Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Columbine by Dave Cullen

This outstanding nonfiction work is probably going to be the definitive book on the Columbine tragedy. The author alternates Dylan and Eric's background, the telling of the actual events and the survivor/parents views. Some people might be put off by the way the author moves from topic to topic but I am not entirely sure I could have read a straight retelling of the events without having to put the book down so I appreciated the "breaks".

Sunday, December 06, 2009

From Ninety-Fifth Street: Poems by John Koethe

Ninety-Fifth Street

by John Koethe

Words can bang around in your head
Forever, if you let them and you give them room.
I used to love poetry, and mostly I still do,
Though sometimes “I, too, dislike it.” There must be
Something real beyond the fiddle and perfunctory
Consolations and the quarrels—as of course
There is, though what it is is difficult to say.
The salt is on the briar rose, the fog is in the fir trees.
I didn’t know what it was, and I don’t know now,
But it was what I started out to do, and now, a lifetime later,
All I’ve really done. The Opening of the Field,
Roots and Branches, Rivers and Mountains: I sat in my room
Alone, their fragments shored against the ruin or revelation
That was sure to come, breathing in their secret atmosphere,
Repeating them until they almost seemed my own.
We like to think our lives are what they study to become,
And yet so much of life is waiting, waiting on a whim.
So much of what we are is sheer coincidence,
Like a sentence whose significance is retrospective,
Made up out of elementary particles that are in some sense
Simply sounds, like syllables that finally settle into place.
You probably think that this is a poem about poetry
(And obviously it is), yet its real subject is time,
For that’s what poetry is—a way to live through time
And sometimes, just for a while, to bring it back.

* * *
A paneled dining room in Holder Hall. Stage right, enter twit:
“Mr. Ashbery, I’m your biggest campus fan.” We hit it off
And talked about “The Skaters” and my preference for “Clepsydra”
Vs. “Fragment.” Later on that night John asked me to a party in New York,
And Saturday, after dinner and a panel on the artist’s role as something
(And a party), driving Lewis’s Austin-Healey through the rain
I sealed our friendship with an accident. The party was on Broadway,
An apartment (white of course, with paintings) just downstairs
From Frank O’Hara’s, who finally wandered down. I talked to him
A little about Love Poems (Tentative Title), which pleased him,
And quoted a line from “Poem” about the rain, which seemed to please him too.
The party ended, John and I went off to Max’s, ordered steaks
And talked about our mothers. All that talking!—poems and paintings,
Parents, all those parties, and the age of manifestos still to come!
I started coming to New York for lunch. We’d meet at Art News,
Walk to Fifty-sixth Street to Larre’s, a restaurant filled with French expatriates,
Have martinis and the prix fixe for $2.50 (!), drink rose de Provence
And talk (of course) about Genet and James and words like “Coca-Cola.”
It was an afternoon in May when John brought up a play
That he and Kenneth Koch and Frank O’Hara—Holy Trinity!
(Batman was in vogue)—had started years ago and never finished.
There was a dictator named Edgar and some penicillin,
But that’s all I remember. They hadn’t actually been together
In years, but planned to finish it that night at John’s new apartment
On Ninety-fifth Street, and he said to come by for a drink
Before they ate and got to work. It was a New York dream
Come true: a brownstone floor-through, white and full of paintings
(Naturally), “with a good library and record collection.”
John had procured a huge steak, and as I helped him set the table
The doorbell rang and Frank O’Hara, fresh from the museum
And svelte in a hound’s tooth sports coat entered, followed shortly
By “excitement-prone Kenneth Koch” in somber gray,
And I was one with my immortals. In the small mythologies
We make up out of memories and the flow of time
A few moments remain frozen, though the feel of them is lost,
The feel of talk. It ranged from puns to gossip, always coming back
To poems and poets. Frank was fiercely loyal to young poets
(Joe Ceravolo’s name came up I think), and when I mentioned Lewis
In a way that must have sounded catty, he leapt to his defense,
Leaving me to backtrack in embarrassment and have another drink,
Which is what everyone had. I think you see where it was going:
Conversation drifting into dinner, then I stayed for dinner
And everyone forgot about the play, which was never finished
(Though I think I’ve seen a fragment of it somewhere). I see a table
In a cone of light, but there’s no sound except for Kenneth’s
Deadpan “Love to see a boy eat” as I speared a piece of steak;
And then the only voice I’m sure I hear is mine,
As those moments that had once seemed singular and clear
Dissolve into a “general mess of imprecision of feeling”
And images, augmented by line breaks. There were phone calls,
Other people arrived, the narrative of the night dissolved
And finally everyone went home. School and spring wound down.
The semester ended, then the weekend that I wrote about in “Sally’s Hair”
Arrived and went, and then a late-night cruise around Manhattan for a rich friend’s
Parents’ anniversary bash, followed by an Upper East Side preppie bar
That left me looking for a place to crash, and so I rang John’s bell at 2 AM
And failed (thank God) to rouse him, caught a plane to San Diego
The next day, worked at my summer job and worked on poems
And started reading Proust, and got a card one afternoon
From Peter Schjeldahl telling me that Frank O’Hara had been killed.

