I read him. His later stuff moved into more of a magical realism vein, which is not a direction in which I very much wanted to go. I should re-examine that decision.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

A good alternate point of entry for Wolfe would be The Fifth Head of Cerberus.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little disturbed to discover that apparently one of the dogs has keen, though limited, mind-reading ability. As the dogs' normal food hour drew near, I prepared to feed them but stopped on the way out to clean the rabbit cage. I've neither seen nor heard from the dogs all snowy afternoon, but when I sat down by the cage, near the window, there the dog appeared. She was free of snow; I can only believe she's been in her house all day and intuited that I would be feeding them soon.

It is still snowing. Though the piles are high, I discovered they are also very light and powdery.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 29, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Silverberg never gets mentioned and he should. So should Delaney. Granted, Silverberg lost me with the Majipoor stuff.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I'd also say you find that syndrome more in sci-fi NOVELS rather than short stories. I started reading Card from his short stories.

The Empire of Ice Cream is the best short SF I have read in a long while.

I guess I remember Brin more for the dolphin stuff than the detailed exoplanet exploration.

I still have come to the point that I don't want to read in Sci-Fi what I wouldn't want to read in a more realistic novel.

Wolfe would count-- I'm not a fan of torture, nor tyrannies, monarchies, etc.

BTW, watch it, your ST:OS bias is showing. I grew up on ST:NG and DS9, and there are many episodes that come out finer than the OS ever did.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

We've got a couple of inches of snow, and the latest forecast is predicting 12 to 16 inches. It started earlier than predicted, about 3:30. We were out, so Mr. T wanted to ride around. (It's an ego thing with him, being able to drive in inclement weather. He does it well.) As we drove up the road to the house, we came upon a small sedan that didn't have what it takes to get up the grade and around the curves. The driver slowly backed up, turned around, and headed back down. Mr. T engaged the four-wheel drive and made it without incident.

bc, thought of you when Mr. T read to me that tonight is the brightest the moon will be all year. Too bad we won't see it. Maybe Sunday night...

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, dogs have a keen sense of schedule although they're flexible, and they're scarily observant.

Once Wilbrodog roused me from an unexpected nap for a 2 PM appointment (it was MWF). We got there on time.

I now no longer have to set my alarm clock to wake up; I just feed him breakfast at a specific hour, and he wakes me up.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

The latest snow prediction here, as of three minutes ago, seems to be that yello, scotty, bc and maybe rickoshea will only get a light dusting to an inch. TBG, CqP, and maybe ftb might get 3 inches. Down here in suthin Merlin they are saying 5 inches.

We're battening down the hatches.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I agree that the avoidance of lengthy technical exposition is one of the things that makes ST:OS and Zone episode still compulsively watchable after all these decades. But I think that some of that comes from the script writers' (and Serling and Roddenberry's) lack of any science or science fiction background -- which made for some very bad SF in its own way. One of my favorite examples is the ST episode where the Enterprise crew is playing dead to fool the Romulans. The writer had apparently seen way too many WWII submarine flicks, so everybody is being vewy, vewy quiet. So the Romulans won't hear them. Across a few hundred miles of vacuum.

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Ze make zem very gut in Sigma Tau IV, yah, Heinie?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I was able to follow the posts in French but am clueless, once the discussion moved to Science Fiction - might as well be a separate launguage.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 29, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Slyness the sky is clear here and the moon is very bright, spectacular.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 29, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

We're discussing the merits of different vineyard vintages, dmd.

Some people prefer them brut, others sec, others vin glacees, and yet other would rather go drink champagne or wine spritzers.

Some like pretenious parlance about the wine-making with their wine, others don't.

SciTim was advising me to go to a winetasting before buying a barrel or two of wine.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure it's lovely, dmd! Mr. T's source said it would be 14 percent brighter than normal, that's a lot.

Mr. T just noticed a pizza delivery vehicle going down the road, and he hoped the deliverer got a good tip.

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

:-)

Posted by: dmd3 | January 29, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree with dmd, the French was easier to understand than the scifi, altho' I seem to remember in 6th or 7th grade reading a lot of it. Titles and authors are gone from my memory.

The moon is gorgeous with Mars off to the left and pretty red. Just spoke with #2 in Costa Rica and reminded her to take a look. They went to the beach today to enjoy the 'moon tide' and take advantage of the shallow water and sandbars near their house.

Obama's performance today was superb. I read that Fox cut the broadcast off before the end, which tells me that they felt as I did. Hope we see more of this sort of thing but doubt the Repubs will allow it again.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 29, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Light dusting in the QC (Queen City - Charlotte) then nothing. 1/4" retained so far. More something to surely come. This has excited the locals who think if we are unseasonably cold (it has been) we may as well get the pretty stuff to go along with it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Still fairly low in the sky but so bright, wishing we had more snow because that would just make it so much more lovely.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 29, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Just overcast here in the banana belt and 55 degrees. Showers keep being predicted but don't show up. Cloudy during the day but clear with silvery moon at night like morning light. If the showers hold off tonight and tomorrow, I'm going to mow the lawns.

Posted by: bh72 | January 29, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

How about Van Voght? Am I the only one who has read the Manitoba wonder?

It's official, I'm a grand-uncle. 9.08 lb. !!#%"@!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

SCC Van Vogt *no h*

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- yes about the 2-4 snowball fest. Wondering about CPBoy's swim meet at noon. Will they call this or not? I do not have heat in the car; despite burnt offerings and the swipe of the magic plastic enchanted flying carpet of credit. I fear the meet will start, then be called. Either way, CPTelemachus rides home with frozen hair.

I am bad.bad.bad.bad mommy: Driving under the temperature threshold.

I also read Penelope Lively, Yoki. Will this surprise anyone?

Constant re-reads for me, over the last twenty years are Rumer Godden's books. Kingfishers Catch Fire might be my favorite.

I re-read each summer these underrated books -

Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove (my dad is Augustus; one grandfather is Call)

Mario Puzzo's The Godfather

I understand my country, due in part to these books: the huge western cowboy ethos even found in Manhattan and the gang thing about thuggery and power.
___
Michael to Kaye, in his stern and tortured proposal moment:

Michael: I'm working for my father now. He's been sick, very sick.
Kay: But you're not like him, Michael. I thought you weren't going to become a man like your father. That's what you told me.
Michael: My father's no different than any other powerful man – any man who's responsible for other people, like a senator or a president.
Kay: [laughs] You know how naïve you sound?
Michael: Why?
Kay: Senators and presidents don't have men killed.
Michael: Oh, who's being naïve, Kay? Kay, my father's way of doing things is over, it's finished. Even he knows that. I mean, in five years, the Corleone Family is going to be completely legitimate. Trust me. That's all I can tell you about my business.
----

I first read Godfather in the Skagway Drug store; that naughty page whose number caromed around the seventh grade. I went back to BUY.THE.Book. My parents argued, then my mom reminded my dad that I had read Madame Bovary, which was far "worser."

