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Books: The elves shelves

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25644.  Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:15 am Reply with quote

Alright, I am sitting in the QI bookshop right now and it occurs to me that what we really need on this site is a proper book recommendation system for the shop.

A thread where we all can make a case for a book that we desperately want sitting on the shelves.

In fact we could probably take over a section of the shop and title it the elves shelves. (Which is what the entire bookshop is anyway)

I don't think this thread should hold any lists. What they need here is the name of the book, author and a paragraph on why you think the book is great.

And there are two good reasons for this paragraph:

1. You have to convince Claudia, and the other book people - Beehive and the hungry pole - to actually get this book.

and, 2. We could then print out the paragraphs of what you have written, be it a synopsis, a list of great facts in the book or biography of the author of the book, and we can slip it inside the book.

In good time we will have put an interesting slip into quite a few books, I imagine.

So lets get cracking.

25648.  Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:44 am Reply with quote

The beauty of this, I should add, is that we will probably already have many of the books you recommend. So that solves point 1. (see above) and jumps right to point 2. (See left, then follow directions)

25687.  Sun Oct 02, 2005 3:01 pm Reply with quote

You might dredge up the QI Books thread from wherever it's been tidied away to in the new format - that had some good books on it.

25691.  Sun Oct 02, 2005 3:28 pm Reply with quote

The Liar. If it isn't there already. Too late for me to go into details as to why it's my favourite book ever, but I'll tell you tomorrow.

25699.  Sun Oct 02, 2005 4:06 pm Reply with quote

It is a great book. Depends what kind you're looking for.

25713.  Sun Oct 02, 2005 5:00 pm Reply with quote


QI Books is in QI Lists.

Dan and I were just debating in the QI Building at lunch whether the Forums are now too complicated to find what's happening and whether we should adopt a GU style front page.

What do you think?

25724.  Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:13 pm Reply with quote

I haven't had a problem Jack - I just look and see what forums have been posted on, and what threads have been active since I was last on. Even when I'd been offline for over a week, it didn't take long to catch up.

The only virtue of a GU-style front page is that all the really active threads are there, but then you lose the sense of which folder they are in, which makes it harder to find them. We don't seem to have threads here as long-running as some of those in GU, and we do have a 'watch this topic' facility, so I'm not sure there's a lot to be gained.

25725.  Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:19 pm Reply with quote

Oh, OK, thanks, Jenny.

I shall find the 'watch this topic' facility and enable it.

26064.  Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:17 am Reply with quote

We already have The Liar.
One-nil to us.

26557.  Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:41 am Reply with quote

hello there. i expect you might already have it but "i capture the castle" ought to be required reading for anyone of 13 and over. it's one of the few books that makes me long to be a time traveller and sit in a 1930s crumbling castle dreaming of love. i blub like the big girl i am every time i read it. ditto, "cold comfort farm". if i ever have a child of the lady persuasion, she will be called flora, after the delightful miss poste...

26580.  Tue Oct 11, 2005 9:31 am Reply with quote

Lovely books, both. Wonderful comfort reading when you're not feeling good.

I am currently reading Terry Pratchett's 'Going Postal', which as usual is making me laugh like a loon.

26582.  Tue Oct 11, 2005 9:50 am Reply with quote

I Capture The Castle has got to be my favourite book, ever. Every time I read it I weep.
I've just finished the new one, Thud, Jenny. Very much enjoyed it (: The City Watch ones are my favourite, how about you?

26794.  Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:57 am Reply with quote

I'm pretty unselective dot - I like them all!

Elves - I've just come across a book I think you should have on your shelves, if it's not there already. There's even an Oxford connection. It's called Soul Made Flesh, by Carl Zimmer, published January 2004, Free Press (US) and Random House UK, and it's about studies of the brain. Here's an extract from the introduction, but you can read more of the introduction here.

Introduction: A Bowl of Curds

To imagine a time and place—say, the city of Oxford on a summer day in 1662—you have to engage not only the mind’s eye and ear but also the mind’s nose. The warm odor of malt and corn flour rises from the boats landing at the wharves along the Thames. The stink of cured fish hanging in fishmongers’ stalls mixes with the soft smell of bread in the bakeries. The smell of manure is everywhere, in the open sewers, on the town common where cows graze, in the streets where horses haul wagons and coaches. Sometimes a coach rolls through the narrow gate of one of Oxford’s colleges, to be swallowed up behind a high, windowless stone wall. The chimneys of the college kitchens relay smoke signals to the surrounding neighborhoods, carrying the smell of roasting capon and mutton or perhaps a goose stolen from a nearby village by students.

On a summer day the perfume of the surrounding fens and meadows drifts into the city and mixes with the exotic scents of the physik garden on the High Street, a home to exotic species such as leopard’s bane, mimosa trees, Virginian spiderwort, and scorpion grass. Botanists gather their leaves and seeds and roots and carry them to an apothecary’s shop to be ground down, cooked, distilled, and mixed with sharp-odored hartshorn or spirits of wine.

Every building in Oxford has an internal signature of smells: the incense burning in the churches once again, now that the Puritans have been routed and the monarchy restored; the roasted beans in the new coffeehouse on High Street; the foul reek of the prisons, where thieves, Quakers, and various enemies of King Charles II languish together. But the strangest smells in all of Oxford can be found off the main thoroughfares, on Merton Street. Across the street from the gates of Merton College is a medieval two-story house known as Beam Hall. Its odors are almost unbearable: a reeking blend of turpentine and the warm, decaying flesh of dissected dogs and sheep, along with an aroma that none but a handful of people in Oxford—in the world, even—would recognize as that of a nobleman’s decapitated and freshly cracked open head.

27421.  Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:46 pm Reply with quote

Elves Shelves wouldn't be complete without "Attention all Shipping" by CharlieConnelly. Charlie visits every shipping area (Rockall, Fitzroy etc.), okay some he has to fly over due to lack of land to stand on ... but it is funny, quirky and stuffed with little know facts of the Quite Interesting variety.

Mostly Harmless
27437.  Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:31 pm Reply with quote


Last edited by Mostly Harmless on Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:15 pm; edited 1 time in total


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