books

Liebster Award

So, I have been nominated for an award

My first thought was that it was either a joke or a mockery. This, of course, comes from my own perception of this blog’s quality.

I write reluctantly and it’s always very time-consuming because I have to fight with my own self – I want to write but at the same time I don’t, I weigh every word, I revise every paragraph some dozen times, or even more… Also, English not being my native language doesn’t really help. These are the reasons why my posts are under 500 words, why I have no patience nor will (nor time, for that matter) to write with wider grasp and substance. To me, every post seems more or less unfinished, just a hint of something, and therefore not really worthy of any kind of award… But, apparently not everybody thinks the way I do on this subject: I have to thank you, Amyclae for the nomination. It seems sincere enough. I will be pleased if this blog gives you half the joy yours is giving me…

Now, on to the assigned homework… Here are the 11 facts about myself:

  1. I want to live in a small cottage on the edge of a village, back entrance path leading to woods; small, berry garden on the left; front porch looking at the wide meadows and a distant horizon; neighbors at least five minutes away.
  2. “I am not a snob; it is simply that I am not interested with what most people have to say, or what they want to do — mostly with my time.” Bukowski
  3. I don’t grieve and I don’t have regrets. They’re pointless.
  4. I sew my own clothes… Unfortunately I don’t know how to make shoes.
  5. People say I resemble Emily Dickinson.
  6. It always feels weird approaching a person waiting for me; even if it’s my best friend.
  7. Hardly a day goes by without me wishing the teleportation possible – it is so boring walking always the same four ways home.
  8. Things that annoy me the most: generalization, simplification, fallacy, ignorance, bad manners, slow computers, umbrellas.
  9. Second favorite art form: film!
  10. I definitely have to learn to be more assertive.
  11. I want to live in a small town, in my own second-hand bookshop where readers could have tea and cookies, and bread with home-made jams.

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The questions Amyclae came up with:

1. What is the best essay, or essay collection, you have ever read?

Hmmm, let’s say: Diary of a Melancholy, by Dževad Karahasan and The Common Reader, Virginia Woolf. And, Stanislaw Lem – I cannot recollect the title but it was an essay on science fiction… I’ve read a lot of essays on literature during my studies but only a few collections. Nowadays I read essays occasionally, in literary magazines. However, if anyone has some good suggestions – be my guest, please… It doesn’t have to be on literature. Philosophy, psychology, botany, film, time problematics are welcome too.

2. Favorite fiction novel?

I can hardly be expected to choose one so I’ll name two: Parade’s End – Ford Madox Ford and To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf.

3. Favorite nonfiction, of any bookish genre?

Had a bit of a hard time deciding what you mean by bookish genre nonfiction.. I love reading about reading so I’ll say, for now, my favorite is Alberto Manguel’s Library at Night. Suggestions are welcome here, as well.

4. What is the author I should know about but I do not?

Since I don’t really know which authors you do know about, there’s a risk of giving redundant information. Nevertheless: Georg Büchner!, Aleksandar Hemon, Bertolt Brecht, Ernesto Sabato, Milan Kundera.

5. Why do you write?

I write because I want to note my thoughts on books I read since I have the tendency to forget all about them except whether they were good or bad. Writing helps prevent brain atrophy.

6. Is there such a thing as too much pie? And if so, why are you a terrorist?

Yes, there is. I would argue there’s such a thing as too much of anything.

7. If you could elicit one completely truthful answer from everyone you met, with no social cost, what would the question be?

Why do you live?

8. What is an intellectual to you?

Maybe it could be put in a word – philosopher. (I’m tired… So, I will try to revise this answer tomorrow.)

9. Trigger-warnings. Explain.

I had to do a bit of a research here since I had no idea what the trigger-warnings were.. No literature should come with a warning.

10. If you could insert one book or play or literary work into the Anglosphere’s high school curriculum what would it be? Would you?

I’m not familiar with the Anglosphere’s high school curriculum… Is there any Paul Auster? Irving? I’m not sure if I would.

11. What is a blog I, Amyclae, should follow?

Hmm, I gave you my best suggestions before. Check my nominees – maybe you’ll find some that would suit you (number 4, maybe?).