Remember the Andy William's crossover hit? Andy was the movie theme guy of the 70s. He also sang the hit song to Love Story "Where do I Begin?" Miss Domke, my Hungarian refugee piano teachers gave me both these reductions to play. I felt so, au currant giving them my all.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

CP, frozen hair, like the chlorine bleach effect on the hair, badges of honour for swimmers.
'
You are not a bad mommy but a swimmers mom. My fifth grade teacher made many comments on my arriving at school with long frozen hair - I thought it was cool.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 29, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

OH KB, thank you for writing the post of my heart about the deep spiritual yearning in Salinger....a deeply disturbed and flawed man...still, literature can pour out a blessing in flawed vessels (much like the theology of communion).

Franny references the Way of the Pilgrim, which is about our breathing as a possible way to prayer unceasingly...TBG -- tis an Orthodox practice, primarily Russian:

Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, Υιέ του Θεού, ελέησόν με τον αμαρτωλόν.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

It is my call to humility; I need it daily. Salinger gave me this. (I read Franny before Catcher.)

When I read Catcher, I knew immediately the folk tune he referenced since my Irisher granny hummed it:
Translation
Index

Comin Thro' The Rye.


Burns Original

Standard English Translation

Comin Thro' The Rye.
Chorus.
O Jenny's a' weet, poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry:
She draigl't a' her petticoatie,
Comin thro' the rye!
1.
Comin thro' the rye, poor body,
Comin thro' the rye,
She draigl't a' her petticoatie,
Comin thro' the rye!
2.
Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro' the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry?
3.
Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro' the glen,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need the warld ken?
4.
Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro' the grain,
Gin a body kiss a body,
The thing's a body's ain.

---
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

BEST TITLE EVER WRITTEN, IMHO.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

This is closet to how she sang it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkLlpJAd_DU

Must listen to this lassie, with a wee broken arm, singing about poor Jenny. Draggled petticoats. Possibly, a cautionary tale about Very.Bad.Things.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DMD -- will remind ChorineBoy about his various stripes and badges and marks of the pool.

Shall stop hogging....my goodness, am on KIT!

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

The things I learn
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicisbeo

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Good heavens! If frozen pool-hair is verboten, I'm toast. From my early teen years in Edmonton, when four friends swam every winter Friday evening at the Strathcona High School pool and drove home in Mike C's unheated rattletrap through -40C cold, to this very noon-hour, when I walked home from the pool in the Talisman Centre, it has been a constant in my life. It is comfortingly familiar, not a threat. And the chlorine-smell as it thaws actually adds virtue-points and subtracts extra calories (bet you didn't know that, but it is so).

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I've always thought that song was a warning against A Fate Worse Than Death, CqP.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, blushing, whole new meaning for chick peas. Are you on kit, pray dear sir?

Here is an oddity back at you. DMD knows about this oeuvre:
http://www.youtube.com/user/poetryanimations#p/u/526/D9aKCUb3JoI

In Italian, so tis fitting for your post.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- I shall recall my Montana roots and tell swimmerboy to stuff this, sweetly of course.

Yes. A cautionary song about being rustled too completely in the acres of the rye. So many of the folk songs are cautionary tales. Lines like:

One I wore my apron low......

....Now, I wear my apron high


I wooed her in the summer time
Part of the winter too, and the only only only thing
I did that was wrong was to keep her from the foggy foggy
dew

---
Beware of honeytonged suitors and wild wanton women...a

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I read Lord Valentine's Castle when it was serialized in Fantasy and Science Fiction. I was enchanted. A few years ago I found a first edition of the hardback in a used book store for a few books. I re-read and somehow it had lost a lot of its epic sweep.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

It takes a real expert to properly wield honeytongs!

Posted by: bobsewell | January 29, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

CqP, I need a touch of extra dialect translation-- gin is "again", correct, and ain is ... "ain't?" I'm lost.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I love "now I wear my apron high." Whence comes it?

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

WB -- that would be the Burns Scots dialect. Here is the more modern take:

Gin here is can, which is often turned into should

Should a body meet a body
Coming through the rye,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry?

Ain is own

http://www.worldburnsclub.com/poems/translations/coming_through_the_rye.htm

Ken is to know....like kin, one's known people.

Ken is one connection between English and the German root: kennen is the verb to know.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

CqP, you have caused me to rack my brain and peruse my shelves to see if I could find a book title close to being as good as "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters," and ya know, I couldn't do it. I came up with a few I'd regard as very good, excellent, even ...but none even a distant second to RHtRB,C. So most excellent call on your part. So yes, I concur: best title ever.

And it may spark me to make up a list of the also-rans. I would welcome submissions from all other Boodlers, as well, of course. We need a best-book-title smack-down. Bertooch? Are you awake? We can't do this without your participation. Yoki, of course. Wilbrod and our Husky of the Haiku. Who else hugs our lit'ry shores?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I submit, preliminarily,

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
and
Flaubert's Parrot

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Everybody Poops

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Yoki

Careless Love

Love, oh love, oh careless love,
Love, oh love, oh careless love,
Oh it's love, oh love, oh careless love
You see what careless love has done.

Once I wore my apron low
Once I wore my apron low
Oh it's once I wore my apron low,
You'd follow me through rain and snow.

Now I wear my apron high
Now I wear my apron high
Oh it's now I wear my apron high,
You'll see my door and pass it by.

I cried last night and the night before,
I cried last night and the night before,
Oh I cried last night and the night before,
Going to cry tonight and cry no more.

Love, oh love, oh careless love,
Love, oh love, oh careless love,
Oh it's love, oh love, oh careless love
You see what careless love has done.
---

Odetta singing her bluesy version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOGXiYruaug

Janis Joplin singing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYN9GKbaZ7g&feature=related

Bessie Smith

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDyaEOd6t-w


Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Most excellent. Tess and others.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, re: "Apron high" - That one's an oldie but a goodie. From a song usually called "Dink's Song" or "Fare-thee-well", it's been recorded commercially in the U.S. at least the early 1930's, noted by folk music observers back to the early years of the century, and probably has incarnations back to pre-North American-slavery Africa.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 29, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like a reference to pregnancy.

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Peter Seeger and pals
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFirHRdfSCE&feature=related

Jean Ritchie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBJJZ96epbg
(closest to the Gaelic roots)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenters

Mudge -- I say this to myself to start the day, when something very hard is coming, and even to students about starting a paper.

In my mind's eye, we are barnraising, even though Salinger is so New York we may as well be tossing down egg cream selzters....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Short story title (I know, not a book)--
"Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman"

Wilbrodog submits "The Call of the Wild"-- it's a cliche now, but think about it, also, "Never Cry Wolf," and "The Grapes of Wrath,"
which he claims always reminds him of me when I bust him trying to eat raisins off the floor.

