Posts Tagged ‘books’

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 8,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Today, on the first day of the “winter” break, there’s much to be done.  Christmas cards. Dry cleaners.  Post office.  Groceries.  Arsenal vs. Man City rerun.  But the impulse to write hit me and all else fell away.  My body seems to know when it’s time to hit the keyboard.  Or mini-me (my mini-lappie) or even a notepad.  My body told me what to do today.  Specifically, it let me know that it was time to write about this book:The Writing Life

Some books are like jewels, like my “portable feasts” books.  This book is a perfect, sweet opal, full of charming vignettes.  But it’s so much more than charm.  It’s opalescent quality comes from these heartfelt, LIVED moments in real time.  Discoveries were made, analogies were generated, faith was lost, faith was restored.  Through it all, Dillard’s humor winks at us in daring and in cheekiness.  “Aim for the chopping block”, she writes.  The physical act is not the objective.  Write towards the vision. 


Once, in order to finish a book I was writing and yet not live in the same room with it, I begged a cabin to use as a study.  I finished the book there, wrote some other things, and learned to split wood.

Simple conversation, on the surface, but rub it a bit and wisdom shines through. 

(1) Living with writing: it’s a bit like having a child in the house – or a tenant.  Sooner, rather than later, they will need your undivided attention, no matter what else of import may be occurring.  You are the only one who can deliver that attention.  You can’t hand it off to a nanny or a text message.

(2)  Writing that occurs while you’re writing something else.  The entire time I was working on my last post, I was thinking about this one.  It’s awkward and annoying, but typical for me.  One idea begets another.  It’s actually one of the easier things to handle when writing for a specific objective.

(3)  “Learned to split wood”.  Mental links to physical.  Mental activity tied to physical activity.  That’s why writing and typing are so satisfying.  I’m thinking and generating and rehearsing and arguing.  In my head.  My body is washing dishes, ironing, grading papers, talking with someone.  Not always, mind you.  Sometimes I just plain close my eyes and rehearse something in my head, or play with shapes. 

The current’s got me.  Feels like I’m about in the middle of the channel now.  I just keep at it.  I just keep hoping the tide will turn and bring me in.

God, when I was writing my research paper on “The Dream of Gerontius” by Newman, this is what it felt like.  My vision had no shape, no objective other than to cram in other people’s thoughts and either agree or disagree. It was hard!  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it.  But I just kept re-reading the poem – the sections where Gerontius or his soul were speaking.  Making comments about what certain lines sounded like, what they reminded me of.  I researched the Latin bits (the only part I truly enjoyed).  So my first, second, and third drafts sounded more like marginalia than erudite scholasticism.  But after about five pages of observations, translations, and kvetches, I had enough wood to grow a stump.  I saw a couple of different patterns I could exploit.  I started to chop some wood, aiming for the stump.  I managed a decent paper.  I tried to do right by the research process.  My insights were scholarly, if not very far-reaching. I was happy with the end product.  I had chopped enough wood.  But I never enjoyed it.  What I did enjoy were the small moments – a turn of phrase, the seamless fabric of quotes and original wording, shaping the vision, working with Latin.  Lots of swimming and a lucky tide.

The written word is weak.  Many people prefer life to it.  Life gets your blood going, and it smells good.  Writing is mere writing, literature is mere.

This is why people don’t like writing – because you can only be admired for it in hindsight.  Never while it’s happening.  While it’s happening, you are judged harshly for not doing something “active” and “useful”.  When it’s all done, though, the tune changes.  It’s a thing created.  After it’s done, it looks like it was work.  When you were working on it, you just looked lazy.  This is the exception to the rule that you can see more clearly from a distance.  Writing doesn’t look like much when it’s happening.  But if you could see inside the brain, you’d see  the synapses firing like crazy and blood flowing through the creative, then the analytical parts of the brain; one then the other then both.  In teaching, this is why non-English people have trouble taking writing seriously. 