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Next, I have to pass the nomination to 11 bloggers. Not sure if every one of those I have in mind can be counted in but breaking the (not firmly set of) rules of the Liebster Award will not hurt anybody. Actually, I do not care about the rules, I just want to list my Liebsters without restrictions. So here they are:

  • The Argumentative Old Git, his way of writing and thinking about literature is exceptional and inspiring.
  • Pieces, Michelle has an eye for good literature.
  • Wuthering Expectations, I am always delighted with the details he notices in the books he reads and the ways he dissects the texts.
  • Celebration of Reading, again, love his way of thinking, and the blog has been a great source of new authors.
  • Things Mean a Lot, one of the first blogs I started to follow. I love her book analyses and thinking.
  • A Pen Full of Vinegar, challenging, insightful, my cup of tea.
  • Book to the Future; love the way he constructs his reviews.
  • Thinking in Fragments, I always had an inclination towards diaries and this one is particularly delightful.
  • The Captive Reader; I’m regularly euphoric when reading about an unknown author on this blog because I’m certain I would like it – she’s choosing well. And, the pictures of home libraries are a great bonus.
  • A Reader’s Footprints; a blog I’ve discovered recently, a cheerful collage of quotes, excerptions, book-shopping reports and thoughts on books read.
  • The Matilda Project; thanks to it I know which bookshops to look for if, one day, I find myself in London. She has a great way to intertwine her thinking on all sorts of book-world related issues in her bookshop tours.

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And, at last, the 11 questions for the nominated bloggers should they decide to participate:

  1. Name a piece of literature you consider the best you’ve read so far?
  2. What are the characteristics of your dream home library?
  3. What are your favorite places for buying books?
  4. Should philosophy be taught from elementary school?
  5. What does it mean to be wise? / What is wisdom?
  6. Which literary character feels like a real person to you (as a long known friend, an acquaintance maybe)? Is there any?
  7. Quote one of the passages (from any book of your choice, of course) you had to stop by to reread, to note down or ponder upon?
  8. Best movie based on a book?
  9. What is the thing that fascinates you the most?
  10. Suppose you live in several houses. Is there a book you would want to have in every one of them?
  11. Would you accept the invitation to the Mad Hatter Tea Party?
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20 thoughts on “Liebster Award

  1. I’ll get more into this tomorrow morning but I enjoyed the post. You accurately identified what I was trying to say about bookish nonfiction. :) You suffer from a severe and baseless deficit of self-regard. I’m sure that will change with time as more people discover your blog and you.

    1. I suppose I’m hard on myself sometimes.. but it’s because I know what I am capable to do and what I’m actually doing… and because I’m a bit angry at myself for my laziness and notorious lack of ambition. :)
      Anyhow, thank you, kindly, for your words. I find them motivating.

  2. Your facts are awesome, especially the first one, such a natural place to live and have that freedom and the final one, again is just a delight to read!

    Lots of mentions of Virginia Woolf I seen and other such books and blogs i need to get my teeth into asap. I already have some idea for the questions you have set, I shall fun enjoying myself with those…thank you for the nomination, I appreciate it and will return the favour in due course.

    1. :) I hated the thought of imposing the award on others so I just let them know it’s an act of appreciation. I expected nothing. The only thing I hoped for were the answers to the questions set. Happy to hear you’re having fun with them – I am waiting, eagerly.

      You must read Virginia!

      1. They really are good questions, usually I can just drop some answers in and post it up but you have challenged me with some of them but I will have them posted by this time next week at the latest but it could be as early as Tuesday…I know I’m such a tease, ha!

          1. To which I appreciate it but of course it is all your fault for making them complex and require thought. I would have been disappointed had you done otherwise though! I have finally replied to them all on the blog so hope they are worth the wait.

  3. Hello Anna, thank you very much for the nomination, and, especially, for all the very kind and flattering things you say about my blog.

    I have, actually, done this Liebster thing before: see here, and here.. However, since you so kindly nomiated me, may i take this opportunity to answer your questions here? I never could resist this sort of thing!