Ninety-fifth Street soldiered on for several years.
I remember a cocktail party (the symposium of those days),
Followed by dinner just around the corner at Elaine’s,
Pre-Woody Allen. It was there I learned of R.F.K.’s assassination
When I woke up on the daybed in the living room, and where
John told me getting married would ruin me as a poet
(I don’t know why—most of his friends were married), a judgment
He revised when he met Susan and inscribed The Double Dream of Spring
“If this is all we need fear from spinach, then I don’t mind so much”
(Which was probably premature—watering his plants one day
She soaked his landlord, Giorgio Cavallon, dozing in the garden below).
It was where Peter Delacorte late one night recited an entire side
Of a Firesign Theatre album from memory, and set John on that path,
To his friends’ subsequent dismay, and where he blessed me with his extra copy
Of The Poems, and next day had second thoughts (though I kept it anyway).
Sometimes a vague, amorphous stretch of years assumes a shape,
And then becomes an age, and then a golden age alive with possibilities,
When change was in the air and you could wander through its streets
As though through Florence and the Renaissance. I know it sounds ridiculous,
But that’s the way life flows: in stages that take form in retrospect,
When all the momentary things that occupy the mind from day to day
Have vanished into time, and something takes their place that wasn’t there,
A sense of freedom—one which gradually slipped away. The center
Of the conversation moved downtown, the Renaissance gave way to mannerism
As the junior faculty took charge, leaving the emeriti alone and out of it
Of course, lying on the fringes, happily awake; but for the rest
The laws proscribing what you couldn’t do were clear. I got so tired
Of writing all those New York poems (though by then I’d moved to Boston—
To Siena, you might say) that led to nowhere but the next one,
So I started writing poems about whatever moved me: what it’s like
To be alive within a world that holds no place for you, yet seems so beautiful;
The feeling of the future, and its disappointments; the trajectory of a life,
That always brought me back to time and memory (I’d finished Proust by then),
And brings me back to this. John finally moved downtown himself,
Into a two-story apartment at Twenty-fifth and Tenth, with a spiral staircase
Leading to a library, the locus of the incident of Susan, Alydar and John
And the pitcher of water (I’ll draw a veil over it), and Jimmy Schuyler sighing
“It’s so beautiful,” as Bernadette Peters sang “Raining in My Heart” from Dames at Sea.
The poetry still continued—mine and everyone’s. I’d added Jimmy
To my pantheon (as you’ve probably noticed), but the night in nineteen sixty-six
Seemed more and more remote: I never saw Kenneth anymore,
And there were new epicenters, with new casts of characters, like Madoo,
Bob Dash’s garden in Sagaponack, and Bill and Willy’s loft in Soho.
John moved again, to Twenty-second Street, and Susan and I moved to Milwaukee,
Where our son was born. I stopped coming to New York, and writing poems,
For several years, while I tried to dream enough philosophy for tenure.
One afternoon in May I found myself at Ninth and Twenty-second,
And as though on cue two people whom I hadn’t seen in years—David Kalstone,
Darragh Park—just happened by, and then I took a taxi down to Soho
To the loft, and then a gallery to hear Joe Brainard read from I Remember,
Back to John’s and out to dinner—as though I’d never been away,
Though it was all too clear I had. Poems were in the air, but theory too,
And members of the thought police department (who must have also gotten tenure)
Turned up everywhere, with arguments that poetry was called upon to prove.
It mattered, but in a different way, as though it floated free from poems
And wasn’t quite the point. I kept on coming back, as I still do.
Half my life was still to come, and yet the rest was mostly personal:
I got divorced, and Willy killed himself, and here I am now, ready to retire.
There was an obituary in the Times last week for Michael Goldberg,
A painter you’ll recall from Frank O’Hara’s poems (“Why I Am Not a Painter,”
“Ode to Michael Goldberg (’s Birth and Other Births)”). I didn’t know him,
But a few months after the soiree on Ninety-fifth Street I was at a party
In his studio on the Bowery, which was still his studio when he died.
The New York art world demimonde was there, including nearly everyone
Who’s turned up in this poem. I remember staring at a guy who
Looked like something from the Black Lagoon, dancing with a gorgeous
Woman half his age. That’s my New York: an island dream
Of personalities and evenings, nights where poetry was second nature
And their lives flowed through it and around it as it gave them life.
O brave new world (now old) that had such people in’t!

