The 6 Reactions Book-Lovers Have to People Who Don’t Read

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There are many ways to get passionate reactions out of hardcore book nerds. Tell us Twilight deserves a place in the pantheon of great vampire literature next to Stoker’s Dracula and Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Ask us where we stand in the e-book vs. print book debate. Mention the ongoing Amazon-Hachette feud. Bring up any book-to-film adaptation, ever. It’s not a question of whether we’ll have opinions, but rather when we will stop beating you over the head with them with all the force of a hardcover edition of Les Miserables.

However, if you really want to whip a book-lover into a Tempest-like frenzy of emotions, all you need are four little words: “I don’t read books.”

I’ve heard those words, or similar variations (“I haven’t read a book since school,” or, even more mind-blowing, “Reading is boring”) many times in my life, and without fail, they inspire within me a tangle of emotions that leaves me speechless, at least momentarily (which is no easy feat). I understand that not everyone can enjoy reading as thoroughly as I do (actually, that’s probably a good thing; if that were the case, I’m pretty sure nothing productive would ever be accomplished), but to genuinely dislike the act of reading? You may as well say you don’t like breathing or eating.

Conversations with fellow book-lovers reveal that we all tend to have the same reactions to these rare and mysterious creatures: What … How… Why…??

It’s for their benefit, as well as the benefit of those who dare blaspheme our precious pastime with callow disregard, that I sat down to sift through the varying emotions book nerds experience when we hear those heartbreaking words: “I don’t read books.” The struggle is real. Here’s what happens next…

1. Shock/Disbelief

You … don’t … read … books? You mean, like, you don’t read novels, but you read nonfiction and stuff like that, right? No? You just straight-up do not read words printed in ink on paper and bound between two covers. Really?

2. Confusion

I see your lips moving. I hear words coming out of your mouth. They sound like English, but I can’t comprehend them. You can read, but you choose not to.

But why? Do you not have books? Do you need books? What did books do to you to make you scorn them so? Did they take you out for a nice seafood dinner and then never call you again? What do you do instead of reading, sit around and stare at things? So. Many. Questions.

3. Judgment

If I’ve known you for awhile and you reveal this, suddenly everything I thought I knew about you has been called into question. You’re lucky enough to be among the percentage of adults who can read and you choose not to exercise that privilege?

What other deep, dark secrets have you been hiding from me? Were you actually sick that night you had to cancel our plans? Do I really know you at all? And in the case that you’re someone I just met, and you tell me you don’t like to read…

4. Pity

This feeling can happen simultaneously with judgment. Do you even understand what you’re missing? Books let us travel to more locations than we could ever visit in a lifetime, as well as awesome places that don’t exist in the real world. They introduce us to amazing friends and give us kick-ass heroes to root for. They teach us, inspire us, evoke our emotions. But you’re depriving yourself of all that and it just makes me so, so sad.

5. Persuasion

It can’t be that you don’t like to read, you just haven’t found the right book yet. What interests you? Humour? History? Sports? Dwarfs? Humorous historical dwarfs playing sports? I don’t care how many hours we have to spend in the library, I will find a book you like. And I will make you love them!

6. Acceptance

No? Really? You’re absolutely, definitely not interested in one of the most beloved pastimes of the last 600 years? *Sigh* I don’t understand it, but I guess it’s true that it takes all kinds of people to make the world. So fine, be like that. And don’t worry, I can love books enough for the both of us.

***

Via: https://www.bustle.com/articles/36433-the-6-reactions-book-lovers-have-to-people-who-dont-read

15 Reading Pet Peeves Every Book-Lover Understands

book lover

It’s a proven fact that reading is the best hobby ever – any book-lover will tell you so. No matter your preferred genre or medium, there’s an endless supply of books to capture your interest and they can serve as everything from entertainment to distraction. It’s an overwhelmingly positive pastime, but I will admit that reading does occasionally have moments of inconvenience and even of frustration. At the end of the day, however, it’s usually not books themselves that are the problem, but external factors instead. We’ll call them reading pet peeves.

