Thursday, February 3, 2011

LITERARY BLOGHOP.

It’s that time again, a fortnight has passed and those ladies at The Blue Bookcase are shining their light on all things literary and in that process they have posed this question-

What setting (time or place) from a book or story would you most like to visit? Eudora Welty said that, "Being shown how to locate, to place, any account is what does most toward making us believe it...," so in what location would you most like to hang out?

Pondering this, I would first need to clarify a point, at most times in the past to be in a position of thinking “this would be fun” and to have the time to appreciate your location, you would need to be of a certain status, whether this is through wealth, power, or both. So taking that as a given my first thoughts were Libraries, or to be more precise two libraries, now libraries & I have a long history, they were my sanctuary from the rigours of a large family & when I got to secondary school (11+) they were where I hid when playing truant, so libraries it was. My first idea was to go straight to the mother lode - The Great Library of Alexandria - now I know that is not actuaGS-ABlly the source, that Alexander the Great got the idea upon seeing Royal Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh. The Great  Library of Alexandria was the first of its kind to collate serious collections of written material far from it’s own borders, it’s set mission was to collect all the worlds knowledge. The library comprised a Peripatos walk, gardens, a room for shared dining, a reading room, lecture halls and meeting rooms. Now tell me honestly, as a book reader, what's not to like? There are a couple of problems with this as my choice though, the first could be solved by timing as general consensus agrees that Caesar accidentally burned the library down during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC, so any time before that.

My second would be which book, this is down to the fact that most of the books I have read covering this subject were non-fiction & I no longer have them, except one - George Steiner's After Babel. Phew covered.

kafka_on_the_shore

My second library would be a quiet haven, a sheltered place, say a private library in Takamutsu, where I could find peace whilst reading the collected works of Natsume Soseki and any other books I found there. I’m guessing that by now there are at least a few people reading this may have realised which book this library is in, but before revealing it here’s another clue - the manager is a Miss Saeki and apart from a previous career as a singer, she maybe the protagonist of the titles mother. So, yeah, this book is “Kafka on the Shore” by Haruki Murakami.

 

Looking back at my choices, I’ve realized both are sedentary, that my exploration of the environment is from a seated position, so a third choice will be more of a boys own adventure, will involve tramping around mountainous areas, crossing roaring seas and lochs containing - alright possibly containing - monsters. It will involve automobiles, boats, planes, bikes, and even walking. My last choice is not particularly chosen because of location or history, but the premise behind the book Raw Spirit – in search of the perfect dram by Iain Banks, and the premise is you’ve been given the job of researching on your favourite drink. Malt whisky is made in some of the most beautiful, rugged, inaccessible areas of Scotland, with some of the least modern methods of transport, resulting in a lot of planning & a unique view of his homeland “its a journey of a 1000 cheers & suFindoutifhecansurvivetheresearch_thubsequent wobbly walks”. Along the way he meets people engaged in a centuries old tradition & manages to imbibe, along with a vast quantity of malt, some knowledge of the traditions, practices & eccentricities that make up the life blood of whisky & the distilleries that produce it. This writer more commonly known for works of fiction such as The Wasp Factory and Consider Phlebas (written as Iain M. Banks) he is widely acknowledged as one of Britain's greatest living writers & as a Scotsman is passionate about the Whisky. So my choice is to accompany him, to imbibe the malt, to wobble the route and to revel in the sheer fun that is the book.

24 comments:

winstonsdad said...

I agree with the Iain banks I loved that books descriptions ,all the best stu

Em said...

Your post made me think of another library: Borges's Library of Babel. How would you like to find yourself there?

petekarnas said...

I was considering going with Murakami on this one as well, although I couldn't come up with a single setting in any one of his works. The Iain Banks book looks great as well, I think I'm going to have a look for that one.

Susan (Reading World) said...

What a wonderful idea, to go soak in the atmosphere at an ancient library.

parrish lantern said...

@Susan (Reading World): Hi as I say dependant on when you went, but this was a fantastic place full of scholars, philosophers etc. They had a very persuasive technique in collecting the literature, not at all Pc (lol)

parrish lantern said...

@petekarnas: Hi Pete, there were several murakami possibles, but this was my favourite, I loved that private Library & Miss Soseki didn't spoil the setting herself.

parrish lantern said...