* * *
“The tiresome old man is telling us his life story.”
I guess I am, but that’s what poets do—not always
Quite as obviously as this, and usually more by indirection
And omission, but beneath the poetry lies the singular reality
And unreality of an individual life. I see it as a long,
Illuminated tunnel, lined with windows giving on the scenes outside—
On Ninety-fifth Street forty years ago. As life goes on
You start to get increasingly distracted by your own reflection
And the darkness gradually becoming visible at the end.
I try not to look too far ahead, but just to stay here—
Quick now, here, now, always—only something pulls me
Back (as they say) to the day, when poems were more like secrets,
With their own vernacular, and you could tell your friends
By who and what they read. And now John’s practically become
A national treasure, and whenever I look up I think I see him
Floating in the sky like the Cheshire Cat. I don’t know
What to make of it, but it makes me happy—like seeing Kenneth
Just before he died (“I’m going west John, I’m going west”)
In his apartment on a side street near Columbia, or remembering
Once again that warm spring night in nineteen sixty-six.
I like to think of them together once again, at the cocktail party
At the end of the mind, where I could blunder in and ruin it one last time.
Meanwhile, on a hillside in the driftless region to the west,
A few miles from the small town where The Straight Story ends,
I’m building a house on a meadow, if I’m permitted to return,
Behind a screen of trees above a lower meadow, with some apple trees
In which the fog collects on autumn afternoons, and a vista
Of an upland pasture without heaviness. I see myself
Sitting on the deck and sipping a martini, as I used to at Larre’s,
In a future that feels almost like a past I’m positive is there—
But where? I think my life is still all conversation,
Only now it’s with myself. I can see it continuing forever,
Even in my absence, as I close the windows and turn off the lights
And it begins to rain. And then we’re there together
In the house on the meadow, waiting for whatever’s left to come
In what’s become the near future—two versions of myself
And of the people that we knew, each one an other
To the other, yet both indelibly there: the twit of twenty
And the aging child of sixty-two, still separate
And searching in the night, listening through the night
To the noise of the rain and memories of rain
And evenings when we’d wander out into the Renaissance,
When I could see you and talk to you and it could still change;
And still there in the morning when the rain has stopped,
And the apples are all getting tinted in the cool light.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2009)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Between The Assassinations by Aravind Adiga

Adiga's collection of short stories creates a portrait of Indian life as his finely tuned characters become vibrant individuals fighting against caste and class in a system designed to keep people firmly in their place. From a child who learns to beg in order to support her father's drug habit to the man too poor to offer for the woman he loves these stories capture the struggles of modern day India.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka

A story of magical realism mirroring the history of Poland, Pigeon, his wife Anielica and their Granddaughter Baba Yaga alternate in this delightful novel with the feel of a folktale. Even when the Germans are followed by the Russians the cast of characters manages to retain their grace and wit, in much the same way Poland has retained its individuality.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser

The life of one of Brazil's most celebrated novelists is carefully and meticulously documented in this biography of Clarice Lispector. This larger-than-life celebrity was lauded during her lifetime and has attained cult status with Brazilians of every age but has not been recognized by the world literary community for her body of work. Benjamin Moser succeeds in highlighting her achievements and bring into focus the brilliance of this mysterious novelist.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

From Theory of Mind: New and Selected Poems by Bin Ramke

49 Views of Childhood

But he was a quiet child, I was, he was never
one, such a one as would wander

into wilderness alone—untrue, he was
one to play at death as boys will.

