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Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

April 15, 2017

The Leftovers

Only one more day until the 3rd - and final -season of The Leftovers debuts! (Sunday night on HBO)

From Wiki: The Leftovers starts three years after a global event called the "Sudden Departure", the inexplicable, simultaneous disappearance of 140 million people, 2% of the world's population, on October 14, 2011. Following that event, mainstream religions declined, and a number of cults emerged, most notably the Guilty Remnant.

The story focuses primarily on the Garvey family and their acquaintances in the fictional town of Mapleton, New York. Kevin Garvey is the Chief of Police. His wife Laurie has joined the Guilty Remnant. Their son Tommy has left home for college, and their daughter Jill is acting out. The second season moves the main characters to the fictional town of Jarden, Texas

The third season begins in Texas, but the main characters are moving to Australia, as evidenced in this teaser clip.

I wasn't for sure if I was going to like this show, at first thinking it was going to be some sort of rehash of the Left Behind series of books and movies, but it soon became clear that while there are religious overtones, they're subtle and the main religion is the cult, the (extremely creepy!) Guilty Remnant.

As is the case with many TV shows and particularly movies, the soundtrack adds significantly to the mood. The first season used The Leftovers Piano Theme - Max Richter for the intro and variations are played prominently throughout the episodes. The second season's intro was one of my favorite tunes, Let The Mystery Be by Iris DeMent. (Opening credits for the 2nd season) I'm not only looking forward to this finale season, but also to hear what new music they use.  Another teaser clip has ABBA's "SOS" - my favorite tune of the Swedish group. A pop tune, sure, but seems to fit perfectly, same for the Richter piece composed for the series and DeMent's not-quite-religious (perhaps even Agnostic) ballad.

IMDb entry for The Leftovers

Official website (HBO)

April 30, 2016

The Cancer of Democracy

Bread and Circuses is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader--the barbarians enter Rome.

— Lazarus Long, in Robert Heinlein's To Sail Beyond the Sunset

(Note: To anyone who wants to nitpick - yes, I know that's from the cover of a paperback edition of Time Enough For Love, but it IS a depiction of Lazarus Long, so just stow it before you whine, all right?)

January 5, 2016


Ray Bradbury wrote some of his famous novel Fahrenheit 451 on a rented typewriter in a basement typing room at UCLA.

The charge? Ten cents per thirty minutes of typing time.

October 15, 2015

Are You a Bookworm?

You Are a Bookworm

You can't help it - you just love to read. And it's likely you've been reading since you were a kid.

You love to stick your nose in a book whenever you can, preferably the old fashioned paper variety.

You can get lost in a story or teach yourself a whole new skill with the right book. And even the worst books aren't that bad.

Reading is definitely your forte, but you're probably a good writer and editor too. You can only read so many words before you are good at crafting them. 

March 14, 2015


From the website:

How it works

BookBub alerts you to limited-time free and discounted ebooks matching your interests. It's free to join, you can read on any device, and the books are yours to own.

Tell us what you like to read
Get the daily email and browse your deals
Download to any device and enjoy


August 16, 2014


fink \ fingk \


1. Slang . to inform to the police; squeal.
2. Slang . to act as a strikebreaker; scab.


1. Slang . a strikebreaker.
2. Slang . a labor spy.
3. Slang . an informer; stool pigeon.
4. Slang . a contemptible or thoroughly unattractive person.

While not a word I've seen or read lately, I certainly knew it...most likely from reading a bunch of Mickey Spillane books when I was a kid, where it was used as a noun and preceded by "rat", as in "Ya dirty rat fink!" BANG! (where the rat fink was promptly shot dead...with a "gat" or "rod" or "piece" or "heater".)

October 11, 2013

I'm An Open Book

I'm totally against banning books; to ban a classic book such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because of the "N word" is political correctness run amok. Sure, there are books that aren't age appropriate, but to ban books from the general populace because of what someone else decides should or shouldn't be read smacks of Orwell's 1984 (which is another book that has been banned from certain libraries)

I took this test several days ago and forgot what the other results were;  I'm semi-surprised at my results because I've never seen the movie or read the book (although I intend to) but other than that, the rest of the description fits me.

You Are The Hunger Games

You have a wild imagination, one that is not easily satisfied by run of the mill stories and novels.

