Thanks to all who participated; when Lucy-S has recovered from her wedding festivities, XP awards will find their way to the deserving.

Lucy-S says: 60 noders participated in this quest -- good job, guys! oakling and skybluefusion share honors as most prolific participants with 13 reviews apiece.

The Bookworm Turns: An Everything Literary Quest

Recently, the National Endowment for the Arts released a report indicating that the number of non-reading adults in the US increased by more than 17 million between 1992 and 2002, and that just under half of American adults don't read literature anymore.

So once again it's time for you noders out there to pull a bit harder on your end of the bell curve.

A few people have said to me that book reviews are a hard sell on E2, too often stumbling down the ladder of Node Row only to drop off and sink into the nodegel, wherein they settle quietly at the bottom waiting for dedicated fans to resurrect them. I--and our venerable god-hostess Lucy-S--feel it's time to show off our collective erudition, and give credit to you literati out there who can throw a lifeline to those of us floundering in a sea of texts.

What's putting the population off the papyrus? A lack of faith in Oprah? The incredibly long gaps between installments of Harry Potter? The fact that one can honestly stand only so much of David Sedaris? Or is it just that we don't know what's worth reading?

I think it may be the latter, and this quest is designed to give you the chance to tell me and everyone else why we should cough up the price of a DVD to spend time this summer in a world without pictures, sound, or Will Smith.

You sound like a snob. Who are you to decide what counts as literature?

Well, I am a snob, but fortunately we have Lucy-S to remind me that I'm not the only keeper of the canon. Any book is eligible (almost). Not just literature with a capital "L"--those damn, thick, square jobs you either groaned over in high school or hoarded, Silas Marner-like, in nerdly anticipation of your future private library. Any book will do, from Jane Austen to Paul Zindel (almost). Any century, any subject, any length (if you can make a case for it). Fiction. Non-fiction. Biography. Autobiography. Give us the works we know and love. Give us the classics we should have read but didn't. Give us the titles our teachers didn't tell us about. Get us interested.

That being said--when I say book, I mean book. Just like pornography: I know it when I see it. Graphic novels, comics, magazines, pamphlets, leaflets, fliers, fortune cookies, bazooka joe wrappers, that's all out. Illustrated is fine, but more words than pictures and more punctuation than panels is the goal for this particular quest.

So what's in it for me?

Apart from sharing your tastes in books and letting your E2 colleagues know what makes you tick, and the normal if normally less than enthusiastic upvoting and ching-potential, you'll get 10XP per eligible entry, and the best of them--the ones that make me want to zip straight over to amazon--will get a generous 40XP, and a message from me suitable for rolling your eyes at.

How will I decide who gets the big cash prizes? Personal whimsy, the guidance of Lucy-S, and shallow flattery. You'll just have to trust me.

And as usual, plagiarism and cut and paste will get you a curse, dunce's cap, and a seat in the corner.

It can't be done.

Of course it can. And it has to be, by September 1st, 2004, 11:59PM server time. September is when school starts, and at that point I'll have to devote all my time to Victorian literature and taking the appropriate antidepressants.

/msg me with your quest entries, and be sure to softlink your writeup to this page. I'll add your title and name to the list below.

If you've already done great book writeups that you're particularly proud of, they sadly won't be eligible for blessings-but I'm happy to include them in the list. The point, after all, is to call people's attention to good books.


arieh says: This is a great quest, but can I make one plea: NO SPOILERS. Book reviews shouldn't spoil the experience of reading the book. Obviously some plot elements have to be mentioned in a good review, but plot summaries and anything that has to say 'spoiler warning' stops being a review.

True, spoilers are bad. But if I've read the book before, I like reading the review to get the other reader's opinion on all aspects. So spoilers are OK--but they should be clearly marked off.

I have stopped adding old posts for the moment (due to the high number) but will make a complete list as the quest continues

I am accepting literary criticism writeups for the end-of-quest list of literary thingies. No blessings, but your name in a metanode.

8-9-04: A NOTE ON ELIGIBILITY: Books for very small children are somewhat outside the intended spirit of the quest. I'm not saying they're not excellent, only that they're not what I was after. The same must be said for recipe books, reference books (dictionaries/encyclopedias/thesauruses, etc.), How To books, the CIG/Dummies series, plays, screenplays, teleplays, instruction manuals. That list is not all inclusive. If you have doubts, /msg me before you start!

8-13-04: THE CLASSICS: That part above where I say it doesn't have to be those damn, thick, square books? It doesn't. But I like them. And I'm always looking for good writeups on them. I'd like to see more of them, because there are tons I haven't read. I've heard it said that Madame Bovary is a perfect novel. Everyone speaks of War and Peace with immense respect. Tom Jones changed English literature.

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