I was small when I was small and then
I was no longer. Dolls are delicate. Legs

and arms articulate to sit them
around you and tell them stories, to have them

tell you stories tell him stories make them
up. Dress them. If an end comes

it will come the sky will remain sky
and weather will be simple, simply

where we live during it. Another version
of this world engages these little ones

around us, about our feet, small humans
who have forgotten the future who

splash happily as if weather were a cure
for childhood. We didn't, he didn't, know

better than to sulk heavily as if
I did not watch secretly gathering

clouds, gathering under them
into likely groups—action figures. Us.

It was better when birds did not
gather so forcefully, mournfully back

before ravens and crows had moved
into cities following the pioneer

pigeons—boys walked under groups
would dismally look down, boys and blackbirds

crossing Sunday paths home
back before sparrows would

so cravenly eat from our hands;
children of today know only

small wishes and crooked feet,
articulated legs and artificial voices

to cry Mama or Papa at whim, at the least
tipping of self into horizontal . . . .

They do not see the green sky
we knew then, such empty grandeur:

in silence such insolence, solitude's
reward for being good, which is part

of every eros of childhood. In all parts
of this world there are children

except in the coldest southernmost,
Antarctica as imagined goal, to gather

there his dolls, my wish, his need
for clean weather and snow

articulated weather; is there no
child to sleep on that continent?

No child's dream floated ever above
the white horizon of an ice containment

bends the bodies to its will,
makes a wish. Like birds

the bodies fit in the fist. The still
children play those little games

the birds of the air the lilies
of the field, the insolence of the whole

agon; suicide as self expression
is paradox, as is sex as self. He made

little houses for his dolls to sit
through afternoons to peer

out narrow windows and be
invisible to have things to see.

I have, he has, things to say, he has
he had things. To say he was

a boy belonging to the end
of habitation, health and happiness.

If this doll could sin she would sing
to him I would sing also, to her

it is like forsythia, logical because
the branch wavers and blossoms bloom

while wind does what wind will?
A dance is like this: to console

as to clasp these hands, touch there
in the air away from bodies

and then to angle the arms, turn
the hips and some part submerges

drowned as the doomed self would
like voodoo, dolled up and doomed—

dancing anyway ever. He could sing
and does deliberately, the child, it

follows that anguish is not me,
nor do we suffer who make those cries.

He would drown his dolls slowly
slide into agonized waters

which reflect the intricate lace
of the bridge which trembled above

them, a bridge which fell in the end
vortex shedding and resonant

oscillations, a dance the bridge did
with the air, not the words the wind

is the reason for suffering. A past
is anything's childhood is a reason

flares into mind like burning
burning which might have been

mind, a doll could have one
and could dance like anything.

Copyright © 2002 Bin Ramke

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker

Paul Chowder is suffering from writer's block and his long-time girlfriend has left him. As Paul wanders through the days trying to write the introduction to a long overdue poetry anthology, he struggles to rediscover his own poetry as well. Love him or hate him, Paul's stream of consciousness narration never fails to entertain.

This is a book that grew on me as I read it. You kind of want to bop Paul on the head but there is also a fascination about how (or if) he will manage to pull himself out of the mess he has made of his life.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Versed by Rae Armantrout

Versed explores both broad and personal topics in this work of astonishing range. The first half of this collection explores violence and contemporary society while the second half narrows in focus as Rae Armantrout chronicles her struggles with cancer. This darkly honest poetry is a touchstone to the human experience and provides the reader with a whole new range of questions to ponder.

by Rae Armantrout

We love our cat
for her self
regard is assiduous
and bland,

for she sits in the small
patch of sun on our rug
and licks her claws
from all angles

and it is far
to "balanced reporting"

though, of course,
it is also
the very same thing.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Blogging Anniversary

Three Halloweens ago I went to my first blogger meet-up. It was a relatively safe start for trying out these events where I would be meeting whole new groups of people. Especially since the friend hosting, gonemild, is a dear friend and someone I have known for years. It was supposed to be a Halloween party but I didn't get past the "and I will be serving my homemade beer" part of the invitation before hitting the RSVP button so I was the only one there without a costume. In spite of that, or maybe because of the beer (which remains my all-time favorite gonemild brew) I had a wonderful time.

