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Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] freehold, for my new complete (so far) set of A Song of Ice and Fire. Drink lots of salabat, unless you want to impress more cab drivers as well as the British embassy with your *snortgigglesnort* bedroom voice. *hyurk*

Have fun with my Mirror and the Lamp. If something happens to it, you die.
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I've been feeling progressively dumber this past year, so this Christmas I'm unearthing all my old lit crit books, lecture notes, etc. from storage and studying all over again. So, basically, I'm going back to school.

NO, [livejournal.com profile] freehold, not literally! Of course, I may need to take out a few books from the University library (thank you, University of the Philippines Alumni Association Lifetime Membership Card!) sometime in the process. But wow, I'm so badly out of practice at this lit crit gig, I'm not even sure where to start anymore.

Now, where are Professor Aureus's class notes again?
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...and thus a non-working holiday. Good thing I'd run over to the bank yesterday and paid the credit card bill.

So today, blew off work (because, again, non-working holiday, so even though I work from home, hello holiday) and blew chunks out of my savings account with lo, many, many books.

A couple of the really interesting books I picked up:

   (From the Introduction) Clearly, one of [Chesterton's] chief strengths as critic is a wit that matches Dickens's own. The book is full of memorable expressions. To give a few examples:
[Dickens's] art is like life, because, like life, it cares for nothing outside itself, and goes on its way rejoicing. Both produce monsters with a kind of carelessness, like enormous by-products; life producing the rhinoceros, and art Mr Bunsby. [p10]

If Dickens learnt to whitewash the universe, it was in a blacking factory that he learnt it. [p21]

Other people's lives may easily be human documents. But a man's own life is always melodrama. [p101]

(From the cover) In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Renowned critic Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading. Drawing on his own passionate, lifelong love of books, Birkerts examines how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to "hear" a book on audiotape, decipher its words on a screen, or interact with it on CD-ROM? Are books as we know them dead?

At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a boldly original challenge to the new information technologies, The Gutenberg Elegies is an essential volume for anyone who cares about the past and future of books.

My bedside table pile, it is teetering.
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"The freedom to apprehend aesthetic value may rise from class conflict, but the value is not identical with the freedom, even if it cannot be achieved without that apprehension...[W]hatever the Western canon is, it is not a program for social salvation."

--Harold Bloom, "An Elegy for the Canon", from The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages

ILU Bloom, you elitist snob, you.

/yep, bored to tears in the office
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I seriously don't have the time to pursue this, and goodness knows I've already got Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, but I have to ask: Any thoughts on Simon R. Green's Nightside series?

My name is John Taylor. I've made that a name to be respected and feared, but it's also made me a target my whole life.

I operate as a private eye, in a world where gods and monsters are real. The Nightside: the sick, secret magical heart of London. A place where dreams come true, whether you want them to or not. It's not easy to find a way in, and it can be even harder to find a way out. I can find anything, solve any mystery. Except the answers to the dark and deadly secrets of my own past.

My name is John Taylor. And if you've come looking for me, either you're in trouble, or you're about to be.
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When I was a wee thing I read Ruth Plumly Thompson's Grampa in Oz and I 'shipped Princess Dorothy Gale and Percy Vere the Forgetful Poet something fierce.

Read the whole story here. All book scans, alas.

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