For bookworms, reading can often be therapeutic and relaxing, yet there are a variety of things that are all but guaranteed to raise their blood pressure nonetheless. These reading pet peeves are pretty universal, so any true reader will likely understand the annoyance they can cause. Fortunately, most are minor, rating a facepalm or a huff of frustration. It’s only the most severe offenses that make a perfectly good book suddenly look tempting as a projectile.

If you’re a reading addict, let’s commiserate over the following 15 reading pet peeves that have probably ruffled your feathers from time to time. Non-readers, please take note to avoid any of the annoying activities and occurrences below.

1. Spoilers

Is there anything worse than finding out what’s going to happen in the book you’re reading (or planning to read) before you get there? I think not.

2. Books You Don’t Like That Become Wildly Popular

It’s amazing to see books you adore get the recognition they deserve, but when books with problematic characters or storylines top the best-seller lists, it’s beyond irritating. Worse still? When film studios snap up the movie rights and you know you’re going to have to keep hearing about them. Grrrr!

3. Delayed Release Dates

You can’t really blame authors when they have to push back a book’s release date – life happens, plans change. Still, knowing you’ve got an even longer wait for reading material you’ve been looking forward to is zero fun.

4. People Who Are Careless With Borrowed Books

I don’t think it’s too much for us to expect people to treat borrowed property well, but sadly, not everyone has learned that lesson. If you’ve ever lent out a book, only to get it back in worse condition, I feel your pain.

5. People Who Are Careless With Books In General

Even if they’re not actually your books, it can be cringe-worthy to watch someone crease their book jacket or haphazardly drip coffee over the pages.

6. Waiting For Library Books

Libraries are up there on a book-lover’s list of favourite things, but having to wait on a hold list is not. Patience is a virtue, of course, but it’s not easy to come by when there’s a story you’re dying to get your hands on.

7. Being Judged For Wanting To Stay In And Read

When all you want to do is curl up for the evening with a good book, there’s no shame. The only shame should be directed at those who would guilt you or judge you for it.

8. Movie Adaptations With Plot Deviations

Bringing a book to screen has its challenges, but when the movie adaptation takes all kinds of unnecessary liberties with the original plot, it’s enough to infuriate any fan of the work.

9. Books With Promising Starts That Go Downhill

It feels like a betrayal when the story you’re reading starts out strong, only to suddenly take a turn for the worse. But more annoying then that is when you buy a book that promises a certain story on the jacket, only to find you’ve been mis-sold a completely different story. All that potential, those hopes and dreams, just ripped away.

10. Being Interrupted While Reading

It should go without saying that when you have a volume in hand, you should be left in peace. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to know this unwritten rule.

11. Poorly Edited Books

A minor typo can be forgiven, but repeated errors and grammatical disasters? Not so much.

12. Purses Too Small To Carry Books

A purse is meant to carry the necessities, so if it can’t fit a book or an e-reader, it’s failing at its purpose.

13. That Moment When Your E-Reader’s Battery Dies

Even after all the warnings of low battery, it’s still annoying when your e-reader actually dies. My own device takes several minutes to power back up again whenever this happens, and on top of that, it typically loses my most recent page. Oh, the inconvenience!

14. Hearing People Say They Don’t Like To Read

Is not enjoying reading really a thing? We book-lovers just don’t get the mentality.

15. Anything That Conflicts With Reading

Basically, anything that interferes with reading – especially when you’ve reached a cliffhanger – is a serious problem.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, it’s back to our happy place. Happy reading everyone!

***

Via: https://www.bustle.com/articles/128971-15-reading-pet-peeves-every-book-lover-understands

Don’t Underestimate Reader Recommendations | Mads Holmen

Reading people

The web has grown to become the main source of information and discovery for many people, and they depend on it to help build their perception of the world. However, at the same time the amount of information available has exploded.

Just think of Spotify’s 30m music tracks – there’s enough content just there to fill hundreds of human lifetimes. YouTube receives more video in a minute than you could ever watch and Facebook must choose from an average of 2600 relevant posts when you fire up your feed.

