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Daily archives for November 4th, 2007

The Library Window – Book revie...

The Library Window – Book review

“The question is,” said my aunt, “if it is a real window with glass in it, or if it is merely painted, or if it once was a window, and has been built up. And the oftener people look at it, the less they are able to say.” -From The Library Window

Margaret Oliphant published this Gothic novella in 1896. I found it through Gaslight – an internet discussion group – which provided the book as an e-text.

The story takes place in Scotland and is narrated by a young girl who is visiting her Aunt Mary. Bored by Mary’s tea parties with her elderly friends, the narrator spends much of her time tucked away in a large window with her sewing and books while she idly listens to the older people talk. When the conversation turns to a window across the street, the narrator’s imagination is inflamed.

Oliphant carries the reader forward with the simple, yet mysterious plot. The reader, along with the narrator begins to ask herself what is real and what is not.

Aunt Mary’s old ladies came and went day after day while June went on. I was to go back in July, and I felt that I should be very unwilling indeed to leave until I had quite cleared up – as I was indeed in the way of doing – the mystery of that window which changed so strangely and appeared quite a different thing, not only to different people, but to the same eyes at different times. – From The Library Window

The story is not just pure mystery, but stimulates some compelling questions about how we see the world – and if our ‘vision’ declines with age. How much of what we see do we interpret correctly?

It is always interesting to have a glimpse like this of an unknown life – to see so much and yet know so little.From The Library Window

A classic tale which reads quickly, I would recommend this book for those readers who enjoy late 19th century literature and gothic mysteries.

To read more about Margaret Oliphant and for links to her vast works, check out this wonderful site.

Book Blogging Out of Control

Book Blogging Out of Control

My book blogging has gotten out of control. I’m obsessed. I’m in need of intervention. I – just – cannot – stop.

A list of the book related blogs I own (besides this one):

1. The Lists – Books for the Obsessive Reader

A place to note all those wonderful lists of prize winners, most notable books, influential book written by women, Oprah’s picks. Every time I find a list, I feel compelled to copy it down and see how many books I can cross off of it. This blog feeds that compulsion. I’ve provided links to my reviews.

2. A Novel Challenge

Links and descriptions of all the reading challenges to be found around the blog-o-sphere. Addicted to reading challenges? This is the place to come!

3. Notable Books

An off shoot of The New York Times Most Notable blog (see below). This one is a group blog for those readers wanting to read books from the most notable lists – including the New York Times. Participants are encouraged to create their own personalized challenges from the books listed here…and then post their reviews to the blog. Why not join us?

4. New York Times Notable Book Challenge

Created by Ariel (and co-administrated by me) as a place where readers can post reviews and progress on the New York Times Most Notable Book Challenge, this is a great place to read reviews and participate in discussion about some of the best books of 2005/2006. Readers wanting to read from the New York Times Most Notable List for THIS year should stop by Notable Books (above).

A list of book challenge blogs where I contribute:

1. Banned Books

Owned by Bonnie at Bonnie Reviews Books AND Bonnie’s Books, this blog is a place to read reviews of banned books.

2. 888

Owned by Michelle at One More Chapter, this blog is for readers participating in the Eight Books in Eight Categories in 2008 Challenge (also known as the Triple 8 Challenge!). Readers are posting interesting categories and listing their books here with links to their reviews.

3. Book Awards Reading Challenge

Also owned by Michelle at One More Chapter, this blog is for readers participating in the Book Awards Challenge. Michelle has provided links to lists of winners of most of the book awards. Participants are reading from those lists and posting their reviews here.

4. The Pulitzer Project

Once again, Michelle has come up with a fabulous challenge blog. There is no time limit for readers wishing to read all the winners of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. This blog provides a place for participants in the challenge to post their progress and reviews.

5. Something About Me Reading Challenge

Hosted by Lisa at Breaking the Fourth Wall, this blog is for readers participating in the highly original “Something About Me” challenge. Here you will find wonderful books and reviews recommended by readers – enough to keep you busy through most of the next few years if you decide to read them all!

6. The Complete Booker

My bookie-soul-mate Laura at Musings hosts this blog – a place for readers who want to read all the Booker Prize winners. Contributors to the blog post their progress and book reviews and cheer each other on in this no time limit challenge.

7. Unread Authors

Ariel (aka Por of Tor) at Sycorax Pine is the owner of this reading challenge blog which encourages participants to read new-to-me authors. Reviews and progress reports of participants can be found on this blog.

8. In Their Shoes Reading Challenge

Vasilly at 1330V owns this challenge blog. Due to begin January 1, 2008, this challenge requires participants to read books that are either a memoir, autobiography, or biography. Contributors to the blog will be posting their reviews of the books they read here.

9.  Dystopian Challenge

Lisa at Books.Lists.Life.Too has been hosting a challenge to read books from the Dystopian genre. This blog is where you can find reviews of all the participants. I’m on my last book for this challenge which ends November 6th!

10. Read The Nobels

Aloi Reads is owner of this blog which celebrates the Nobel Winners. Contributors to the blog have challenged themselves to read all of the Nobel Laureates. There is no time limit. Reviews of the work of these acclaimed writers can be found on this blog.

11. Index Librorum Liberorum

Imani from The Books of My Numberless Dreams has dreamt up a fabulous challenge. Contributors to this blog have challenged themselves to read from the list of prohibited books officially catalogued and promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope Paul IV in 1559. Challenge participants will be posting their progress and reviews on this blog.

12. Russian Reading Challenge 2008

Hosted by Sharon from Ex Libris, the Russian Reading Challenge begins in January 2008. This blog is a place for challenge participants to keep track of their progress, post reviews and engage in discussion about some of the best literature (both fiction and non fiction) about Russia or written by Russian authors.

As if all these blogs were not enough, I am also the owner of two Yahoo book groups:

Banned Books – where readers read and discuss one book a month which has either been banned or challenged OR has been written by a banned or challenged author.

A Novel Challenge – where members support, encourage and enable other readers in their addiction to reading challenges.

I also belong to several other Yahoo book groups, too numerous to list here.

I would like to say I’m drawing a line in the sand…that I will refrain from joining more challenges, blogs and book groups. But, I know that no matter how many promises I make to myself…I-just-cannot-stop.

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Publishers and Authors…

I am no longer accepting review copies of books except for very rare exceptions. Thank you.


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