There have been a lot of memes going around lately, or maybe it just seems that way to me because I’ve been tagged with a lot of memes after a long meme dry spell. Instead of answering those memes when I received the tag, however, I’ve slacked off to do actually work, spend time in the sun or just read a book. (Also I tend to over-think memes leading to the process taking far longer than it should, and proceeded to do so these last few days outside.)
Well, the slacking (and over-thinking) is over, and I’ve decided to bundle all the memes into one post. If you haven’t answered any of these memes (from Kate or Robin or web or Mary Warner of the Bedroom Reader) feel free to view this as an open invitation to do. I’m horrible at tagging people.
First, Kate’s “Sort of Obscure Books” meme, which was created by the lovely Jennie of Jennie’s B(ook)log.
List and describe three of your favorite books that other people might not be familiar with. Then tag five people. See, easy!
My three “not really that obscure, at least I don’t think so” books were hard to come up with because I have a habit of shouting my love of certain titles and authors (Christopher Moore! Lamb! Jonathan Stroud! Bartimaeus!) on this blog with all the fervor and conviction of a newly converted reader. Then, having shouted about them loud and long, I just assume everyone then reads these titles taking them from the realm of obscure to mainstream. Or maybe they were mainstream to begin with and I just missed it somehow because I’m less than observant sometimes. I mean, I looked at this list of “The Best Novels You’ve Never Read” and it is true. I’ve never read any of them. Sold a lot of them, but never read them.
Obviously I am a book failure.
Anyway, here are some books you might not have heard of:
The China Garden by Liz Berry. I picked up a copy of the
“Ordinary teens will find The China Garden overwhelming, if not incomprehensible. It is very British, full of unfamiliar words and phrases. It is laden with historical, mythological, architectural, and religious references that would baffle many adults.”
The Britishness? Didn’t bother me at all. The unfamiliar words and phrases? It is called a dictionary, my friends. And the “historical, mythological, architectural, and religious references that would baffle many adults” made me think and do research.
Oh, my gawd, Becky! A book that makes you want to go out and learn more. Oh Noooooes, not a book that forces you to think!
I really hate it when people view that as a detraction. More books should try to make their readers think and The China Garden managed to do it without being incomprehensible, in my opinion. It just requires a close reading.
And speaking of books that make you think, if for some reason you haven’t read Katherine Neville’s The Eight yet, you’re missing out. Not only does it make chess interesting, but it made me want to learn about Charlemagne and the 1790s the time period in which one of the storylines takes place). This is a thinking person’s Indiana Jones, or what the Da Vinci Code could have been in very skilled hands. Neville manages to follow two separate stories (taking place in 1972 and 1790 respectively) and wind them around a mythical chess set owned by Charlemagne purported to give the winning player immortality (or at the very least, invincibility).
According to everything I’ve read, The Eight is considered a cult classic, having been reprinted several times since its 1988 release. I known that it frequently pops up on favorite lists of people I follow, and it got quite a boost as a “If you liked the DaVinci Code, then you might like…” book (given that it is slightly more accessible to most than The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, it was a book that I would often suggest). I first learned about it in
The Idiot Girls Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life by Laurie Notaro (picture forthcoming), ranks up there with Sedaris for me. She tells it like it is--all of life's foibles and our own inability to avoid them--while making you laugh out loud. Oh, and we share the same lack of filter between our brains and our mouths that keep us from saying stupid/offensive/ill-thought out things.
And that concludes the end of part one of "Meme, Meme, Meme" for the moment because the phones are ringing off the hook here at work. I'll hopefully be back to answer the rest of these later.