Posts tagged ‘Books’

Friday Fast Forward Rewind

Another batch of fantasy-related articles to tickle your fancy.

Advertisements

The Ten Best 100 Best Novel Lists List

In this post I’m going to reveal how many of the books on each list I’ve read and then, by averaging them, come up with a figure for how well read I am.

1. Time – 10

2. The Modern Library – 6

3. The Modern Library – Reader’s List – 19

4. The Modern Library – Radcliffe Rival 100 Best Novels – 14

5. The Best 100 Lists – 28

6. BBC – The Big Read – 24

7. The Guardian/Observer – 11

8. Goodreads – 28

9. The Telegraph – 100 novels everyone should read – 17

10. This Recording – Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels – 29

Total: 186. Divide by 10: 18.6

Therefore I am 18.6% well read. What about you?

Conclusions: I actually own a lot more of the books on these lists than I have actually read – so I need to get around to reading them (Moby Dick, for instance). There’s plenty of others that I don’t own and haven’t read. But I can take some comfort from the fact that I don’t appear to be a complete ignoramus. My score on the sf and fantasy list is a little low – so there’s work there to be done, for sure.

The Page 99 Test

Apparently, the author Ford Maddox Ford favoured the idea of judging a book that one might read by reading page 99 first. The logic being that it won’t that it will be a good example of the general standard of writing in the book. An article in the Guardian says that there is a web site starting up on which authors and readers will submit page 99s of novels for public perusal.

Page 99 is a completely arbitrary point at which to test the literary waters, but it is an easy number to remember (if choosing a number is too difficult for the prospective reader). It’s also not too far into most books. The Guardian piece says it will be a quarter to a third of the way through most books – make that a fifth to a tenth of the way through a fantasy novel.

Words, words, words, as Hamlet said

On the subject of books, this autumn looks like being a great season for book releases from some of my favourite authors. In addition to Against All Things Ending (see below), there’s Towers of Midnight (book 13 of The Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson,

The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions, by Robert Rankin,

and I just found out that there’s a new Iain M Banks book coming out – a Culture novel, no less – called Surface Detail:

Covers for the UK edition of Against All Things Ending

I asked Stephen R Donaldson this question:

You’ve answered a couple of questions lately about the cover art of the upcoming US edition of Against All Things Ending, but I was wondering what your thoughts on the UK edition were. It seems to me it’s not as mysterious as the previous two – it’s too clean – almost happy. But I do like the continuation of the elemental theme – forest, mountain, sea. And I much prefer the less representative, more oblique approach of the UK covers.

What do you think?

He answered:

In general, I prefer the UK approach rather than the US one. And in general, I don’t think that the UK “Against All Things Ending” is up to the standard of the previous two books. But have you seen the “revised” UK cover? I’m told that the unrevised version (before both my agent and I screamed) is still floating around on the web somewhere. It makes the book look like a box of laundry detergent. By *that* standard, the revised cover is a huge improvement.

I’d only seen one UK edition cover – the blue one:

I think the laundry detergent cover he referred to was this:

For comparison, the US edition looks like this:

gouache

gouache /gwɑʃ, guˈɑʃ; Fr. gwaʃ/

–noun, plural gouach·es  /ˈgwɑʃɪz, guˈɑʃɪz; Fr. ˈgwaʃ/
1. a technique of painting with opaque watercolors prepared with gum.
2. an opaque color used in painting a gouache.
3. a work painted using gouache.

Origin:
1880–85; < F < It guazzo place where there is water ≪ L aquātiō, deriv. of aqua water

—Can be confused: gauche, gouache.

Source: Dictionary.com.

While he was still at school … he painted hundreds of gouache pictures and was famous among his school friends for his caricatures of teachers.

Source: Immortality by Milan Kundera.

charterhouse

Char·ter·house /ˈtʃɑrtərˌhaʊs/

–noun, plural -hous·es  /-ˌhaʊzɪz/
1. a Carthusian monastery.
2. the hospital and charitable institution founded in London, in 1611, on the site of a Carthusian monastery.
3. the public school into which this hospital was converted.
4. the modern heir of this school, now located in Surrey.

Origin:
1400–50; late ME < AF chartrouse (taken as charter + house), after Chatrousse, village in Dauphiné near which the order was founded; see Carthusian, whence the first r of the AF word

Source: Dictionary.com.

Agnes recalled a sentence from Stendahl’s novel: “Il se retira à la chartreuse de Parme.” Fabrice left; he retired to the charterhouse of Parma. No charterhouse is mentioned anywhere else in the novel, and yet that single sentence on the last page is so important that Stendahl used it for the title; because the real goal of all Fabrice’s adventures was the charterhouse, a place secluded from people and the world.

Source: Immortality by Milan Kundera.