February 5, 2013 at 1:48 am (creative writing, culture, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, humor, life, literary fiction, poetry, publishing, random, Writing)
Tags: animation, Book, books, entertainment, excerpt, fiction, free verse, Haper Collins, horror, literary fiction, novel, poetry, random, reading, review, Sharp Teeth, Toby Barlow, video, werewolves, Writing
Quick and dirty is the way this book review post goes today.
Who wants a werewolf story?
Who wants a love story?
Who wants a horror story?
Who wants a lot of free verse?
Who wants a L.A. story?
Who wants a dog story?
Yes, indeed, Toby Barlow’s Sharp Teeth serves up horror tacos filled with hot she wolf women, blonde surfer dudes, dogs galore, mystery men, several varieties of criminals and features some very sharp teeth indeed. Add a dash of the unexpected humor along the lines of bad boys playing bridge with blue haired old ladies and this razor blade of a novel via verses will have you wondering whose really howling at the moon rising above the waves lapping sandy beaches everywhere. Is there anything easier to read than free verse? I doubt it. If you’re searching for a guilty reading pleasure please go ahead and take a bite. Beware: Barlow’s verse is served bloody rare liberally seasoned with sex and violence.
via Tobybarlowny YouTube
Taste some ink at Harper Collins http://www.harpercollins.com/browseinside/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061430220
February 2, 2013 at 8:27 pm (creative writing, culture, entertainment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, humor, life, literary fiction, publishing, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: "Water", 2013, Alaska, Alexis M. Smith, Book, creative writing, culture, entertainment, fiction, Glaciers, life, literary fiction, love, Middle East, novel, Oil, Oregon, Portland, publishing, random, review, Tin House, Tin House Books, war, World Book Night, Writing
Hmm, it’s Sensual Saturday and sometimes that means a musical posting. Tell you what, if you click the link to Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith there’s music at the other end via the video playing on the novel’s homepage. Music covered now, okay? Now for those of you searching for something sensual for your Saturday there’s this lovely little novel just stuffed full of stories of scopes large and small. Alexis M. Smith has inked a wickedly sweet little tome with an expanse far beyond its 174 pocket-sized pages. Some folks might be inclined to savor this book tidbit by tiny tidbit over a week’s time. Some other folks, like myself, may savor it whole in the course of a single day of word craft pleasure-seeking. While there’s nothing erotic about Smith’s Tin House Books publication, her prose elicits a certain sort of response some of us experience when stimulated by wordcraft so easy-going that one has no sense of any effort on the writer’s part at all. Glaciers reads like gently flowing stream water encountering a rapid or two along the way to keep you on your toes.
So what’s it about? Love, longing, the past, the future, Amsterdam, war, families, Portland, storytelling, Alaska and glaciers of several sorts. Smith writes about a young woman, a young man, a library, and a war. Yet another anti-war book of the most subtle yet most earnest kind.
Her eyes close, and she begins to drift. She thinks of these things: Spoke and the war; the oil in Alaska and the oil in the Middle East’ the glaciers melting’ and the water that connects them all. the glaciers will melt and the water will rise. Everything will be washed though. All the young lovers in their hats and party dresses. All the plane trees and the elms. All the tall houses. All the narrow brick lanes and city squares. Glaciers take the cities, cities take the architecture, the architecture takes the bodies. (p. 151)
Glaciers melt. Glaciers are melting. Keep in mind ever-expanding scopes.
What postcards are you saving? Why?
Alexis M. Smith http://alexismsmith.com/
Tin House Books http://www.tinhouse.com/home
Take note: I discovered this literary delight via World Book Night 2013–it’s one of the selections for the free books being given away. What a wonderful reading gift! http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/books/2013
January 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm (creative writing, culture, education, entertainment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, life, literary fiction, music, poetry, publishing, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: 3013, April 23, books, culture, deadline, entertainment, fiction, Free books, German, Give, Ireland, January 25, life, literacy, literature, love, publishing, random, reading, signup, UK, USA, videos, World Book Night, Writing
Never know what will be discovered when following the “dots” in cyberspace. Today I discovered World Book Night in the USA, April 23, 2013. Event also flows in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany. You too can sign up to give away free books to people. Yes, you read that correctly–on April 23, 2013 people will be giving away free books to promote reading. As a life long reader I totally support this event.
