Tag Archives: Anna Karenina

Booking it eternally

From Booking Through Thursday:

What book took you the longest to read, and do you feel it was the content or just the length that made it so?

Wow, I haven’t booked for a while, and this is a fun question.

The first really long book I read was Gone With The Wind. I was maybe twelve at the time and I remember taking at least one break part way through to read a few shorter novels. Because the book is long, and Scarlett, kind of annoying. I’m really not all that wild about Rhett either.

In college, I booked through both Anna Karenina (long) and War and Peace (longer) relatively quickly. Maybe because there was going to be a test. Tolstoy fun fact: the man did know how to write a short story. Really.

More recently, I read the first two books in the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I’m still tired from that. I read these on Kindle and I was all:

29%? How can I still be at 29%? I’ve been reading for hours.

Will I continue the series? Maybe. When I’m in the mood for epic fantasy and don’t mind seeing all my favorite characters killed off. I think it’s this last bit that keeps me away. Not that I think authors should never kill off their characters. It’s that I don’t trust Martin. I don’t want to get attached to anyone in the series, so I keep all the characters at arm’s length–which is no way to read a book.

As I mentioned, epic fantasy is a mood read for me. Now I need to add epic fantasy where I don’t mind all my favorite characters dying and the books are really, really long, kind of like the literary equivalent of running a marathon. 

That’s a very specific sort of mood. It may be a while before I pick up book three.

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Why ideas aren’t the same as books

On February 6th, I wrote the following as my Facebook status:

Last night’s dream: I was selected to write a modern retelling of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And that’s just what the world needs right now.

From today’s Publishers Marketplace:

Frank Cottrell Boyce’s CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG FLIES AGAIN, with black and white illustrations by illustrator and animator Joe Berger, featuring the Tooting family, who discover an old race-car engine and fit it to their VW Samba Bus; soon they are hurtling across the world rebuilding the original Chitty – with a sinister character on their tail, based on the original by Ian Fleming, to Hilary Van Dusen at Candlewick Press, in a six-figure deal, at auction, in a three-book deal, for publication in Spring 2012, by Zoe Pagnamenta of the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency on behalf of Simon Trewin at United Agents.

Apparently, it is what the world needs right now, to the tune of six figures, no less. So. Yeah. It kinds of leaves you wondering. Where’s my six-figure deal?

Not in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s trunk, that’s for sure.

Here’s the thing: I do this all the time. I once wondered if anyone bothered to write a retelling of Anna Karenina. Why did I wonder this? I don’t know.

A week later, a deal came through on Publishers Marketplace for … wait for it … a retelling of Anna Karenina.

That novel about a modern US civil war? Yep, had that idea–twice (two different versions). Same for a bunch of others that I’m too depressed to enumerate here.

I’m either really tied into the collective unconscious or I should start writing these things down.

That’s the key. Everybody has ideas; writing 50,000 – 100,000 words in a row so they make sense is what separates the idea from a book. And honestly, I never wanted to write a retelling of Anna Karenina, or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for that matter, not even to the tune of six-figures.

Still. It kind of leaves you wondering.

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Filed under Musings, Reading & Writing, Writing

BTT: Booking it heavy

Booking through Thursday this week:

What’s the largest, thickest, heaviest book you ever read? Was it because you had to? For pleasure? For school?

Well, I’ve read both War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Anna I’ve read twice, and I think I would like to read again at some point. And yes, it was for school. I did an entire semester of Tolstoy and one of Gogol. I’m pretty well-versed in Tolstoy and Gogol (in fact, my senior paper was on The Church versus the Devil in Gogol’s Ukrainian stories, which is something everyone wants to know about).

I’ve also read Gone With the Wind, which is also pretty hefty. Oh, and let’s throw in some Dickens (Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities). There’s also Leon Uris (Mila 18 and Exodus) not to mention James A. Michener (although, at the moment, I can’t remember what I read, but it probably had a lot of setting).

And, of course, Jane Eyre. Who could forget Jane?

In other words, big, fat books? Bring. Them. On.

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