You like to be transported to a completely different world. You like to be immersed in a life that is nothing like your own.

You don't mind an outlandish story - in fact, you require it. You prefer a book that's not just about ordinary, every day things.

There's nothing you like better than being lost in a book - especially one with a strong plot and protagonist to root for. 

May 2, 2013


saccharine sac·cha·rine[sak-er-in, -uh-reen, -uh-rahyn] adjective

1. of the nature of or resembling that of sugar: a powdery substance with a saccharine taste.
2. containing or yielding sugar.
3. very sweet to the taste; sugary: a saccharine dessert.
4. cloyingly agreeable or ingratiating: a saccharine personality.
5. exaggeratedly sweet or sentimental: a saccharine smile; a saccharine song of undying love.

"Revenge is sweet, saccharine sweet." That's stuck in my head ever since I read it in one of my sister's Trixie Belden books when I was a kid. 

March 17, 2013

The Bookshelf Test

Your Bookshelf is Comforting

You collect books because you love to read. You love stories, and you reread your favorites over and over again.

It's hard for you to pass up a book by your favorite author. Once you find a writer you love, you tend to read his or her whole catalog.

Your favorite books are full of engaging stories, relatable characters, and surprising plot twists. You like to be immersed in a story.

You read when you want to relax a bit or get away from the dreariness of life. Nothing renews you like a book.

You love books for what's in them, and you don't get too caught up in the appearances of your collection. 

In fact, some of your favorite books are well worn, sentimental favorites. That's worth more to you than the latest shiny hardback. 

February 18, 2013

The Gourde

Did you know that the official currency of Haiti is known as gourde, named after the gourd? (botanically classified as a fruit) In the early 1800's the ruler of northern Haiti declared all gourds to be state property and had them rounded up and brought to the state treasury where they were then reissued as currency. Eventually banknotes and coins replaced the gourds, but gourde has remained the name of Haiti's official currency.

I first discovered this fact when I read The Black Sun as a young man. My folks were big fans of the Mandingo series of books, as well as others written by Kyle Onstott and his partners. The books were really too adult for my age but I guess my parents thought it better for me to find out about sex that way instead of them having to uncomfortably explain it to me.

There were gourds growing in the pastures surrounding the house where I grew up; not sure what specific type of gourd they were, but they usually didn't grow much larger than a baseball and, in fact, throwing them was the most fun I had with them.  The vines and fruit smelled to high heaven when crushed, with an odor like day-old B.O.  After working hard all day during a hot summer, I often heard my dad say "I smell just like an ol' gourd vine." 

January 3, 2013

Turning the Page

I've given a lot of thought to getting a Kindle, but have always resisted, thinking that I would always prefer to hold and read a paper book.  I've tried before to read books on the computer and I think that's biased my opinion because I have always done most of my reading in bed just before I go to sleep. (can't curl up with my PC, after all)  Thinking about it, I've decided that holding an e-reader wouldn't be much different than a regular book and might even be better.

You Are a Paper Book

When it comes to reading, you really value quality over quantity. You are a devoted reader.

You don't like to rush through anything you are reading. You like to get up close and personal with your books.

Paper books suit you best, even if they are pricier and more difficult to obtain. Like a good story, they are worth it for you.

Besides, there is nothing you like more than having a beautiful bookshelf full of books you love. No eBook can do that for you. 

Paperback Writer - The Beatles

December 9, 2012

Great American Novels

How well do you know your "Great American Novels"?

Take the quiz at The Guardian website.

Here's my score:

I did well on the test, especially considering I had read only three of the books. Thank goodness for multiple choice!

(For the books I've read, highlight below the following link;  I don't want to give out spoilers)

Great American Novels – Quiz

-->The Great Gatsby, The Old Man and the Sea and The Grapes of Wrath.

November 30, 2012


biblioklept bib·li·o·klept [bib-lee-uh-klept] noun
a person who steals books.

We need to add that to the list of capital crimes, worthy of the death penalty, along with those who dog-ear pages.

July 22, 2012

Stupidest List Of All Time

I subscribe to the Ranker page on Facebook.  Ranker also has a website and the premise of the site is to list a group of things or people and let the readers rank them in order.  They've recently had lists of The Best Web Series, The Best Sports Franchises Of All Time, The Worst U.S. Presidents and TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time. What's really cool is that the reader doesn't have to join the site in order to rank the list.

