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Showing posts from September, 2010

Planes and how they Work by Clint Twist

Easily one of the best children's books I've ever read. Each interactive, pull-out, colorful page, is loaded with so much aeronautical information, from the cockpit on down through the fuselage and all the way back to the tail fin, that I learned as much about airplanes while reading it to my kids as they did! Fun fun fun! And the pages are nice and thick as well, not chintzy and easily tear-apart-able in the destructive hands of a four year old, like so many interactive children's books, which get wrecked the very day you purchase them oftentimes, once your ravenously reading, though rough handed, curious kids have their playful way with them.

Kids will learn the answers to fascinating questions such as ... how on earth can a huge piece of machinery weighing over 800,000 pounds -- nearly half-a-million tons! -- lift off the ground and ever get airborne? And what does a jet engine block look like from inside the block? Way cool stuff!

The book also features a page o…

Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano

What better book about booze has ever been written than Malcolm Lowry's alcoholic masterpiece, Under the Volcano? I don't know that I can think of a more self-destructive, self-loathing, sad alcoholic character ever depicted so poignantly and so lyrically in literature than Geoffrey Firmin, the former British consul, living in Quanhnahuac, Mexico, the depressed, self-exiled, drunken protagonist of Under the Volcano.

It's the Day of the Dead when the novel opens, and its the same Day of the Dead when the novel closes. "Quanhnahuac possesses eighteen churches and fifty-seven cantinas". With a lopsided ratio of liquor looming over religion at 3:1, it's no wonder Firmin won't remain sober, not even to save his estranged wife, Yvonne, from the arms of a man he's been close to all his life.

How, or when, Firmin, wound up so addicted we do not fully know; the reasons and the origins of his alcoholism are not fully outlined in the novel -- it's not c…

Novel excerpt by Enrique Freeque

“The remembrance of that life is fraught with so much pain to me, with so much mental suffering and want of hope, that I have never had the courage even to examine how long I was doomed to lead it. Whether it lasted for a year, or more, or less, I do not know. I only know that it was, and ceased to be; and that I have written, and there I leave it.”
--Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

The prison chaplain wanted me to open up about my life, about the events that led to the murder and my incarceration. He must've been frustrated after six months of mostly one word responses to his probing questions. He suggested, on one visit, I write something about my life instead. So I did. And do pardon me if my diving right in seems rather abrupt, I figure cut the bullshit, I've already wasted enough of my life as it is. Skip the unnecessary background build up and just get to the meat and bones of it, the basics, so here goes. And besides, I don't have enough paper in here to …

"Club Manhattan" by Peter Weissman

Peter Weissman is the author of I Think, Therefore Who Am I?

"Club Manhattan" is an excerpt from a novel-in-progress.

They weren’t kids, but I thought of them that way as they frolicked in the circular fountain, beneath the geyser, glided around it on wheels, up and down paths that spoked out through Washington Square Park. I sat cross-legged on a patch of worn grass, attempting to read a book on Buddhism, staring at the page as if the Four Noble Truths or whatever might acclimate me to this new reality. But in fact the wavering words were a rebuke, refusing to afford me an escape. I was only thirty-four, but I felt old.

Where did these kids live? What pictures were on their apartment walls? What drugs did they take? Where hippies had sauntered not that long ago, they moved with a different kind of carelessness, dominating the landscape as if spring full-blown from it.

I was the outsider, having just moved to Manhattan, a dense warren of compartments. I’d beat out dozens w…

Brief Blip About The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

I've flown through the first twenty pages of The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson's first novel.

His graphic depictions right out of the gate of what it's like to be in an end-over-end car crash off a cliff -- to survive it, resting upside down in your crushed car, immobilized, as flames crisp your scalp -- are stunning. His precision in detailing the medical differences between first, second, and third degree burns (and "4th degree" burns, which theoretically can enter a person's bones) are first rate.

