Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
DALLAS – After fighting his way across Europe during World War II, John Pistone was among the U.S. soldiers who entered Adolf Hitler's home nestled in the Bavarian Alps as the war came to a close.
Making his way through the Berghof, Hitler's home near Berchtesgaden, Germany, Pistone noticed a table with shelves underneath. Exhilarated by the certainty of victory over the Nazis, Pistone took an album filled with photographs of paintings as a souvenir.
"It was really a great feeling to be there and we knew, by that time, he was on his last leg," Pistone told The Associated Press.
Sixty-four years after Pistone brought the album home to Ohio, the 87-year-old has learned its full significance: It's part of a series compiled for Hitler featuring art he wanted for his "Fuhrermuseum," a planned museum in Linz, Austria, Hitler's hometown. (Read More)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I think it was Bette Davis who said old age is not for sissies. But it was Tolstoy who said the biggest surprise in a man’s life is old age. Old age sneaks up on you, and the next thing you know you’re asking yourself, I’m asking myself, why can’t an old man act his real age? How is it possible for me to still be involved in the carnal aspects of the human comedy? Because, in my head, nothing has changed.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Beck’s books are boring stuff. If you’ve read much conservative literature, you’ve heard it all before. Beck reproduces standard-issue conservative talking points, bemoaning crazy lawsuits or the 1992 House banking scandal in precisely the same way you have seen crazy lawsuits or the House banking scandal bemoaned a dozen times already. He is given to preposterous numerology, reminding us how patriotic we all felt on September 12, 2001 and then insisting that 9/12 actually stands for “Nine Principles” and “12 Values,” the latter of which turn out to be a virtue list in the manner of the Boy Scout law. All of which might lead a fan to conclude it was lucky the 9/11 terrorists attacked when they did instead of, say, February 24, because then they wouldn’t have affirmed our nation’s timeless principles and values. (via)
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
For 32 years the heirs of Vladimir Nabokov safeguarded the literary giant’s last novel in a vault in Switzerland while they wrestled with his request to destroy the unfinished manuscript. The decision was ultimately left to son Dmitri and deferred till now: This month Alfred A. Knopf will publish The Original of Laura (or Dying Is Fun), an event for readers the world over. Playboy is proud to publish an exclusive excerpt and introduce another of Nabokov’s mystifying and mythic heroines, Flora, the subject of a novel within the novel.
[Flora’s] husband…was a writer… —at least, after a fashion. Fat men beat their wives, it is said, and he certainly looked fierce, when he caught her riffling through his papers. He pretended to slam down a marble paperweight and crush this weak little hand (displaying the little hand in febrile motion). (via)
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Keene's novel records the tale of Lamar Reed, a gay, black man from Fells Point (can we say three strikes against the narrator in the real world?) who finds himself down on his luck before Hamelin's Revenge spreads across the nation, bringing the infected dead back to life - human and animal alike. After gunning down his friend and only surviving neighbor, Alan, Lamar is pushed out of his hiding place by a wild fire, spreading throughout the neighborhood and city. Upon his escape, he comes across two orphaned siblings, Tasha and Malik and a gun aficionado, Mitch. The four of them manage to escape the city, rescued by a motley crew aboard a naval ship turned museum. But the danger doesn't end there as Hamelin's Revenge begins to mutate and jump upon species previously assumed to be immune.
Haunted by his past, Lamar is regrettably the "hero" of the story and is told so more than once by a few characters. He doesn't feel like the hero they need, but the hero the book deserves (and that's not a harsh insult whatsoever). It makes him believable. After all he has done to fight the stereotype bestowed upon African-Americans from Fells Point, he feels that he has become exactly what he has fought against for so long. And to top it off, he feels his sexuality is just another thorn on his side. He carries excess baggage that he's unwilling to let go even as the world is literally eating one another.
His journey through it all, leaves him pondering the end. If the hero is supposed to be heroic, lead his flock into safety, bring knowledge forward at the dawn of a new age, then what happens to the hero when the world around him is filled with the groans and moans of the undead and the screams of those who cannot out run them? Who is left to tell the tale of the hero after all is said and done? And exactly why does it matter that he continues on?
Those are the questions that arise within the pages for the novel, ones that I still find myself asking. What do you fight for when all of humanity is lost?
