Mar 15, 2009

The Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon.comHello readers. How are you all? I was feeling a little down this past week (nothing serious, worry not), but I did get some quality reading done. My experiment with e-books for Read an E-Book Week was a very successful one. I read Sorrow by John Lawson and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, both of which I loved. I can't see myself switching to reading only e-books, but from now on I'll be less reluctant to read them. And I'll make more of an effort to actually read the ones I have downloaded over the years. Kelly Link, here I come!

I also read a book I'd been meaning to get to for years: Philippa Pearce's children's classic Tom's Midnight Garden. It made me think about the fact that children's literature affects me in different ways than adult's literature. Maybe I shouldn't be comparing the two, but...I don't know. Children's literature seems to make me feel things in a rawer, more direct way, and I like that. Anyway, I'll tell you about the book in more detail next week. But in the meantime, I'll leave you with a quote about it from Nick Hornby's Shakespeare Wrote for Money. I went back to re-read what he'd said about it after finishing the book, and it made me laugh:
Like everything else in this genre, apparently, it is a work of genius, although unlike Weetzie Bat or Skelling, it is unquestionably a story for children, and at the halfway mark, I was beginning to feel as though I might finish it without feeling that my life had been profoundly enriched. I mean, I could see that it was great and so on, but I was wondering whether my half century on the planet might be cushioning me from the full impact. But at the end of the book—and you've been able to see the twist coming from miles away, yet there's not a damned thing you can do to stop it from slaying you—I'm not ashamed to say that I cr...Actually, I am ashamed to say that. It's a book about a kid who finds a magic garden at the back of his aunt's house, and there's no way a grown man should be doing that.
Ha! Be not ashamed, Nick! I cried too.

Speaking of Shakespeare Wrote for Money, I was thinking the other day that I ought to read a book about Shakespeare. And by "ought to" I mean that I don't really know much about the man himself and would like to. The problem is, which book do I read? There's James Shapiro's 1599: a Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, from which the name of Nick Hornby's collection comes (a fact that favours it more than a little in my mind, I have to say). There's also Bill Bryson's Shakespeare: The World as Stage, about which I've heard good things. I'm particularly curious about it because I've been told it has a lot on Shakespeare's impact on the English language, and as a linguistics geek, I'm all for that. And there are tons of others, I'm sure. Recommendations, anyone?

As I was in a bit of a blah mood last week (I'm so glad I pre-wrote my posts on the weekend, or else all would have been quiet on the blogging front), I decided to focus on behind-the-scenes blog work. So lo! I reworked my About Me page and added a sparkly new contact form. What do you think? I also finally added short stories to my author index. I know I should make a separate index for short stories, as well as one for full-length books alphabetized by title, but that's quite an undertaking and I'm not feeling that brave yet.

Another thing I did was switch to my own domain name. Why? Because it was cheap and the url looks prettier without "blogspot" in it. It has been a relatively trouble-free transition so far. Just one request: if you have me on your blogroll, would you mind updating it to the new url? It would be very much appreciated. The old one is supposed to automatically redirect you, but from what I hear, there are often problems with that.

Time for a Try Something New Mini-Challenge update. How are things going for everyone? I'm planing on starting my book later today. We had a few new participants join recently, and Rhinoa doesn't currently have a pair. I'll be very happy to be her pair if nobody else joins, but as we already do a year-long challenge together, she might be a little sick of me :P

I remember someone saying they didn't want to join because the number of participants was even (Naida?), so here's your chance! For this reason, I'll wait until tomorrow to draw the names of the winners of the Calvin & Hobbes collection and first few homemade bookmarks sets. If you join now, you'll still be included in the drawing. (Yep...bribery.)


  1. I think you'll enjoy Kelly Link. I look forward to your thoughts on it. Hope you have a great day. :-)

  2. Thanks for letting us know of the change of url. I thought my google reader seemed a bit quiet. I will change the address over on mine.
    I loved Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce. I read it at school and bought another copy last year to read again. I have also just bought Minnow on The Say, by the same author.

  3. Marie: I think I will too! I read a few stories in anthologies and really enjoyed them. Thank you and likewise :)

    Scrap Girl: The feed was also supposed to transfer automatically, but now I'm worried. Please let me know if there are any problems. This was my first time reading Pearce, but now I definitely want to read more by her.

  4. I can't see myself switching to reading only e-books, but from now on I'll be less reluctant to read them.

    Interesting. I have dry eyes, an inheritance from my mother, and try not to spend too much time staring at a computer screen. I've heard that the Kindle reads like paper, but I'm not willing to risk it quite yet.

  5. Great new touches to your blog, Nymeth! :D I feel the same about children's books, no reason to be ashamed, for sure. Hope your week is happier and that you're not feeling as down.. :)

  6. This is the first I've ever heard of Tom's Midnight Garden. But even before your review, it's heading to the wish list!

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your updated "About Me"! Yeah, I just love you!!!