You don’t realize how much work it is until you have to do it yourself.  Then you realize you can’t do it well; it’s not as easy as it looks, an denigrate it even more.  _____________________________________________________________

image         image

Borders Books’ “We Blew It” Sale

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First of all, the reason this is in “Travel” is because I had to go out of town to get to a Borders Books. 

The entire chain is going out of business.  They messed up and that means – BARGAINS!  The store at Huebner Oaks was a mess.  A few days after they started the going-out-of-business sale, but not close enough to the last day.  There’s still a lot of inventory, but it’s all over the place.  I got dizzy looking at piles of books, stacks of books, shelves of books, tables spilling over with books.  I should have grabbed some blank books, except that I have too many already.  And look where I’m doing my writing!

The discounts were pretty much what you would expect: 50%, 70%.  Nice! When a huge music store in the same city was closing, I went in about three days before they shut down for good.  I grabbed armfuls of classical CDs!  Maybe about $600 worth of complete operas, complete symphony cycles, concerto collections. Oh My God! It was the BEST feeling!  How much did I pay for my swag? $80.  80 Dollars!  Eighty! Dollars!  It was glorious!

So I actually did not pick up that much stuff at Borders, but – if my receipt is to be believed, I saved $40 and change off the total price. It was a good day for bargains.

Here’s what I got:

Product DetailsI absolutely LOVE this series.  This is, like, my 5th or 6th one. I love them because they are designed to be portable, and you can write in them.  I carried my Marcus Aurelius book in my purse for about a year, reading whenever I was waiting in some line somewhere or when I was not in the mood to deal with people. (Well, that one kind of backfired because as soon as I got engrossed, suddenly everyone had something to say to me. Oy!)  I highly recommend the Penguin Books Great Ideas series. It’s a top series!

  Product Details  

I’ve been wanting to read more Bellow ever since I read HERZOG.  I was impressed with that story, with how connected Bellow is to people.  It’s like he creates these holograms of characters with words – real, but not real.  Tangible.




Product Details

How gorgeous is this cover! I love green, and this design hits my “g”-spot (“g” for green, of course!)  NO MERCYand BAD MOON RISING were beautiful, too.  Whoever the designer is, I love how they take one basic color and work it.



  Product Details

This book is on so many favorites/awards lists, it’s unreal.  Also, I used to know a guy named Augie. As good a reason as any… lol.





The Atlantic - Fiction 2011The Atlantic magazine FICTION 2011 special issue, and The Official Guide to The GRE, ETS, publ.

Very small haul for me.  But I had other priorities that day. Still, the total came out to considerably less than $100.  I’d love for B&N to have an insane discount sale like that sometimes.



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Read Less–Learn More, Visually

CLICK TO LIKE THIS POST ON FACEBOOKTeach Yourself VISUALLY Access 2010 (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))

There are so many things wrong with this slogan that  I don’t even know where to start.  I’m so tempted to use the word that starts with the syllable “ret”.  This is the genius slogan for a series of books called TEACH YOURSELF VISUALLY.  Nice books.  Detestable slogan.

I tried to send the book back, but missed the mailing deadline.   I wanted to send it back because I already know most of the stuff in the book.  What I need is a more advanced book.  This book is good for beginners.  Most of the chapters will take you from beginner to intermediate – without reading so much:

  • Chapter 4 – “Working with Fields”;

  • Chapter 5 – “Working with Relationships and Lookups”;

  • Chapter 8 – “Creating More Complex Queries”;

  • Chapter 12 – “Grouping and Summarizing Data”;

  • Chapter 14 – “Creating Charts”;

  • Chapter 15 – “Working with External Data”;

  • Chapter 16 – “Performing a Mail Merge with Microsoft Word® .


    Good stuff. It really is.  Beautifully wrought screen caps and illustrations.  But I just can’t get past the slogan.  It’s not even true!  Every illustration has a bullet list labeling the parts of the illustration.  The illustration itself has parts labeled with arrowed numbers – that you HAVE TO READ!  Hellooooo!  There’s “crockshits” of stuff to read.  And it’s useful, interesting stuff. The slogan is useless. Part slacker.  Part media junkie.  All bastard!Each skill that is described comes with a brief, very brief, description of what it is. It leaves you hungry for more. But there is no more.  It goes straight to the illustrations and the how-to bullet list.  There’s no explanation of how the skill relates to the rest of the section.  Overall, the skills, though divided into logical chapters, are demonstrated in relative isolation.If you just want to be told what to do without a lot of analysis or synthesis, this is the book for you.  You sad sod.I myself have used this book ruthlessly to hone a few dull edges on my repertoire.  Some of my favorite bits are

    Red rose

    p. 228 (Sort Report Results)

    Red rose

    p. 264 (Create an Embedded Chart Object)

    Red rose

    Ch. 16  MAIL MERGE!!!!!The funniest chapter is Chapter 5, “Working with Relationships and Lookups”.  I say funny because every section heading is a farcical

    double-entendre.  It’s like Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan teaching us about “Understanding Relationships”.  One must “Create a Relationship between Two Tables” before one can “Edit  a Relationship” or “Remove a Relationship”.  And you absolutely must understand lookups before you “Create a Field Lookup”.  Then, arranging a relationships window is de rigeur because, eventually, you might want to “Create a Field Lookup with Values That You Specify.”  Or, if you are not picky, you can “Set Up a Multivalued Field.”  Lessons for life – and love, I think you will agree.

    Left hugRight hug

    So, at the end of the day, this is a quite good book for acquiring a healthy practicing knowledge of MS Access 2010.  If you are so inclined, there’s plenty to read, most of it helpful.  Just not deep.  But who reads for depth anymore, anyway.  Ciao!



     What I eventually acquired: 

    Product DetailsWhy I Write
    Product DetailsDangerous Secrets
    Product DetailsThe Learned Banqueters
    Product DetailsRescue Me
    Product DetailsTrick of The Tale
    Product DetailsNot Quite What I Was Planning
    Product DetailsGone To New York
    Product DetailsHardcover version of THE ILIAD
    Product DetailsMulticultural Manners

    Before Rosetta Stone–Languages Made Simple

    • Russian Made Simple
    • German Made Simple
    • Latin Made Simple

    Wow! These books are awesome! I was reading short Russian words in just five pages. Wow!  How does it sound? Hmmm…well…dunno, but it’s fun anyway.  These books are such an old- school way to learn a language, but so what.  I’m learning to read them.  The rest will come soon enough.  They were free (except for the German one) so no harm, no foul. 

    I don’t remember where I got the Latin one.  It’s been with me for a few years.  I think I took it from my parent’s house.  Or, given all the time I spent in used book stores when I lived in San Antonio, maybe I got it there.  The Russian book I found in a table of throw-aways  at the local uni. It’s ancient, which is part of its charm, actually.  The pages are so yellow, they are russian made simple0001ready to disintegrate if I even breathe on them.

    How do they make the languages simple?  Well, they feed you little bits at a time.  The Russian book starts with sight words – three and four letter words for basic things like “classroom”, “home”, “hall”, “vase”.  Then the sight words build into short phrases, then long phrases. I’m reading Russian phrases (with translation) by page five!

    The German and Latin are easier to sound out.  I speak Spanish, so I just pronounce Latin like Spanish.  I know it’s not how it really sounds, but who among us is old enough to prove me wrong.  Just listen to Eddie Izzard:

    Product DetailsI don’t know what it is about German, but when I’m pronouncing it, my voice gets deeper.  And the book contains diagrams showing how certain sounds should be shaped in the mouth.  Ummm…fine.  I can’t wait to lay it on my students that EVERY noun is capitalized, not just the proper ones and the ones at the beginning of sentences.  Hahahee!  And I solved the mystery of “DIE”, “DER” and “DAS”, as well as what the heck “Flemish” is.  Having never been to Flemland, it was confusing.