Sometimes the subject interests me, sometimes not, but when I saw the most recent list The Lamest Authors of All Time, I had to go see what others thought were "lame" authors. Immediately, I thought of several and it was satisfying to see them on the list, but there were others I felt didn't belong, such as John Grisham and Tom Clancy....then I got to #23 (at the current time) and was flabbergasted to see Robert Heinlein listed. He's only been ranked by four people so far, two with thumbs up and two with thumbs down, but seriously?  The dean of science fiction writers on a list of bad authors?

Now, I've always said our differences are what makes the world go 'round and that it's always bewildered me to see people get so upset if someone else doesn't like something they love, such as a musician or movie.  The first personal attack I ever received on the 'net was when I simply stated I didn't like pineapple. (I'm slightly allergic to some tropical fruits, such as it and kiwi)

Dan Brown, the author of The DaVinci Code was listed.  I didn't care for either of the two books of his I read, but I wouldn't categorize him as "lame".  He's had far too much success to be put into that category.  L Ron Hubbard is presently at the top of the list, and I wouldn't disagree there, even though I enjoyed Battlefield Earth.  I would put him on the list because of the inane Dianetics series and the faux religion he spawned.  Even though I consider myself a "small L" libertarian, I could understand Ayn Rand being on the list.  Her classic tome Atlas Shrugged has some great points but I can't agree completely with Objectivism. It's also been a while since I read it and I've been meaning to read it again, but I had a hard time keeping my interest in it the first time.

I could think of other authors I would have included, such as J. D. Salinger; Catcher in the Rye has to be one of the worst books I've ever suffered through.  I know it's considered a classic, but instead of being about "adolescent alienation" as others have described, it seems to me to be more about self-indulgence and selfishness. Some people have compared Catcher to Huckleberry Finn.  Good grief.

My purpose here wasn't to go over each author in turn, though, but to show my shock that such a great writer as Heinlein would be included in a list of this type.  You might not like sci fi, you might not like RAH because of his political views, you might not like him because of what some perceive to be his male chauvinism but I simply can't understand why he would on a list of worst authors. His books written for juveniles started me on my life-long love of reading and I still enjoy them.  I gave the Heinlein books I owned to my nephews and they credit them for starting their own love of reading.  (then I went out and bought new copies to replace the ones I had given away)

Sure, he wrote some books I didn't care for but that would also hold true for other favorite authors of mine, such as the aforementioned Clancy and Grisham.

Oh well, like I said, our differences are what make us unique.  The difference here is that I'm right and that list is wrong, wrong, wrong for including Heinlein. 

June 20, 2012


pensée \pahn-SEY\ , noun:
A reflection or thought.

One of the things I really loved about the Harry Potter series was the way J.K. Rowling cleverly turned a word or phrase, particularly about the spells ("Lumos" for light to come from a wand - "illuminate") and potions ("Veritaserum", a truth serum which is derived from Veritas, the Roman goddess of truth)  Then there were also main characters such as Professor Lupin, a werewolf (and lupine means wolf-like; the Latin term for wolf is "Canis lupus") or Harry's godfather Sirius Black (Sirius, the brightest star in the sky is also known as the dog star and Black could change into a dog). There are dozens more examples. (but you will have to read the books or see the movies if you haven't already)

This word was one I wasn't familiar with, but she used it for the Pensieve, the memory storage basin in Dumbledore's office and which featured prominently in several of the books, and particularly in the last part of the last book where Harry finds out the truth about Snape.

Yes, Rowling was very clever with these names and descriptions;  now she's rich!

April 2, 2012

Reading Again

For the longest time, I hadn't read a book.  There were several reasons why - my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be and my eyes grow tired more quickly;  I've also not read books as much as I did before I first got a computer.  I still read, but it's mostly news articles and forum posts and comments. 

It's also been hard for me to find something to hold my interest.  I've always enjoyed good fiction, but I haven't checked many books out of the library that engaged me. Most of the time I start them, then simply cannot finish. I then forget about them and have to pay a late fee because I forget to take them back. I never minded paying for an overdue book if I enjoyed it, but I hate to pay a fine for a book I didn't read, much less one I didn't even like.