Now–if you’re willing to give away free books–Sign up at http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/
It’s really easy to sign up. There’s a great list of books to pick from.
Spread your love of reading and writing!
November 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm (creative writing, culture, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, history, life, literary fiction, publishing, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: Battle of Hastings, Book, books, creative writing, culture, Evil Machines, fiction, free book download, historical, history, Kingsnorth, literary, Paul, publisher, publishing, random, read, reading, resistance, Terry Jones, The Wake, Unbound, video, Writing
Ever wish book publishers paid some real attention to what really interests your reading brainpan? Hmm? Care to put your dollars and scents, yes that’s a deliberate misplay on words. Cents is so predictable. Let’s play with sense a little more. After all they’re very important to your nose, your taste buds and your memory–scents are. Got that? Okay, now let’s get back to Unbound–as in being unfettered, untied, unchained, unhindered–and free to move about at will. Would you like to pick the books you’d like to have published? You can at Unbound. Seriously. You might have to forgo some of that instant gratification that characterizes much of modern culture but eventually you can get what you want–as long as some other folks want it too.
Case in point:
Author Paul Kingsnorth is pitching The Wake on Unbound. The Wake is a historical novel about resistance fighters after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. What the novel needs are pledges, supporters, interested potential readers willing to pay for the digital, hardback, or collector’s edition of the novel. There are other perks offered for greater levels of support for Kingsnorth’s novel–such as Dark Mountain’s anthology. The book has garnered 70% of the pledges necessary for publishing via Unbound. Unbound is a bit like Kickstarter for publishing. Sort of. Agents are still part of the publishing mix. View that tidbit as you will.
Read an excerpt from The Wake here –>> http://unbound.co.uk/books/the-wake/
Visit Unbound’s home –>> http://unbound.co.uk/ Yes, you can buy books already published here too. See if what the authors are serving agrees with your reading taste.
Kingsnorth chatting about The Wake:
PS. Some bait to get you to take a gander at all Unbound offers.
A freebie from Unbound for which the clock is ticking now. Click the cover art to get there asap! midnight-Deadline November 30, 2012 at midnight -their midnight I suspect.
Sign in/up at Unbound, it’s absolutely free, to get a digital copy of Evil Machines FREE. Be quick–this offer ends at midnight on Nov. 30, 2012.
November 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm (art, creative writing, culture, education, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, history, life, literary fiction, poetry, publishing, random, Writing)
Tags: Book, Bryce, Courtenay, culture, death, education, entertainment, gift, history, humor, life, publishing, random, read, The Power of One, Writing
Turning on the computer this morning made this Black Friday actually a day of mourning in the world of readers and writers with the news of Bryce Courtenay’s demise due to stomach cancer. Not going to bother relating all the chatter on the various news threads regarding Courtenay’s passing. But I will say this: The Power of One is a damn fine book. If you’re looking for a great read for a young person–whom you don’t mind repeatedly reading derogatory words about certain chickens–then throw The Power of One at them and see if they can catch it. In my opinion, keep in mind the “my,” this is a great reading gift 365 days year round for any reader–or boxing fan. This is a story of guts, spirit and power. Enough said. Salute the late Bryce Courtenay by reading his books. If you’re already a Courtenay fan please feel free to share your thoughts about any of his books.
Clicking the book cover will take you to a Wikipedia page about Bryce Courtenay.
August 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm (creative writing, culture, education, ethics, fiction, history, life, literary fiction, politics, publishing, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: Bettina Restrepo, Book, books, creative writing, culture, Dream Act, education, espanol, family, fiction, illegal, immigration, Katherine Tegen Books, language, Mexico, novel, politics, publishing, random, reading, review, Spanish, Writing, young adult
What would you do if you were a girl seriously wanting your father for your fifteenth birthday, quienceanera, and he’d suddenly gone silent in a strange land called Houston?
Bettina Restrepo’s Illegal places readers smack dab in young Nora’s desperate world of failing grapefruit orchard, dying village and dangerous journey to the not very welcoming land of Texas. In Houston the buildings grow tall while keeping people small and insignificant. Deepening poverty and increasing concern about the silence of Nora’s father from the land of opportunity drive the young girl and her mother into making a desperate search to a place where calling the police to report an assault is not a viable option. No one wants to leave the once thriving village but survival dictates desperate measure for desperate times when the tax man gets impatient.