Seriousness aside, though, I did encounter one passage I loved the most (and we're turning to the beginning of this post to wrap it up neatly):
It had all happened so quickly. It just didn't seem real somehow. I mean, a zombie fucking whale? If the circumstances had been different, I could have almost laughed. You go through life believing only in what you can see. What science can prove. Things like ghosts and monsters are the stuff of fantasy. But then, one morning, you wake up and the dead are out in the streets hunting down the living. Your world comes crashing down when that hppens. But even when you get used to the idea that the dead can walk, a zombie whale still seemed incredible. In a way, I think it shook our world view all over again.Clearly, no laughing matter, but you have to understand the hint of humor in it. Anyway, without further ado, Zombie Vs. Shark:
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I blame my folly on my education, and I'm sure a friend of mine would agree. Every English professor I had all repeated the same thing as if some sort of sacrament: Stephen King isn't a writer. He might be an author, but he isn't a writer. His work shouldn't be taken seriously and we should never give him more credit than he deserves. He is the antithesis of what we are working towards in literature. He's simply a dime-store novelist, something you read on a plane trip, a long ride, at the back of the bus or when there is nothing else to read.
And I advocated such, having attempted to read King a few times before. His writings seemed simplistically complicated. Something that seems hard to read, but really not hard to grasp. The adult version of Stephanie Meyer or J.K. Rowling. Even though I preached - merely repeated all I have been told, even though I knew in my heart that King wasn't a writer - I had more of his books that I liked. Most of them were freebies from Books -n- Things (a used book store in McAllen, TX), some of them gifts and hand-me-downs and at least two bought at my own accord.
And then I did something. Back when I was a kid, I saw this miniseries that I simply loved. The title? The Stand. Based on the novel by Stephen King of the same title. While venturing once again into the wonderful store of Books -n- Things, I found a used copy of the edited copy, the copy several King fans stated was more worth while over than the one on shelves now. Huffing, fighting my every moral fiber, I purchased the book and started reading it. A week later, I was done and my mind was reeling. What had I done? A part of me couldn't accept the fact that it was the best book I had read all year long.
The novel's premise is one we've all seen before: the battle between good and evil. Even at times, my mind was nostalgic of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Meanwhile, the short story in the Transgressions series, "The Things They Left Behind," left me in awe with the magical realism used within the pages.
I didn't think he had it in him, and I probably wouldn't have ever given him the chance had it not been for the one book that echoed a childhood memory, a miniseries I didn't miss and attempted to watch every time it came on TV - I even purchased the DVD, but I have since misplaced in my house, or lent it to someone who hasn't returned it and will not reveal himself. Still, the fact remains, there is more to Stephen King than a dime-store writer, more than a Big Mac with fries. This guy isn't giving himself any slack. So what if he's a genre writer, H.P. Lovecraft was one as well and we all look up to him. Give it time, I suppose.
There was a time when only King's short stories had the power to capture my imagination, mostly because they ended and didn't go on for what felt like months (seriously, I have the same problem with Jack Kerouac). Now, however, I'm staring at my "horror shelf" and wondering exactly what book to read next. Will it be another King book? Surely, I have opened up to him. It just might be.
*According to the November 2009 Esquire, Stephen King once referred to himself as such.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Until next time, adios.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Is there a difference in the way the brain takes in or absorbs information when it is presented electronically versus on paper? Does the reading experience change, from retention to comprehension, depending on the medium?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
But after all these years of only reading that first sentence and sighing exasperatingly, I picked up a copy - where my original went to is still unknown to me - and I shall add, a cheap copy at that. It's one of the many reasons why I love Dover Thrift Editions (book only cost me a buck).
After all these years of attempting, I'm finally man enough to read the entire book - consisting of 145 pages, but was read like it contained 1145. And while it's not my cup of tea, it's one of best sci-fi novels I've read all year (considering the fact that the last sci-fi novel I read was 3001: The Final Odyssey).
The novel's split into two books: The Coming of the Martians & The Earth under the Martians. The first book accounts the invasion seen through the eyes of a man who was there when it was underway. He saw when the Martians fired their cylinders from their red planet and was there to witness as it opened after smashing into the earth. He saw the Heat Ray kill his friends and neighbors and then the entire country side of London. He also jumps into the story of his brother and what he saw in London during the final days of the attack. The second book returns to our narrator's story and the days during and after the invasion.