I was at the library the other day to pick up some tax forms and decided to peruse the new releases.  I saw the newest Stephen King novel 11/22/63 and reading the flyleaf, decided I wanted to give it a go. (WARNING:  Spoilers at the Wiki link)

I can barely put it down, it's so good.  The book is about an English teacher who is teaching a GED class and reads a horrifying essay by the school janitor, an account of his father murdering his entire family and nearly killing him as well back in 1958. The teacher is emotionally moved by the tale but then gets the largest shock of his life;  a friend who owns a diner shows him a time portal in the diner's pantry that leads to 1958.  The teacher is urged by the diner owner to go back in time and try to change history, namely to stop the assassination of JFK.  He decides to take on the task, but also thinks that the portal goes back to '58 because he is supposed to stop the massacre of the janitor's family.

I'm at the point of the book where he's been back in time for a few weeks.  The storyline is derivative of most time travel tales, namely the sci-fi question: If you go back in time, can the future be changed?  That question seems to be cleverly answered so far, but I'm anxious to see what will happen. I expect there will be several twists and turns along the way.

So far, the novel seems to be one of King's better efforts, especially of the last 10-15 yrs. (I haven't liked much of anything he's done over that time, but that's just a personal opinion) He does a great job of bringing the characters to life and adds in some bits of humor.  The account of a much simpler time in the late 50's is also appealing. If I have a gripe so far, it's that he interjects his own personal politics a bit too much, but it's not anything too annoying.

Think I'll get off of here, go kick back and read some more.  I haven't been this enthused about a book in years.

November 26, 2011

I Got a Kick Out of This

Checked my Google Reader a little while ago; most of the articles were uninteresting, so I hit the "Read All" button except for two Dallas Cowboy posts. One was from Blogging the Boys: The Bossness Of Dan Bailey.The article was about the phenomenal rookie place kicker for Dallas. He's already set several NFL rookie kicking records and will hopefully break the team record for most consecutive kicks made. From the website:

Dan Bailey is breaking records.

His 26 consecutive field goals this season is an NFL rookie record (the next best rookie mark is 14). His four game-winning kicks - defined by the NFL as kicks made with less than two minutes remaining in regulation or in overtime - are also a league rookie mark. And he tied an NFL rookie record with six field goals made in the Week 3 win against the Washington Redskins.

They had a poll on the site, asking the readers to vote for a nickname for Bailey.  Here are the options:

I voted for "Dan the Man", but as you can see,  "Steely Dan" was winning at the time I read the post. Now, I'm an avid Cowboys fan, but I also consider myself fairly knowledgeable about music trivia and while I love Steely Dan (esp. "Reelin' In The Years") I don't think it's an appropriate nickname for Bailey.

From the Steely Dan website FAQ:

With the core band recruited, Donald and Walter need a name for their group. Since both of them were avid readers of 1950's "Beat" literature, they decided to name the band "Steely Dan" after a dildo in William Burroughs' "Naked Lunch."

Yeah, that'd be a GREAT nickname. Uh huh. -snicker-

June 9, 2010

Judge a Book by its Cover

From the site:

Can you tell whether a book is any good from its cover alone? Over 10 rounds, you will be shown two books. One will have a 5 star Amazon rating (from at least 15 reviews, at the time of writing) and one will have only 1 ½ stars or less (from at least 4 reviews)

Click on the book you think got a 5 star review on Amazon, and avoid the one that its readers hated.

I didn't fare too well, but my score of "6" is represented by books with that number in the title!

Judge a Book by its Cover Score

Judge a Book by its Cover

March 15, 2010

The Ultimate Harry Potter Quiz

From the site:

The Harry Potter novels, most of us don't need to be told, are the best-selling children's books of all time. Even if you haven't cracked open any of the seven enormous volumes in the series, you probably know who Dumbledore is and how Harry got that scar on his forehead. If you have read them all, you know that 20 questions make only a tiny dent in a massive iceberg -- so don't dwell on what we've missed. Pretend this quiz is your N.E.W.T.-level exam and see if you pass.

I scored 18 out of 20. I missed a Voldemort question I shouldn't have, and another about how many books Rowling has sold. "Helluvalot" wasn't one of the options.

I'm a huge HP fan and don't much mind the looks I get when I go out wearing my replica sorting hat.

The Ultimate Harry Potter Quiz