Monday, March 20, 2006

My first meme. I feel so cool.

I got this from Stitching Readers board that I frequent. Hey, why not?

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you might read, * the ones you won’t, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you’ve never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Animal Farm – George Orwell
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
*Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
1984 – George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling
(One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
*Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
*The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
(The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold)
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons – Dan Brown
Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
(The Secret History – Donna Tartt)
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
*Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
*Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
(Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides)
(Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell)
The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
*Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
(Atonement – Ian McEwan)
(The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
*The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
*The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Dune – Frank Herbert

Some discussion: I've noticed that not many people in the BB thread that I got this from have books listed as "on my shelf" (underlined) as well as "might read" (italicized). I have seven! What does this say about me? Hmmm... I've been buying books with good intentions since high school. Catch-22 was recently purchased and I'm reading it right now. Catcher in the Rye and Animal Farm were from high school reading lists where I had to choose from a short list to do a book report. I bought several books and decided later. Both have been started. Slaughterhouse 5 has also been started - it's in a Vonnegut hardcover anthology, from which I read Cat's Cradle. Cryptonomicon caught my eye several years ago at the local SciFi bookstore in Toronto, Bakka. Their store tradition of employees writing little reviews on index cards and thumbtacking them to the shelf under the book is one of the many reasons why I love the store, and has helped me find at least two new "favourite authors" in recent years. The book sat on our shelf for months, until one day my husband asked me why I bought it. I told him it had a good review at Bakka, and I figured he'd read it and tell me what he thought about it. So he did. :) The copy of Dune on our bookshelf came with my husband.

Most of the starred books are ones I have tried and couldn't get into, particularly the Jane Austen, both Brontes and Hemingway. I've tried a few times with Hemingway and even own a couple others (For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Sun Also Rises), but just couldn't get into any of them. The Bell Jar, Brave New World, Kite Runner and Geisha are undoubtably excellent books, but there is only so much "heavy stuff" that I can take, so I'm drawing the line somewhere!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Beware the little red crosswalk man

My husband found this article this evening. It's like deja vu all over again!

A little background: For a little over 5 months (late February to early August) of 1993, I was an exchange student at Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany. It was a wonderful time. Marburg (another page of links here) is a lovely little German university town. It's full of students during the term, so there's plenty of things to do - movies, theatre, nightclubs, shopping... but it's also not a huge city, so it's not overwhelming. It's surrounded by hills, so there's fresh air and trees (dare I even say.. woods?) to hike around in. The Lahn River runs through the town, and there's a bike path that follows the river. You can even rent boats and paddle around. It also has a good amount of traditional German charm. There's a 13th century gothic church, a fully functioning and delightful Altstadt, complete with a picturesque Schloß, Rathaus (city hall) and more than a couple Kneipen (taverns). I heartily recommend Der Hinkelstein, in the Altstadt.

But I digress. Back to the article. I swear to you, this is the God's Honest Truth. Whatever you do, don't cross the street against the light, especially if there's a small child nearby. To quote the fourth paragraph of the above-linked article:

First, never ever cross against red in front of an impressionable child. At best, you'll get a nasty look from most of the adults present -- visually incriminating you for tempting little Heidi or little Franz into certain violent death next time he or she attempts to cross the street alone. An apparently uninvolved bystander may take it upon him or herself to launch into an indignant tirade at your expense. At worst, you could even get a stern talking to from a morally superior five-year-old.

People, I have witnessed this. Standing at a street corner in Marburg on a Saturday afternoon: myself, a youngish woman (mother?) with a small child, a middle-age woman (who did not appear to be with the young woman & child), and a male in his late teens or early 20s. Not a car in sight. The young man looks both ways and quickly sprints across the street against the decree of the little red crosswalk man -- and damned if the middle-age woman didn't immediately start loudly yelling out at him, "Oh, aren't you a good example to the child! You should know better!" (a rough translation). She continued her tirade until he was surely out of earshot.

Luckily for me, I was never the recepient of this kind of public embarassment. I was warned by a new friend (the American student who lived across the hall from me) shortly after my arrival in Marburg to not tempt the Germans to disobey the little red crosswalk man.

Ah, fond memories. Like Monty Python films and Star Trek: TNG dubbed into German. And celebrating 4th of July with 3 Brits. And introducing non-Americans to our dizzying variety of Girl Scout cookies. And the effect of hitting an umlaut key on a German keyboard when you're using a Telnet application. But those are other stories.