    I’ve listened to Eddie Izzard’s DEFINITE ARTICLE for several years now.  So when I came latin made simple0001across the Latin book, I now had a tangible reason for reading it instead of just leaving it in a box.  While I read the book, I would picture “Mr. Dog” talking to his centurions with a poncy intonation while they swish the toothbrushes on their heads.    No doubt if there was a “Greek Made Simple” book, I’d be thinking about his bit from SEXIE where Medusa goes to the hairdressers – or the bit where the sirens lure sailors with songs about very good parking spaces.  I wish I WAS exaggerating!  The real treat: the Latin book goes great with my Loeb Latin Classics. 

    The Latin book still has the bookstore label on it.  Amazingly, the book was originally purchased in 1985 at a bookstore that I actually used to frequent when I lived in San Antonio in the 90s.  Hang on – I guess that means I got it at a used bookstore and not from my mum’s house.  Okay. Just figured that out.  Writing things out is so clarifying!

    back of latin0001

    So anyway, purchased from Bookstop at Sunset Ridge, which was in Alamo Heights, a shabby genteel part of town.  I shopped there in the 90s, but the store closed around the time that Barnes & Noble came to town and started building book supermarkets.  Yep, B&N, for all their charms, pretty much killed the neighborhood book store in San Antonio.  Mega-marts of any kind are a sign of social and commercial  progress – apparently.

    Back to Russian, I watched Boris Gudonov on public television’s live Met series last weekend.  I was trying to catch words, but I think I need to get further along in the book.  Nothing in the music sounded familiar.  Die Walkure is coming up in May so I should brush up on my Deutsch.  Opera is actually a good way to learn the lingo if the subtitles are in the original language.  Everyone seems to think they are singing about quantum mechanics and epistemology.  What they are really singing about is more like stuff you would hear on the O.C. or OTH with a bit of Smallville mixed in for pathos.

    So anyway, these books are an old-fashioned way to learn a language.  But ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.  There’s plenty of dictionaries on the ‘net where they will pronounce the word for you.



    A New Ring for The Met

    P. Craig Russell Library of Opera Adaptations

    National Public Radio

    Join the Campaign to Save Public BroadcastingAG00021_

    170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting

    Save Public Broadcasting — Tax Big Business Instead!



    clip_image002  Heraclitus §  FRAGMENTS


    This is an edition well-named.  In fact, when I saw how sketchy the fragments were, I was ready to send this book back.  They look more like marginalia than a work of philosophy.  Like Heraclitus was hanging out at the lyceum one day and was bored and doodling on his papyrus or whatever. 


    Then…THEN, I started reading.  It was like…like…going backwards in time, shuffling my mental rolodex through poets, essayists, novelists, philosophers, teachers that I had met in my past lives.  So powerful was the familiarity of the ideas presented in this svelte, chic volume. 


    Some of it sounds like it came from the Bible.  Some of it sounds like it came from “The Epic of Gilgamesh”.  The rhythm (as much as it can be rhythmic) feels like “The Hollow Men” by Eliot.  The moments of transmutation mimic Ovid.  Or did Ovid mimic Heraclitus?  If the tidbits are this good, the complete works must probably constitute the Atlantis of ancient literature.


    Between FRAGMENTS, and “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, the Bible – as a work of literature – sounds modern.  I can appreciate even more, what a stupendous collection of genres it constitutes now that I have seen what came before.


    If you have followed this blog over the last couple of years, you know how I feel about introductory elements.  Introductions, forewords, afterwords, tables of content, etc.  Most of the time, they are just there to make the page count.  Very few have I considered useful.  The Foreword by James Hillman is outstanding.  It states its points clearly with out any Harold Bloom-style posturing from a LazyBoy up on Mt. Parnassus.  Succinct, Spartan prose combined with luminous and illuminating perception. It was a pleasure to read, and it was interesting. 