So, to manage the constant stream of potential information from overloading us, we all daily interact with recommender systems now. Some well-known examples include Facebook and Instagram’s Feed, Spotify’s Discover Weekly, movie and book recommendations on Netflix and Amazon – but recommenders are everywhere, assisting you to do everything from booking your travel to dating or ordering food.

However, there is one problem. Diversity.

The public discourse has now accepted terms like filter bubbles, echo chambers and fake news, but we’ve still done preciously little to consider the systems design that caused this new trend.

I heard a panelist in Amsterdam last week say that he genuinely believed Facebook and Google could incidentally cause the next global conflict by virtue of creating a more polarized media landscape. They didn’t plan to, but by rewarding attention-grabbing content that drives engagement, these companies have created a perverse incentive structure for content creators.

Ev Williams, the founder of Medium and Twitter, often uses the car crash analogy. The current systems rewards extremes he says. Say you’re driving down the road and see a car crash. Of course, you look. Everyone looks. The internet interprets behavior like this to mean everyone is asking for car crashes, so it tries to supply more of them.

It interprets what we do, as the person we are.

When popularity and engagement drive the publishing industry, we lose sight of what gave the industry its privileged status in society in the first place – trust and human aspiration. So, while it is tempting for businesses to interpret popularity as a signal that people simply want more of that stuff, that would be a mistake. People also want diversity, because it serves a different purpose in our lives – that of our better, future self. In the recommender systems space, we call this problem exploitation vs exploration.

One of the editors on our blog, Sam Lay, wrote beautifully about why diversity is an important counteract to popularity – and why the reason is human aspiration.

“Every Monday my unambitious and unsophisticated musical choices stare me in the face. I can clearly see why Discover Weekly is choosing the songs it does and that’s slightly embarrassing.…My saves, shares and playlist adds on Spotify indicate my aspirational self, the music I would like to be associated with, whilst what I actually listen to often serves a practical purpose or satisfies a guilty pleasure.”

In short, he argues that there is a difference between what our actual self may do in the moment and what future our aspirational self is trying to steer us towards – and that any product that helped him be more of the latter would be worth more to him. Daniel Kahneman calls this the difference between our experiencing self and our remembering self.

The problem is often that aspiration and long-term product satisfaction cannot be measured as easily and immediately as popularity. However, we know from research that users actually tend to be more satisfied with diverse recommendations, i.e. being exposed to a wider variety of content, which can prompt the experience of serendipity — discovering something new when we were not expecting it. Those sorts of discoveries have disproportionate value.

So, if our ugly actual self stares us in the face every time we open Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, the best business opportunity around might be to cater more for our better selves. We know from countless branding studies that aspirational brands can charge a premium on their products and services (think Apple vs Dell), so I see no reason to assume that this shouldn’t be true in the publishing space too.

When speaking to friends about this article, one thing that kept coming back was how bookstores like Foyle’s in London are offering superior value by having diverse staff pick tables and an aspirational store environment. People buy an experience, not just a book. It might feel counter-intutivie when you’re chasing short-term clicks, but that experience will become ever more valuable if it reaches out to our better selves, rather than just re-circulating our current tastes.

***

The original article is here: https://www.thebookseller.com/futurebook/dont-underestimate-readers-when-it-comes-recommendations-642661

11 Reasons The Best Relationships Are With Books

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Boyfriends come and go, best friends move away, and family drive you crazy…. but books, unlike people, are always reliable. If you’re a true bibliophile, than books will already have a special place in your life. You constantly surround yourself with them, and unlike your romantic partner’s crap, you never get mad when you find them laying around the house. You make sure that no matter where you go, you go together, and you always go to bed holding onto a book. Even if you’re at work or out with friends, you’re mind constantly wanders back to the same thing: books. You just can’t help it, they’re always on your mind and you miss them when you’re apart. Try as you might, but there’s no denying it: books are your true love, and one of the best relationships you have.