That night was so important to me because I ended up meeting people that have become some of my very best friends. In addition to gonemild and his wife, I found Keith, Janet, Spyder, Kanga, XO, Eric, Well Hell Michelle (blog now retired), Average Jane, M Toast (blog now retired) and Krissy. I have met many wonderful people since that party but these are the people who will always hold a special place in my heart for their warm acceptance of me in their lives.

And General Blather, of course!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Terry Pratchett's acceptance speech

I just couldn't resist posting Terry Pratchett’s acceptance speech at the 2009 Michael L. Printz Awards (administered by ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association and sponsored by Booklist) for his novel Nation. How can you not want to run out and read all of his books?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Love and Obstacles: Stories by Aleksander Hemon

There was a point in my life when I didn't care for short stories but I was young and silly then. In recent years, some of the most profound books I have read have been either collections of interlinked stories or even just individual stories. Authors who are skilled can pack a huge amount of intensity and meaning into a small number of words. The following collection is by an author who is just beginning to prove that he can deliver.

In this collection of linked stories, we follow Bogdan from his time as a teenager from
Zaire to Sarajevo and on through his adult life in Chicago in this astonishing work that is by turn funny, horrifying and surreal. The first story, set in Zaire, delivers an emotional response that will keep you coming back for more. Aleksander Hemon's use of the English language is playful and dazzling and he gets better and better with each new offering.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Booklist for new Vegetarians

A friend was asking about really good resources to use to support her vegetarian teen daughter and since I was putting together the list for her, I decided to post it up here as well.

Here are just a few books in the field that have received excellent reviews, won awards and are loved by vegetarian friends. More titles that fits your family's unique taste shouldn't be difficult to find since it seems that everyone is coming out with vegetarian cookbooks these days. They shouldn’t be hard to find (I just saw ones from Rachel Ray and Mark Bittman.) Big names in the field include: Mollie Katzen (Moosewood Café), Jeanne Lemlin, Colin Spencer, Rose Elliot and Leah Leneman

**Vegetables Rock!: A Complete Guide for Teenage Vegetarians by Pierson, Stephanie – This one got fabulous reviews and is on the ALA Reluctant Reader Award list.

Okay, So Now You're a Vegetarian: Advice & 100 Recipes from One Teen to Another by Butts, Lauren and Shields, Donna - Another good teen book on the subject

Feeding the Healthy Vegetarian Family by Haedrich, Ken – This one got really good reviews and is a nice basic text.

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Anniversary) (10TH ed.) by Madison, Deborah – Won a James Beard Award (I have this one at home for you to borrow).

The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for Health: More Than 200 New Recipes for Delicious and Nutrient-Rich Dishes by Mollie Katzen is a big name in the vegetarian world

Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian by Jaffrey, Madhur - I haven't used this one but her other cookbooks are fabulous!

Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon - Children's book author and vegetarian

Vegetarian Times Fast and Easy Great Food You Can Make in Minutes by the Editors of Vegetarian Times - Any of the Vegetarian Times cookbooks (and the magazine) are great.

The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas - Really nice for diverse families who aren't all vegetarians.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Jim Butcher to visit the Library

Bestselling Author Jim Butcher to Discuss Turn Coat,

The Latest Book in His Dresden Files Series

(Kansas City, Missouri) – Author Jim Butcher discusses Turn Coat, the newest book in The Dresden Files series, on Thursday, April 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the Truman Forum at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

Turn Coat is the 11th installment in Butcher’s The Dresden Files, a series of fantasy/mystery novels featuring private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden. The stories are told from the point of view of Dresden as he recounts his investigations into supernatural happenings in present-day Chicago.

In Turn Coat, Dresden’s friend Morgan shows up at Harry’s doorstep broken, bleeding, and begging for protection from the Wardens; and Dresden finds himself once again at odds with the White Council.

Butcher’s books will be available for sale, and the author will sign copies purchased during event.

Butcher was born in Independence, Missouri, and continues to make his home there.

Admission is free. Call 816.701.3407 to indicate your interest in attending or you may RSVP online.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poem-A-Day brought to you by Knopf

Today’s selection is John Updike’s “Half Moon, Small Cloud.” To sign up, go to Poem-A-Day @ Knopf Doubleday Press

Half Moon, Small Cloud

Caught out in daylight, a rabbit’s
transparent pallor, the moon
is paired with a cloud of equal weight:
the heavenly congruence startles.

For what is the moon, that it haunts us,
this impudent companion immigrated
from the system’s less fortunate margins,
the realm of dust collected in orbs?

