Mission

Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sunday Coffee: November Light

Sunday Coffee is a weekly post that is like a long letter to my Gentle Readers--a little chatty and discontinuous, a bit more personal that my other posts.  This week we saw cool weather finally descend on South Carolina's Lowcountry.  Now, I was born in Maine, and have crawled up and down the east coast for the last twenty few years.  This is not cold weather--it is weather that might call for a sweater, finally (in October we had one last heat wave).  But my husband is from the Caribbean, so he thinks it's time to turn on the heat--high--so that the little blue light comes on for the auxiliary heat. Sigh.  I'm from hardy, frugal New England stock.  You're supposed to put on a sweater.  So we're having the war of the thermostat.

This week was restful and delightful:  no school!  I will now sing the praises of sleep!  I found out what it feels like to actually be rested, and it is amazing! I also made three trips to the library. I was surprised at how many people are in the library in the middle of a weekday.  I am normally shut up in a school building from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or later, and I sometimes wonder what happens in that larger world while I am in my smaller world.  I had a chance to see my friend Wendy, who works at the library:  she is the happiest, most contented woman I know (except for our school librarian, who is always smiling).  Wendy confided that the most surprising things happen at the library, and I don't doubt it--the most surprising things happen everywhere!  A side note:  Wendy's son is a dead ringer for Ron Weasley!

So, this week was three trips to the library, reading without restraint and...
NaNoWriMo


I am having a stupendously wonderful time.  As soon as I gave myself permission to write a terribly dreadful novel, and had a deadline, I was writing like a fiend!  And it is a blast.  Everything I've read or heard about writing a novel is true.  The characters live inside your head, you pretend to be actively participating in life while secretly writing in your head, and characters take on a life of their own and do exactly as they please.  What larks.  Now, I am just superstitious enough that I won't say another word on that topic.

But this was great fun:
I found quite a few new blogs and visited some old favorites.  While none of us can quite define what we mean by the term literary fiction, we all love it, read it, and write about it.  The posts were idiosyncratic and impassioned, and I have more lists of more books to read, including:
Joseph and His Brothers (on my bookshelf) by Thomas Mann
Possession (a reread) A.S. Byattt
White Noise and Underworld by Don Delillo
The Edge of Sadness
The Ring Trilogy by Suzuki
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgkov
Almost as good as the posts (or maybe better?) were the conversations that took place in the comments.  Thanks to Ingrid and Connie at The Blue Bookcase for coming up with this new hop--I'd say it is a success, and I really hope it continues. 

Coincidentally, novelist Emma Darwin had a great post about exactly this topic at her wonderful blog This Itch of Writing.  Here is the post:  Okay, so what do I think literary fiction is?

I also lurked on the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy Jennifer at Crazy for Books.  Even though I didn't technically participate in this hop, I thought the question was a great one, and I was interested to see how people answered it.  The question was about how bloggers respond when they lose followers (I cry uncontrollably for exactly three days) and whether bloggers ever unfollow.  I have to admit, I feel guilty when I stop following a blog.  Occasionally I will follow in haste and repent at leisure, but I have gotten better at discerning whether a blog is one I will be interested in reading on a regular basis.  I do follow many blogs, and use Google Reader to skim through them.  When I am pressed for time, I skip commenting, but if I am following your blog I am probably lurking reading your posts.

November for me is:  birthdays (mine, and strangely, many friends and loved ones'); chrysanthemums, a certain slant of light; wistfulness; the realization that another year (arbitrary measurement that it is) is coming to an end.  December is:  snow (not--in South Carolina, anyway) and The Russians.  I've decided that December is going to be my month of reading only Russian literature.  That was a good enough excuse for me to go buy The Master and Margharita today.  Let's see:  Dostoyevsky (Brothers Karamazov?), Chekhov, Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy.  Yeah, I could definitely go for some Russians in December....

15 comments:

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I have also done a good bit of lurking this weekend :) I have thoroughly enjoyed both conversations happening at the hops. I thought both questions this week lent themselves to a lot of thought and good hearty discussion. Good stuff indeed :)

War of the thermostats happens year round at our house...my husband stays chilly and I am hot. I freeze him out on a daily basis:)

Jennifer said...

Ooh, The Master and Margherita is excellent. I hope you enjoy reading it! What blog was that on? I must have missed it.

Katie said...

So happy you're enjoying NaNoWriMo!! Any plans to tell us about your novel!?!

Amanda said...

Glad you're loving NaNo! I hope we're friends on there, but if we're not, good luck anyway! I have too many book blogging buddies on there to keep track of, lol!

thebookstop said...

I'm visiting from the Literary Hop -- it's been great to read everyone's interpretations of what makes something literary. Enjoy the Russian literature -- I've got Anna Karenina on my list to read someday.

bibliophiliac said...

@PeppermintPhD--is is a rule of marriage that one eternally cold person always marries one eternally hot person?

bibliophiliac said...

@Jennifer--Master and Margarita was from a link that later disappeared-Bergamot Book Diary--and the same book is constantly discussed on Guy with a Moleskine Notebook--his favorite book of all time. PLUS a former student (from Siberia, believe it or not) told me all about it. Love those Russians: did you know they give their teachers flowers????

bibliophiliac said...

@Katie--I'm afraid to talk about it now, in case my NaNoMo mojo disappears. But afterward I'll be happy to post about it!

bibliophiliac said...

@Amanda--I am utterly friendless on NaNoWriMo! All I have done so far is enter my word count--I'm sort of like a pigeon working for food pellets! I type, then I enter my word count, and then I get the instant gratification of seeing my progress charted! My nom de plume on NaNoWriMo is Bibliophiliac...

bibliophiliac said...

@thebookstop--thanks for stopping by--Anna Karenina is utterly wonderful. I would love to reread it some day....

Lisa said...

I follow blogs in the same way. I often start following blogs when I see that there are several posts that I find interesting but then if nothing more comes up, I'm terrible about unfollowing. Because I may not cry for three days but I do hate to lose followers myself. Even though I know that all 200 people that supposedly follow my blog are not actually reading it!

Bellezza said...

I wish you had read The Brothers Karmazov with us last year, as I love Russian lit, too! Winter is the perfect time for that particular genre, in my opinion.

I added Underworld to my TBR list, too, thanks to the literary hop.

bibliophiliac said...

@Bellezza-I think I need to alternate fat and thin books! It's easy to get bogged down in one enormous tome...The Brothers Karamazov seems to be a favorite for many. I read it once, but so long ago I barely remember....

Aisle B said...

It's your b day month too!

Spill it.... are you a scorpian?? Just celebrated mine yesterday and am hosting my first giveaway!

Knew there was reason I liked you... despite you not liking horoscope books ;P

PS can't wait to read your finale word in you writing creation.

Hydriotaphia said...

Yes, i would re-iterate Jennifer's comment that 'The Master and Margarita' is excellent. in a world almost drowning in mediocre writing and novels Bulgakov's work is quite rightly a cult classic must read.