Saturday, August 19, 2006

Extra Credit

My dad recently upped the ante on the book meme, adding several extra credit questions. What an over-achiever. But, since I am my father's daughter, here are my extra answers:

Best use of dialect. Even though the dialect in question has the tendency to make my head want to explode, I am going to go with the Ross O'Carroll-Kelly books. Even though I don't understand how you get “roysh” for right and I think saying “or” for R (as in “the Irish broadcaster is or-tee-ee") should be a capital offense, these books are a fantastic example of how language contributes to the development of character.

Best use of images. TBD. I know I read something recently that had fantastic imagery, but I'm having a hard time remembering what it was.

Best use of any cultural sensibility. My dad's extra credit question was about the Oriental sensibility, but I'm changing that to any cultural sensibility, since that's the root of the question. (Plus, I haven't read even a single book that could fall into the original category.) My answer here is any of the later Ian Rankin books, which completely capture the dual nature of Edinburgh, a city with a respectable facade and a seedy underbelly. In Rankin's Inspector Rebus books, Edinburgh is not just the setting, it's another character. For good examples, I'd recommend Resurrection Men and Question of Blood.

Secret pleasure. I love trashy teen books. Not quite as trashy as the Gossip Girls, but sort of junior chick lit with enticing titles like The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things and On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God.

Worst run of secret pleasure reading.The last few years. There have just been so many great junior-chick-lit books out there. And since it's the genre I write, it's easy to justify this reading as market research.

Most recent surprising (pleasant) discovery. That Jodi Picoult isn't the overblown, overwrought auteur I thought that she was. After reading My Sister's Keeper, I swore I'd never read another of her books. It was a shining example of what's wrong with current high-ish brow contemporary literature – an Oprah sensibility combined with over-the-top literary illusions and bursting with metaphors bred in an MFA laboratory. Then, I saw The Pact on the Book Club shelf and got sucked in by the first page. I'm about 2/3 of the way through and I might have to read another Picoult book to see which one is the aberration.

The last book you read because it would “be good for you.” Plot and Structure I thought it was going to help me with my third book, in which I want to jump back and forth through time. (My trouble is that I am a plodder and what comes naturally to me is starting at the beginning and going straight through to the end.) The book said nothing about time and the narrative; it focused primarily on creating and furthering conflict in your plot.

The book that everyone in your generation read, but would never admit it to each other. My generation didn't read books. We didn't care about books, all we cared about was soaking up tv and making snarky remarks. I'm not into that whole generational-identification thing.

The book your ninth grade English teacher raved about, but that you vowed you would never read precisely because of her recommendation. I loved my ninth grade English teacher. Now, my tenth grade English teacher, well, if she'd told me to walk across the street to save my life, I'm not sure I'd be able to suppress my natural urge to rebel against authoritarian evil. I can't really think of any book any English teacher raved about that I vowed not to read, just to be difficult. My eleventh grade English teacher made me read The Jungle, which I thought I was going to hate but ended up really liking, even if the situation it outlines was completely dire.

Best essential desk reference. The Internet. Duh. You don't need anything else. My favourite reference sites on the Internet are all of the usual suspects: Wikipedia, Merrion-Webster, and Google.


At 21 August 2006 at 01:55, Blogger Career Guy said...

Hmm. Perhaps we come from different generations then--as far as not liking books goes. No one liked the English teacher question, in fact, so far, people have said they liked their teachers. My 9th grade teacher was actually very interesting, always rattling off names of books we should read.

"Internet"! Wikipedia? There's a trustworthy source. Think I'll go put something outrageous in a Wiki entry to add to the world's knowledge.

Thanks for tackling that meme! I knew you'd have some good ones.

At 21 August 2006 at 11:21, Blogger The Good Girl said...

Oh, I love trashy teen books too. I have actually read both of the titles mentioned, but 'On the bright side..." in the British version, so it has a different title.

I actually liked My Sisters Keeper, although I agree, the metaphors were wildly overblown. My sister is a big picoult fan, so we have ost of her books. I read The Pact and got annoyed by the ending. My sister recommends Salem Falls, which esentially has the same plot as The Crucible, as her best book, but I find her plotlines very very repetative.

At 21 August 2006 at 16:58, Blogger Col said...

Hmmm... trashy teen books. I'm about to read "Sloppy Firsts" on your recommendation.
As for the book of our generation, at least for girls: "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret" or, more likely, "Forever". Judy Blume, in any case.

At 21 August 2006 at 19:56, Blogger Shane said...

"I'm not into that whole generational-identification thing."

That is such a Gen-X thing to say ;)

Wikipedia is well-policed by those who contribute. And trolls and other abusers get banned and erroneous entries are corrected pretty quickly.

At 22 August 2006 at 18:06, Blogger -Ann said...

Dad - Maybe before the standardized test boom and the focus on SATs and college admission, teachers were more likely to recommend books. I honestly don't remember having an English teacher ever recomment that we read something. Maybe they just figured we weren't going to listen anyway. As for Wikipedia, any reference book is open to errors. In Wikipedia, they're going to get corrected a heck of a lot faster than waiting for the next printing of a "real" book. I wouldn't use Wikipedia for serious research, but it's good enough to give you the basic idea of things that you don't know much about. It's a research stepping stone.

TGG - My sister-in-law is just finishing up Acts of Faith (I think it's called) and although I am a little skeptical of the premise, I think she's probably going to lend it to me. I also think that I bought Salem Falls, but that it's at my parents' house. But The Pact has convinced me to have an open mind as regards Ms. Picoult.

Col - Indeed, although we weren't ashamed to admit it. At least the girls I was friends with weren't. :) (Admittedly, that's quite a small sample - not enough for an accurate statistical analysis.)

Shane - Yes, well, just between us chickens, I think dad's generation is much more hung up on the whole "generarion" thing. We're far too cool to care. :)


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