    Hillman pretty much had me at “archetypal”.  That’s from the first sentence.  And thanks to his Foreword, I understand what “deconstructivist” means.  Paragraph two contains a handy summing up of the pre-Socratics:


    “Early Greek thinkers sought the stuff of which the world was made.  For Thales it was water; for Anaximenes, air; for Anaximander, a combination of hot and cold.  Empedocles expanded the stuff to four indestructible elemental principles, while Anaxagoras is said to have proposed innumerable generative seeds composing the nature of things.”


    As a lover of words, I’m fascinated by the prefix “Anax-”.  A prefix like that with its accompanying variations naturally leads me to wonder what it means.  Is that a Hellenic prefix?


    “Heraclitus took a different tack.  His method is more psychological.”


    Thank you. Seriously.  Because of that introduction, everything that came after made sense and was easy to understand.


    The first part of FRAGMENTS resonates with history and poetry – I am overwhelmed by a sense of familiarity, like that feeling you get when you walk in your front door after days away, except intensified because I did not expect to find something like this here.  The same thing happened when I first read the beginning of Ovid’s METAMORPHOSES.  (I found out from my English prof that the transmutation style was popular at the time and it was really no big deal that it sounded just like the Bible.  It was like “duh!”  Sigh…)


    The word “fire” appears a lot in the frags.  Hillman explains that it was, quite possibly, Heraclitus’s way of expressing “flux” – “a metaphor for the shifting meanings of all truth.”  The idea of flux is the firing synapse that sparks memories of other writers, other literatures, other philosophies.  For example, H. wrote “Just as the river where I step/is not the same, and is,/so I am as I am not.” (81)  (See also frag 41.)  Translation: you can’t go home again.  (Thomas Wolfe).  Someone else, I don’t remember, also said something along the lines of “you can’t step in the same river twice.”


    Fragment #4:  “People dull their wits with gibberish,/and cannot use their ears and eyes.”

    Fragment #5:  “Many fail to grasp what they have seen,/ and cannot judge what they have learned,/although they tell themselves they know.”


    Eminem and Dr. Dre: in modern parlance…


    Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say
    But nothin comes out when they move they lips
    Just a buncha gibberish
    And muthafuckas act like they forgot about Dre.


    Yeah, I know. But why not???


    “What was scattered/gathers./what was gathered /blows apart.


    A good visualization of this idea is the Tao.  One color is eternally in the process of becoming the other. The book’s most consistent theme is that of the convergence of opposites.  They exist together, change together, not necessarily causing the other, but each creating space for the other to exist.  Almost baroque in the way each force plays out its own melody in harmony with other forces, all going in the same direction, but in their own way.


    Ø  “Harmony needs low and high/as progeny needs/ man and woman.”


    Ø  “From the strain/ of binding opposites/ Comes harmony.”


    Ø  “The cosmos works/ by harmony and tensions/ like the lyre and bow.”


    After the Bible, and alongside Gilgamesh, this is one of the most resonant works I’ve ever read.  Even more so than “Prometheus Bound”.  It’s magic!



    The Epic of Gilgamesh at


    Perseus Digital Library – awesome site for ancient documents including Greek, Latin and Germanic


    Fun map of philosophical relations of the pre-socratics



    Swetergrl’s Theory of Condensed Matter



    The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers

    Teutoburg Forest AD 9: The destruction of Varus and his legions (Campaign)

    Fragments (Penguin Classics) (English and Greek Edition)

    Teach Yourself VISUALLY Access 2010 (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))

    English Words

    Guys Read: Funny Business

    I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure




    Prometheus Bound/ Loeb Classic LIB/Aeschylus


    McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets  

    Sol Stein on Writing

    Remembrance of Things Past

    King Arthur and His Knights of The Round Table (Puffin Classics edition)



