Top Ten Unique Book Titles

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about titles of books that are more unique than trendy.  I may not have mentioned before that I love, love, love a good book title, so this topic particularly appeals to me.  ;)

Without further ado, here are some unique ones from classic literature:

1. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, by Herman Melville
It doesn't get more signature than this. Melville chose interesting names for all the characters, not least of all the whale.

2. Perelandra, by C. S. Lewis
The surest way to have a unique title is to use a word from your own fictional language!

3. Magellania, by Jules Verne
Alternatively, taking a nonfictional place and making it more "literary" also works.

4. The Lighthouse at the End of the World, by Jules Verne
Probably my favorite book title of all time.  He used "lighthouse" in a title before it was trendy.

Rather than overrun this list with Jules Verne, I will just add that most of his titles were unique in his day.  (He was that cool.)

5. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, by Mark Twain
Who but Twain would come up with a great one like that?

6. Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis
A perfectly eerie title for a perfectly eerie novel.

7. Minorities; Good Poems by Small Poets and Small Poems by Good Poets, ed. T. E. Lawrence
Sometimes it takes a unique sense of humor to come up with a unique title.

8. Three Men on the Bummel, by Jerome K. Jerome
But what is a "bummel"?

9. The Blithedale Romance, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I mean, he could've called it "The Happy Valley Story"...

10.  Far from the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy
A great title - unique, easy to say, and instantly recognizable.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - Hourly Updates, autumn edition

Starting a little late here - but hey, with four hours of extra sleep, I have that much more energy for the rest of the readathon!  ;)

Going to follow Cirtnecce's example and update this post as often as possible.  Stay tuned and check back!

Hour 12 . . . Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?

Well, I just finished Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, which I've been reading since June.  His story always gets me...  I got teary near the end.

2. How many books have you read so far?
Two!  But one of those involved 90 pages chock-full of history.  My brain is swimming with information.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I'm still looking forward to Bambi. ^_^  But The Lord of the World also intrigues me!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
No, it's been a blissful day at home.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
I'm really surprised how fast the day has gone by!

Hour 4:

It's 8:42 am at my house.  It rained a great deal of the night, but now all is quiet, except for the occasional sound of trains in the valley.  (The sound of a distant train is one of my very favorites!)  My dad is watching a soccer game with the volume low in the next room, which is another favorite sound, and very like a normal Saturday.  I'm typing this at my desk with a clock behind me, under the dim morning light and a warm lamp.  My next plan is to go get coffee, cozy up in the covers, and start my first read of the day.  I think it will be Hero, because I'm so close to finishing this Lawrence of Arabia biography and pretty excited, too!

Opening Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Washington state, USA

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Oooh, I've got to say, I'm very excited to read Bambi!  Last night I took a peek at the beginning, and it looked just like my kind of book. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I have a stash of chocolate bars and M&Ms.  Don't tell anyone.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I live with my sweet and fantastic family, who thinks the 24 Hour Readathon is kind of crazy but supports me anyway. ^_^  I write code for a living.  My favorite "girl's day out" is going to the local bookstore, Daiso (Japanese $1.50 store), or an opera!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
I plan to finish at least two books!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: TBR, autumn edition

Once again, I'm gearing up for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, starting in five hours!  I enjoyed this event so much last time that, as soon as I heard there was a fall edition, I put it on my calendar.  It's not so much that I stay up the full 24 hours - no, indeed - but it's such a great, fun time to read a lot of different books and eat candy (oops).

As before, I'll be posting updates to Instagram and Goodreads, as well as maybe some reviews here.  Let me know if you're also participating!

The lineup:

 Finish Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia / Michael Korda
Journey Through the Impossible / Jules Verne
Peter Pan / J. M. Barrie
Rhett & Link's Book of Mythicality / Rhett and Link
Bambi (ebook) / Felix Salten
Stretch goals:
The Lord of the World (ebook) / Robert Hugh Benson
Kidnapped (re-read) / Robert Louis Stevenson

Returning to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Wizard oz 1900 cover

Currently: at home, listening to the rain, trying to fend off the beginnings of a cold.  (I haven't been sick in quite some was bound to happen.)

What better time to talk about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz?

Most people are familiar with the film, having the somewhat abbreviated title of The Wizard of Oz.  It was one of my childhood favorites, perhaps more so even than Mary Poppins, and I still love it.  You'd have to be hardhearted not to at least sympathize with Dorothy's plight and desire to find home, after a gigantic cyclone tears her family apart and literally drops her in a strange, fantastical land.  For my part, I've never stopped wanting a pair of ruby slippers (magical or otherwise).

L. Frank Baum's 1900 book predates the film by some decades and the modern reader by over a century.  It takes us a little more imagination to picture even Kansas.  Baum's sparse yet concise prose helps us in this:
When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached to the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.
In spite of this bleak picture, Baum's Dorothy is by no means anxious to get away.  Like an ultimate act of rebellion, her cheerful, simple life playing with her dog Toto makes even the prairie tolerable to her.  When the cyclone takes them away, Dorothy is set on one thing alone, and that is to find her way back.

This is just one of many differences between the book and movie. Happily, I found myself enjoying the book, while still appreciating the changes that were made for the movie script.  The moral of "Be careful what you wish for" is always a good cinematic theme; at the same time, I admire the original Dorothy's obstinate cheerfulness, strong conscience, and single-minded determination.

Cowardly lion2 Among the supporting characters, I was also happy to see many of the endearing characteristics of the film versions were taken from the originals.  The Tin Man (or here, Tin Woodman) is really a sweetheart, the Wizard is innocuous (and a little silly), and the Scarecrow (always my favorite) takes care of Dorothy throughout their adventures.  The character that was most different was the Cowardly Lion; in Baum's version, he is less goofy and more tragic, which I prefer.

I won't spoil it by saying anything more about the plot, which also differs from the original in several places.  If you haven't read this, I do recommend it - it's a delightful, modern fairytale, written with a wise simplicity that is common to all good fairytales.

I collect quotes on courage, and I'm adding this one, from Oz:  "There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger.  The True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid..."

Kazuo Ishiguro - Nobel Laureate

Exciting news in the literature world... today it was announced Kazuo Ishiguro won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature!

As you may know from following me here and on Goodreads, I have great respect for Ishiguro as a writer.  I do not agree with his outlook on all issues, and my reactions to his novels have ranged from jaw-dropping admiration and pure enjoyment to boredom and pure disgust.  Nonetheless, he is a truly talented storyteller, who is not above using plain language to reach his readers.  His genius lies in the fact that his simplicity of style never gets in the way of his subtlety or message.  As a reader I am drawn into his world, and as a writer I remain in complete awe of his style.  Kazuo Ishiguro is certainly a author of "axes" for frozen seas and, for the writing standard he sets, a worthy Nobel Prize laureate.