No matter how great your girl gang is or how wonderful the new love interest in your life may seem, you can’t escape the truth: your relationship with them will never be the same as your relationship with your books. Not sure if you believe me? Then here are 11 reasons that the best relationships are with books.

1. You Prefer Going to Sleep With A Book Over A Person.

While your partner hogs the blanket and snores in your ear, books never do that to you. Sure, they may leave lines on your face when you fall asleep reading, but can you really blame the books? You’d much prefer waking up to find yourself surrounded in novels than in your partner’s drool.

2. Books Are Always There To Catch Your Tears.

When books make you cry, which they do often, they are also the ones there to catch your tears, and they do it without complaining about how you look when you cry, or telling you to blow your nose.

3. The Bookstore Is Your Regular Date Spot.

If you spend your Friday nights cruising the fiction aisle with a few new books in your arms, then chances are you have a better relationship with books than you do the friends you ditch on weekends to stay home and read. Hey, no judgement here.

4. You Go Everywhere Together.

Whether it’s on the train to work, on vacation, or just out to the bar, you and books go everywhere together. You’d never dream of leaving the house without one, unlike your partner who you don’t mind leaving behind for some alone time with your new novel.

5. They Give You Butterflies In Your Stomach.

From the subtle romance to the hot-and-heavy sex scenes, books always find a way to give you all the good feelings. Can you still say that about the partner who shamelessly burps and farts in your presence? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

6. You Spend A Lot Of Alone Time Together.

You can truly tell if you like someone (okay, something) if you find yourself having a lot of one-on-one time together. In the case of books, there’s plenty of that.

7. Even Though You See More Than One At Once, No One’s Feelings Get Hurt.

Your books understand they aren’t the only one, and unlike your romantic partners, they never get jealous when you’re juggling multiple books at once. They understand your unquenchable need for good storytelling, and they never judge.

8. No Matter How Much You Yell At Your Books, You’re Books Never Yell Back.

You can get as mad at you want at your books for having terrible plot twists or for killing off your favourite characters, but yell as loud as you can, and books will never raise their voice to you. They’re here for you, to let you vent, and isn’t that what we all want in a relationship?

9. You’re Constantly Talking About Them To Friends.

At brunch, when you’re out shopping, or on a girl’s night out, the story is always the same: you cannot shut up about the book you’re reading. Whether you’re friends asked or not, you can’t help but gush over your current selection, and you don’t even care if anyone is listening. You won’t hide your love, no matter how many eye rolls you get.

10. They Are Always There For You At The End Of The Night.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, or who with, books are always happy to see you at the end of the night. Because the best relationships are the ones you can count on, always.

11. You Can’t Get Them Off Your Mind.

Whether you’re at work or out with friends or even laying around with your partner, you can’t help but let your mind wander back to the same thing: books. They’re always on your mind. True love? I’d say so.

Via: https://www.bustle.com/articles/11-signs-books-are-the-best-relationships

19 YA Books Everyone Should Read 

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I saw this article on BuzzFeed, which asked members of the BuzzFeed Community for the young adult novels they’d recommend to anyone, regardless of their age. I really loved it, as I’ve never thought of myself as a YA reader, but there are a number of suggestions here that I’m really interested in picking up. Here’s what they said…

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“It’s a beautifully, tragically relevant book for young adults and adults alike. Unarmed, 16-year-old Khalil is fatally shot by a police officer, and his friend Starr, who is with him at the time, deals with the aftermath and the struggles of feeling like a second-class citizen her own country. It’s very engaging, and when I finished the book, I felt that I had learned something important.”

2. I’ll Give You The Sun and The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

“Her books are so beautifully written, I couldn’t pick between the two. Her characters are relatable she deals with topics like grief, sexuality, family, and coming to terms with who you are. Read her books. You will not regret it. I wish she would write more!”

3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

“It affected me emotionally more than any other book has in years. It’s beautifully quirky, with life lessons that are both nostalgic and currently relevant. I recommend it to everyone that asks me for a book recommendation.”