    1. Name a piece of literature you consider the best you’ve read so far?

    – If I had to name one, i think I’d have to go for Shakespeare’s “King Lear”, although, of course, there can be no league table of this sort of thing. let us say that of all the works I’ve encountered that i think to be of the foremost rank, this is the one that makes on me the greatest impact.

    2. What are the characteristics of your dream home library?

    – Dream library, right? First of all, it has to be big. With books on different levels, with ladders to get from one level to another, as you see in Henry Higgins’ library in My Fair Lady. A settee or two to lounge on with your book. And a large window, opening out on a spectacular view of lakes and hills and forests. (Well – you did say this is a dream library?) And, of course, full of my kind of books…

    3. What are your favorite places for buying books?

    – I like buying books from places where there is a large stock, and where I can spend all day browsing before buying. Blackwells in Oxford, or Foyles in London, are my usual haunts, but the most delightful place of all are the many bookshops in Hay-on-Wye.

    4. Should philosophy be taught from elementary school?

    – It would be good to teach at least some basic philosophy to 15-16 year-olds, say. Logic, especially,should be taught. I could have done with a bit of that myself…

    5. What does it mean to be wise? / What is wisdom?

    – Ah … if i knew what wisdom was, I’d be wise myself!

    6. Which literary character feels like a real person to you (as a long known friend, an acquaintance maybe)? Is there any?

    – Holmes and Watson. they’ve been good friends since the age of 11, and they’ve never let me down.

    7. Quote one of the passages (from any book of your choice, of course) you had to stop by to reread, to note down or ponder upon?

    – “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept: and as he went, thus he said: O my son, Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

    if there is a more beautiful passage of prose, i don’t know it!

    8. Best movie based on a book?

    – For me, Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, based on the Bengali novel by Bibhuthibhushan Banerji. If you’d like an English language film, I’ll nominate John Ford’s film version of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath,

    9. What is the thing that fascinates you the most?

    – Our aesthetic sense. How did that evolve? And why? It’s a complete mystery, and yet, our ability to appreciate beauty of all kinds is possibly the greatest gift we have.

    10. Suppose you live in several houses. Is there a book you would want to have in every one of them?

    – Not one book, but three – the three most wonderful books in he English language: the King James Bible (I’m not religious, by the way); the Complete Works of Shakespeare; and the Sherlock Holmes stories.

    11. Would you accept the invitation to the Mad Hatter Tea Party?

    – Oh yes, absolutely!

    Thank you very much for the invitation – I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    1. Reading your comment made me so jolly! Thank you for it, Himandri. I almost dared not hope you’ll be willing to answer the questions.. Am very glad you did and even more glad you’ve enjoyed it. :)

      I, too, enjoyed your answers… Your dream library is appealing and in many ways resembles mine – though I would want a big library I don’t know how I would fit it in a small country cottage.
      Shakespeare is one of the greats I enjoy coming back to. I am rereading Hamlet at the moment, but soon it will be King Lear’s turn again.
      I have never heard of Pather Panchali so I noted it down on my list. Haven’t seen ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ either but will soon, I hope, since I have another Steinbeck waiting to be seen – ‘Of Mice and Men’, with John Malkovich.
      I often wonder about the aesthetic, too. How come the beauty can make us cry? Why does it have such a strong impact? Things we’ll never be able to fully understand, I think…
      And, ever since I met him, I dearly love Sherlock. I wonder if your sympathies are extended towards Jeremy Brett.. and if you have seen the modern BBC instalment…
      You’ll find something of a Sherlock in Parade’s End’s Christopher.. Maybe I shouldn’t have written this.. Please forgive, if you find it a spoiler..

      Thank you again for this treat! As I have said, it gave me so much joy..

      1. Pather Panchali was the first of a trilogy of films made in the 1950s, and known as the “Apu Trilogy”. I feel particularly close to these films, and ave written about them here: http://argumentativeoldgit.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/the-apu-trilogy-directed-by-satyajit-ray/

        Speaking of Shakespeare, I was at Stratford-on-Avon the other day, and saw both parts of Henry IV. I’m still reeling from the impact! I guess a blog post will follow once I get round to it!