Character-as-title category: "Pudd'n'head Wilson."

Best "Huh?" title-- "A Clockwork Orange."

In the category of titles that acquire a richer, darker meaning AFTER you read the book:
"The Trial" by Kafka.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

That Seeger version makes me wish Springsteen had done it during the sessions. But, Bessie Smith!

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

BobS-yeruncle.

Thanks for the other names. Fare the well.

Another sad one is
Tarrytown
Butcher Boy
Wild Goose Grasses (by the Weavers!)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

CqP, I usually have "Workin' on the Railroad" in my head instead.

Some titles do stick in the head.

"The Phantom Tollbooth" did that for me as a kid, and "All Quiet on the Western Front" as a teenager.

Mudge, are titles based on songs or poetry published by others disqualified from consideration?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

*Tim, whatever I do with my StingRay, it won't be because I want to preserve it for collectors or for some percieved future value. It'l be because I want to *ride* it, man.

Just like any other genre of literature, there's plenty of sf and fantasy I find quite good, and plenty not so much. Of course, to each their own.

I'm glad to see you making headway on the Baroque Cycle, yello. You're in my favorite part of it, too. The Confusion, naturally.

More later.

And yeah, it was a lovely moon last night.
What I remember of it, anyway.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 29, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Des Chrétiens et des maures. (Daniel Pennac)
"Christians and Moores." It's all about rice and beans. Or so they say.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

The moon here is unbelievable, so bright and so clearly defined. But it's like, -25C, without the wind.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Ronnie Gilbert of the Weavers sang Wild Goose Grasses
also called Tarrytown

Slyness: 1000 pts on the pregnancy reference about high vs. low aprons.

Tarrytown
(Traditional)

In Tarry-town there did dwell
A handsome youth I knew so well
He courted me my life away,
And now with me he will no longer stay.

Wide and deep my grave will be
With the wild good grasses growing over me
Wide and deep my grave will be
With the wild goose grasses growing over me

Oh once I wore my apron low
He's follow me through ice and snow
Now that I wear my apron high
You walk right down the street and pass me by.

Wide and deep my grave will be
With the wild good grasses growing over me
Wide and deep my grave will be
With the wild goose grasses growing over me

There is an inn in Tarrytown
Where my love goes and sits him down
He takes another on his knee
For she has golden lashes more than me

Wide and deep my grave will be
With the wild good grasses growing over me
Wide and deep my grave will be
With the wild goose grasses growing over me


Cautionary Tale:

House of the Rising Sun by Ronnie G.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBJJZ96epbg

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Rules:
1) The title must be reasonably serious, or at least not self-consciously designed to be funny or cutsie
2) The title must not be derivative of an earlier one (ergo Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is out, because it violates this rule and also rule #1)
3) Can be book (meaning fiction or non-fiction), play, poem, essay or other literary work. No song titles.
4) CAN be based on or be a quote from some other source, if it then acquires some sort of richness in so doing, i.e. "The Sun Also Rises" qualifies.

All submitted so far have been excellent.

More:

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep
The Once and Future King
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Our Man in Havana
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
A Streetcar Named Desire
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Killer Angels
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Night Falls on the City
The Devil Wears Prada
The Roses of No Man's Land (about nurses in WWI)
And Then There Were None
The Concrete Blond
Death Comes for the Archbishop
Our Town
The Long Goodbye
Suddenly Last Summer
Butterfield-8
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner
To Kill a Mockingbird

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- dear, you opened and nearly closed the contest. SUCH TITLES.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I always like The Mill on the Floss as a title, but through some strange mechanism of neurology, I confuse it with The Fruit of the Loom, and so it cannot qualify.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- Floss and Foss are favorite words of mine. Foss is Icelandic for waterfall.....I always read this as

Mill on the Foss

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Can we have a movie title category?

If so, I submit "Apocalypse Now Redux". Taken literally, I always puzzled over the idea of 'now' being brought back. I mean, it's now so where's it being brought back from?

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I take the 'apron high' as a reference to pregnancy, the result of spending too much time in the rye with a fine young lad.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 29, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Do you call the thread for decorative stitching "Floss," CP? Embroidery Floss? I do.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Shirley there must be others? I am deficient in so many categories I know I must have left large gaps.

Riders of the Purple Sage
Splendor in the Grass

I am debating Rabbit, Run, but have decided not.

Dance Hall of the Dead
Of Mice and Men
The Daughter of Time
Gaudy Night
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Long Day's Journey into Night


Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 29, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Some of my favorite titles came from George Chesbro's series of mysteries about a dwarf detective named Mongo:

The Cold Smell of Sacred Stone

Second Horseman Out of Eden

The Language of Cannibals

Dream of a Falling Eagle

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod_Gnome, I have an ST:OS bias in the same way that I have a bias for staid and traditional French cuisine vs. Five Guys. Both will provide sustenance and have their arena for appropriate enjoyment; but they are never to be confused.

I will grant you superior production values, special effects, and acting in ST:TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise (except for Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar). The original series still manages to convey the idea of humanity moving into a universe of complexity and strangeness beyond ordinary experience, with understandably human people as our proxies for exploration. The 2nd-generation series largely told stories that were mere transfers from other media -- although I will grant that the first of the Romulan episodes, with Mark Lennard (later Spock's father) as the Romulan commander, was merely a WWII submarine movie in space (Regarding the silent running aspect, my impression was that the lowered voices were primarily to be seen as a psychological response, with the main concern being the detectability of electronic equipment).

Enterprise should have been a fantastic retro experience: "Tales of Zephrem Cochran" would have been a great way to do it. Instead, they made it a clumsy time-travel show, the first refuge of a hack writer who has decided he's going to write "science fiction."

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

*Not* Lady Chatterly's Lover, because, well, it's about Lady Chatterly's lover. Too literal for my taste.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

You named a lot of favs, Mudge. Some random thoughts...

Of Mice and Men
The Odyssey
Finnegan's wake
To Think I saw It on Mulberry Street
Lamb to the Slaughter


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, let's make movie titles and song titles two separate contests for some other day. Neither tend to be "literary" in quite the way these titles are.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Why the difference between the shows? Because the original ST and TZ solicited screen plays from the best of the science fiction magazine and novel writers. The later shows, both blessed and cursed by an additional ~30 years of video science fiction, were written by professional screen writers. There are many things they did better than the writers of ST:OS, but they rarely grasped the essence of what makes for successful hard science fiction. Plus, they had a rigid formula that made all episodes highly predictable. Regular as clockwork, I can guarantee that every ST:TNG story has two parallel stories, with story number 2 launching about 3 minutes after the title sequence. At about minute 47 in the hour, someone will concoct a technical solution to the big problem facing the ship, largely derived from the resolution of the second plot line, and will then explain it for 5 minutes. 3 minutes later, they will have improvised an entirely novel bit of technology using heretofore unanticipated physics, In a life-threatening display of untested technical virtuosity, the Enterprise is saved! Break for commercial. Fade in: the secondary plot line is reflected upon, because that's what's *really* important among recent events. Set a course for an Arabic-named star. Warp Factor 9 (because ST:OS always went at Warp Factor 6). Engage. Roll credits.