We grow up as children with it, a nursemaid
of a bonneted sort, round-faced and kind,
not burning too close like parents, or too far
to spare even a glance, like movie stars.

No star but in the zodiac of stars,
a stranger there, too big, it begs for love
(the man in it) and yet is diaphanous,
its thereness as mysterious as ours.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kaite's Book Meme

My friend, Kaite, put together this Book Meme and another friend continued it. Since I don't like to be left out of the fun, I thought I would join in:)

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?
A copy of the Bible my Grandparents gave me. It still smells like smoke from my house fire but it was the one book I dragged out of that mess determined to salvage.

2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next?
Current Read: Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward
Last Read: Little Bee by Chris Cleve
Next Book: Doghead by Morten Ramsland

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?
I love quirky characters so everyone told me I would LOVE Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Really, not-so-much...

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
I have a huge list of books I want to read on and but I don't have anything that I will "make" myself read. Life is too short and there are way too many great books out there. I'm not going to force myself to read something I don't want to.

5. Which book are you saving for “retirement?”
I don't precisely "save" books. I just get new ones I am dying to read and so the poor lonely formerly in-demand unread ones get stored in a to-be-read list or down in my basement.

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?
I don't usually read the ending first unless I am reading and am ambivalent about a book and trying to decide if I should finish it. Then I might jump around and read several sections to see if picks up.

7. Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?
Not something I usually read but they do serve a purpose so I don't think they are a waste.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
Amelia Peabody in the Elizabeth Peters books. I can't think of anything more cool than being a Victorian explorer in Egypt with all of those discoveries left to find.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?
Black Beauty and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I remember reading them over and over again on a road trip to Washington D.C. with my family when I was in 5th or 6th grade.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.
Does getting large shipments of books from the publisher every week for the last three years to support my book award reading count as interesting?

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?
Every book I give to someone (not counting a few lately) has been a book that I put a lot of thought into. I try very hard to give people what they want, not what I want.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?
No one book. I always travel with new-to-me books that I leave scattered behind me like confetti, just waiting to be found by a new reader.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?
Not really.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?
One of my staff found bacon in a book but I can't say that I have ever found anything that unusual.

15. Used or brand new?
I don't care. As long as they don't smell funny or look too grimy, I don't much care what kind of shape the book is in. It's all about the words, baby!

16. Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?
I am keeping Gretchen's answer on this one. "Can't he be both?"

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

18. Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to celluloid?
There are so many, where to start? Ummm...Dune was pretty darn awful.

19. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
The two people with the closest taste in books to me are Gretchen and my sister and I almost always like what they are reading. Kaite, on the other hand, has very different taste but she has mad librarian readers advisory skillz, so when she is wearing her RA hat I always listen.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Yes, I have been reading but I have to admit that I have mostly been reading urban paranormal fiction (Patricia Briggs is doing a fun werewolf series right now) but now it is time to get back to the Award reading.

On the day Sarah and Little Bee meet, events take place that profoundly affect the lives of each woman. Two years later, when their paths meet again, the course of their lives is once again profoundly changed. At once heartbreaking and tender, their journey explores the immigration system in England, the impact of a global environment and what the lucky and strong owe to those less fortunate.

I love stories that make you ponder your life and really stop and think about what you would do in a similar situation. This is that kind of novel for me.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Free e-book Friday

NEW YORK, NY - March 4, 2009 - Random House, Inc. today unveiled the first five titles in its new Suvudu Free First Book Library. Designed to introduce new readers to popular and acclaimed science fiction and fantasy series, the Suvudu Free First Book Library allows readers to access free digital copies of the first book in each series.

The program launches with access to the following novels:
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik (we love this book here at Dear Author)
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (I’ve heard great things about this book)
Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt

The books will be made available through Random House’s science fiction/fantasy portal, (, as well as on other content services, including and the Stanza ebook reader application for the iPhone.

Says Christine Cabello, Random House Publishing Group Deputy Director of Marketing: “The Suvudu Free First Book promotion provides us with a new digital vehicle to build an author’s fan base and is an ideal way to bring new readers to these series.”

New titles are scheduled to be added to the Suvudu Free First Book Library on a regular basis. Coming soon are Terry Brooks’s Magic Kingdom for Sale—Sold!, Elizabeth Moon’s Trading in Danger, and many more.

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