Words on Wednesday: Le Mot Juste

  What makes a book a "good" book?
  i like stories, i like characters.  i love the way authors put words together.  What's most essential?

Prescient Books - A Learning Tool

  Flaubert's Madame Bovary is considered one of the great books.  It was required reading in our sophomore Humanities, part of the 12 credit hours required of all students.
  Since i was new to college, i actually read the whole thing.  And i hated it.
  But i did see how a girl could marry for convenience, then find that wasn't enough.
  i may not have fallen in love with Dr. Bovary, but i did sympathize more with him than any other character.  i hated his wife, and even more, the first man who seduced her.

Nasty Situations - Can a Book Revel in them and still be worthwhile?

  i've never read Nabokov's Lolita, and never wanted to. There's a good possibility it was the first book i'd ever heard referred to as "dirty."
  But when a Jeopardy! question referred to it. . . . well, i was curious.
  i've heard the complaint that Wikipedia articles on novels give too much information, spoilers that ruin the actual reading of the book. However, "too much detail" is often what i want.  It helps me decide if i am willing to read a particular book. One of these things that's about the journey, not the end result.
   Anyway, i did want to know the buzz on this particular book. Why have others found it a worthwhile read?  From the comments, it didn't sound like they were just enjoying the titillating situations.
  To find out, i didn't look at positive reviews. From the Wikipedia article, i found the plot as disgusting as i'd understood it to be. Still, i was intrigued. 
 Next, i turned to quotations from the novel.
  Ah, here it is.  Yes, the man could write.  Intoxicating, delicious words.  i am glad i read the quotes.
  And i still do not want to read the book.
  These are not people i want to hang out with.

Foul Language - Can a Worthwhile Book Include It?

  By now, you will think that a classic book is one that i will hate.  Not so.  Candide. The Bald Soprano. The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeA Wrinkle in Time.
  But usually i avoid not only books with unpleasant people, but also books with foul language.
  Some years ago, i read a newspaper review of a book presumably doomed to obscurity and early remaindering.  Despite the warning of bad words, the story looked intriguing.
  i ordered a copy of The Carpenter's Notebook, by Mark Clement.
  It's still available, but not well-known.  Apparently Mr. Clement hasn't written any more novels, though he's in the home renovation publishing industry.
  And he writes a fantastic book, regardless of the language.
  Flipping through it today, the offensive words didn't jump out at me as before - is that a factor of my habituation to the book, or its language?
  It's the story of a man at a crossroads. In fulfilling a vow to his late father, Brendan discovers that not only is the good life not what he thought it was going to be, but that all along he's had the keys to make a good life.
  Dad had worked out how it's done.  Since young Brendan couldn't be bothered to listen, his father had put the life lessons, as well as his carpentry lessons, into a detailed manual, a masculine version of a scrapbook.  
  Construction as a metaphor for living.  

Using his dad's legacy, Brendan begins the job.
  There's no less pain in this book than in the classics above. But while those books have downer endings, this one is uplifting without being corny, and gives a positive feeling way before the ending.

Confused about my title?

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