    Anyone who’s ever been to college could recognize a Norton from twenty paces.  Books four and five inches thick with onion skin paper and teeny-weeny eyestrain-o-vision print set wall to wall with text.  Anything written by T. S. Eliot or using images from Greek mythology was bloated with annotation (Percy Shelley).  Those symbolist poet bastards!  Ezra Pound? Three lines of poetry and the rest of the page is annotation.  Those were the ones to avoid if you could. Me? I used to get a kick out of finding those pages where tiny fairy print was 7/8 of the page. I don’t know why that tickled me so much. Then as you go farther into the modern writers, the annotations decrease exponentially.  Is it because they have ceased drawing from Classical sources? Is the imagery too obvious? Does our shared history make annotation unnecessary?


    The problem with Norton is that one volume is not enough.  They should probably go to three volumes and make students take three semesters of English Lit, three of American and three of World.  In a pinch, let them chose between English and World. World is more depressing, though.  Rilke, Camus, Kafka, Chekov, Proust.  Oy!  English Lit is downright chirpy compared to Proust and Kafka.  Kafka probably thinks Proust is an optimist. 


    On the subject of English Lit, I am distressed as a human being and as a teacher that my students have no knowledge of Robin Hood and King Arthur.  No thing! Nada.  Zero.  Zilch.  Keiner.  The foundational characters of our language, going back even before Chaucer.  As far as I know, they are no longer taught.  So I’ve done my de rigeur Morte by Malory, but now I’m reading Roger Lancelyn Green’s kiddie version from Puffin Classics.  I also have a Reader’s Digest Condensed Books version of, I think, Malory’s.  The PC version moves fairly swiftly from story to story.  The thing is, lots of connective tissue is excised in order to keep the story moving.   Merlin tells King Arthur that if he marries Guinevere, he will hasten the end of his reign and the end of Britain as he knows it. War will be fought over her honor.  People – good and faithful knights – are going to die because marriage to her will set them both up to be shamed.  Okay. Something to think about. Yet, in this version, Arthur’s response is, essentially, “Yeah, but she’s hot.  I love her.”  Ooooooooh, weeeeeeeeellllllll aaaaaaaaaaallllrighty then! 


    Seriously though, Robin Hood and King Arthur should be taught still.  What they represent is still important.  National unity, justice, honor, high ideals, doing for others, striving.  Do we not need them now?  Are not our children’s spirits starved for these high ideas whose words do not even appear in their vocabularies?  Do they mention honor and justice in the Harry Potter books?  Do they mention them in the Twilight books?  In Goosebumps?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  Any honor to be found in a vampire is strictly deus ex machina. If they are not to be taught anymore, do we have something better?


    What led me to the Norton was my LOEB Aeschylus.  I picked up Prometheus Bound  on a lark because my classes are reading the pantheon stories.  Most of them are reading these stories for the first time – at 13-14 years old. Sad.  Sad.  Sad.  So I’m reading it and liking it more and more as I go along.  It’s a fantastic, fantastical story.  Pro talks about geography and history.  When he was talking about Io and her life as a heifer, he beautifully describes her journey across what is now eastern Europe and northern Asia and how her journeys influenced the development of those areas.  For example, Io crossed a river that eventually became the Bosphorous.  Is that why we call cows “Bossie”?  Just thinking aloud.  Hold your tomatoes.


    So PB led me to Prometheus Unbound.  It seemed the obvious thing to do.  Percy Shelley’s long poem is a re-telling of PB in the form of a drama written as a poem.  Stylistically, Percy lays it on with a trowel. 


    Misery, O misery to me,

    That Jove at length should vanquish thee.

    Wail, howl, aloud, Land and Sea.

    The Earth’s rent heart shall answer ye.


    Shelley is a poet’s poet.  He knows what he do.  If you can get past the bombast and the treacly text, it’s actually quite easy to understand, which is great because PU covers a lot of territory in history, geography, mythology, politics, and philosophy.