  7. I'm adding Tom's Midnight Garden to my TBR List. I've never heard of it before. Where have I been? If no one joins, I'm happy to be Rhinoa's partner.Have a great week!

  8. Haven't heard of Sorrow, but from what you write I do think I could like it :)

    Have a nice Sunday

  9. Ah, e-books! While it may benefit the environment, reading a book electronically does not give one the same pleasure of touching and perusing through tangible pages.

    On another note, I love your updated features on your blog. Very accessible and neat. :] Thanks for bringing to my attention Tom's Midnight Garden. There are just too many children books that you just never realized existed!

  10. Congrats on the domain name and the happy reading despite not feeling great!

    (Just as a sidenote, it did automatically redirect me from the blogspot link to the new one.)

  11. My blog roll automatically sent me to your new domain!! Yeah! Glad to see that you got some reading done. After you posted about free downloads I went to Cory's site and got my own copy of Little Brother. I've been wanting to read it since it came out and now I can take my time. I have Tom's Midnight Garden in my library. I've looked at reading it several times as I have reshelved it but never made a serious attempt. After reading what you and Hornby thought of it, I probably will get to it sometime this year.

    Hope your weekend was beautiful!!

  12. I downloaded Magic for Beginners after downloading from the link you provided...I can't wait to read it!

    Hope your week is better!

  13. I adore Tom's Midnight Garden. The BBC made a really good adaptation of it when I was little. I don't think she write that much else.

    Have you read Goodnight Mr Tom? That's wonderful (not at all like TMG but I read it around the same time).

    Hope you have a better week this week :)

  14. No problems getting here, which is good, but I've gone ahead and updated you. Congrats on having your own url. Do you still run through blogspot? I've been trying to clean up my blog today, but I'm stuck on what I want to do with it. I'm bored with the green, but I can't seem to figure out how to change it without picking a completely new template. I'm starting to vent...sorry.

    I don't think I've read any books specifically about Shakespeare. I had to read one for grad school called Authors and Owners by Mark Rose--a history of copyrights and such. Does talk about the authorship of Shakespeare's plays, but I don't think anyone really knows the real story. Funny because The Eyre Affair plays around with the authorship of Shakepeare's plays as well. LOL--now I'm rambling.

    Hope you have a great rest of your weekend, Nymeth, and I hope things perk up soon.

  15. Never heard of Tom's Midnight Garden, but now it's on my TBR list! Thanks for that. Children's literature does often hit me harder, somehow, so I know what you mean.

    I hope this week is better for you!

  16. No problems, and I love your new additions. Midnight Garden sounds wonderful, I'll have to add it to my list!

  17. Planning to read Tom's Midnight Garden very soon for a challenge. Looking forward to it. Minnow on the Say is wonderful too, btw. Am also halfway through Nick Hornby's Complete Polysyllabic Spree, thanks to your recommendation. It's brilliant.

  18. Nymeth- I've down loaded several E books but am having a hard time reading them on my computer. Not really sure it's going to work for me. I've put Tom's Midnight Garden on my young adult TBR list. Can't wait for your review. Have a great week.

  19. Hey Nymeth! I hope you're feeling more chipper soon. I hate those funks so much :/ I'm in love with your new About me and Contact pages! I really want to update mine now after reading yours. And congrats on the new URL! I like having my own URL, but of course I had to pick the most ridiculously long name ever for mine :p I need to start on my book for the Try Something New mini-challenge!!! I have to read one for Jill's challenge too...better get cracking!

  20. Loren: I wonder about the kindle. It'll be a long, long time before I manage to try one, though.

    Claire: thank you; glad you like them :D And I'm feeling better already...nothing like the weekend to cheer one up :P

    Debi: awww :D thank you and likewise!

    Vasilly, thank you for offering! I hope you have a great week too.

    Blodeuedd, I hope you do like it :)

    orchidus: yeah, the environmental benefit is the reason why part of me is all for a transition. The other part, however, is very much attached to physical books. And yes, there's a whole world of great children's lit out there!

    Lena: Thanks for letting me know! The redirecting seems to be working properly at last. I got a "blog in transition" message for longer than I was supposed to, but it's now gone.

    Staci: good to know! And from what I know of your taste, I think you'd enjoy Tom's Midnight Garden. I had a nice, quiet weekend, which was just what I needed :)

    priscilla, thank you. I'm sure it will be :)

    Alexa: I've heard wonders about that BBC adaptation. Unfortunately it's only out in VHS, though :( And I haven't, no, but thanks for recommending it!

  21. Trish, it seems to be working properly at last, but thanks for updating me anyway! And yes, it's still run through blogspot. I got the domain through google/blogspot itself. It's only $10 a year and I like how it looks, so I figured, why not? :P Have you heard of Tips for New Bloggers? I always go to them with I have blog-related doubts. They have so many helpful tutorials. Authors and Owners sounds fascinating! And thank you :)

    Meghan: I don't know what it is about it, but it does. And thank you :) Hopefully it will be.