        All the best, Himadri

  4. I am unforgivably late with this post. As I have been the overvalued recipient of three Liebster Awards in about a week I have to decline. But I will be more than happy to answer your questions. :)

    Name a piece of literature you consider the best you’ve read so far?

    I was very impressed by Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, though I suppose that is too easy of an answer. If you’re asked what your favorite dessert is, and you respond ‘cookies,’ I wouldn’t believe you. What kind of cookies? Not cookies at all? And frankly, yes, not cookies at all. If I was honest with myself I believe my favorite piece would be Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson.

    What are the characteristics of your dream home library?

    Piles and piles and piles of books. Books piled everywhere.

    What are your favorite places for buying books?

    In the Book of Imaginary Beings, Borges writes of the Wufniks. “There are on earth, and always were, thirty-six righteous men whose mission is to justify the world before God. They are the Lamed Wufniks. They do not know each other and are very poor. If a man comes to the knowledge that he is a Lamed Wufnik, he immediately dies and somebody else, perhaps in another part of the world, takes his place. Lamed Wufniks are, without knowing it, the secret pillars of the universe. Were it not for them, God would annihilate the whole of mankind. Unawares, they are our saviors.” There is no doubt in my mind that the Wufnikes, as a general rule, are the operators of small bookstores. Independent ones, perhaps, but keeping in line with the canon (“they… are very poor”) the bookstores are not very popular. They are not necessarily well-maintained. I have my own evaluation rubric for a good bookstore. Coincidentally it more or less mimics my rubric for Mexican restaurants but that’s a story for another time, dear reader. Good bookstores only have so much energy: they must spend this amount of energy one three things. The first is order. The second is selection. The third is price. In this sense my grading evokes ideas of virtually anything else: quality, quantity, price but adapted for book-buying. To that I say mea culpa. You got me. I still find it useful. The best bookkeepers of these stores are our saviors.

    Should philosophy be taught from elementary school?

    A little education is a terrible thing.

    What does it mean to be wise? / What is wisdom?

    To know when to sit down and shut up. Wisdom is simply something I do not have. I don’t know what fills the hole, but I know the hole is there.

    Which literary character feels like a real person to you (as a long known friend, an acquaintance maybe)? Is there any?

    None of them do.

    Quote one of the passages (from any book of your choice, of course) you had to stop by to reread, to note down or ponder upon?

    “In the beginning when the world was young there were a great many thoughts but no such thing as a truth. Man made the truths himself and each truth was a composite of a great many vague thoughts. All about in the world were the truths and they were all beautiful. […]

    There was the truth of virginity and the truth of passion, the truth of wealth and of poverty, of thrift and of profligacy, of carelessness and abandon. Hundreds and hundreds were the truths and they were all beautiful.

    And then the people came along. Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them.

    It was the truths that made the people grotesques. The old man had quite an elaborate theory concerning the matter. It was his notion that the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.” Winesburg, Ohio.

    Best movie based on a book?

    No County for Old Men.

    What is the thing that fascinates you the most?

    People!

    Suppose you live in several houses. Is there a book you would want to have in every one of them?

    Gore Vidal’s collected essays.

    Would you accept the invitation to the Mad Hatter Tea Party?

    Always.

    1. As you could notice, I too was away and am running late with responses to all these comments.
      To make it right, I spent almost whole day today writing and commenting. Still have to check the other blogs you nominated – I’m very curious..

      Of course you declined the nomination. I only hoped you would find time to answer the questions. So happy you did. I enjoyed this, thoroughly. :)

      I have a particularly soft spot for Winesburg, Ohio. It’s on my best books list, as well. Although, I cannot exactly remember why :S At that time, I wasn’t writing any notes on books I read. It is awful because now I feel like I haven’t read them at all..

      I thought you would name small bookshops your favorite places. For all the good reasons. Magical corners of the Earth..

      No Country for the Old Men is masterly done. I was amazed, to say the least. Then I read McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses and was in love. Haven’t read The Blood Meridian but it’s on the list, now. So is Gore Vidal! I’m almost ashamed to say I haven’t read him.

    1. I find dogs too loud and too attention seeking but cats are always welcomed! :)

      Finally having some time for blogging and commenting, I’m coming over to your place in a second.

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