It isn't the greatest read of sci-fi (oh how we have accomplished so much since the days of Wells), but it is a noteworthy read - recommended highly if you're a sci-fi geek. And its universal appeal has not waned nor do I feel will it ever.
Monday, October 5, 2009
E. L. Doctorow, author of Lives of Poets, takes a creative crack at the secret lives of the Collyer brothers through the eyes (no pun intended) of the blind, younger brother Homer.
I first learned of Doctorow's masterpiece, Homer & Langley, through a piece written in Esquire entitled "Two Great New Books on a New Kind of Apocalypse." The review covered both Doctorow's novel and Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem, stating:
Both novels make a reader ache for a city long gone. But they also let us know that the end of the world as we know it may only be the end of the world as we know it. What's truly scary is not that life will end but that it will continue in ever reduced circumstances.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Richard read a few of his pieces and gave out copies of the May/June issue of The Journal of Texas Trophy Hunters, which contains his story (or can we call it an essay?), "El Diablo."
I read a "chilling" story, loosely based on a story my grandfather told me when I was a kid. It's a work in process, but I managed to get out a clean copy for the reading.
In other news, because I arrived early to the library, I camped in a corner (where the DVDs are - why there's a couch where the DVDs are is beyond me) and thumbed through Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow. A few pages in, I decided to check it out.
Because I turned in No Country for Old Men late, I was prepared myself to pay a fine. Oddly, I didn't get one. Didn't faze me much, but I did recall my annoyance with myself for turning it in late in the first place.
I'm sure the book will be devoured before the the two weeks. See you then.
Monday, September 28, 2009
"Can We Stop Acting So Childish?" By Stephen Marche
With teenage celebrities entering rehab and adult celebrities acting like teenagers, the line between adolescence and adulthood has never been more blurred.
It is possible that as you read these words one of the great works of art of our time is being destroyed. The film version of "Where the Wild Things Are"--with a screenplay cowritten by the Coolest Writer in America (Dave Eggers), directed by the Coolest Director Alive (Spike Jonze), and starring the Coolest Actors Ever (Forest Whitaker and Catherine Keener)--has had its release date set back a year, apparently after disastrous test screenings, to undergo massive reshooting. The original "Where the Wild Things Are," the children's story by Maurice Sendak, is one of the most beloved tellings of one of the dominant narratives of our era: the child who suffers the perils of adulthood. It's a story that has to be told without wavering. (continue reading)
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Partner: Jyg, Izzy, Esmer & Esteban
Location: Hastings McAllen, TX
So in the end, I had the three books I needed to complete the sale. Awesome, though I should really stop spending money when the cash flow isn't coming in anymore. I'm so bad at this.
- Cities of the Red Night - William S. Burroughs
- Little Birds: Erotica - Anaïs Nin
- The Golden Ass - Apuleius translated by Jack Lindsay
After ringing up the purchase, The Golden Ass turned out to be my dollar book. I also saw a copy of God Hates Us All, leaving me to wonder if a fictional book from a TV series is actually worth the read. Who am I kidding? Sooner or later Hank Moody's opus will be sitting on my shelf because I'm in love with Californication.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Across much of the nation and the world, people have been losing their jobs and homes due to the global economic decline. Everyone is asking: how much worse will it get; how soon before it gets better? The ghost of the Great Depression hangs over us like a bad dream that scares and fascinates at the same time. Meanwhile, the bickering of politicians entertains and annoys us nightly.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Because my main goal when I set out to write a blog about "book hunting" was to gain some new acquaintances, I believe that the required reading tag should venture into the blog as well. Maybe bringing a few stragglers by to share my likes, dislikes or disagree with me.
Friday, September 18, 2009
- The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging
- MLA Handbook Sixth Edition
- The New New Journalism
- Reading Like a Writer
- The Scene Book
- The Things They Carried
- The Starving Artist's Survival Guide
- The Pocket Muse
- The Lost Soul Companion
- The Elements of Style
Tonight, I'm going book hunting Gut Symmetries by Jeannette Winterson. I hope to find a(n) used copy of the book as I would rather not pay full price for something I'm unsure I'd like. My partner in crime/hunt will be Jerry.