Saturday, February 23, 2013

Feature and Follow - Books I've Given Others

8474595901 873f4993f4 Feature & Follow #137
My daughter likes Daniel Silva, so I gave her his most recent thriller. I also donated 200 children's books to the local Head Start and another 100 books, mostly upper elementary and middle school age, to my son to start a classroom library in the Philadelphia Public School where he is teaching. Also have about 30 adult fiction and nonfiction ready to go to a local church's lending library.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Heinlein's Friday

I read this for the first time as a teen ager and was impressed mostly with the idea that the protagonist was female doing all the things associated, at that time, much more chauvinistic than now, with men. Friday was a soldier, a survivor, and a mechanical engineer. She survived on her wits and skill. She was tough and gritty.
I also found the society that Heinlein wove in a spacefaring, resource-tight, world, very intriguing. Draconian in part, progressive in part, egalitarian yet police state-like. It drew me in as a very complex and conflicting world view.
Heinlein's more popular Starship Troopers never piqued my interest, and I found Job too didactic but Friday was, for me, a very good read.
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday - A Simpler Romance

On this day I am excited to find and participate in this hop. For six years I owned a small brick and mortar used book store whose claim to fame was the largest collection of romance novels on Long Island. I would talk to the customers about the various "harlequins" as well as the "single titles" and the authors and subgenres.

While the Romance genre as a whole has come a very long way and is clearly mainstream, it does mirror the society in which we live. Nostalgia being what it is, one remembers a different kind of romance back in the day.

It is to that "different" romance I now harken. A simpler romance where roles were simpler and "courting" was more important and it was important to be with and see someone as opposed to text or email. This time is captured in the Harlequin Romance, Silhouette Romance, and Harlequin Presents series form the 1970s and 1980s. They are clean, straightforward, and short; easily read in a couple hours and yet, often, well-written.

Robyn Donald, Sara Wood, Anne Weale, and Sue Craven were always popular in my shop among this subtype. I recommend looking up the series or the authors for a short, clean, nostalgic romance.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Feature & Follow - Thrown from a Mardis Gras Float

This week's F&F question: If "they" were throwing the HOTTEST books off a Mardis Gras float, what would you do to have "them" throw to you?

I misread the question and wrote the entire piece below based on what "Hot" books would be thrown. In answer to the question asked, however, being male, I would make sure I was close to a very attractive woman, since, as I understand it, the attractive ladies are more likely to get the swag than anybody else. Or maybe carry a picture??? Probably not.

As to what hot books I would hope to receive...

I think it would have to start with Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary. In 1857 on February 8, Flaubert was acquitted of "immorality", the accusation of which he received from the initial serialized publication of that seminal work. In a way, Flaubert paved the way for all the "HOT" books since then, up to and including Fifty Shades of Gray.

Then I think it would have to be Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and Sinclair Lewis' Elmer Gantry, both of which evinced a storm of "heated" protest over their controversial themes. Finally, in a nod to the bodice-rippers that laid the groundwork for today's romance novels, I would include Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Flame and the Flower.

Always love to hear your opinions. Leave a comment! Thanks.


Nemo, the Storm and a Literary Dichotomy

The weather people have decided to name all big storms, not just hurricanes. So the one that is currently (February 8, 2013) threatening and pummeling the area where I live has been christened "Nemo".

It came up in conversation that the name certainly conjures something different today than it did when I was young. Thinking about it, that certainly is true.

The current generation associates Nemo with a cute little animated fish that goes on a great adventure, really through a series of coincidences. Though scary at times his adventure is relatively safe and we, as readers (or viewers), really want him to succeed.

Nemo, when I was a kid, only conjured the Jules Verne character Captain Nemo. He most definitely was NOT on an adventure through coincidence, the adventure was not safe, and most readers do NOT want him to succeed.

Captain Nemo is a much more appropos character to link with this storm than Little Nemo.

I don't think the weather folks had any of this in mind when they set up their list of names. Or will the next big storm be called Ichabod?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Poem - The Eyes

The Eyes

Look into the eyes
So alert, so bright;
Pulling in wonder,
Spilling out potential.
They will be hurt,
On occasion disappointed;
They will cry.
Each new pain will leave its mark.
Show them excitement and beauty
Encourage their imagination and independence.
Each new joy will also leave a mark.
Then look again into the eyes,
To see it all, filtered.
Still alert, still bright;
Filled with wonder,
Drawing out potential
From the next pair.
Also check out the latest review of Observations at

Friday, February 1, 2013

Feature and Follow - Wake Up in a Book

This week's Feature and Follow question: What is the first thing you would do if you woke up and found yourself in your favorite book?

Fiction (Adult): Make sure I had my sword close at hand as I would be wandering the dangerous lands of Tolkien's Middle Earth, hoping an elf or dwarf or even a hobbit found me before any marauding uruk-hai.

Fiction (Juvenile): One of my favorite books from my youth was Professor Diggins' Dragons by Felice Holman. If I found myself there in the company of the inimitable Professor and his summer charges, children who, before their magical summer of exploration saw little use in school, I would make sure I had my imagination ready for an extensive workout. For wonder and interest is all around, they are dragons after all!

I was going to add a nonfiction entry (my tastes run toward military history) but there are a lot of good books in different periods all of which would be similar - I would try to get myself to headquarters and make myself useful in the staff.

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