July 20, 2009

Some Light Entertaining Reading

Over at Instapundit, Glenn is talking about Robert Heinlein's juvenile books.  (I loved just about all of them and would be quite happy to read them all again, even as an adult).  But he doesn't mention my favorite - more of a novelette than a novel. 

Double Star 

If you've never read it, I can absolutely recommend it no matter what your age.  To me it's the best story he ever wrote.  It's not long, so if you can get hold of it, read it and certainly...


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March 09, 2009

Books, Books, and More Books

Update: Let me try again... gotta remember NOT to give the post the same name as a category... Sheesh!

The other day I posted about a story I saw regarding books people lie about reading. It was specific to Great Britain, however, people are people the world over... if they're doing it over there, it's happening everywhere.

LeeAnn came back with a post that include pics of her bookcases. Wow! She's got me beat. Although I will admit to having gotten rid of boxes of books before the last move. And I still have some in boxes... not to mention several bags I keep meaning to go donate to a local book donation place. (since I'm lazy, these bags of books currently reside in a closet where I shall continue to forget them for quite a while yet).

Anyhow, I finally took some really bad pictures of my bookcases today. Most of my bookcases have not only books, but many many many other things tend to take up residence on them.

Let's start in the office. Yes, these are the few books I have that are very techy. And some other stuff that has managed to creep in. I don't buy many techy books because I can usually find what I want online.

Ah that green carpet... I should have golf clubs there instead of books.

Then we move into the next room where we have bookshelves that we finished ourselves and have been with us for over 20 years.

It's difficult to get a picture of them. We have our old kitchen table down in that room (there was nowhere else to put it)

It's right next to the teeny "bar" so the boxes you can just see on the right are cases of wine. Unfortunately the flash on this camera sucks and I don't have a speedlight - so there it is - lousy lighting. Heh.

The next one is in the spare bedroom. Yes, that's a pic my son had from way back on the wall. I still like it. They are built in bookcases as you can see - pretty nice ones.

The bottom shelves are all kid books - some from when I was a kid.

Then we have the shelves in our bedroom. No matter how hard I try to keep them cleaned up... stuff accumulates.


Yes, many of those are books from college. I'm pretty sure we have at least 3 calculus books, nursing school books, not to mention engineer type books. If we need to solve an equation or find out how something was treated 30 years ago - we're in fine shape.

Well, that's it. A tour of the books. Not quite up to LeeAnn's impressive standards (I'm so jealous) but enough to keep us occupied when we get bored.

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March 05, 2009

High School is in Session

Ran across this today...

Most Britons have lied about the books they read

LONDON (Reuters) - Two out of three Britons have lied about reading books they have not, and George Orwell's "1984" tops the literary fib list, according to a survey published Thursday.

Say we actually believe the statement above... the question of the day becomes - why lie about what books you've read?

Because they want everyone to think they are  "smart"?  Because they never got over this High School feeling of being like everyone else?  Because it's the "cool" thing to say? 

Good Grief!  Sheer idiocy! 

What if you enter into a conversation with someone who loves the book... how do you hold up your end if you haven't read it?  Or does one just smile, nod, and let the other person talk?  What if you both start talking about the book and neither of you has read it?  Now there's a thought for a very interesting staring contest...

Of that list:

1. 1984 - George Orwell (42 percent)
2. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (31)
3. Ulysses - James Joyce (25)
4. The Bible (24)
5. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (16)
6. A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking (15)
7. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie (14)
8. In Remembrance of Things Past - Marcel Proust (9)
9. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama*** (6)
10. The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins (6)

The only one of these I have read is "1984".  I had to read that in High School.  I hated every page of it.  It was so dismal and depressing and didn't even have the grace to end with an upbeat ending (of course an upbeat ending would have destroyed it's street cred entirely) 

Please note the words "had to read" - the teacher had the Cliff's Notes and would make sure to ask stuff that did not appear in said notes.  I wanted the grade - so I read the damned thing.  (gag me) I have tried assiduously for years to forget the experience. 

I could never figure out why all the books people insisted where "great literature" had to be so damned depressing.  "Grapes of Wrath" anyone?  Why not just kill me now and be done.  I had to read that one in High School too... it's a toss up as to which was the more crushingly depressing of the 2 books.  With GoW I always felt like I needed a shower to wash the grit off after every chapter. 

Heaven forbid the "hero" win - that would never happen in real life.  Certainly no one should ever be happy when the book is done.  The best one can hope for is to continue dwindling into the years... gritty, grimy, and downtrodden.  *sigh*

I am currently listening to the audio book of "A Brief History of Time".  The good thing is it's short (only a 5 hour read).  However, I'm a third of the way through and so far there hasn't been anything said that I haven't heard expressed elsewhere.  While not a bad book, in so much as it's not a depressing novel, I'm waiting to see if the end brings new insight or new ideas.  I'll be terribly disappointed if it doesn't progress from the current state. 

