Sunday, February 04, 2007


Complete Accord.
Jean Antoine Watteau.

My taste is fairly catholic and it is sometimes difficult to recognize why I will choose to keep a book to add ounces to the already over-burdened and jack-posted floor joists of my old house.
Generally and simplistically, I like stories where the good guys win and the bad guys get theirs.
But it takes more than just the story, there must be some individual resonance.
Have just finished David Drake's With the Lightnings - a space opera with Hornblowerian undertones.
I shall keep it.
The reasons are mutiple and entirely subjective - my personal ear.
Might be a concrete figure of speech that tickles me:

She took in information the way a mudhole drank stones, a mild plop to indicate receipt and then a blank surface again.
Behind him the passengers from the limousines were drifting toward them with the sort of meaningful aimlessness of goats grazing across a field. (
from the sequel.)

Or a description that rings true:
Gunfire crackled in the distant night. Small arms only, a spiteful sound that dissipated quickly among the streets and ornate facades

Or a nod to tradition:
Daniel drank like a naval officer, but Hogg drank like an admiral.

Or an acute observation on crisis dynamics:
Individuals would break off and join other groups in an air of nervous dynamism...The chaos was of overwhelming importance to the people making it.

Or a neat non-stereotype:
Prostitutes were already working the plaza. Daniel saw a statuesque blond man approach a commando in the door arch. He left laughing but without doing any business at least for the moment.

Things that make me say yes! Beyond a good story and interesting characters and clean writing. Details that convince me to trust the writer's perceptions and validate my suspension of disbelief.


anna said...

'Daniel drank like a naval officer, but Hogg drank like an admiral.'

it is funny about collecting books..
for years I couldn't bear to part with one no matter how dreadful
but now with rooms and rooms lined with them, I've been thinking I shall never open the cover on most of these books ever again. Needless to say they are still there, the warmth of them comforts me on a cold winter's night but the day might come ...

Erik Ivan James said...

A great post with superb examples making your point.

Like yours are now, my bookshelves were once overwhelmed, spilling over into boxes in my hobby-room and then eventually into the garage. I have found a wonderful used book store to where I now take less favored books in to trade.

Bernita said...

Books are riches.
One thing, Anna, is it easier to find a replacement now if one heaves a book a week before one needs it.

Thank you.
I donate to libraries, schools, charities, my kids, friends, and my used book store, Erik.
Still they pile up and the floor joists protest.

Anonymous said...

My basement held a good number of books. When I realized there were too many good ones coming out and I wouldn't reread my collection, I took them to the Army base library. They have a program where they ship them to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bernita said...

The sort of disbursement that I highly approve of, Steve.

Ric said...

Excellent examples - a treasure.

Moving bookshelfs to outside walls to provide another layer of insulation against this brutal weather.

Donnetta Lee said...

Bernita: What a pleasant way for me to wake up this morning! I'm having my coffee, watching the classic movie channel, waking up. I drop by your site and find this jewel this morning. I just enjoyed it so. I, too, have "The Collection." Hubby and I actually cleared quite a bit when we moved to Florida (we have a home there when we aren't in Oklahoma). We had an estate sale those years ago. Had way too many duplicates and books that were gathering dust and needed to be loved by someone else. Of course, we've replaced them all and here we go again! Donnetta

Bernita said...

These particular examples might not vibrate with anyone else, Ric, but I'm sure that in favourite books people would find equivalents.
Yes, a good point! I find that shelves on outside walls make for additional insulation, and have the extra advantage of being located over the foundation walls.

Thank you, Donnetta.
You were wiser than we were. Our first truckload to here was composed almost entirely of cartons of books.

Anonymous said...

There are books like that - "Wicked" was one - he had me caught by the first sentence - lovely, lovely writing.

raine said...

Behind him the passengers from the limousines were drifting toward them with the sort of meaningful aimlessness of goats grazing across a field.

Oh, my, that's right on the mark.

Gabriele C. said...

Maybe I should try Drake's SciFi. His Fantasy novel Lord of the Isles is too slow (and the thought there won't even be a soulution but 7 more books doesn't make me feel like finishing it).

Bernita said...

So satisfying, Sam.

I think you might like this pair, Gabriele.There is no "romance" between the main characters, just friendship, loyalty and trust. I can't speak to the others.

Bernita said...

He catches it exactly, Raine, for me. I've seen people do that.Just that way.