4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

“It’s about a Latino boy who doesn’t know his place in the world and discovers it in a truly beautiful way. As an LGBT Latinx teen it meant the world to me when I read it and changed a lot in my world. It helped in accepting who I was and I fell in love with its beautiful characters.”

5. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

” I’ve read it annually since I was 14, which is about 12 years now. It’s a beautiful, slightly eerie story set in the early 20th century about a girl who craves and seeks a career and education, despite familial and societal pressure to become a wife and caretaker, against the backdrop of a real-life murder. It’s as poignant as ever, definitely changed my life, and set me on a path of self-care and feminism.”

6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

“It’s about a young Native American boy who deals with health issues due to being born with hydrocephaly, and is a budding comic book artist. He ends up going to a high school in the wealthier part of his town where he is the only Native American (besides the school mascot). It’s mostly about him overcoming his struggles. Heads up: There’s mentions of alcohol, drugs, death, and slurs.”

7. The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

“The main character, Lyra, is charming, and the adventures are captivating. The books ask a lot of philosophical questions about the nature of the universe and of ourselves. It’s good reading for any age, and I get more out of it every time I re-read the series.”

8. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

“It was one of my favourite YA books growing up, and still is to this day. It covers love, death, friendship, and does so in an eloquent way that doesn’t feel like the rehashing of the same story you read in every other book.”

9. Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

“It tackles the issue of being transgender in middle school and finally accepting who you really are. Some people accepted Grayson, some didn’t.”

10. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

“It’s a beautiful series about the way age, socioeconomics, gender, race, and a world of other factors complicate the relationships we have with the people we love. It mixes fantasy and historical fiction with some hints of horror to tell the story of four teenagers on a quest to find the tomb of an ancient Welsh King. They have to work with psychics and a magical forest and ghosts and cars, it’s just amazing. It lifts my heart no matter how many times I read it.”

11. The Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

“It’s amazingly well written and it’s a one-off, so you don’t have to worry about a whole series. It follows a genderfluid person named Riley and their struggles being genderfluid and having anxiety. The book is immensely captivating – I’m not going to lie, it made me cry. I’ve read it through 3 times in the year and a half it’s been out and it’s gotten better each time.”

12. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“It should be required reading in life. I’ve read it for myself and with students several times and the story itself has moved me to tears, but it truly is a wonder to see the empathy the kids learned from the novel. An absolute must read.”

13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“Hands down my favourite book ever. It’s one of those books that straddles that strange line between modern YA and what we think is children’s literature. The writing is simple enough a younger reader can understand and, other than swearing and content that generally comes with the setting of WWII Germany, it’s fine for some younger readers.”

14. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

“A story about a rich and distinguished family and a group of four friends who spend their summer at a private island where everything is not what it seems to be. Full of complex characters and mystery, that will suck you in from the first page. Both the adults and the teenagers are struggling with darkness within their own selves. The ending will definitely shock you and keep you wondering why you didn’t figure things out sooner. A must read.”

15. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

“The premise may seem corny at first, but the excellent characterisation and lovely prose will pull you in. It grapples with some very deep and intense themes, and creates a fantasy world that manages to feel both familiar and truly unique.”

16. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens is the answer to that ‘Lord of the Flies but with women’ movie – it was one of the first super-intersectional feminist novels I read in high school, and it holds up.”

17. Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

“World War II historical fiction written with astounding poignancy and poetry. This is a pair of books that will never leave my bookshelf.”

18. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

“I finally got around to reading these recently and now I won’t stop talking about them to anyone who’ll listen. You’ll love Six of Crows for its fast-paced plot, but more so for its characters – the representation in these novels is seriously incredible, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy despite the fact that it’s about a band of criminals. The only bad thing about these books is that there’s only two of them.”

19. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

“A beautiful, completely gut-wrenching story about three friends in a small town looking toward their futures and how they will both escape their past and stay in touch in the future. I love this book so damn much.”

***

Via: https://www.buzzfeed.com/eleanorbate/young-adult-at-heart

Stephen King’s Reading List For Writers

Stephen-Kings-Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Writing-Successfully-in-Ten-Minutes

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools)
to write. Simple as that.” 