Love and family values push three generations of Mexican women to leave behind all they know and hold dear to search for the man missing from their daily lives. Deliberately or not, Restrepo presents anew the mythic threesome of the maiden, matron and crone in the forms of Nora, her mother and grandmother as they are forced to confront the reality of the economic and social death of their Mexican village. The grapefruits rotting in the once prosperous orchard reinforce the mythic imagery of a dying land unable to support the people. Even the village bank scarcely has any purpose other than to employ Hector.
Illegal is a dark reality check of a young adult novel that many American adults would benefit from reading. What’s the Dream Act about? Who wants it and why? Well, Nora’s story might provide some clues to the answers. Hungry stomachs often go hand in hand with hungry young minds. The need to make a meaningful life wherever you find your feet planted is real and valid cause for concern. Unless they’ve experienced poverty in America many young readers might have trouble entering Nora’s world where learning to speak English is a vital concern surpassed by the need to help her mother keep it together in a hostile urban jungle where girls beat each other for entrance into gangs.
Restrepo does her best to get readers into and keep them in Nora’s changing world. It’s not an easy task. To help raise cultural awareness she incorporates Espanol into the novel. There’s a decent little glossary at the back for readers who have no idea that cartas means a pack of cards, cabrito is a baby goat, and that a coyote can be something other than an animal–a human smuggler. Illegal is a solid novel which pulls no punches yet works to be accessible to young adult readers who are curious about what’s going with other young people beyond the boundaries of their own private worlds.
Now what would have happened if the Native Americans had thought to demand identity papers and immigration documents for all the white European invaders searching for land and riches in the New World? Imagine that.
Visit Bettina Restrepo at http://bettinarestrepo.com/
Find Illegal and more young adult fiction published by Katherine Tegen Books: http://www.yabookscentral.com/component/jreviews/tag/publisher/katherine-tegen-books/
July 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm (art, creative writing, culture, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, life, literary fiction, Native Americans, publishing, random, Writing)
Tags: Arsenal Pulp Press, Book, Canada, creative, drugs, Dunnion, fiction, Finalist, Issues, Kristyn, Lambda, life, love, murder, publisher, punk, random, reading, review, street kids, teenagers, The Dirt Chronicles, Toronto, video, Writing
Click to visit Arsenal Pulp Press
Kristyn Dunnion strikes hard punk gold again in The Dirt Chronicles, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, which is mis-identified as a collection of short stories. I can see how that labeling came about. These can be read as short stories. But, in reality, this is a novel presented from several different characters’ viewpoints and fully individual voices. It’s a little disconcerting unless you’re a fan of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. The story is dark, hard, gritty and it’s all about the lives of several punk street kids in Toronto. It’s not pretty. There’s the corrupt cops, drugs, rape, murder, sexual identity issues and relationship issues galore. This may not be an easy read for some folks. But if you’ve got a rebellious teenager overflowing with angst–you might want to take a hard look at the issues Dunnion deals with head on–from the perspective of the kids instead of the adults they run from. Dunnion’s ability to present convincing male and female voices and perspectives is uncanny. Writing about such subjects with harsh realism is the forte of few. It’s verification of Dunnion’s talent as a writer every time you cringe while discovering the very dark side of street and squat life. Oh and yes, again, this is also a love story (ies). How much does Oreo love Ferret? Enough to leave the entire world behind while pole dancing. What will Eddie do to get back to protecting Ray Ray? Whatever it takes.
Warning: This is not Patsy Cline crooning on this video.
June 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm (art, creative writing, culture, entertainment, fiction, humor, life, literary fiction, publishing, random, Writing)
Tags: 420 Characters, art, beach, Book, collages, creative, culture, entertainment, fiction, humor, life, literary, Lou, random, reading, review, short stories, Writing
All lovers of small texts this is for you. Tiny tales of woe, love, insanity, murder, mayhem and epic dreams no longer than 420 characters each.Perfect for snarfing between salami sandwich bites on feudal timed lunch breaks. Quick taste and daze day-dream prompts galore. Example per review. Beach’s writing boxes heartily.