This is similar to people who tell me that they never saw any reason to get a better bike than a department-store clunker, because they prefer to walk any distance rather than the unpleasant and exhausting tedium of pedaling the same distance. If your only experience of the activity is with its crappiest examples, then its no wonder you discover that you don't like it very much.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Of course:

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The Sun Also Rises

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I call them silks, since my granny did. But floss is the conventional name.

ANd, oh my now we segue for a brief moment to Frank Zappa's dental floss farm in Montana...but back to the titles

Mudge, I admire the taking of a phase from the canon to make a title:

Something Wicked this Way Comes
Bradbury and SHakespeare -- love this.

ANd, RickoShea, my granny would add....spending time in the acres of the rye with a BOLD bold boy....likely bonny...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, Frosti.

Yes, Yoki, I take your point. Quite right.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (with assist going to Wilbrod, because Mulberry Street put this one in my head)

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Look Homeward, Angel

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 29, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I always liked PJ O'Rourke's title, "Parliament of Wh0res".

But I suppose we were looking for something a little more profound, eh?

Posted by: bobsewell | January 29, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

So, not "Riders of the Purple Wage" by Philip José Farmer?

A Boy and His Dog

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Trout Fishing in America

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

sciTim -- I do not understand the reluctance of people to bikes, after say 25.

World Bike Relief is rethinking a number of very sturdy but whizzybang ease sproketed bikes for developing countries... I wonder if these bikes would help us here.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

bobs-O'Rourke has great titles. I'm fond of Holidays in Hell

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 29, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

A little Bette Davis action:

Now, Voyager

Watch on the Rhine

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

A Complicated Kindess

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Kindness

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

How about "Watership Down"

All the talking bunnies would likely unsettle Wilbrodog, though.

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm debating A Canticle for Liebowitz. Marginal, methinks.

Love in the Time of Cholera

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Leaves of Grass

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

MsJS -- Watership Down was interesting to me because it did not seem to fit the book; does anybody know how it related to real bunny land, with treachery and bunnicide?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Tim, you're right on Enterprise. That's a series that should have written itself, and lasted for years.

As far as the lowered voices in the Romulan episode of ST:OS, it wasn't psychological. As I recall, the silence was broken when Spock knocked something off his console, making a noise. The obnoxious, prejudiced, red-shirt guy assumed it was deliberate, in order to give their position away.

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

O'Rourke is pretty much out, violating the deliberate cutsie/funny rule. But yes, he has good titles.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I suggest watching the STNG episodes "Darmok" and "Measure of a Man." Those are very solidly told stories with surprisingly few special effects.

"The Inner Light" is a general favorite, too, and I'd say it doesn't depend on the time travel troupe that "The City on the Edge of Forever" does.

And I'd suggest "More Trouble with Tribbles" (DS9) for some STOS nostalgia with a newer look.

I could think of a few more if I knew what you considered the best TOS episodes.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I suggest watching the STNG episodes "Darmok" and "Measure of a Man." Those are very solidly told stories with surprisingly few special effects.

"The Inner Light" is a general favorite, too, and I'd say it doesn't depend on the time travel troupe that "The City on the Edge of Forever" does.

And I'd suggest "More Trouble with Tribbles" (DS9) for some STOS nostalgia with a newer look.

I could think of a few more if I knew what you considered the best TOS episodes.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

"A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" has a certain alliterative allure.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 29, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Frosti -- Cowgirls is a good title

And, mysteries, especially over the span of books can really be fun.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

As does "alliterative allure."

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

This makes me think that Stephen King's titles are not really in the league here. Make me wrong, if you like.

And, I do enjoy his books...I think he is a better writer than people are rude about.

I do not think that Iris Murdoch's titles are all that amazing; and I admit to liking the early books. Later ones? She needed but rejected an editor...as did J.K. Rowling....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I wonder about Watership Down, because even after all these years I still don't understand it (the title, I mean, not the book. My objection to to it as a title is it just makes me ask, "Huh?" but without providing suspense. And there is no such word as Watership.)

Lots and lots of good titles. But I think CqP's original observation still stands. Anybody want to argue that one of these titles (or some other one) is a worthy competitor to RHtRB,C?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 29, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

y;ll are talking classic ST and I gotta say:

Jim, watch out for the alien gal-allure...it never ends well...just listen for the certain cheezeball music and then the soft focus and her irridescent eye shadow....


talk about yer cautionary tale....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

A Confederacy of Dunces

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Not me. CquaP pwns this.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

CqP: IIRC, Watership Down was the name of a hill in Hampshire, England and was the rabbits' destination.

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I pulled my punch on that one. I was gonna say that it has "an almost elegantly alliterative allure."

I decided that was trying just a bit too hard.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 29, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

OhMiGoodness

Mudge and others, this list about references in one title to the canon of other works is worth pouring over.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_book_titles_taken_from_literature

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Example:

All Passion Spent Vita Sackville-West REF Samson Agonistes, John Milton

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

It just seems strange that your chief complaint is with the structure of the episodes, rather than the stories themselves, SciTim.

TV was a newer media back then than it is now, without as much need to sync with advertising formulas. What you name wouldn't be unusual for any TV show running 1 hour. It is the rules of the form.

Secondly, you say professional scriptwriters, as though they're all clones of each other. How many people have you met who worked in TV or sold TV scripts professionally?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Best chain of title to source with layers of truth, meaning, chastisement:

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Dee Brown REF American Names, Stephen Vincent Benét

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Cordwainer Smith:

The Game of Rat and Dragon

Scanners Live in Vain

The Lady Who Sailed the Soul

The Dead Lady of Clown Town

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks MsJS -- NOW I get Down...so Watership is the name that the people had...as in Churchill Down?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Best Harlan Ellison title:
"Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77°"

Best P. J. O'Rourke title:
"How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink" from Republican Party Reptile (okay, that's two, I'm cheating)

Best Kurt Vonnegut Title:
Breakfast of Champions

John D. MacDonald had great titles:
The Brass Cupcake
Murder for the Bride
Judge Me Not
Weep for Me
The Damned
Dead Low Tide
Cancel All Our Vows
Contrary Pleasure
A Bullet for Cinderella
Cry Hard, Cry Fast
A Man of Affairs
Deadly Welcome
Slam the Big Door
One Monday We Killed Them All
A Key to the Suite
One More Sunday

For all time, I have to agree with Yoki on 'Leaves of Grass'. That is just brilliant.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

A High Wind in Jamaica !!!! How could I ever have forgotten that one? Always loved that title, and the very simple colophon on the hardback jacket, a palm tree bending in the hurricane.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Tell about that...I want your take before goggling it.