Here's how Davidson describes what it would be like being trapped in a burning car:

"And hold it there {he means hold your hands there on the electric coils of a fully heated stove burner.} Hold it there as the element scorches Dante's nine rings right into your palm, allowing you to grasp Hell in your hand forever....I have another task for you: lean down, turn your head to one side, and slap your cheek on the same element. I'll let you choose w…

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume I by Stephanie Meyer

***The Naughty Hottie is the author of this post***

twilight b dope, u b dope u 2 dmb 2 c it cuz u jus jlus

That's called text, yo, and if u dnt no u b dope 2 dmb 2 no yo cuz ed he b hot c, i do hm n he like it he like it, not cuz he mikey yo, cuz i hotty n no 1 say no to hotty not ed not ted not fred no 1 cuz i hotty b noty n i no dnt say no let m bite n frght his fangs alrght 2 nite he no how 2 suk dam rght o! ed bites ed bites n i let him yo neva no neva no not ed cuz he bled 4 me period

Text Interpretation (in case you're old)

Twilight is very good. If you don't think it's very good, then you're dumb, or you're just jealous that you couldn't write something as good as it and get paid tons of money for it.

What you're reading is called "text". If you don't know that what you're reading is text, then your streetwise intelligence is greatly lacking, or you're, like, elderly or something.

Edward is hot! I'll have sexual interco…

Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic-Peek Behind the Pose by Paris Hilton

***The Naughty Hottie is the author of this post***

OMG this is such an AWESOME book! Paris Hilton is my idol! I wish I could tell a story as well as she does! She's an AMAZING writer! Paris Hilton in 2011!

***For more AMAZING posts from The Naughty Hottie, visit her AMAZING Book Spa & Massage***

The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr by E.T.A. Hoffmann

***The Naughty Hottie is the author of this post***

So this book, you know, is about a cat. A tomcat to be exact. I used to have a tomcat when I was a little girl, black and white striped. I think the man who wrote this book also wrote The Nutcracker. LOL.

I loved reading this book. It's about a tomcat. And have you seen the cover? OMG, it's to die for! There's this cute cat, right, I mean a tomcat, holding a "quill," which is another word for a pen. I looked it up. Woo hoo!

And my, what a long tail you have there on the book cover, Mr. Tomcat! You know what they say about tomcats with really long tails! Ha! LOL.

My stupid older brother accidentally ran over the tomcat I had as a kid, backing up out of the driveway in his ridiculous Trans-Am. I've never seen anything so sad in my life. My tomcat, in an instant, got turned into a tomcat carpet or floor mat kind of thingie. Can we say, like, steamrolled?!

I was traumatized for like months…

The Girls Next Door by Paul Ruditis

***The Naughty Hottie is the author of this post***

This AMAZING book (OMG!) is based on one of my all time favorite reality TV shows, have you seen it?, The Girls Next Door? It's AMAZING!

I think Hugh Hefner is AMAZING! He's a GENIUS. And he's so adorable too like my little teddy bear, all cute and cuddly-wuddly and so squeezy-weasyble. So what if Hugh's old enough to be my Great Great Great Great Grampa, I'd be his #1 Girlfriend in a heartbeat. Are you kidding me? I'd do anything for him! Woo hoo!

I'm hoping he caught my AMAZING performance in that Girls Gone Wild video I sent him, shot on location poolside at the Marriott in West Palm Beach, Georgia, just so he can see how talented I am and see that I'm soooooo like ready-Freddy for life in the Mansion. I can't wait to take a dip with him in the Grotto. Care for a skinny dip, Hugh? Woo hoo!

And I think I'm a lot prettier and smartier than all of those silicone SKANKS on the show. A…

The Southern Sierras of California by Charles Francis Saunders

The title of Charles Francis Saunders' regional outdoor classic is a misnomer: The Southern Sierras of California refers not to the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains farther north in Central California, but to its lesser (elevation-wise) mountain nieces and nephews surrounding what have now, ninety-seven years removed from publication, become the greater Los Angeles / Inland Empire / and San Diego suburban megalopolis.