Lou Beach: Stories & Pictures http://www.loubeach.com/the-book/
May 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm (creative writing, culture, entertainment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, history, humor, Indigenous People, life, literary fiction, movies, Native Americans, poetry, publishing, random, satire, Writing)
Tags: Alexie, anger, black humor, book review, books, boy, Business of Fancydancing, culture, dark comedy, education, family, father, fiction, Flight, foster children, grief, history, humor, identity, Indian, Indian Child Welfare Act, Indians, Irish, life, Native Americans, novel, random, reading, reviews, science fiction, Sherman, teenager, time travel, violence, Zits
Hehehehehehe. Okay, if you have no appreciation of dark humor stop reading right now and stay far away from Flight–far far away. Got it? I’m warning you. This is no sweet flight of fancy tome. Our hero is an angry fifteen year old male of Irish and Indian origin with some serious grief and father issues–among other things. Now sit back and sip your hot tea, latte or bloody mary and think about a young man who refers to himself as Zits. If you can’t relate then it’s probably in your best interests–and mine (yes, I do fear homicidal repercussions from unhappy readers)–to go nowhere near this particular Sherman Alexie book. That said, last night I stayed up very late reading Flight via flashlight outside on the front porch–much to the dismay of anyone who had their doors or windows open to receive my hooting laughter when I turned to page 146. Some folks do not find boiled birdies funny–and I do understand that such minds exist. On the other hand, there are minds, such as mine and apparently Alexie’s, which find self boiled birdies absolutely hilarious–especially in the context of a potentially violent encounter between a homeless Indian man and the usual well-heeled white dude. If by some means, like using your local public library, you garner a copy of Flight you too will be in serious need of comic relief by the time you turn to page 146. Though, hopefully, you’ll have found other darkly comic things to chuckle loudly about before page 146. But you’ll also have encountered several incidents of mayhem, murder and molestation along the way. The lives of foster children are not all filled with sugar mommies and daddies. Nor do many events in American history since 1492 recount pleasant Thanksgiving din dins between Europeans and Indigenous folks.
Ever wonder how to diffuse the building anger of teenager? Well, Sherman Alexie offers one way–history lessons of the ”not me” and the “me?!” variety. Yep, direct confrontations of some dark sad truths of reality provide the fodder for the adolescent mind to chew heartily on and time travel, complete with out-of-body experiences, is the medium. From the Battle of the Little Bighorn to the grief ridden friendly skies of a private flight instructor Alexie takes us on a journey through history. Along the way he’ll shred your heart, sew it back together without anesthesia, and then shove it back into your chest. You’re going to need every last piece of humor to endure the operation. If you’re not laughing when Harry Potter takes a swan dive–then you might be dead and gone. Or you’ve abandoned Alexie’s exploration of time travelling adventures as an instruction manuel. Each episode serves as a short story with ethical issues galore. FBI agent Hank Storm may not get your heartstrings trembling–but Gus, Bow Boy and Small Saint could very well lay you flat on the floor demolishing an extra-large box of kleenex–or soaking an extra-large cotton hanky.
Zits experiences violence in many forms via his out-of-body time travelling–and this makes him seriously consider his pains of loss, abandonment and identity. Children NEED fathers–preferably decent men who care about their welfare. That lacking, one must find family where one can. Sometimes the concept of ‘family’ has not a damned thing to do with genetics and biology. It’s got to do with who gives a damn.
I’ve been a fan of Alexie’s work ever since reading his collection of poems and short stories The Business of Fancydancing. Yes, there’s a film by that title too– and it’s a great film. But–it was the text that had me wanting to scream and laugh from one page to the next. Ever felt bushwhacked by a writer? Well that’s how I felt while reading The Business of Fancydancing. It was great. Disturbing at times, but great nonetheless. I will never forget the story of the man, Eve and the post office. Hell, I’ve never entered a post office since and not thought of the story. The same holds true for Flight. It will not numb or bore you to tears. Not sure you can relate yet? Okay, who has had bad acne? Raise your hands now.