― Stephen King

In the afterword to his acclaimed guide On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King shares the following reading list of 96 books, covering a diverse range of fiction and non-fiction titles.

Accompanying the list is this explanation:

These are the best books I’ve read over the last three or four years, the period during which I wrote The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Hearts in Atlantis, On Writing, and the as-yet-unpublished From a Buick Eight. In some way or other, I suspect each book in the list had an influence on the books I wrote.

As you scan this list, please remember that I’m not Oprah and this isn’t my book club. These are the ones that worked for me, that’s all. But you could do worse, and a good many of these might show you some new ways of doing your work. Even if they don’t, they’re apt to entertain you. They certainly entertained me.

  1. Peter Abrahams, A Perfect Crime
  2. Peter Abrahams, Lights Out
  3. Peter Abrahams, Pressure Drop
  4. Peter Abrahams,Revolution #9
  5. James Agee, A Death in the Family
  6. Kirsten Bakis, Lives of the Monster Dogs
  7. Pat Barker, Regeneration
  8. Pat Barker, The Eye in the Door
  9. Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
  10. Richard Bausch, In the Night Season
  11. Peter Blauner, The Intruder
  12. Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
  13. T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Tortilla Curtain
  14. Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods
  15. Christopher Buckley, Thank You for Smoking
  16. Raymond Carver, Where I’m Calling From
  17. Michael Chabon, Werewolves in Their Youth
  18. Windsor Chorlton, Latitude Zero
  19. Michael Connelly, The Poet
  20. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Free eBook – Gutenberg / Kindle)
  21. K.C. Constantine, Family Values
  22. Don DeLillo, Underworld
  23. Nelson DeMille, Cathedral
  24. Nelson DeMille, The Gold Coast
  25. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (Free eBook – Gutenberg / Kindle)
  26. Stephen Dobyns, Common Carnage
  27. Stephen Dobyns, The Church of Dead Girls
  28. Roddy Doyle, The Woman Who Walked into Doors
  29. Stanely Elkin, The Dick Gibson Show
  30. William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  31. Alex Garland, The Beach
  32. Elizabeth George, Deception on His Mind
  33. Tess Gerritsen, Gravity
  34. William Golding, Lord of the Flies
  35. Muriel Gray, Furnace
  36. Graham Greene, A Gun for Sale (aka This Gun for Hire)
  37. Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana
  38. David Halberstam, The Fifties
  39. Pete Hamill, Why Sinatra Matters
  40. Thomas Harris, Hannibal
  41. Kent Haruf, Plainsong
  42. Peter Hoeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow
  43. Stephen Hunter, Dirty White Boys
  44. David Ignatius, A Firing Offense
  45. John Irving, A Widow for One Year
  46. Graham Joyce, The Tooth Fairy
  47. Alan Judd, The Devil’s Own Work
  48. Roger Kahn, Good Enough to Dream
  49. Mary Karr,  The Liars’ Club
  50. Jack Ketchum, Right to Life
  51. Tabitha King, Survivor
  52. Tabitha King, The Sky in the Water
  53. Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
  54. Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
  55. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  56. Bernard Lefkowitz, Our Guys
  57. Bentley Little,  The Ignored
  58. Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
  59. W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence (Free eBook – Gutenberg)
  60. Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain
  61. Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
  62. Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes
  63. Alice McDermott, Charming Billy
  64. Jack McDevitt, Ancient Shores
  65. Ian McEwan, Enduring Love
  66. Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden
  67. Larry McMurtry, Dead Man’s Walk
  68. Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Zeke and Ned
  69. Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz
  70. Joyce Carol Oates, Zombie
  71. Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods
  72. Stewart O’Nan, The Speed Queen
  73. Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
  74. Richard North Patterson, No Safe Place
  75. Richard Price, Freedomland
  76. Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories
  77. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
  78. Anna Quindlen, One True Thing
  79. Ruth Rendell, A Sight for Sore Eyes
  80. Frank M. Robinson, Waiting
  81. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  82. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban
  83. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  84. Richard Russo, Mohawk
  85. John Burnham Schwartz, Reservation Road
  86. Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
  87. Irwin Shaw, The Young Lions
  88. Richard Slotkin, The Crater
  89. Dinitia Smith, The Illusionist
  90. Scott Spencer, Men in Black
  91. Wallace Stegner, Joe Hill
  92. Donna Tartt, The Secret History
  93. Anne Tyler, A Patchwork Planet
  94. Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus
  95. Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
  96. Donald Westlake, The Ax