In my teens and twenties I explored Saunders' Southern Sierras extensively, just about every weekend, whether it was up a remote canyon in search of a waterfall or abandoned mine shaft, following the tracks of "The Railway to the Clouds," visiting the ruins of "trail resorts," or huffing it to the summit of some obscure peak (like the top of Vetter Mountain, where I proposed to my then girlfriend (and now my wife) thirteen years ago, at sunset).

Saunders' Sierras include the following mountain ranges: The Santa Monicas above Point Mugu …

Twilight: The Graphic Novel Version by Stephanie Meyer

***The Naughty Hottie is the author of this post***

So, this book, TWILIGHT right, the graphic novel version, has actual illustrations. Such dope pictures yo, to like make the book so much easier to comprehend and understand. To, like, read, y'know? And it's faster, but not any less exciting, reading this AWESOME and AMAZING graphic novel version too, since the scary and romantic pictures take up more space than the words. I'm like so glad Stephanie Meyer put out this graphic novel! Woo hoo!

Everybody already knows what TWILIGHT is all about, right? So let me just say that it's like a bloodmance! Get it? "Blood," because of the blood sucking vampires like Edward (heart go pitterpatter pitterpatter), and "mance," which is like, I think, the third syllable of "romance." So, y'know, if you like put the two together, "blood," and then "mance," then it's like a "bloodmance"! It's only the best…

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. by the American Psychiatric Association: Good Times!

Most, I'm sure, wouldn't consider reading the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed.) for pleasure, and I think that's a shame. Because even though the DSM-IV is used primarily in a clinical setting by highly skilled psychiatric professionals for the differential-diagnosing and treatment of mankind's complex plethora of psychopathologies both common and arcane and every run-of-the-mill disorder in between, I opine that the DSM-IV, even though it's even drier than dry ice, nevertheless can be as wildly entertaining an alternative to playing charades or Pictionary at your next dinner or even office party. I recommend taking turns with your co-workers flipping through the DSM-IVs voluminous pages, so that you can self-diagnose your own and fellow colleagues' mental maladies.

"I think Susie over in HR has a delusional disorder, erotomanic type, coded 297.1, what do you think, Bill?"

"Hmmm. I always thought she was…

The Woolly Mammoth of William T. Vollmann's Imperial

I've sampled some more of William T. Vollmann's amazingly massive Imperial, a non-fiction work on U.S./Mexico Border relations I actually plan on completing, but not until probably 2013 or 2014, assuming we survive 2012.  Vollmann, if you've never read him, is a complete nut, driven to death defying excess in obtaining the full story, and thank God he is.  In Imperial, he and a "river guide" he hired for $50 (which is cheaper than what the hardcover edition of this book retails for in the States), raft down the most polluted river in North America -- the New River in California's Imperial County -- in an inflatable raft; not for sport, but just because it's there basically. Shortly after the raft excursion, Vollmann developed a bad cough (as did his guide) and rashes on his hands where the river water -- industrial and agricultural and sewage runoff (plus some water) -- inevitably splashed on them. The book was ten years in the making (all 1,300-plus pag…

The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed by Alex Austin

I had the opportunity earlier this year in February, of co-interviewing Alex Austin with several members of Le Salon Litteraire du Peuple pour le Peuple in a month long, "real-life, under-appreciated authors" thread held in LibraryThing. Here's the complete interview.

I'd forgotten that I wrote a lot of reviewish/blurbish material earlier this year in another LibraryThing group, Club Read 2010, and so thought, as a way to further help promote a quality novel from one stellar author, I'd copy my comments from January 1, 2010, regarding The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed.

Jan. 1, 2010

I just finished The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed by Alex Austin this morning, and am very excited to have "discovered" this unknown writer worthy of a much larger audience. If I were to write a one word review, it would be: "Riveting." Intricate plotting, lyrical prose, poetic language, spot on colloquial dialogue, part mystery, part coming-of-age drama set…