    In the poetry vein, the McSweeney’s book is a sweet book of poetry.  It’s a bit oversized for a vade mecum but it’s good reading when you’re waiting in line somewhere.  It’s chains of poetry linked by the whims of the contributors.  First, McSweeney chooses a poet and poem.  Then the chosen one chooses another one of their own and a poem by another poet.  The “another” choses one of their own, and one by another “another”.  I’m not sure I have the math right, but it ends up being a chain of five poets per group.  Anyway, it explains it the “About This Book” on page iii.  It’s almost like Grammar B poetry.  Rhyme is kind of scarce.  But there is rhythm and concrete imagery and symbolism.  Most of the poems are moody yet energetic, clever yet plain.  Most of the titles are boring, but who reads poems for titles.


    Sol Stein on Writing.  Awesome! Get it!  Don’t be a writer without it.


    Remembrance of Things Past.  Oh my freaking Gawd! I’m on page 114 and every sentence but 3 are like 70, 80, 90 words long. WTF!  If you’re looking for a reason to hate the French, this one will do nicely.  Labyrinthine sentences that snake across the page word after word slithering through your right brain as your left brain stands to one side making sure every word is accounted for entangle you in the life of a young boy who, sadly, spent waaaaaaay to much time alone in the same way that the lady in “The Yellow Wallpaper” spent too much time alone and ended up trying to insinuate herself into said wallpaper, instead of going outside to play because he was smothered by concern and reverse hypochondria wherein his parents always thought he was sickly.  So, yeah. Like that.  Page after page after page of diarrheic introspection.  The diary from hell!


    I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets:  No surprise there you whinging, melodramatic, gadget-fixated, anti-intellectual namby-pamby cry-baby.  Get a job or get an education. Make yourself useful then maybe you’ll be able to keep secrets instead of crying into your Red Bull and vodka that life is not fair and that you’re expected to contribute to this planet instead of bitching about how nothing is free. 


    Conquest:  So much promise before you open the book. So much suckage after.  So many jumping off points that went nowhere.  The Khan-Gor legend which has now claimed two brides from the house of Q’an Tal. Stories of characters left untold.  It has – if you’ll pardon the expression – petered out. This collection sucks like a Hoover on crack.  The stories and characters were flaccid. (Ooooh, naughty!)



    clip_image002clip_image003  clip_image005 


    Wound-Up Roundup #10

    It’s been a long time since the last roundup post (No. 9).  Plus, I’ve posted a fair amount of wank along the way.  And – get this!  Windows Live stats were, like, a thousand times off as far as accuracy.  How else could I explain WL stats showing 500 hits in a day, then WordPress showing anywhere from 1 to 30 per day.  Someone was Enron-ing my stats.  But I’m prone to believe the WordPress stats – depressing though they are – simply because they are so thorough about where the hits come from. 

    So the links listed here are only to book-related posts.  Jus’ keepin’ it real…er…yo.

      Webnovelas feat. William Levy–Part 3

    — judging by my stats, the webnovela posts are the most popular so, I posted a third collection of stories from the forums.  The stories can be found in the William Levy Forum, the Maite Perroni Forum and the Jacqueline Bracamontes Forum.

      The Daughter of Time–A Different Species of Murder Mystery

    — This novel has a great plot. I don’t like mysteries, but this one is a big hit at It took me a long time to get past the first couple of chapters because reading them was like watching dust collect on the coffee table. Words go by. They are sort of just there, yet nothing is happening.  It took a while for it to really take off.  It’s so terribly English. Still, it’s a super novel when all is said and done.

