30 August 2014 @ 06:39 am
Good Bad Books  
Still thinking about the Ten Books meme, but meanwhile, post Worldcon and subsequent discussions (including howls of dismay) some thoughts on why your trash is my treasure and the other way about?

This is the quick and dirty version--if anyone else wants to talk about this, I'd love to get in and really splash around. But not if I'm just blatting at myself.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Galenigaleni on August 30th, 2014 02:11 pm (UTC)
Completely off topic, my library ordered your and Rachel's book, Stranger, but had a slip of the finger while typing your name into the database. We joked about having joined the Dark Side, Ms. Sith. They'll fix it so people can find the book!

Sherwood Smithsartorias on August 30th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
Heh! Oh, if I had to Powah of the Sith . . . .
Mariboumaribou on August 30th, 2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
I don't have much to contribute today, pretty brain-dead, but I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and largely agree with them - I'd love to hear more ...
Sherwood Smithsartorias on August 30th, 2014 05:00 pm (UTC)
camille_is_here: cancuncamille_is_here on August 30th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
I was fortunate enough to have read the Canterbury Tales before I encountered them in High School. It was, indeed, delightful trash. In high school they cut out all the good bits. What a buzzkill that was! If you look at the stuff that has lasted centuries, most of it is delightful trash. I mean, Shakespeare--really! Who doesn't love a good sword fight! Ghosts! Murdered kings! Drunken mentors! The "good stuff" loses its relevance pretty quickly, or develops one we never dreamed of.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on August 30th, 2014 05:00 pm (UTC)
Heh! So true. Especially about the gutted high school version!
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on August 30th, 2014 08:54 pm (UTC)
I learned at an early age that whatever I was reading wasnt considered Lit'Tra'Shure, and figured out, I really didnt care what people thought of it. I read for Me, not them. But my family reads, and we have very diverse interests, so the giving of books is a sacrament.

Kim Aippersbach on August 31st, 2014 01:27 am (UTC)
"the giving of books is a sacrament"

Beautiful image!
Sherwood Smithsartorias on August 31st, 2014 02:00 am (UTC)
That is very well put.
whswhswhswhs on August 31st, 2014 03:48 am (UTC)
If I understand the Ten Books thing, it asked for books that played a key role in your intellectual or personal development, but that are also still touchstones for you?

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
The Federalist, by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
Kipling's Complete Verse
Courtship Rite, by Donald M. Kingsbury
Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics by Friedrich Hayek (primarily for "The Result of Human Action but Not of Human Design," which I consider the most insightful piece of social philosophy of the entire twentieth century)
Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, by Judith Martin (there are published game rules for social interaction? who knew? seriously, this book has been more useful to me as an entrepreneur than anything else I have ever read)
Fundamentals of Physics, by David Halliday and Robert Resnick
Systems of Survival, by Jane Jacobs
RuneQuest II, by Steve Perrin and Ray Turney (the game that brought me back into roleplaying after Advanced Dungeons and Dragons; important both because it established the paradigm for game mechanics that's used in nearly everything I play, but even more because it emphasized gaming as narrative in a way I hadn't seen before and now take for granted)

and for lagniappe

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu

There are howls of dismay after Loncon? I thought that Correia came in dead last for Best Novel, and everyone else he nominated bombed as well. . . .

Edited at 2014-08-31 03:48 am (UTC)
Sherwood Smithsartorias on August 31st, 2014 03:57 am (UTC)
There were some who thought certain categories full of clunky stories and wanted no award, etc.

Cool list!
whswhswhswhs on August 31st, 2014 04:22 am (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense. But No Award is a really hard sell.

Even in the Libertarian Futurist Society, where our rule is that No Award can't be eliminated from the list no matter how few votes it has—rather, it stays in place, and the final front-runner has to beat it—we don't see it winning much. I think we had one No Award year for Best Novel, but we've had at least two years with tied winners. (And given how much those gold coins cost, this is something we're well aware of!)
Sherwood Smithsartorias on August 31st, 2014 11:36 am (UTC)
thistle in greythistleingrey on August 31st, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
I definitely agree re: Chaucer. "We" "like" Chaucer's works because centuries of commentators whom their contemporaries respected have bleated about how great they are. (I have a restless relationship at best with canon formation....) The key is that those authorities have liked his works for somewhat varying reasons.

I think you're right about the comfort of certain rules and only certain kinds of rule-bending, too. Chaucer is a comfortable example for me, so let's stick with him for a moment longer: he's the farthest back that people who also admire other canonical luminaries can push and still find something familiar/connected in terms of topoi, types of rules bent, and so on. Need a named author, for one thing, which becomes harder to find before the 1360s (except by deliberate misattribution! paging Walter Map, e.g.), and even with the swing back towards religious inflections in texts during the past couple of decades, personification allegory doesn't do so well lately--ill-fitting rules.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )