Friday, August 31, 2012

"Last to Die", Two Children's Books, and More Buys

So, I might an addict. I can't just say no to books, you know? Especially when they're free. But more on that later.

I received the latest Tess Gerritsen novel in the mail yesterday – I pre-ordered it back in March while I was testing out Amazon Prime. I cracked it open and start right away. However, I'm run ragged these days. So I haven't gotten too far into it. I had to read some passages twice because I kept dozing off. Not a commentary on Gerritsen's writing, by the way.

As I have mentioned in the past, my work now involves me reading books in the department. Most of the time I select my reads from the 3rd through 5th grade shelves because their lengthier. However, because I do have an infant son, I'm drawn more and more toward the easy shelf.

In Maxine Trottier’s Migrant, we learn what’s like to be a migrant worker through the eyes of a young girl named Anna. Trottier relates migrant families to a flock of birds, comforts them with a kitten’s warmth, and compares their temporary housing to a jack rabbit’s burrow. The illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault bring Anna’s imagination to life – her transformation to a jack rabbit to comparing the voices of her fellow migrants to crickets before she is whisked away by one upon its back. As a child whose mother traveled across the state and country for work while she was growing up, this book echoes her memories. It’s beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated that all readers will fall in love with it immediately.

Exposure to art is equally important to a child’s development as reading. In his book, Magritte’s Marvelous Hat, D.B. Johnson infuses the joys of art and reading. Not only does Johnson name his character after René Magritte, his illustrations are riddled with references to the Belgian painter’s work. Interaction is also a must, so Johnson added in a few “clear” pages containing images that create new illustrations when they are turned. Johnson created a so much more than just a story about a dog painter and his marvelous hat, one that both parent and child can enjoy.

Of the two books, it's difficult to say which exactly is my favorite. They're both equally beautiful in their own right. So before I attempt some sort of compare and contrast of apples and oranges, I'll continue on to the next and former topic.

My addiction of book has reached an all new high. We have a new librarian – who is amazingly awesome – and she seems a bit miffed with the mess of donations we have in the back. It was a get rid of everything sale. Tons of things were placed in the back to recycling – all textbooks I have little to no interest in. Here's what I've made out with this time:

Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble; for Kindle and Nook. You can pick up Magritte's Marvelous Hat on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can pick up a copy of Migrant at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Snapshot #6

From The Writers Handbook edited by A.S. Burack
Dustin M. Sekula Memorial Library - my place of employment - has done something terrible to me. And by terrible, I mean f**king wonderful! And by wonderful, I mean a 25-cent book sale. No. That's not some cosmic typo. All books are actually 25 cents a piece. That's four for a dollar. Doesn't matter if it's a hardback, a trade paperback, or a mass market paperback. And all the trashy romance novels were at 10 cents yesterday.

Now you're probably wondering how a guy like me got to be so lucky. Well, it started Saturday when the Friends of the Library had their book sale. It was fairly inexpensive. Because I'm such an awesome fella - mostly because I work there - I got my books for $10, despite the fact that I had more than in books. Because not all books were sold - and we have a huge surplus of donated books we have no use for - it was decided Monday to start dropping the price. Lucky, hu? 

Here's what I have as of today:
  1. The Hot Kid
  2. 52 Pick Up
  3. Mr. Paradise
  4. Unknown Man #89 by Elmore Leonard
  5. Airframe
  6. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  7. The Hobbit
  8. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. Dead Until Dark
  10. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  11. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  12. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
  13. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  14. The Humanoids by Jack Williamson
  15. The Inquisition by Edward Burman
  16. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology 2nd Edition edited by Samuel Cohen
  17. Summerland by Michael Chabon
  18. Nobody Move by Denis Johnson
  19. Dianetics: The Original Thesis by L. Ron Hubbard
  20. 9/11 Report by Thomas H. Kean, Chair and Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chair w/reporting and anaylsis by The New York Times
  21. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverley Cleary
  22. Nightingale's Lament by Simon R. Green
  23. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  24. American Gangster by Max Allan Collins
  25. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  26. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
  27. Grendel by John Gardner
  28. A Short Guide to Writing about Literature 10th edition edited by Sylvan Barnet and William E. Cain
  29. The Alienist by Caleb Carr
  30. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  31. Oxford by Paul Streitz
  32. Deathbell by Guy Smith
  33. Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith
  34. The Professor of Desire by Philip Roth
  35. The MacMillan Reader 3rd Edition edited by Judith Nadell, John Langan, and Linda McMeniman
  36. Futurelove: Science Fiction Triad edited by Roger Elwood(?)
  37. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
  38. The Writer's Handbook edited by A.S. Burack
  39. Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense 5th edition edited by Laurence Perrine
As you can see, I have a lust for books. I'm a book slut, and I take that without shame. While my loved ones might not understand my need for books, I know in my heart there are more like me out there. I have a love for knowledge. There are books excluded from here, of course. Books I purchased for others or books I've loaned to others shortly after I bought them. They'll find their way to this page soon enough.

Well, I'm off to read something from an anthology. Which one? I don't know. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Snapshot #5

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

American Gangbang: A Love Story by Sam Benjamin

Sam Benjamin's memoir, American Gangbang: A Love Story, reads like a tour de force of braggery. It's a laugh in the face that he got to live the life several men can only fantasize about. Not only did he get to work with big-breasted porn stars, he got to sleep with them, too. Sort of. Maybe not always in the ways he imagined, but that's more than most men can say, am I right? Still, this confession - can I even call it that? - depicts the darker moments and corners of the adult industry.

The story starts off from Sam packing up and heading west, finding himself in Santa Cruz with an art degree and not a single idea what to do with his life. So one day he buys porn, and decides that he's out to revolutionize the sex world as we know it. His meager beginnings include recording masturbation videos of himself while he gets off with a banana peel to recording a piss video with a man who cannot get an erection without drinking the urine of some makeshift dominatrix. Later, he's on the receiving end of a dildo in a bisexual porn flick. Then he's working for an interracial website dedicated to gangbangs. And that's where his career sets off.

He introduces us to an array of colorful characters and porn stars - names we may recognize, and others we'll wind up Google searching. There's Willie Timberlake, a bipolar ginger from Oakland whose inability to hold down a job destines him to become Sam's porn sidekick. White Liz, Sam's doomed love interest, who works within the porn industry without ever taking off her clothing. And those are the only people worth talking about, sorta.

There are several things that I find annoying(?) with this memoir. Small things that probably don't mean anything, and shouldn't deter a curious reader from reading it. For instance, there are times in the book when Sam Benjamin is adamant that he's done with pornography, but continues to pick up the camera. It's almost feels as if the reader's supposed to pat him on the back and whisper, "There, there. You deeply troubled pornographer. It's not your fault that porn's so degrading to the women you hire. You're only doing what you're told."

The dialogue also comes into question. Most of it feels scripted. Granted that Sam is working on memory, and I'm sure most things are paraphrased, it still robs from the story. In some instances, he'll drop a random one-liner as if he was working on a sitcom script in the process.

However, the book - despite it's bragging - does give the reader a glimpse of the so-called glamour of the porn industry. From the horrendous Honey back story to the poor broke Czech woman who is, figuratively and possibly literally, ripped in half during a sex scene. The way he handles his story - with the exception of the unnecessary epilogue - acts more a cautionary tale than the clueless Jenna Jameson's memoir.

So if you're looking for a pornographic memoir on the subject, pick up the book. It's worth the time taken to read it. You can pick up a copy at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and it's available for Kindle and Nook, respectively. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

More Porn Memoirs @ Amazon

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman

As much as I love Chuck Klosterman's writing, I have to say his nonfiction is my preference. Killing Yourself to Live is on my top ten nonfiction books, but it's a short list. Still Downtown Owl was worth the sit through. But what about his latest novel, The Visible Man? What sort of world does he take us to? Something worth reading, or something worth waiting for.

Unlike former two books mentioned, I didn't learn about The Visible Man until I saw it at Barnes & Noble's new-in-paperback table. After much debate - there wasn't any - I opted to purchase the copy because I love Klosterman - I'm sure it's the bearded face.

Victoria Vick, a therapist from Austin, is contacted by a memorable man, one who would change her life forever. Convinced that the outlandish stories he conveys over the telephone are delusions created by a lonely man, she asks to meet him in person. When he proves that his delusions are anything, but she's thrust into a world of adventure. But even though she knows what he's capable of doing, how much is truth and how much fiction? And how far is she willing to take their relationship?

I need to be honest, I'm on the fence about this novel. At times, the flow is great. Other times, I'm forced to re-read paragraphs because they just put me into the motions. Nothing was absorbed. Klosterman creates an unlikable character with Y___, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to dislike our narrator, Victoria. Much like Downtown Owl, I'm disappointed with the ending.

Oh well, you can pick up your copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and is available for Kindle and Nook. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Couple of Things.

If you noticed a different name at the bottom of the posts, rest assured that it's still me. I just added my "professional" e-mail because it's easier this way than to have to switch accounts on my phone. Now that I managed this segue, I now have a much smarter phone than my BlackBerry. I upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S III. It's pretty bad ass. So book hunts (when I go on book hunts) can be updated live!!!!

And as if to make my day, the ever awesome Alison Tyler mentioned me(!!!) in a tweet and linked my blog on hers!!! SWOON!!! Damnit, Ennui! Get a hold of yourself. You don't want to act a fool in front of her. You'll ruin your chances.

Snapshot #4

From the pages of Ruby Redfort by Lauren Child.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cuffed by Alison Tyler, Sommer Marsden & Sophia Valenti

It shouldn't come to anyone as a surprise, but I think I'm in love with Alison Tyler. I'm not sure when that happened. But as I read "Cubed," her short story featured in Cuffed: Three Tales of Erotic Bondage, my heart swelled (no, that's not some sort of innuendo). Her character has a choice between going home with a cowboy, or taking a chance with a shop teacher - spoiler alert, he's not a really a shop teacher. On the one hand, she can have casual, boring sex with someone closer to her age. While on the other, she can ignite her loins. (That sentence reads funny, but oh well.)

In "Hardcore," Corina learns that poking fun at her former hardcore boyfriend has its consequences, and its benefits. Sommer Marsden is semi-new to me, but her writing leaves me wanting more (in the good way). And Sophia Valenti brings us "Cuffed and Breathless," a tale about a police officer's wife who gets a lesson about the perks of impersonating a cop.

And as much as it may break my heart to admit this, I have to concede. Even though I am madly in love with Alison Tyler, Sommer Marsden might have won me over with her story.

You can pick up Cuffed for your Kindle, of pick up the paperback edition at Amazon. Until next time, keep on huntin'.