      Lora Leigh’s Elite Ops–The Final Mission

    — sniff…sniff…waaaaaaahhhh…Don’t want to say goodbye!!!  Noah/Nathan, Micah/Maverick, John/Heat Seeker, Travis/Black Jack, Nik/Renegade, and now Jordan/Live Wire.  Jordan kind of reminds me of Acheron, the topic of the other most popular posts here at TFB. (Sorry about the pics not working.)  He’s mad, bad, and in charge. Everyone feels sorry for him one minute and wants to punch him the next.  He’s a thousand years older than the woman he’s in love with, but, well, I’m pretty much done complaining.  It’s been a grand series.  (Please check out the very nice reference chart. Print it, cut it out, laminate it.)

      INTO THE CROSSFIRE — Lisa Marie Rice

    — Sweet story, and yet, not impressed with the quality of writing.  Still going to buy the next one in the series, though. [Hotter Than Wildfire: A Protectors Novel/Delta Force]


    Wow, how did I live so long without reading this journal?  It’s awesome! My first one was “The Pleasure of Reading” – one of the most emotionally and philosophically satisfying books I’ve ever read (the exact opposite of FREEDOM AND DEATH by Nikos Kazantzakis).  Granted, you can’t compare a journal with a novel exactly, but satisfying is satisfying.  I found some more through  If you can get your hands on some, they are a good reading investment.


    There’s a lot of interesting things about this book – mainly it’s social message.  And I’m not all that squeamish, but this book is a but much to stomach.  It has a strong sleaze factor.  Which puts it on par with most written and visual drek you see these days.  I would say, read it once. If you can screw up the patience, read it again. I’ve read it twice and, again, I appreciate the message, agree with it even. But I know I’ll never go back to this book again.  This novel would appeal to alpha types who have a compulsion to exploit, practice body modification, or want to sleep with twins.


    Aaaahh, I watch footage from the world cup and I still get goose bumps!  Up at 6 am to catch the first of four games for about 10 days! Then slowly winding down the rounds. America ejaculated prematurely – again.  England – yawnfest. France!  Holy Shit!!! A meltdown of operatic proportions. My heart goes out to Yoann Gourcuff.  Cuz he’s HAWT!  South Africa put on a decent show.  If they can do it, anyone can.  Putting a world cup together reminds me of the scenes in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS where the Hebrew slaves are working themselves to death building pyramids.


    Quoting myself from the original post: 

    If you are a fan of Austen, the Bronte sisters, and/or George Eliot, beg, borrow, or steal a copy of this book. 


    I like to do that thing that Nick Hornby does in his BELIEVER book review columns: include a list of books bought and books read. It’s amusing to see where the lists converge and diverge.


    It’s so easy to write a review when your material is as good as this is.  I’m very fond of Russell in an annoying-but-adorable-hyper-puppy sort of way.  His writing style is casual, yet learned.  He’s no slouch in the grammar department. I would use his writing as an example of “voice” if I thought I could get away with it.

    To conclude, I want to give a big shout-out to who came up with a genius idea that’s perfect for me – buy-backs.  You can sell your books back if they are in good condition.  I’m up to $30 in gift cards. I love you gods of book retail!!!

    Wind Me Up–Run Me Down

    Your clock –
    Tick tocks;
    My clock –
    Mock mocks.
    Your time –
    Gold plate;
    My time –
    Must wait.


    Quick talk
    Quick talk
    Tick tock
    Mock Mock…


    Your job –
    Thin beer;
    My job –
    Thick fear.
    Your work –
    First place;
    My work –
    No space.


    Fake talk
    Fake talk
    Tick tock
    Mock mock
    Your type –
    Talk tripe;
    My type –
    Ban hype.
    Your gab –
    Top speak;
    My gab –
    Pips squeak.


    Bleak talk
    Bleak talk
    Tick tock
    Mock Mock


    Your deal –
    Clique life;
    My deal –
    Sharp knife.
    Your scene –
    Fake shit;
    My scene –
    Shield split.


    Sneak talk
    Sneak talk
    Tick Tock
    Mock Mock


    Your way –
    My way –
    Shut door.


    5-Nov-10 21:25
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