Bullet for Cinderella, wow JK, makes me think of the best game lines ever:

Miss Scarlett in the Conservatory with the Atomizer

(shoulda had an atomizer!)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, CqP, not understanding. Tell about what?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Goodbye To All That

Posted by: engelmann | January 29, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Behold, Watership Down.

http://maps.google.com/maps?rlz=1C1RNNN_enUS343US361&sourceid=chrome&q=google%20map%20watership%20down&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

A few Kurosawa titles (before Kguy beats me to it):

Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail

Drunken Angel

Stray Dog

Throne of Blood

The Bad Sleep Well

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

yello, you left out what I thought was the best JDM title, The Deep Blue Goodbye, the very first McGee. I omitted it because it was too close to The Long Goodbye.

And did you know they are making a movie of it, to be released next year? And guess who is playing McGee? DiCaprio!! Not at all sure how I feel about that. Great acting chops, no doubt. But I don't initially see him as Travis. But I have a year to get used to the idea.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Ohh, y'all are gooood!

Posted by: MsJS | January 29, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I truncated the title by mistake:

"Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13" W"

Which just happens to be the corner of 2nd Street and H Street NE right by Union Station.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Great title gone bad:
"Run Rabbit Run." Book's.... just wrong.
Still shredding copies.


-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, your take on the Jamaica book...before my itchy fingers wiki it.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, you should be here for our poetry slams.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Heart of Darkness
Captured by Aliens

Posted by: engelmann | January 29, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Look Homeward, Angel
to Where the Wild Things Are
O Lassie, Come Home

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

DiCaprio is not tall enough or shambling enough. I'll believe it when I see it.

There's never been a satisfactory adaptation of a MacDonald novel except for Cape Fear.

But Stephen Cannell used to rip him off on a regular basis.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I bought "Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" almost entirely on the basis of that wonderfully intriguing title.

Lucky me.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 29, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.-- I read that book too just because of the title. Completely worth it.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

GEB

Ahh, behold a namimbulance of nerds.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Okay, CqP. I have a certain fondness for stories that feature kids viewing an adult world, and not quite understanding all that they are seeing. The narrator of Salinger's "The Laughing Man"; Roatch, the Watcher who watches Jim Prideaux's back in Tinker Tailor; the lost tribe of kids in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, etc.

In HWinJ, an English family on a plantation in Jamaica in 1800's has house destroyed at beginning by a hurricane, and the four or five young children are captured by a pirate ship. Over the course of the book the kids slowly civilize the pirates (rather than the pirates barbarianizing the kids), although ironically the kids are much more amoral than the pirates. And then at the end--well, I don't want to spoil it. A bittersweet ending.

I first came upon it as the black-and-white movie, with Anthony Quinn as the pirate captain and James Coburn as his first lieutenant. Then found the hardback in a used book store and just instantly loved the small emblem of the storm-bent palm.

The author is Richard Hughes, Brit, friend of Robert Graves and Dylan Thomas. Didn't write much else.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I left off all the Travis McGee books because each of them deserves an entry, but collectively they are genius. It's such an inspired gimmick for a mystery series. Often imitated, never duplicated.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Very evocative movie title:

Krakatoa, East of Java

Also very wrong, since Krakatoa is west of Java.

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

(One of my novels prominently features a band of feral children living in a most unusual place, with derivative sources being Mad Max/Thunder, HWinJ, Lord of the Flies, Tinker/Tailor, etc.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

The Yellojkt Sting
Quiet shrouds the Black Dog's Fireplace
Spank His Blue Bottom

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

THe God of Small Things. Great title and a wonderful depiction of children's misunderstanding of adults' conversation.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 29, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, how do you like Dickens?
He pioneered the child narrator novel, pretty much.
I think Kipling really took the child-as-naked-eye to great heights in "Kim."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Mudge,

For research then, Rumer Godden does children excellently, including some pastoralist children in the Hindu Kush during WWII who in fascination and jealously, attack and then succor a child they want to befriend (Kingfishers Catch Fire) and then in An Episode of Sparrows, she draws East Ender street children in the post war rebuilding....one of whom is an abandoned Love Child who stamps her foot and insists that she is in a family...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh, "From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler."

You don't even know how the title connects until near the end, but I must say, it'd be tough to write a even more charming title for that book.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

LOL...I think that's for the prequel about their parents, Rashomon.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 29, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Remember the rule prohibiting self-conscious cutsiness. The last two were clear violators.

Never cared for Dickens, Wilbrod (except Xmas carol). I like Kipling. I think being forced to read Dickens in school really killed him for me. Tale of Two Cities, Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield. By that time couldn't stand the guy. I say this full well realizing I really should re-read him and start fresh. But nothing effs up a book like school.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Of course, "Why Things Are & Why Things Aren't" has a nice ring to it, too.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 29, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Aww, 'mudge is probably going to veto that one, too.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 29, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

My required Dickens was "Bleak House," which I thought was indeed. Bleak. Never went back for another.

Posted by: nellie4 | January 29, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

What fun here tonight. Sleep well, all.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I'd submit "The Stainless Steel Rat"

if that's too cute then this one

"La Nausée"

Posted by: qgaliana | January 29, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

To Have and Have Not

Can't believe I left that off the earlier Hemingway titles.

"Great Expectations" was the 8th-grade assignment that ruined Dickens for me.

*Grumbling, muttering and kicking the floor over foul ruling*

Posted by: rashomon | January 29, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Mudge said:

"McGee? DiCaprio!! Not"!


and oh, golly, do I ever agree!

Posted by: nellie4 | January 29, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, ran out of energy to keep up with what's going on. Forgive me if I BOOO.

My problem is that when you examine the stories told on ST:TNG (especially in its first few years), they follow a very predictable pattern of emulating some well-known SF tropes that are among the most commonly mishandled in the written medium, and the TNG stories tend to mishandle them in the same way. ST:OS tended to be much more inventive -- in fairness, maybe largely because they simply got to the stories first. The rigid formula of ST:TNG is not so much my main problem, but it contributed to the tiresome triteness and predictability of the stories. They did not take me anywhere that I had not gone before, nor did they take me in better storytelling style. I watched most of Season 1 of ST:TNG, spotty during Season 2-3, then came back in later seasons as they finally got the hang of things.

I disagree on the merits of "City on the Edge of Forever"; despite my usual detestation for time-travel stories, I like this one. People who don't understand science fiction seem to think any time-travel is a way to tell an "inventive" story with inexpensive costuming. It is possible to tell a good time-travel story, but it takes a good writer. City was written by Harlan Ellison, an excellent text writer and an excellent screenwriter.