That’s a lot of recommendations. How many on this list have you read? If you’re anything like me, you’ve got an even bigger TBR pile now – best get cracking!

Via: http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2014/03/04/stephen-kings-reading-list-for-writers/

The Sleeping Beauty Fairy Tale | Interesting Literature

I found this very interesting, being a ‘child of Disney’ I only knew half of this fairystory, and believed Sleeping Beauty’s tale came to an end upon waking and falling in love with the Prince – and they all lived happily ever after – but apparently not! The tale goes on and a whole new saga unfolds with the Queen Mother and her children.

Read this and see how much of the story (which version) you know and love from your childhood:

‘Sleeping Beauty’ is, depending on which version of the story you read, called Sleeping Beauty, Talia, Little Briar Rose, Rosamond, or Aurora. This is because, like many other classic fairy tales, the tale of Sleeping Beauty exists in numerous versions, each of which is subtly – or, in some cases, quite strikingly – different from the others. In the Italian version published in the Pentamerone, an Italian collection of fairy tales published in 1634, the heroine is named Talia. Charles Perrault, in his version published later in the century, calls her the Sleeping Beauty. The Brothers Grimm call her Dornröschen or ‘Little Briar Rose’, which is sometimes adapted as ‘Rosamond’. In the Disney film, the adult heroine is named Aurora. For the purposes of clarity here, we’re going to call her ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or ‘the princess’.

Nevertheless, the overall plot of these different versions of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ remains broadly the same, so it might not prove entirely impossible to offer a short plot summary. A king is protective of his beautiful daughter, the princess. An evil fairy curses the princess, pronouncing that she will die when she is pricked by a spindle. However, a good fairy manages to intervene so that the prophecy is softened: the princess will not die if she is pricked with a spindle, but she will fall unconscious for a hundred years. The king bans flax and spinning equipment from his palace, so as to protect his daughter from such a fate. 

However, around fifteen or sixteen years later, when the king and queen were away from the palace, the princess was exploring many rooms when she came upon an old woman with a spindle, who knew nothing about the spinning ban. The princess asked if she could have a go, and the old woman let her – you can guess what happened next. The princess pricked her finger on the spindle, and dropped down unconscious. The old woman fetched help, and everyone tried to revive the princess, but to no avail. So there was nothing for it but to let the princess sleep for a hundred years. The good fairy cast a spell that essentially protected the princess in the palace, with trees grown up around the building and all of the princess’s servants, attendants, and pets made to sleep for a hundred years too.

After the century had elapsed, another king (of a different royal family) sits on the throne. His son, the prince, heard tales of the palace where the princess slept, and became interested in what he’d find if he ventured there. So he cut a path through to the palace and at length came upon the sleeping form of the princess, falling to his knees at the sight of her beauty.

His timing couldn’t have been better. For at that moment, the hundred years came to an end and the spell was lifted; the princess woke, and seeing the prince she fell in love with him, and they talked a great deal (well, after all, the princess had missed out on a hundred years of news). The whole of the palace then woke up – the servants and animals that had been put under the spell by the good fairy – and the prince and princess lived happily together, having two children, a daughter and a son whom they called Morning and Day respectively.

The prince returned to his parents, the King and Queen, but said nothing about the princess whom he had fallen in love with, because the Queen was part ogress and there were rumours that she had ‘ogreish’ tendencies – in other words, she wanted to eat people. The prince married Sleeping Beauty in private, without his parents’ knowledge.

