Tag Archives: Books

On audio

… I’m listening to Francis Donaldson’s biography of P.G. Wodehouse, which is read by Frederick Davidson, who has also recorded many Wodehouse novel. He’s mostly fine here, but goes a bit over-the-top on some of the characters voices. He affects a sort of ancient-Oxford-don voice for passages quoting Plum’s letters for example. The book itself takes its subject in the manner I really prefer in writer’s biographies, passing over the formative years of childhood quickly and diving into the literary career.

The book certainly makes me want to get hold of a collection of Wodehouse’s letters as soon as I can.

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I’m still in beta

… needing to move all my free read links over to this page, as well as some other stuff. And I keep tweaking the font size daily.

Currently reading Guitar Manby Will Hodgkinson, a memoir of a thirty-five-year-old journalist in London who decides to take up the guitar for the first time with the goal of being able to play in front of an audience within six months. Pretty soon he realizes that’s not a well-thought out goal.

Some decent self-deprecating humor in the vein of current light memoirs like, say,Candy Freakor Word Freak. It weaves personal anecdotes with some history of the subject and encounters with whichever contemporary musicians the author can score an interview with. A enjoyable read, and jibes really well with my own attempts to play.

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Death of Captain America

The Onion has some funny person on the street reaction to the death of the Cap.

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Dumb Idea Rejected by Apathy

Link: Garcia Marquez hometown rejects name change |Reuters.com.

Life did not imitate art on Sunday when this town where Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born and first heard the ghost stories that would inform the "magical realism" of his novels, rejected a proposal to change its name to honor him.

[snip]

After the polls closed in the late afternoon, Sanchez said
more than 90 percent of the votes cast were in favor of the
proposal. "But turnout was not high enough for the vote to
count," he conceded.

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Classic Pulp

Slate commissioned these 6 magnificent Lurid new covers for classic books.

3mobydick_3

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Book Club Podcast

Anna of Delta Park Project, famous for their funny pop culture podcast and a LOST (the TV show) has started a book club. First up in Allende’s The House of the Spirits, soon to be followed by Hotel New Hampshire, The Year of Magical Thinking, and The Executioner’s Song, all of which are on my someday lists, so I may join up. Link: Anna’s Book Club – a monthly book club podcast.

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Fair Use: Art is Art Edition

From The Beatles by Bob Spitz:

Stuart [Sutcliffe] may well have been the natural choice, but his decision to play music perplexed his fellow artists. Bill Harry, for one, remembers the irritation he felt when Stuart flashed the new bass as though exhibiting a finished oil painting. "I said to him, ‘What the bloody  hell are you doing?’" Harry recalls. "’You’re passionate about art, not music!’" Stuart shook off such concern with bemused regard. To Harry’s objection, he responded soothingly: "Not, it’s all right. I think it’s art." He had decided to dedicate himself to the band with "as much seriousness and intensity" as he approached painting. "And anyway," Stuart told him, "they’re going to be the greatest. I want to be a part of it."

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Fair Use, An Embarrassment of Deities Edition:

From Robert E. Howard’s "Black Colossus":

The Kothians had long since abandoned the worship of Mitra, forgetting the attributes of the universal Hyborian god. Yasmela had a vague idea that, being very ancient, it followed that the deity was very terrible. Ishtar was much to be feared, and all the gods of Koth. Kothian culture and religion had suffered from a subtle admixture of Shemite and Stygian strains. The simple ways of the Hyborians had become modified to a large extent by the sensual, luxurious, yet despotic habits of the East.

"Will Mitra aid me?" Yasmela caught Vateesa’s wrist in her eagerness. "We have worshipped Ishtar so long—-"

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Fair Use, Editorial Matter Edition

From editor George Bennet’s introduction to Great Tales of Action and Adventure (Dell, 1958):

A surprising amount of literature appeals equally to young and old: from books like Gulliver’s Travels to poems like Walter de la Mare’s The Listeners and Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. To appeal to both young and old a story must have a special quality. Perhaps it is the quality of wonder, or of delight. It is as if we were in another dimension, as if we were looking at another world, a world both like and unlike our own, a world of surprise.

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CRYSTAL RAIN by Tobias S. Buckell – Excerpts

Tobias Buckell is giving away a generous chunk of his first novel "Crystal Rain." The first  15 chapters are now available, with more to follow until the entire first 1/3 of the book is posted here: Link. (There’s also a map, how cool is that?)

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Did Oprah Sandbag Nan Talese?

Link: NYO – Observatory.

“I was asked to go onto a program that was going to have James on it, and then I was going to be joined by Frank Rich and Richard Cohen to talk about ‘Truth in America.’ That was the program,” Ms. Talese said by phone this past weekend. As she was walking onto the set of the special live broadcast, however, she was informed that the theme of the show had been changed to something called “The James Frey Controversy.” Ms. Talese was surprised.

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Steven D. Levitt Finds “One more reason to love Oprah”

But I can’t buy it. The only reason I can see for Oprah’s 180 on James Frey – after defending him on Larry King – is that she felt the backlash swelling among her fans.  Link: Freakonomics Blog.
This whole controversy could mean tough times for the memoir industry. Memoirists have been making shit up for years since the demise of fiction’s primacy under the rubric of "emotional truth".  Frey got a little too greedy in his exaggerations, now publishers appear to be expected to vet books the way journalism is vetted.* (Sometimes vetted anyway. Hunter S. Thompson made up stuff up too.) All because some readers were foolish enough to expect that books labeled as nonfiction should contain no fiction. Foolish foolish public spoiling the fun. But sarcasm aside, the inability to sell one’s fiction for the higher advances memoirs offer seems to me too poor an excuse to represent fiction as fact.

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*Or maybe not, Via Maud Newton, here’s a Wall Street Journal Article: Publishers Say Fact-Checking Is Too Costly.

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CELL by Stephen King

Picked this up from my local supermarket which offered it at a deep discount. Enjoyed it immensely, as I have done with the two most recent King’s before it, The Colorado Kid, and the final volume of The Dark Tower. I suspect that those who will be disappointed with the way those ended will be disappointed with this one as well, but for me, they represent a sophistication in King’s evolving story-telling technique that I find enjoyable and welcome.

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Guaranteed Good Read

Shocklines is selling Corpse Blossoms (which includes my story "Wednesday") under its Guaranteed Good Read Promotion – meaning a full refund if you are not satisfied with your purchase.
Also, to purchase single issues of Black Gate #9 featuring my story "The Whited Child" go to Project Pulp.

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Fair Use: Weird Western Edition

From Tim Pratt’s The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl:

Jonathan lay awake in the Pigeonhole, where the day’s old heat went to die, listening to the whispering in the corners of the room.

And from Tom Piccirilli’s Grave Men:

Priest snapped awake in his seat, reaching for his knife. He had a mouthful of blood from biting his tongue, and the taste only reminded him of murder.

And Loren Estleman’s The Master Executioner:

On the last day of May 1866, a trooper named Ervine,walking punishment detail at Fort Riley with a log over one shoulder for reporting to duty drunk, threw his log at a guard, crushing the man’s skull, stole a horse, and rode forty miles to a stagecoach stop in Washington County, where he raped a backward serving girl and stole a fresh mount.

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