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12:58 AM
@Bookworm Are you gnawing your way through all of Austen, @Mithical, like Lengthwise? You appear to have started with the two best ones. I'd suggest Persuasion next, followed by Sense and Sensibility, then Lady Susan. IMO Mansfield Park is a bore (though others have claimed it's her masterpiece), and Northanger Abbey fun, but juvenile.
Of course there's a danger to reading them in that order, coz the later ones don't live up to the earlier ones. You could just skip MP and NA, I guess, unless you're a compleatist.
1:21 AM
Q: Trying to identify short poem

CyclingDaveI remember a wonderful poem from my school anthology but I don't know the name or author. Is there a kind person who might recognise the following poem? It's a very short poem. Female poet, I think. Definitely relatively modern. American poet, I think. The subject is the poet talking about a drea...

4 hours later…
4:52 AM
@verbose Just the ones I have on my shelf, which means Persuasion is indeed next :)
Ah cool. If you stop after Emma and the three Ps, you'll've still read the best Austen has to offer. I liked P&P more than Persuasion when I was young, but now I appreciate Persuasion more.
Good to know. After Persuasion, I think Brontë's Jane Eyre is the next on my list.
...I have a whole bunch of classics on my shelf that I'm trying to get through.
Oh interesting. I read somewhere that to like Jane Eyre, you have to have read it while young, but Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights retains its force even when read as an older adult. Certainly I did find WH preposterous when I was a teenager, and much more powerful on re-reading as an adult. The reverse happened with Jane Eyre. (I also think reading Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea kinda spoiled Jane Eyre for me.) It would be interesting to hear your take on JE.
5:17 AM
I'll let you know when I get to it :)
5:39 AM
So far, I think I find the character of Emma more engaging than Elizabeth, but the conflicts in Pride and Prejudice are more dramatic.
yeah, nothing really happens in Emma.
What else is on your shelf? Inquisitive minds wanna know.
That is an excellent question that I will answer when I am back at my shelf.
Here's what I am, in case you're curious:
I have roughly a thousand books in my bedroom alone, of which I'd estimate I've read about two thirds of. There are about 4k others in the rest of the house, of which I've also read a significant number.
5:53 AM
I blame my mother and being Jewish. ;)
@verbose Some of those look like more of a challenge than others.
The toughest read is hands down Paradise Lost, but (a) I've read it before, partly under the guidance of one of the editors of that edition, Stephen Fallon, and (b) I'm trained in reading English Renaissance poetry by academic background, so it's not too bad. The one that I'm finding hard is Chéri. I don't understand the social interactions well, the translation I'm reading isn't very good, and the French original is just a tad above my level of reading comprehension.
The rest are all pretty easy.
I mean, based on idly flipping through the pages, or on the short stories I've read from the collections.
Yeah, social interactions in cultures I'm not super familiar with always throw me a bit. I always feel like I'm missing the nuance.
But hey, that's what Lit questions are for, right?
Public libraries in California are great. They allow you to check out up to 100 books at a time, books auto-renew unless they are new or someone has a hold request in, and there are no late fees. And one perk of living in a fabulously wealthy area with high taxes is that the libraries have great collections. I miss the Stanford library, but that's for academic resources, like works of criticism or theory. As far as fiction/poetry goes, I can find what I need very easily in the public library.
@Mithical Indeed.
6:12 AM
There are more books on the swap shelf outside my house than English books in the public library here.
Well, I say swap "shelf", but it's currently up to four bookcases shelved at least two deep. Mostly thrillers, but it is where I've been getting my classics from.
m, that's unfortunate. I found the French Chéri at my public library ... just had to wait for them to schlep it over from a different branch from the one I usually frequent.
Oh wow. So, just four bookcases out on a street? Anyone can leave a book / take a book? Nice!
What happens when it rains?
I rigged up some tarps, and they're under an overhang.
oh, so this was your initiative? What a great idea
Well, my family's, I can't take direct credit for the idea. I did build some of the bookcases and put up the tarps, but I mostly just take books because I have an aversion to getting rid of books :P
Books are hard to get rid of. Well, depending. I found it surprisingly easy to get rid of all my JK Rowling, for instance.
6:21 AM
7:02 AM
@PeterShor You're right, it's not so obvious, it seems; now someone is arguing in those comments that it's not about clocks at all. Oh well.
2 hours later…
9:22 AM
@Mithical Classic thrillers? ;-)
10:02 AM
@Tsundoku Has your father read Agatha Christie's The Clocks? Great setup, involving a murdered man's being found along with several clocks in the living room of a house where a blind communist lives. The explanation for the clocks turns out to be rather limp, alas.
Another Christie book involving several clocks in the room where a murdered man lies is The Seven Dials Mystery. Lots of fun, complete nonsense, and requires that one has previously read The Secret of Chimneys.
Speaking of classic thrillers.
10:15 AM
@verbose I didn't know of that one. Maybe I should get it for him. I'll get it for this birthday :-D
@Mithical So when the raindrops are coming down, they'll be thinking: those tarps are rigged, let's avoid them.
@Tsundoku Parts of it are extremely funny. One policeman explains to another, "She trampled on the body. Well, not intentionally; it's just that being blind, she didn't know it was there. She was just trying to figure out where all the ticking was coming from." That's not an exact quote, but it's the spirit of the thing.
@Tsundoku ha
Was the man carrying a cuckoo clock in his pockets?
Never mind, no spoilers! ;-)
It's not a spoiler, I haven't explained correctly. The blind lady claims that she does not know how a body turned up in her living room, she did not know he was there at all, nor does she know why there are so many clocks in the room, but they aren't hers. Part of the mystery involves figuring out whether the clocks were brought by the dead man or the murderer (or, less likely, an uninvolved third party), and why.
10:38 AM
One thing's for sure, my father didn't put them there!
11:04 AM
@Tsundoku So you say. Does he have an alibi?
@verbose Easy. He never went to the UK before the 1990s and the story was published in 163. So time-wise, he should be beyond suspicion.
But surely as a clockmaker he can manipulate time to suit his needs.
Hmm, that would have been useful, but it's obvious that he doesn't have that ability.
Maybe he just wants to give you that impression.
Q: British Duke is murdered in elevator. Title is inherited by one of a pair of identical twins, both of whom are suspects

verboseDuring the COVID lockdowns, so some time between March 2020 and June 2021, I read either a novel or a short story, I think the former, that had the following plot elements: A duke is gruesomely, swiftly, and efficiently murdered in a London elevator. The elevator is in the block of flats where h...

11:09 AM
@Bookworm if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I say.
11:38 AM
ooh, a nice new story-id by verbose
I know only two stories where someone is murdered in an elevator, and you gave a detailed description, this is clearly neither of them.
12:36 PM
@verbose “And one perk of living in a fabulously wealthy area with high taxes is that the libraries have great collections.” Correct.
@Bookworm @verbose If you enjoyed how the butler immediately started using the inherited title for the older son, you'll love this Pratchett quote:
The only thing known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Wheedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involv
“Books are hard to get rid of.” Also agreed. I still have a lot of books that I selected to get rid of but haven't yet gave them away. And there's more on my shelves that I probably should remove.
@verbose I haven't read Clocks yet. I borrowed that one but gave it up after just a few pages. Might have to try again later. But yes, Agatha Christie has other books where a clock is important.
@bobble Sorry to hear that. Thanks for your contributions so far, and I hope you'll find a way to interact with the site (e.g. posting the occasional Q&A without doing the moderation-style stuff?) that keeps the parts you enjoy while avoiding the unfun work.
2 hours later…
2:46 PM
Maybe. That was always harder than the moderation
5 hours later…
7:31 PM
So, this should in no way be unexpected, but it so makes me feel old when I first see the cover of a book where one of the authors listed is the same age as me and that I know from a young age, and then I look at the publication date and see that the book is nine years old.
I was looking for a different book, and this just came up in the search.
2 hours later…
9:41 PM
@Randal'Thor ha
@b_jonas oh don't bother. I recommended the book to Tsundoku's dad because he's a watchmaker, not because it has great inherent merit or anything. The Clocks is deeply disappointing because the dénouement is so lame. It features every Christie cliché you can think of: Y is dead, but X pretends to be Y in order to claim money left to Y; international conspiriacies to overthrow the government; two characters being close relatives (here, mother and daughter) without being aware of it ...
@b_jonas For me, I first felt my age when I was in my late 30s, in a clinic wearing a hospital gown, and I realized that the child who was asking me all those impertinent questions ("What is your HIV status?") was in fact the doctor I was scheduled to see, and not just some unsupervised brat who had wandered off from the parent who had brought him along to the clinic for want of a babysitter.
@Bookworm Elevated to the HNQ
@Bookworm Robbery in the HNQ
@Bookworm Equally in the HNQ
1 hour later…
11:15 PM
@b_jonas Which ones?
11:55 PM
@Mithical "If this clock's broken..." tick tick tick "... and it's the only clock in the room..." tick tick tick "... then what's that?" tick tick tick tick

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