The Official Website of Sherman Alexie–be forewarned–it’s a tad off kilter: http://www.fallsapart.com/
May 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm (creative writing, culture, entertainment, fiction, history, humor, literary fiction, politics, publishing, random, Writing)
Tags: Bloody Mary, Book, books, fiction, history, In the Garden of Iden, Kage Baker, literary, love, Mendoza, Mervius, Middle Ages, random, reading, review, Science, Spanish Inquisition, time travel, Writing
Ah for years and years my old bud Mervius insisted my reading buffet would never be complete until I consumed Kage Baker’s In the Garden of Iden. On several occasions I tasted a page or two before detouring off to sample other fare. I suspect the Spanish Inquisition just failed to fan the flares of my reading pheromones. It’s not good to venture into dark historical times when dark storm clouds are already cramping one’s interior mental landscape. So, time travel and Dr. Zeus notwithstanding, again and again I only wandered so far into Baker’s Garden–until now. Still plenty of dark shadows lurking in my attic, but this time Mendoza’s voice resonated with my own tuning fork and I ventured beyond the first chapter and into the second to meet Mendoza the child full of piss and vinegar galore. This child of the Inquisition is no snivelling little shy kitty but one determined plucky yard cat with an attitude that might make the rack think twice about its own viability. When ‘baby’ Mendoza meets Joseph of Dr. Z and The Company affiliation the drawing and quartering horses are off and running–straight to an English garden in Kent–of all places!
There have been many time travelling immortal cyborgs in fiction and film–but how many have been botanists sent on a mission to save a medically significant plant from certain extinction? Hmm? And how many of those cyborgs have had to endure life in the time of Bloody Mary? If I didn’t know better I’d think the English slang cuss word “bloody” had its dubious origins with Henry’s first-born child. Furthermore, what other cyborg is a teenager experiencing first love with a very physically appealing religious heretic? Hmm? Ah yes, the catnip crazed kitty has nearly clawed its way out of the bag now. What happens when a young cyborg on her first field trip into history falls in love with a human in times of pure political and religious lunacy? Oh cyborg, cyborg, what does your garden grow? Hmm…yes, you will have to go smell Kage Baker’s garden offerings to learn what was going on in not so merry England prior to the Golden Age of the Virgin Queen. Hmmm, now there’s a reference to a personal garden that cunningly never grew nor bore fruit.
Hmm, I suspect I’ve been having way too much fun gleefully flipping images and mixing metaphors in my own little garden plot here. But–what the hell!
A few reasons why you should entertain notions of reading the late Kage Baker’s first novel:
You’re a fan of historical fiction that mixes it up with science fiction.
You’ve got some ethical issues about time travel you’d like resolved.
You’re a sucker for love stories.
You’ve got a thing for smartass dialogue.
You’re in the reading market for a completed series of tomes featuring a strong woman with ‘real history’ and a mission for eternity.
You enjoy damned good writing.
You’re bored out of your mind with the offerings on the current bestseller list and are willing to mine for reading gold in veins you’ve not yet explored.
Oh, yes, about the question in the title of this blog post–hmm, sits twiddling her thumbs for a moment–um, yes, well considering current events in the states, eg, NDAA, one HAS to wonder if the Inquisition ever really ended.
[Mendoza] “For God’s sake, it’s crazy! These people are giving up their civil rights! It’s a step back into the Middle Ages!”
“Funny thing about those Middle Ages, ” said Joseph. “They just keep coming back. Mortals keep thinking they’re in Modern Times, you know, they get all this neat technology and pass all these humanitarian laws, and then something happens: there’s an economic crisis, or science makes some discovery people can’t deal with. And boom, people go right back to burning Jews and selling pieces of the True Cross. Don’t you ever make the mistake of thinking that mortals want to live in a golden age. They hate thinking.”
“But this doesn’t have anything to do with intellect!” I [Mendoza] protested. “It’s a question of survival! Don’t they realize they’ve just voted absolute power to their enemies? My God, where’s their common sense?”
Well, Mendoza, I do believe that when we are brutally honest with ourselves, we mortals in general are keenly aware of our entire lack of any sense at all–common or otherwise. Resumes twiddling thumbs now.
Website for the ‘late’ Kage Baker’s wonderful literary work. Yes, I wrote “literary” in regard to a science fiction text. I dare anyone to read In the Garden of Iden and argue the point. http://www.kagebaker.com/
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