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V.S. Naipaul And His Crappy Watch

In 2001, V.S. Naipaul won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

As is customary, Naipaul was asked to give a short, two-minute speech. And as far as stuffy Nobel Prize speeches go, I’d say it’s rather clever. Naipaul talks about his wrist watch breaking while he was traveling to Stockholm for the Nobel event. There’s a fancy metaphor in there, but you’ll have to watch to find out what it is.

I’ve never actually watched a Nobel Ceremony—not even a clip of it. And, well, to be honest—this seems like quite the pretentious event.

Can anyone explain to me why the woman introducing Naipaul looks to be wearing a sailor’s hat? Is she the new Love Boat Captain?

Enjoy the humor and pretentiousness. Read more

What’s Your Favorite Christmas Movie?

With today’s Monday Question, let’s take the focus off books and talk about movies.

So what’s your favorite Christmas movie?

So many to choose from, right?

You’ve got Elf, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 54th Street, White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, and hundreds of others. Read more

The 101 Books 2014 Christmas Gift Guide

Last year’s 101 Books Christmas Gift Guide was a moderate success so let’s give it another go.

I try to get a little creative with these. Everybody knows about gift cards, bookmarks, and such, but what are some of the more unusual items you maybe haven’t thought about for the book lover in your life?

How about… Read more

Here’s How NOT To Buy A House

I’ve only read the prologue and first chapter of A House for Mr. Biswas, but I love the premise of the novel. It’s simplistic—almost Seinfeldesque in a sense.

Here’s a guy who just wants his own house.

From what I can tell, the prologue places you toward the end of the story, after Mr. Biswas finally found said house, before dropping you into the backstory at the beginning of the novel.

I love Naipaul’s description of this house. Read more

T.S. Eliot Explains The Problem With Modern Day Writing

Keep in mind, he said this in 1921.

eliot

That comes from Eliot’s The Perfect Critic. Photo and credit to K Street Hipster on Twitter. 

I’ve read that quote several times. And, the more I read it, the more I realize how it’s about much more than just writing. It’s about debate and how we gain knowledge.

That last sentence really struck a chord with me: “And when we do not know, or when we do not know enough, we tend always to substitute emotions for thoughts.”

How insightful is that? Think of online debates about Michael Brown or Eric Garner. Think of any debate or argument, really, online or not. How often do we let emotion get in the way of rational thought?

Great stuff from T.S. Eliot more than 90 years ago.

Next Up: A House for Mr. Biswas

You guys voted for the next novel last week, and A House for Mr. Biswas it is.

This novel is V.S. Naipaul’s only appearance on the Time list. Time describes the novel as such:

A House for Mr. Biswas is the life story of a man who wanted only a home, but who was a magnet for misfortune, oppression and humiliation, “a wanderer with no place he could call his own, with no family except that which he was to attempt to create out of the engulfing world of the Tulsis.” Mohun’s survival is a triumph of resilience and persistence and humor, an epic of dignity and self-respect doggedly clung to.

A few other facts about A House for Mr. Biswas and V.S. Naipaul: Read more

What’s Your Favorite Word?

Following my recent post about annoying words, I thought I’d change it up for this Monday Question.

Instead of a question about books, let’s talk about words. We’ve all talked about words we hate, but what are some words you love? Read more

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