My knock against the ST:TNG writers is that their whole working milieu was in the medium, judged b the fact that I never saw the writers' names in publication as science fiction authors. The ST:OS writers were commonly found in science fiction magazines and anthologies of the day. TNG writers probably were technically better screenwriters (and yet they stuck to that trite formula); OS writers understood the storytelling requirements of the genre much better.

Best ST:OS episodes (inevitably an idiosyncratic listing): Where No Man Has Gone Before (bad in many ways, but inventive, compelling Kirk to employ lethal force against a former friend for the good of all); Space Seed (SS Botany Bay); The Devil in the Dark (the Horta episode); The City on the Edge of Forever; The Doomsday Machine (The Space Cornucopia of Death!); Wolf in the Fold (Scotty the Killer); The Trouble with Tribbles; A Private Little War (TERRIBLE acting; horned albino gorilla; good distancing for perspective on a storyline of importance to the time); For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky (forgotten generation ship and McCoy gets frisky).

Absolute worst episodes: Assignment: Earth (Gary Seven); Turnabout Intruder (mind-switching, another common trope for the Very Lazy Writer).

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

It's not a book, but (while searching for something else) this title certainly caught my eye: "Why do human testicles hang like that?"

A mildly amusing excerpt:

"If you’re male, the reason that you probably wince when you hear the word “squash” or “rupture” paired with “testicle” but not with, say, “arm” or “spleen” is because testicles are disproportionately more vital to your reproductive success than these other body parts are. I, for one, had to pause to cover myself just by typing those former words together."

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=why-do-human-testicles-hang-like-th-2009-11-19

Posted by: bobsewell | January 29, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Late to the party again. Will offer up these W. Somerset Maugham titles:
Of Human Bondage
The Razor's Edge
The Moon and Sixpence

Thomas Hardy:
Jude the Obscure
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Far From the Madding Crowd

Ivan Doig - Dancing at the Rascal Fair

What, 5'11" is not tall enough?

Posted by: seasea1 | January 29, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

James Coburn could have played McGee, I think.

Robert Redford is too easy. But good.

Posted by: nellie4 | January 29, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, we posted at the same time, but I feel badly out of place.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 29, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

One way or another, I gotta let it go at this point -- attendign a funeral on Saturday afternoon and otherwise filling the weekend with productivity. Aloha!

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

You guys had fun today. Coming by after the fact, all I can say is my mind is spinning and turning with all the books, the titles, the mastery and magic of which you speak. I must endeavor to read more, danged old eyes.

Good books must be read more than once. There are very few that I own that I have not read many many times.

And in defense of Silas Marner,

but, but I liked it. And Mayor of Castorbridge, Lorna Doone, and Moll Flanders and Gulliver's Travels so many many more. I *heart* old books.

And let me chime in for Steven King too. The Stand. Read many times, due for another reading soon. And Star Trek, all of them.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 29, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

imdb says Robert Redford is 5'9", Leo DiCaprio is 6'. Ah, the magic of movies.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 30, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Watched most of Great Expectations on cable a while ago.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Lest anyone feel that I'm unduly androphilious, I'll point out that I was also rather taken with another title by the same author (Jesse Bering) cited above: "Reopening the Case of the Female Orgasm."

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=reopening-the-case-of-the-female-or-2009-12-01

In fact, it's probably fair to say that I like Bering's stuff in general.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/bering-in-mind-blog/

But I really AM a big fan of that guy who did "Why Things Are & Why Things Aren't"!

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Random sf titles:

The Queen of Air and Darkness
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
The Man in the High Castle
The Stars Like Dust

Posted by: rashomon | January 30, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Bobs reminds me of another title: Sexing the Cherry, and it doesn't mean what you think.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 30, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

I haven't read "Sexing the Cherry" but the following comment (found at at Goodreads.com) seems like more than sufficient reason to do so:
- - - -
"Sometimes I think I would like to write a letter of thanks to Jeanette Winterson. The letter would go something like this, "Thank you, Ms. Winterson, for being so magical. Thank you for holding on to the play of childhood and mingling it with a breadth of creative intelligence I never knew existed. Thank you for reading as much as you do and for deploying history in new and invigorating ways. Thank you for playing with your narratives, changing your characters into hyperboles of their human selves, and ducking back into reality with the seamlessness of silk. Thank you for writing. Please write more. I'll read every word."

Molly - Dec 17, 2007 - Molly rated it: 5 of 5 stars

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Well then. Well said, Molly.

With that, I'm off.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 30, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

I love A Tale of Two Cities - watched the BBC production over the holidays. It has knitting! Not sure I ever read the book.

I don't know the Travis McGee character, either. I should read one of those books someday too.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 30, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Kind Hearts and Coronets

(My second-favorite Ealing film, after "The Man in the White Suit," which has a pedestrian title, but which, I think, is as close to a perfect movie as has ever been made.)

Posted by: rashomon | January 30, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Just about half of the titles by Anais Nin are worthy of inclusion in the best titles category. Plus they are in the read again category (maybe).

But then for the real re-read list add the most re-read: Old Testament, et al

(insomnia is making me loopy)

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Light is dawning on a very white world. There are 6 inches of snow piled on the railing, and the temperature on the porch reads 19.6. It's winter in the high country!

Good morning, all, and happy Saturday. I hope everyone is snuggled in a warm place. Time for a hot beverage. Blueberry scones on the ready room table, enjoy!

Posted by: slyness | January 30, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

OK, so I'm way late to the party...

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Really.

And I think bc is more inclined to agree at this point in time.

*Tim, I'm with you on the difference in writing between OS and TNG, at least the first couple of seasons. But I have to disagree on "Assignment: Earth" THAT had some possibilities (and Teri Garr, of course). :-)

And here's a wonderful take on how adversity can bring out the best in people (namely, the Haitian police force):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/29/AR2010012904144.html

*wishing-that-snowstorm-had-tracked-a-little-more-(OK-a-lot-more)-to-the-north-but-it's-the-weekend-anyway Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

SCC: first couple of TNG seasons...

And congrats to Serena Williams on winning the Aussie Open (where are you, Dreamer??).

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Dead Man Walking
(Thomas Hardy or Sister Helen Prejean)

Also,

http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2286

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 30, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Who knew Leo was so tall? But he is still too doughy faced. My image of Travis is too burned in by those vintage 1960s covers.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2008/08/booksfirst-july-2008.html
(scroll down just a little)

"beach bum McGee, loose-jointed, pale-eyed, wire-haired, walnut-hided rebel..."

As much as I hate to admit it, Matthew McConaughey could play him if he could hide his smirk. Also Woody Harrelson or even Nicholas Cage in a pinch.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Perfect, DNA_Girl!

Posted by: slyness | January 30, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

And as to bob_s's links, let me add this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/29/AR2010012904172.html

I refuse to comment on the controversy any further except to say that I have very firm opinions on the theory.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

No no no, yello...

Owen Wilson.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Yes to Owen Wilson.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

And mudge could play Meyer.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

*clearing throat* Ahem. Might I remind the dear boodle of the rules of this here contest? No titles that are self-consciously designed to be cutsie or otherwise attention-getting? Which leaves out most genitalia-related titles, and matters relating to same.

Also, we are looking for GREAT titles, here, not merely just "good" ones. Many good titles have been offered, yes, but were they truly outstanding and evocative?

Also, a few suggestions seem to be confusing the quality of the title with the quality of the work itself. Not the same thing. But I agree, it is deliciously easy to wander off the track and start talking about the works themselves.

This is the boodle. We have very high standards here.

That said: no, not Nicholas Cage. No. Un-unh.

I actually like the original actor who first played McGee: Same Elliot, in the mediocre made-for-TV movie based on The Empty Copper Sea. But Elliott's too old now.

I'm wondering about Josh Holloway from "Lost" playing him. Cleaned up, of course. Lose the attitude. Stanley Tucci as Meyer (although I don't recollect Meyer being in the first one; but that doesn't matter, this version won't be set in the 1960s, either, and they could easily work Meyer into it).

Just started snowing her an hour ago. Not much on the ground yet.

Safeway's got asparagus for $1.99 a pound.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

No, not Owen Wilson. Luke Wilson.

I am too old for Meyer.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

No, here you go!! Perfect!! Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the guy who played Denny Duquette on Grey's Anatomy. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0604747/

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

All Creatures Great and Small
All Things Bright and Beautiful
All Things Wise and Wonderful
The Lord God Made Them All

James Herriot

I must have read these 4-5 times each in my teens/twenties

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 30, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I loved those books. The story about the first time he used antibiotics and they worked - amazing!

Posted by: slyness | January 30, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all

Despite the Anti-Cutseyness rule I always liked H. Ellison's "Djinn, no Chaser" and "Love Ain't Nothing But Sex Misspelled."

Largely agree with *Tim's ST assessments, though I still find "A Piece of the Action" funny, even if it is an intentional 'let's drop the Enterprise crew into a 1920's gangster movie.' Yes, it's bad. But I've still never gotten through an entire hand of Fizzbin (also named a cat that).

C. Smith's "Scanners Live in Vain" has long been a favorite of mine, as has Bester's oddly titled "The Stars, My Destination" (Yeah, I know it was "Tiger, Tiger" in the UK) and "The Demolished Man."

I think Phillip K Dick wrote a lot of great stuff (ignoring the many movies made from his works), I have soft spots for "The Man in the High Tower" and especially "Valis." His from-the-inside views of mental illness were (and are) revelations to me.

OK, I'll go ahead and mention Stanislaw Lem while I'm at it...

Gotta run, folks.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey everyone! It's snowing out!!!

I'm leaving for the farmers market (indoors) and then to another grofey store and then home. Maybe a stop for gas along the way, but I suspect not in this bruiser weather (22F outside).

All including shooting pains from the right side and back of my head. You know, the kind that makes your head snap? Not the first time, won't be the last time. I grim my way through it until it's gone.

Cya'll later. . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | January 30, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. Well, it's white here. Not so much with snow as with sleet and ice. I don't think I will venture outside, too, risky, besides, there isn't anywhere to go.

I hope no one is trying to stay outside. I know there are shelters, but sometimes people won't go.

I watched 20/20 last night because I couldn't sleep, and boy, was that an eye opener. John Edwards was/is one sleazy dude, if those stories are true. From the report, I got the sense he really did not care for his wife, not like a loving husband. Yet he was still trying to avoid the shame of the affair, so he wasn't playing fair in that situation either. When a parent loses a child their whole world is altered because it's like falling in a dark hole. And so much of the time people try to come back to life, to embrace life, but it's so hard. The world once known has completely changed and adjustments have to be made. That's not easy. People seek all kinds of things to make them feel alive again, and so much of the time, these can be hurtful and damaging situations. But they gasp at anything to numb the pain because it never, ever, goes away. One may put it in the back, but it never leaves. My heart goes out to Mrs. Edwards. Her plate is so full, and I can only guess, she probably never imagined her life turning out the way it has. As for Mr. Edwards, I can imagine, he's already entered the doors of hell on earth.

As for me, I sought the face of God through Christ. Christ pulled me out that hole, and allowed me to see that love is always the answer, not easy, but the answer.

Keep warm, my friends, and check on the elderly and neighbors.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The no cutesy or punny titles rule pretty much eliminates the collected works of Robert Asprin.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Of course Luke instead of Owen. I hate those AT&T commercials.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Be careful, all y'all getting snow and ice now. We may try and clear the driveway enough to try getting out tomorrow.

Cassandra, thank you for the reminder that we all react differently when the unthinkable happens; sometimes good people lose their way and don't find it again. I'm glad you found your way and found us.

I liked some Dickens right from the start, but some took years. I couldn't read "Bleak House" at all until I finished law school, and then it was funny. Go back and try again, Mudge; they're different when you are grown and nobody's forcing you to read them.

Also, Mudge, watch out for that Safeway asparagus. I got bit by a Target special like that twice this winter. Both times, the asparagus turned to mush in my crisper within a day.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

DNA Girl, add me to the list of Boodlers grateful to know "Sinfest". It's the only comic on my Favorites, and I look forward to it every day.

Today's chemistry experiment: what happens when you start NYT no-knead bread dough,forget it, and let it rise for 39 hours instead of 18? Stay tuned for the answer, which should develop throughout the day. At this point I think I'll bake whatever comes from the second rise, even if it is only bird food.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Has I-mom checked in with anyone? I was wondering if she lost power.

Cassandra, wise move on your part to stay indoors today. Everyone else in the storm's path, please take it slow and safe.

Do we have a winner?

Not much going on here this weekend. Gearing up to vote in the Ill-In-Oys primary on Tuesday. Looks to be largely one of those hold-your-nose-and-pick affairs.

*sigh*

Posted by: MsJS | January 30, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh whew there you are, I-mom.

Posted by: MsJS | January 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you are a wise and loving woman. Ivansmom, glad you're still powered up. No snow here, just very very cold. Looking forward to getting away from it soon.

I'm useless with book titles as I usually don't remember what I've read (by title), altho' I read A Tale of Two Cities in 8th or 9th grade and enjoyed it - must have been the teacher. I think that makes a big difference in how we remember those books we had to read.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 30, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I doubt it's been used yet, but
Watch Out for That Asparagus
would make a good book title.

Posted by: MsJS | January 30, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I just checked all of Asprin's titles, yello. There wasn't a single one worthy of nomination into the great titles list, not because they were cutsey or puny, but just because they weren't anything especially praise-worthy.