    Miss D, thanks for letting me know!

    Cath, I'll definitely have to add Minnow on the Say to my wishlist then. And I'm so glad you're enjoying the Spree :D

    Gavin, sorry to hear it's not working for you :( Ah well, at least you tried.

    Chris, thanks! And I'm glad to hear you like them :D My domain name is longish too, but oh well :P I've started your book already, and I hope to get to the one for Jill's mini-challenge next week. Then I only need to decide what kind of lists I'll use :P

  22. Congrats on the domain name, Nymeth! Google Reader automatically directed me here but still, I'll update your new link onto my blogroll! :D

    I hope you've a GREAT week ahead!

  23. I stumbled on Tom's Midnight Garden while taking a kiddie lit class in college and I loved it. I hung onto my copy for my kids and wouldn't you know but the ornery little boogers haven't touched it, wrinkling their delicate noses when I suggest it and ignoring it withfewer facial contortions when I don't (reverse psychology doesn't work on them, apparently).

    And now I need to suss out Shakespeare Wrote for Money since I do so enjoy Hornby writing about books.

  24. No problems getting the feed on Bloglines and I'll update your link soon! :)

    Wishing you a good week and hopefully things will be better!

  25. Congrats on the new link! The forwarding works just fine. :)

    I hope things are better for you now. I wonder if it's coincidence because I felt a bit down last week too. My Facebook status updates did reflect a little bit of that sentiment. But I'm a lot better now. :)

  26. Love your new about page! Tom's Midnight Garden sounds great. I hope you gave a great week! :)

  27. I just looked at my domain, and it looks like there is already a Oh well! Maybe one day I'll do a complete overhaul. Not today, though. :P

  28. I love your "About Me" new look! Now you'll have to satisfy my curiousity about that second degree you're taking! and I totally disagree with your you don't socialize very well, because your blog and our emails say something different! :-D I'll check my blogroll now, I know it's the old one, and I will email tomorrow about The Grey King, unfortunately my weekend ended up being really busy, unexpectedly. The questions are there in my mind for the book! I have to get them down now on email.......

  29. I hope this week is a better one for you, Nymeth. I am glad your experiment with e-books turned out so well. :-)

    I love the Nick Hornby quote. :-)

    I hadn't realized how much of a break in my serious reading I needed (and I count Watchmen among the serious reading).

    I hope you have a wonderful week, Nymeth.

  30. Melody, thanks! I'm glad to know everything is working for everyone now! I hope you have a great week too :)

    Kristen: lol! Hopefully sooner or later they'll pick it up on their own. Hornby's great, isn't he? I wish he were still doing his column.

    Iliana, thanks for letting me know! And thank you for the good wishes :)

    Alice, I hope we both feel a lot better this week :)

    Eva, thanks!

    Trish: That's too bad! Maybe Sadly you can't use apostrophes. That was actually one of the reasons why I switched to my own domain...I didn't want anyone to register before I did and turn it into a spam site or something :P

    Susan: I explained in my long overdue e-mail to you :P And lol, I socialize better online. Believe me, I'm really quite shy and awkward. And no worries about The Grey King!

    Literary Feline: Yep, it doesn't get much heavier/more serious than Watchmen! Thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful week yourself :)

  31. I hope you are feelin gmore yourself this week. Don't worry, I am not sick of you yet! I think I know what I am going to read for your mini challenge, but will wait and see who my partner is for sure. I just read Mariel's review of Shakespeare and I really must start reading it. I remember watching Tom's Midnight Garden on the tv when I was younger and loving it. Must get a copy of that too.

  32. Glad to hear you had luck with the ebooks. I'm still trying to get used to them. Maybe someday... Tom's Midnight Garden is a book I've never read or really even heard of until Simon at Stuck in a Book wrote about it a while back. I'm going to see if I can find it. It sounds wonderful! I'll update my blog roll. Hope you have a good week.

  33. Love all the updates you've done to your blog. I have some things I'd like to do too but never seem to get around to doing any of them. I've thought of getting my own domain name but don't really know what name to use. seems much too long. :P
    Hope this week is a better one for you!

  34. i had no problem getting to your site...seems to be working for me.

  35. Rhinoa: good to know :P You'll love Shakespeare Wrote for Money!

    Lisa: I hope you manage to find it! And thank you so much for taking the time to update it. I really appreciate it.

    tanabata: is longish too, but ah well :P And thank you! It's been better so far :)

    Serena: It's working most of the time, but just this morning I got a 404 error. I'm not sure if I trust the redirect to work 100% of the time, and several other bloggers reported problems. So I'd really appreciate it if people could take the time to update their links.

  36. nice updates to your site nymeth,
    the contact me form is professional looking!

    cool about having your own domain name!

    can I still join and be Rhinoa's partner??? let me know!

  37. I recommend Bill Bryson's book, but I haven't read many others, so I am not sure if it is any good in comparison with others...

  38. Oh god Nick Hornby is so awesome!!


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