A to Z Reading Challenge: My Answers

I ran across this on Not a Punk Rocker. I enjoyed reading her answers, so I thought I would participate, too. It’s not as if I am working against a deadline today. Nope, I am not shirking my professional duties to write this post. Okay, so maybe I am taking a slight break. Yes, that is it. A break.

If you’re a long-time reader of A Small Press Life (and if you are, thank you!), you’ve probably wondered what happened to our own reader questionnaire series, [R]evolving Incarnations. Never fear. It returns this Friday.

Until then, there’s this.

Oh, and I’ve decided to do it backwards. Z to A, which is how my books are organized.

ZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY LATE): I am a late-night reader, so this is a pretty normal occurrence. It helps that I work from home and set my own weird hours.

YOUR LATEST BOOK PURCHASE: You can read about my most-recent book shopping extravaganza here. I don’t think I’ve bought any since then, but I cannot be totally sure. Yes, I have a problem. Oops, okay. I was wrong. I purchased a book whilst on vacation, as well as this one in early August:

The Winning of Barbara Worth

The Winning of Barbara Worth by Harold Bell Wright

I totally have a problem! Continue reading

A Reading List a Mile Long: Daedalus Books New Arrivals Late Spring 2014

[Book Nerd Humour] Let’s Use Slate’s Travoltify Your Name Generator on Some Dead Writers

TRAVOLTIFY YOUR NAME

  • CHARLES DICKENS=CARYS DORNIELS
  • VIRGINIA WOOLF=VICTOR WHAYTE
  • JANE AUSTEN=JOE ALLORN
  • LEO TOLSTOY=LUKE TAYZLOR
  • KATHERINE MANSFIELD=KRISTOPHER MCEEZALD
  • JACK KEROUAC=JIA KEENEEDIA
  • F. SCOTT FITZGERALD=F. STUART FERZGUSON
  • ZELDA FITZGERALD=ZARA FERZGUSON
  • GEORGE ELIOT=GRACE EDJANS
  • ERNEST HEMINGWAY=ELLIOT HARGISION
  • ANNE BRONTË=AVA BORFES
  • CHARLOTTE BRONTË=COLE BORFES
  • EMILY BRONTË=ELIJAH BORFES

What does this alternate world look like?

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Thanks to Vickie Lester for letting me know about the Travoltify Your Name generator!

Some of My Favourite Literary Biographies, Part One

I own a sizable collection of literary biographies. These are some of my favourites:

  • Auden by Richard Davenport-Hines
  • The Secret Life of Aphra Behn by Janet Todd
  • Louise Bogan A Portrait by Elizabeth Frank
  • Truman Capote by George Plimpton
  • Secrets of the Flesh A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
  • My Wars Are Laid Away in Books The Life of Emily Dickinson by Alfred Habegger
  • Herself, Defined H.D. and Her World by Barbara Guest
  • George Eliot A Life by Rosemary Ashton

Do you have a favourite?

My Top Six Cold Weather Writers

Cold weather never travels alone. It packs many well-loved delights in its frosty bag of tricks, including: hot chocolate, gingerbread, nifty patterned gloves and scarves, pumpkin-flavored everything, frozen breath, crackling wood fires, mulled beverages, and fairy lights. Whilst those are wonderful there are other, lesser extolled, pleasures in which to indulge: mint chocolate brownies, hot water bottle cozies, the scent of real pine, watching snow fall at midnight, and seasonal reading. Oh, seasonal reading! How I adore thee.

Yearly I turn to you, as the calendar begins its long hike through winter’s desolate days…

I seek you out to warm my cold soul and chapped heart…

You do things to me that hot drinks and heavy blankets never could…

What a comfort you are, my winter writers!

There is but one solution when faced with the inevitable onslaught of nasty, chilling weather: arm yourself to the teeth with a weighty supply of wonderful books, and dig in for the duration. As soon as temperatures sink, an instinctual survival mode kicks in and I start to ritualize my life-including a long-standing pattern of reading works by the same authors. The books themselves vary, of course, but their progenitors remain fixed. This time of year my preferences tend towards the following qualities of language, attitude, or thought: severity, hardiness, bareness, intellectual passion, bluntness, pluckiness, and mental or emotional resilience.

Do you read in such seasonal ways? If so, please share your favourite cold weather books and/or writers in the comments! Here is my list.

MY TOP SIX COLD WEATHER WRITERS

EMILY BRONTË

Emily Brontë by Branwell Brontë

Emily Brontë by Branwell Brontë

REASON: Her solitary, willful disposition.

“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.”

ANTON CHEKHOV

Anton Chekhov, 1889

Anton Chekhov, 1889

REASON: No one speaks to my deepest soul the way nineteenth-century Russian writers do, Chekhov chief amongst them. 

“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”

EMILY DICKINSON

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

REASON: The economy of her writing.

“One need not be a chamber to be haunted.” Continue reading

[A Small Press Life’s Irregular Index of Literary Facts] Debut Novels, Dead Writers Edition: Part One

Welcome to A Small Press Life’s Irregular Index of Literary Facts, a new feature designed to give lovely order to the random bookish trivia traveling around my brain. If you like lists, mental organization, random facts, or useless trivia about authors famous and obscure, you will definitely want to keep reading.

DEBUT NOVELS, DEAD WRITERS EDITION: PART ONE

The following books represent the first published novels of their respective authors, which were not always the first to be written. All novels are readily available in both traditional and e-reader versions.

  • Louisa May Alcott: Moods
  • Sherwood Anderson: Windy McPherson’s Son
  • Gertrude Atherton: What Dreams May Come
Gertrude Atherton

Gertrude Atherton

  • Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility
  • James Baldwin: Go Tell it on the Mountain
  • Djuna Barnes: Ryder
  • Arna Bontemps: God Sends Sunday: A Novel
  • Elizabeth Bowen: The Hotel
  • Paul Bowles: The Sheltering Sky
  • Kay Boyle: Plagued by the Nightingale
  • Louis Bromfield: The Green Bay Tree
  • Anne Brontë: Agnes Grey
  • Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre
  • Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
  • Pearl S. Buck: East Wind: West Wind
  • Fanny Burney: Evelina: Or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World
  • James M. Cain: The Postman Always Rings Twice
  • Truman Capote: Other Voices, Other Rooms
  • Willa Cather: Alexander’s Bridge
  • Kate Chopin: At Fault
  • Agatha Christie: The Mysterious Affair at Styles
  • Colette: Claudine at School
  • Wilkie Collins: Antonina
  • Ivy Compton-Burnett: Dolores
  • Stephen Crane: Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
  • Philip K. Dick: Solar Lottery
  • Charles Dickens: The Pickwick Papers
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Poor Folk
  • Theodore Dreiser: Sister Carrie
  • George Eliot: Adam Bede
George Eliot

George Eliot

  • William Faulkner: Soldier’s Pay
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: This Side of Paradise
  • Zelda Fitzgerald: Save Me the Waltz
  • Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
  • Ford Madox Ford: The Shifting of the Fire
  • Zona Gale: Romance Island
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Gaskell: Mary Barton
  • Andre Gidé: The Notebooks of André Walter
  • Ellen Glasgow: The Descendant
  • Susan Glaspell: The Glory of the Conquered