I've seen people make fun of authors I read on a regular basis with great enjoyment.  The funny thing is - those making fun of the books often haven't read them.

"That type of book isn't worth my time to even read."  You can almost hear the disdainful sniff while they type the words. 


But lying about what you read - that's okay because these are the cool books. 

As far as I'm concerned people can read whatever they want.  I don't care.  If they love 1984 or War and Peace - excellent! Read with great enjoyment.  Revel in the story.  That's what books are for!  But don't disparage others because they prefer to read something else.

I've tried several times to read Ulysses.  I never get very far.  Maybe one day, but I feel no pressing need to read it, so maybe not.  Or I may see if it's out there as an audio book.  Possibly I'll get further with that than "reading".  With a book like Ulysses, I tend to get hung up on some of the pronunciations even though I'm reading to myself and it doesn't matter.  

Oh, last of all, I've never heard of Richard Dawkins and The Selfish Gene.  I suppose that could be considered proof  I'm illiterate.


*** Hey Reuters your bias is showing... Obama's book is the only one that got a link!  Not even Orwell's did. 

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February 17, 2009

Reading Matters

I was talking to one of the guys I work with today and came to the sudden realization that, although I always "meant to", I never actually did read any of the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout.  I think I'll need to fix that.  At the very least it will get me away from the computer screen for a few hours a night. 

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September 12, 2007


On Sept. 11th I suddenly decided to pick up this book. It seemed like the right time to read it again.

If you go here, click on excerpt, and start reading, you'll see why.

Go on, read a few pages, it's not that long and you'll be surprised how little things have changed in all these years.

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May 29, 2007

Yet Another Book!

While I'm on a book theme, I was cruising by Elisson's place and I find that he is now a published author... in the book sense.

Want to have a bunch of short stories to fill in bits of your day? This would be the book to have on hand. If you are not a regular reader of Ellison, just browse through a few of his posts, you'll see that the man definitely has a terrific way with words. Then head on over and order your very own copy.

Shorts in a Wad: One Hundred 100 - Word Stories

Congratulations Elisson!!! Well done and well deserved.

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May 28, 2007

Celebrating Freedom!

Sadly, I was not able to make it to the wonderful get together with all these terrific people. I did have to work as I was covering for some peeps in the office who were on vacation... But that doesn't mean I didn't do anything at all.

No I celebrated my freedom and headed out to buy books! Not only buy books, but meet up with the author and get my book signed. Barbara has a terrific post about all the fun and games. (Olive Garden in Springfield MA will never be the same)

I'm pretty sure that the same people who want to make me wear a burkha would have a very strong negative opinion of my reading material. I give thanks for every one of our soldiers who have made it possible for me to wear what I want, drive my own car, and read excellent stories without some idiot looking over my shoulder and telling me not to or they'll kill me.

We live in a great country.

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May 13, 2007

Vitally Important!

Identity Theft is an issue that effects everyone. It's something we all know can happen to us any time (if it hasn't already). There's a new book out about this subject by Frank Abagnale called Stealing Your Life.

Steve Hunt has posted a review and it sounds like an excellent informative book. Steve has forgotten more than I will ever know about security of all types. When he takes notice of a book like this, it's worth your time to check it out. It may even be worth your identity. Really.

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May 02, 2007

A Personal Favorite

Over at Books for Kids blog, Instapundit's mom has a recommendation for a book that I just loved as a kid.

It is late winter of 1940 in the Norwegian village of Riswyk, and although the children still enjoy the fun of a daily sled run down the local mountain, the threat of the German invasion hangs over the town like a cloud...

Read the whole thing.

It's called Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. It's rated for grades 3-7, but depending on the person, older kids might really enjoy it too. I believe I was about 9 years old when I first read it. And quite honestly, I want to get hold of a copy and read it again. If you have kids in that age range - give them a story of courage and daring - a story to lift their spirits. Give them a story to inspire.

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December 19, 2006

Some Christmas Reading

I first found out about Nanowrimo from Big Stupid Tommy, who I was lucky enough to meet if only for about 2 minutes at Eric's blog meet in October.

Tommy didn't have enough time (what with life constantly interfering with his writing) to finish his novel in November, but he's been slowly posting chapters as he gets them written. Head over here and start reading. This would be the last chapter currently, but he has links to the earlier Chapters at the top of the post. (yes read them in order) I wish my attempt had turned out half as well as this story.

Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and prepare to enjoy - it's an excellent, fun story so far. And no, it has nothing to do with Christmas - it's just that so many people have extra days off about now I thought they should be filled with some good reading. Have fun.

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