489!

December 29, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Okay, I’ve got two more days and the rest of tonight to read 11 books.  Currently I’m on page 122 of Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson.  I’ve got bookmarks in a couple other things as well.  It looks like, if I’m careful, I should be able to make it!

Granted, that means keeping up the pace of four books a day that I’ve been pulling off all this week.

That’s all for today – I’ve got reading to do – but I’ll try to do a brief post tomorrow as well.

Happy Holidays

December 17, 2009 at 11:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

 

Me at 2 years, 5 months

(note doll at opposite end of couch)

450!

December 15, 2009 at 10:21 am | Posted in Book Blather, Challenges | 9 Comments

Well, 457 actually.  I’ve been sick lately and not posting all that often.  Though I hear blog readers in general only want to hear about a blogger’s personal life when it’s entertaining…

Anyway, I’m 91% of the way to my goal.  There are, including today, 17 days left of 2009.  I have 43 books left to read in order to reach my goal.  That includes 37 Pulitzer winners with an average length of 446 pages, and five more challenge books.  It looks like I’ll need to get through 2.5 books per day, or something upwards of 970 pages per day if I complete my challenges.

The bad news is, that’s basically impossible.  The good news is, I’ll be on vacation next week through the end of the year.  Also, if I let go of at least one of my stubborn ideas, I shouldn’t have too much trouble hitting 500.

Now’s the time to place your bets!

“Journey in the Dark”

December 15, 2009 at 9:59 am | Posted in Fiction | 1 Comment

Journey in the Dark is essentially a rags-to-riches story.  Martin Flavin gives us Sam Braden, a boy driven to wealth by the demons of his poor childhood, only to find that his vision of success may not be all he had imagined after all. 

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This story was tough for me to read.  The protagonist and I both started working at age 10, and there were many other parallels between this fictional life and mine.  It’s a sad tale, relieved by a few moments of humor.  The title seems to refer to Sam’s fumbling attempts to find a place for himself in the world, without a clear idea of where he’s going to wind up.

Why read a book if it’s going to bum you out?  This question seems to be cropping up a lot lately.  For me, a book needs to feel true, and thus it needs to contain an element of heartbreak.  Beautiful writing about a painful subject can make it seem less grim.  Literature can help us find the beam of light behind the dark cloud in our own lives.

“Dragon’s Teeth”

December 10, 2009 at 9:36 am | Posted in Fiction | 3 Comments

Dragon’s Teeth, the Pulitzer winner for 1943, is the fourth in an 11-book series by Upton Sinclair.  I’d like to be able to tell you I read the whole series, but this one was over 600 pages and the rest seem to be difficult to track down.  (My local libraries don’t have them.  They were reprinted in 2001 and sell for $25-30 a copy, which multiplied by 10 is outside my budget).

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This part of the sweeping historical epic concerns Hitler’s takeover of Germany before the outbreak of WWII.  The novel begins as a rather heavy-handed introduction to Socialism, but the story picks up pace as Hitler, Goring, and Goebbels make cameo appearances and the wealthy central characters attempt to rescue Jewish friends from the Nazis.

“A Bell for Adano”

December 8, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

You may recall John Hersey from his famous work Hiroshima.  His Pulitzer-winning piece A Bell for Adano is much lighter, in fact quite comical.

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This 1945 winner is set in Italy during the end of World War II.  An Army major helps in the reconstruction of a small seaside Italian town.  It’s a sort of cross between Catch-22 and It’s a Wonderful LifeA Bell for Adano is highly readable, charming, and also short – an excellent introduction to the Pulitzers and a great story for WWII fans.

The Future of E-Readers

December 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 2 Comments

Are you ready for this?  We have seen the future of e-readers, and it is caffeinated.

You may have seen various versions of the hologram keyboard, which are expensive and rare but available now if you want to track one down.  I hear the hologram monitor is under development.  Early versions, at least, project an image onto steam.

What makes steam?

Locomotives?  Steamships?  Showers?  Valentine’s Day in my sweetie’s pickup truck?

Keep trying.  Coffee makes steam!

The future of e-readers is this: Specialty coffee mugs that project an e-text directly over your beverage.  You heard it here first.

The reason this is a killer app is that if you get to a good part and you’re out of coffee, you have to buy a refill in order to keep reading.

Booking Through Thursday: But What About Me?

December 3, 2009 at 11:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

What’s your favorite part of Booking Through Thursday? Why do you participate (or not)?

Honestly, I like being asked a direct question that I can blather about.  It’s so much easier to frame your thoughts in response to something specific!  The questions are great, too.  Some weeks I’m not able to check in on a Thursday, and then I kick myself when I see what the question was.  It’s rare to find a question that leaves me with nothing to add to the discussion.

Of course the next best part is having a few dozen people all respond to the same topic.  It’s the next best thing to having a live chat, with the improvement that 40 people aren’t trying to talk over each other at once.

The only reason I could think not to participate would be that it tends to draw commenters who say, “Nice, now come to my blog and read mine.”  The assumption is that I haven’t already!  As I remarked above, I won’t comment or post if I feel I have nothing to add.  Lord knows I use up enough bandwidth rambling on about nonsense already, without duplicating someone else’s contribution on top of it.

Godzilla’s Library Card

December 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“Asterios Polyp”

December 2, 2009 at 9:39 am | Posted in Fiction | 4 Comments

Coolest graphic novel ever.

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If this is really David Mazzucchelli’s first graphic novel, I think I’ve just died and gone to heaven.  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  The drawings are excellent, the layout is really innovative, the dialogue is great, the storyline is fascinating, and the subject matter will suck you in so that time stops and you forget you’re turning pages.

Asterios Polyp is one of the most multi-faceted characters I’ve ever seen in a graphic novel.  The supporting cast are just as believable.  Mazzucchelli has a neat trick of drawing characters in different styles, and writing their dialogue in different fonts.  I just can’t rave about it enough – he even gets the punctuation right!  (Which as we know is a real weak point in the graphic novel world).  [Though, since I’m being nitpicky, he does misspell Nietzsche in really big letters].  If you only read one graphic novel in your life (well, okay, except Maus) then read this one.

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