@Em: Hi Em, I was going to go with the Borges, but some thought held me back, so I dug out my copy of Labyrinths & reread it. Turned it down as its a hellish place, where you could wander bereft & lost for several lifetimes & not find a book you could read, that's if you're not murdered or sent mad, or just loose the will to live. So it's sounds more like a Club 18 - 30 holiday, than one I'd prefer.

parrish lantern said...

@winstonsdad: Hi Stu, This is one of my favourite Whisky related books, although it's so much more than that, as you'd expect from this writer.

Heather said...

While I couldn't care less about the whole malt whiskey thing, tramping around Scotland sounds like a fabulous idea...this whole hop has me thinking about making a serious attempt to plan a trip to the UK...Wales in honor of the Grey King series, England for King Arthur, and Scotland for Diana Gabaldon, among others...

Robyn said...

Libraries...what an appropriate idea for book lovers! Nice answer and thanks for hopping by.

LBC said...

Very literary post! In my opinion, nothing beats reading about reading. I considered Murakami's Norwegian Wood for this. I did include Alexandria, although not the library in my post.

Here it is if you want to check it out: http://hawthornescarlet.blogspot.com/2011/02/literary-blog-hop-around-world-in-three.html

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Sadly, we women don't have lots of great spots to pick from in the world of books.

bibliophiliac said...

Libraries are always a safe haven. Good answer.

thebookstop said...

I love the idea of visiting the ancient library of Alexandria. I also found libraries a refuge. That would have to be an amazing time and place. Also love your description of the book Raw Spirit. That sounds like something I should check out. I'm not a whiskey drinker but loved tasting it when I was in Scotland -- its so much a part of the land and the culture there.

Elizabeth said...

Libraries are great places to visit....Scotland is FABULOUS...especially the Isle of Skye. Check out my blog for photos.

Check out my answer to this week's question at:

http://silversolara.blogspot.com

Bellezza said...

Oh, can I go to the library in Takamutsu with you? Please?! What a perfect answer! I remember longing to be there the whole time I read (twice) Kafka on The Shore.

parrish lantern said...

Hi Heather, you do the traipsing around & I'll drink the whisky, best if luck with the trip plans.

And thank you also Robyn, Libraries are one of my favourite places on this planet.

Hello LBC, am in agreement with you on the books, i am currently reading Alberto Manguel's book A Reader on Reading & loving it.


Hi Deb Nance, alot of the choices would depend on status & gender.


Hi Bibliophiliac, have always been so for me.thanks.


Hello Bookstop, Raw Spirit, although it's guide is the distilleries of Scotland, the book itself encompasses much more.


Hello Elizabeth, seen those pictures on your site,The Gorgeous portree ?



Hi Bellezza, more than welcome, it was almost worth not finishing the book, just to remain in the library & relax with a book and that almost womblike ambience.One proviso,bring a bottle of your nations finest Bourbon.

Tom C said...

A very interesting post. My neighbours keep suggesting a three man whisky tour of Scotland - I am not all that keen on whisky and tend to prefer a bubble glass of fine Armagnac!

parrish lantern said...

Quite partial to the odd glass of Armagnac myself, although my tipple of choice would be Ardbeg 17 year old, or the same distillery's Uigeadail.

James said...

While I like others find the library a felicitous choice for a visit at anytime, what impresses most is your brilliant choice of the unexpected mix of Steiner, Murakami and Banks. I will stay with the studied solace of the library myself, even that of Borges, for fear that in choosing to visit a novel by Banks I might accidently detour into The Wasp Factory.

parrish lantern said...

Or find yourself stranded in some far flung corner of the culture territory.

Bellezza said...

Finest bourbon? Not a merlot? ;)

parrish lantern said...

@Bellezza: seeing that I live about 30 miles from France, I'll bring a couple of bottles of Merlot, whilst in Europe possibly over to Italy ( if I time it right I could watch the Giro) grab a Valpolecello or a couple of Chianti,s. But Bourbon,s down to you :-)

parrish lantern said...

@Bellezza: Going back to the original subject of libraries, have you come across the site Bookshelf porn http://bookshelfporn.com (or check my Twitter profile/ following for more info) It's a fantastic collection if pictures if libraries, bookshelves etc, I often use pictures from there as wallpaper/screensavers on computer & phone.
Ps: be careful, it been known to bring you out in a rash of envy.