Reading Notes – And A Bookmark to Go with it!

I never play lottery, because I never win. If I bet on a number at a lucky draw, you can be sure this one will never be picked. But obviously this rule also has an exception, as I was the lucky recipient of a nice Pomegranate Bookmark, courtesy of Danielle!

I received it today, super fast. Don’t you find it classy? From the information I get on the reverse, it’s from John George Brown, a British painter emigrated to the US in the 1850s. The original is in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The woman on the seashore is actually holidaying at Grand Manan, a popular resort island in the Canadian province of New Brunswick (now, I understand better why she isn’t wearing any kind of swimsuit 😉 …)

Now, the hardest question is: in what book will I use it right away? I have several ones currently being read:

– Barbara Vine, Asta’s Book: things are picking up at around page 200. I must confess that where it not for Mr. Smithereens’ enthusiasm, I would have been strongly tempted to lay it on the side.

– Patrick Gale, Notes from an Exhibition: I was attracted to this book at WHSmith purely because I love the cover. I was slightly ashamed to buy a book for its cover, so instead of buying it, I got it through Bookmooch (doesn’t it feel better not to spend money for a book you’re not sure to like?). It’s a family drama set in Penzance, with a mother as the pivotal, most dramatic character. It’s not really a theme I’m used to, but so far I like it.

– Ruth Rendell, An Unkindness of Ravens. This one is the “bedtime story” for Baby Smithereens. It works quite well  (it’s not that the story lacks suspense, most probably my voice is simply droning him to sleep, in which case I may need to work on my reading aloud skills…) I don’t quite get the meaning of the title just yet. Native English readers, is there a double entendre here?

– François Caradec, Le doigt coupé de la rue Bison. A true Parisian humor mystery, not at all in the Vargas vein, but rather playing with the clichés of the 1950s black-and-white gangsters and cops movies set in the Paris seedy underworld. The writer is a member of Oulipo, a post-Surrealist group interested in playing with words (up to the point that the mystery itself rather gets the backseat). Interesting but rather hard to follow! 

Even though the bookmark is in the grey shades, I don’t find it suited for a contemporary police investigation.  I guess it will work better with Barbara Vine’s historical and psychological mystery. I normally take the first flat little thing I come across to mark my page: a metro ticket, a payment slip, one of those commercial loyalty cards from shops I never visit twice, a tiny perfume sample like those you get in magazines. But it’s nice to replace my shameful little piece of torn newspaper with some proper, arty bookmark!

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5 thoughts on “Reading Notes – And A Bookmark to Go with it!

  1. “Unkindness of ravens” is a collective noun for a group of ravens. There are many idiomatic expressions in English to describe a group of animals, such as “a gaggle of geese” or a “pride of lions”. You can find a wiki article on collective nouns for birds here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_collective_nouns_for_birds. Many of the ones listed you would never hear anyone say. Generally, “flock” of birds is used.

    Gaggle of geese is common, at least where I live where the blasted Canadian geese have no natural predators and many have decided that since it’s awfully cold in Canada, they will settle here. The dirty gaggles of geese live at every office complex or neighborhood pond. (Ponds in neighborhoods and office developments are common for drainage purposes). They are everywhere and can be quite pesty, especially in the spring when they are nesting. On the other hand, I seem to cross a family of geese crossing the road on my way to work each morning, and the babies make me smile.

    An “unkindess of ravens” certainly paints an image for the not-very likable birds, doesn’t it? Haven’t read the book, so I haven’t a clue how the title fits in with the book.

    Lovely bookmark, btw.

  2. How lucky of you to win the bookmark! If I were you and reading all those good books, I think I would put the bookmark in either the Vine or the Gale book. And I’m sure your voice isn’t droning. Baby just finds Mama’s voice soothing and safe and comforting 🙂

  3. I have the same Patrick Gale book waiting for me on the shelf and I can’t remember anymore where I heard about it, but the cover is lovely and I’m looking forward to see whether the story holds up.

  4. Pingback: Bookmark Bookmarks 19 June 2009 | Bookmark Collector

  5. I sort of like to match my bookmark with my book–I’m strange that way. I like the idea of my little bookmark now traversing the Parisian streets! I only wish it could be me! 🙂 I loved Barbara Vine’s Asta’s Book (here called Anna’s Book). It’s one of my favorites, though I admit it’s been so long since I read it that I’ve forgotten details and whether it also started out slowly for me. You may have finished by now (since I am so tardy reading your post). Have you also tried The Dark Adapted Eye? It’s my other favorite!

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