Anyway, one can't just throw out "the collected" works" of somebody, implying that every title is a wowzer. C'mon.

omni suggested some of Anais Nin. I checked her titles, and couldn't find one that knocked my socks off. The closest one was A Spy in the House of Love. Meh.

If we've exhausted the list, then so be it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"Woody Harrelson or even Nicholas Cage"

are you mad, man!!??

Posted by: nellie4 | January 30, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"Coming of Age in the Milky Way"

And although the following title completely shatters, like, all the rules, I point it out because it contains a joke one can only uncover by reading the book:

"The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific"

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 30, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Many fine titles, but as Mudge proposed in the start, we already had a winner.

I am dragging my feet at heading to the state robotics tournament. My only role today is as fill in volunteer, rabid fan of local teams, and I am to receive some sort of award at the closing ceremony. (For promoting robotics opportunities in the hinterlands yada, yada.) If they wrote a decent press release perhaps we can ride this thing into a few more $ for next season.

Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

We've certainly not exhausted the topic, but I think the game timed out.

Hope everybody is staying warm and dry. We've got some light snow today and tomorrow, just enough to cover the rotted muck now lining the streets and make everything white and sparkly again.

I'm off to the theatre this afternoon, Sartre's "No Exit." The original vehicle for "h311 is other people."

Have a great day, Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

frosti, if they DIDN'T write a decent press release, the Boodle shall provide... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm back -- somehow. The roads are horrific - even Rockville Pike. I was going around 20 mph the whole time and had to go through a couple of yellow lights and one red light when it just turned IIRC.

And cold??? It got down to 13F and got up to 14F once I got home. Brrrrrrr. You are so right, Cassandra (well, you always are, you know). If you don't have to venture out, don't! I am officially in for the duration.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 30, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is definitely a great title. Probably even better when you don't know the storyline, or even genre.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

What, no "Spectre of the Gun?"

You also forgot that in every OS episode-- no matter if Kirk has to be pretty much spoonfed the answer, he always has the final idea and solves the problem, not any of his underlings.

Even Spock has to pretty much step back and let Kirk think up the answer even with Mad Cow Disease ravaging his brain.

If you had more than 37 episodes to watch or hadn't already appreciated a different approach to Star Trek, this would have irritated you no end. And this was by design; it was part of the scriptwriting rules, famous author or not.

That you're complaining you couldn't find their names as published SF authors doesn't mean much. They all could have been rabid SF fans and wrote fan fiction before they branched out into general theatre and TV.

"Scientifiction - a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision."
Hugo Gernsback

Hard to be prophetic nowadays. So many of the ideas of past SF have been outstripped or proven impossible by modern science. The real new frontiers in biology, say, are very complex and many SF authors get their premises entirely wrong.

Bradbury may be closer to what modern SF needs to be in order to survive-- focusing on the small, the freakish, scrapping castles of technology to go straight to the problem people deal caused by a specific set of dilemmas, technology caused or not.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Theodore Sturgeon never gets on the list either.

It occurred to me last night that Holden Caulfield was no fan of SF. Granted, the genre was mighty pulpy in his day - did Holden already have enough literary taste pounded into him that he turned up his nose at it on those grounds? - but there's no Verne or Wells in his head, either. Huxley, either.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - That article WAS timely, wasn't it? And I almost always enjoy Monica Hesse's stuff. Apparently, more research is needed.

(Sigh. No rest for the wicked.)

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

How about Bruce Campbell for Travis? He's the side kick in Burn Notice. I think he'd have to lose a few pounds though.

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight amuses me as a book title.

Stay safe and warm folks. It's snowing here to beat the band, and we were only supposed to get a snow shower.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 30, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

This is an outrage!


Cost Dispute Halts Airlift of Injured Haiti Quake Victims

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/30/us/30airlift.html?hp

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 30, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

They've definitely had to revise their forecasts for snowfall totals in the D.C. area. I think they were initially talking about 1-3" in my area, now it's more like 4-6", and that may turn out to be conservative. I've already got over 2", and it's coming down pretty steadily.

For those that like to keep up with such stuff, I always recommend (heartily & unreservedly) the Capital Weather Gang for local weather stuff. There simply is no better resource.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The Miami Herald had no mention of the halt in transport of quake victims. It seems that the project got off to a slow start due to other squabbles.

More pleasantly, we made it to Nation, the National Theatre production broadcast live from London. Spectacular. Though I guess that some of those attending didn't realize the tall guy was a parrot.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 30, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

We have about 2 inches of snow here in western KY. The youngest dog had a fine time romping in this AM.

Posted by: Manon1 | January 30, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

rickoshea - Yes, that is infuriating and offensive. But I'd be willing to bet that it's very temporary. Unfortunately (as the aftermath of Katrina showed glaringly) there's seldom a good plan in place to deal with large numbers of victims of traumatic events. Even the D.C. area, which has more medical resources than most places, would quickly become strained if fifty additional unannounced severely injured patients started showing up at National Airport every day.

Maybe God should consider giving us a little more advance warning if He wants us to be most efficient at aiding Him in His work?

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Dang! I forgot to take the Jeopardy test. Opportunity lost.

We seem to be in full-on spring mode here, which is fine by me.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 30, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* Lost a word...romping in *it*.

Posted by: Manon1 | January 30, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The Miami Herald now has a story on the freeze on medical evacuations from Haiti:
http://www.miamiherald.com/582/story/1454479.html

Puzzling.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 30, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Is "romping in this AM" sort of like "roaming in this gloaming"?

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

It's more like roaming in the gleaming...the snow is very bright

Posted by: Manon1 | January 30, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

We have enough font geeks here to make this super-fun.

I'm Van Doosberg

http://www.pentagram.com/what-type-are-you/

if you need a password (I didn't), use "character"

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Wait, are those audio questions, Yoki?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Nice article about how Cornish, NH protected Salinger's privacy.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2010/01/30/salingers_solitude_their_source_of_pride/

Posted by: badsneakers | January 30, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I think I must be missing key info in the audio part as to how they define those terms, because I hated all the fonts shown to me. I'm not a sans serif type.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Campbell will always be Ash from the "Evil Dead" movies (esp. "Army of Darkenss") to me.

Though he is pretty good in "Burn Notice" and those Old Spice commercials wearing the robe ("Hungry Like the Wolf" being my favorite) and heck, can you forget his take on Elvis in "Bubba Ho-tep?" (OK, I've been trying.)

Three inches of snow, and it aint' stopping. Oy.

bc

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh Wilbrod, I'm sorry. I should have flagged that is audio-based. *Hanging my head in shame*

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Now HERE'S a rant!!!

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/01/29/notes012910.DTL

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 30, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I got Bifur then Universal.

Shouldn't have listened to Wilbrodog on that first one, for sure.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

New kit

Posted by: dmd3 | January 30, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Cooper Black Italic??? ITALIC??? But that means I'm not allowed on the Boodle!!! :-O

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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