A couple of years later, the King died and his son, the prince, became King, and brought his wife publicly to the court. But shortly after this he had to go to war with the emperor of a neighbouring country. In his absence, his mother, the Queen Mother, sent away Sleeping Beauty to the country, and sent the cook to kill Morning, the young daughter of the King and Sleeping Beauty, and cook her so that the Queen Mother could eat her with a nice sauce. But the cook was a kind man, who instead slaughtered a lamb and dished it up for the Queen Mother to eat. (She couldn’t tell that it was Lamb and not Little Girl that she was eating.) Meanwhile, the cook sent away Morning to be kept safe by his wife in their chambers in the palace.

But the Queen Mother was soon hungry again, and wanted to have Day for her dinner this time. Once again, the cook sent away the little boy and served up a young kid or baby goat for the Queen Mother to feast upon instead. But the Queen Mother’s appetite was insatiable, and next she wanted to eat the Queen, Sleeping Beauty, herself. The cook despaired of being able to deceive the Queen Mother a third time, so he went up to Sleeping Beauty’s chambers with the intention of slitting her throat. When the Queen saw him, she told him to kill her, so she might join her children, whom she feared dead. The cook told her that her children were alive and well and of how he had tricked the ogreish Queen Mother, and he took her to where his wife was looking after the Queen’s children. Then the cook dished up a hind for the Queen Mother to eat, thinking it was Sleeping Beauty.

But soon after this, the evil Queen Mother heard Sleeping Beauty and her children in the palace, where they were concealed, and she realised she had been tricked! She set about plotting her revenge, ordering that a huge tub be placed in the courtyard and filled with vipers and venomous toads and other dangerous creatures, so that Sleeping Beauty, Morning, Day, the cook, his wife, and his maid, might be thrown in there the next day, and suffer a horrible death. Next day, the prisoners were brought out for the sentence to be carried out – but just as they were about to be thrown into the tub, the King returned, and, angry that her plan had been foiled, the ogreish Queen Mother threw herself in the tub and was killed by the snakes and toads. The King was reunited with Sleeping Beauty and his children, and they all lived happily ever after.

This summary of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is based on the tale that the Opies include in their The Classic Fairy Tales; there are some minor differences between the various versions of the tale, which has been told by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, among others. Indeed, the only reason the Brothers Grimm didn’t throw out ‘Sleeping Beauty’ from their catalogue of fairy tales for being too French was the tale’s suggestive affinities with the myth of Brynhild in the Völsunga saga, which was the inspiration for Wagner’s Ring Cycle among other things. (Brynhild was imprisoned in a remote castle behind a wall of shields and doomed to sleep there in a ring of flames until a man comes along, and rescues and marries her.)

It was Charles Perrault, however, who first made the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty famous, when he included it in his landmark 1697 collection of fairy stories. Yet as we remarked at the beginning of our summary and analysis of this, one of the most famous of all fairy tales, the basic story predates Perrault, and a similar version can be found in the 1630 Pentamerone. Yet even by this stage, the story of Sleeping Beauty was a few centuries old: one of the stories in the anonymous fourteenth-century prose romance Perceforest features a princess named Zellandine who, like Sleeping Beauty after her, is cursed to end up being pricked by a spindle, an accident which prompts her to fall asleep until – you’ve guessed it – a dashing prince, in this case a chap named Troylus, arrives to wake her up. (Unfortunately, this important medieval collection of tales remains criminally out of print and in need of a good translation/edition: Oxford University Press or Penguin, please commission one!)

‘Sleeping Beauty’ features many of the common tropes of classic fairy tales: the beautiful princess, the evil stepmother figure (the evil Queen Mother), the handsome prince, the good fairy, and the patterning of three (the Queen Mother’s planned meals of Morning, Day, and Sleeping Beauty respectively). Throw in a palace and a bit of suspended animation, not to mention a cunning servant (that enterprising and kindly cook) and you have all of the ingredients of a classic.

Via A Summary and Analysis of the Sleeping Beauty Fairy Tale — Interesting Literature