Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Quest

I always find it interesting what other people are reading. Seems the paparazzi, when not busy following me, caught Bill Gates reading “The Quest” during his daughter’s equestrian competition. Daniel Yergin’s book is about the changing role of global energy on the economy.

For what it's worth, I've taken a hiatus into the land of non-fiction as well and am currently reading The Assassins' Gate by George Packer.
It ... describes the place of the war in American life: the ideological battles in Washington that led to chaos in Iraq, the ordeal of a fallen soldier 's family, and the political culture of a country too bitterly polarized to realize such a vast and morally complex undertaking. George Packer's best-selling first-person narrative combines the scope of an epic history with the depth and intimacy of a novel, creating a masterful account of America's most controversial foreign venture since Vietnam.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SHOCKING: Long, boring novels are bad for book industry

Whodathunk it? Oprah was bad for book sales. And she didn’t do a lot for Rosie O’Donnell either. And don’t mention the 30 OWN folks out of work:
But despite her success as a taste-maker, Oprah apparently could not get America to pick up more books. According to a recent study, Oprah's endorsements may have actually hurt fiction sales overall by encouraging her fans to read novels that were longer and more complicated than their usual, less literary fare.

All of this also seems to say something about the incentives for the book industry as a whole. That is, it's probably not in publishers' interests to turn difficult, long novels into best sellers. The easier a book is to get through, and the quicker a reader can make it to the next title, the better it is for their bottom line.
Fortunately, my middle name is “Quick and Easy.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pertinear on the money ...

Seth Tupper at the Mitchell Daily Republic has a pretty accurate column on how to speak South Dakotan. I'm guilty and proud of using most of them including:
Hunnert: In many areas west of The River (see entry below) and even in some areas near The River, this is the correct pronunciation of “hundred.” Example: There’s a hunnert head of cattle down by the crick.

Pertinear (pronounced “pert-ih-near”): A combination of pretty and near, used to indicate the close proximity of one thing to another or the near completion of a task. Question: Are we there yet? Answer: Pertinear.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thinking of those 'Under the Overpass'

Attended an event Saturday night and heard author Mike Yankoski speak about homelessness. Having attended a plethora of rubber chicken dinners in my day (though this food was excellent - bison and pheasant, mmm), it takes a pretty good speech to keep my attention; and it takes a really good speech to keep my attention for longer than 30 minutes. This guy did it.

I haven't read his book Under the Overpass yet, but I intend to. If the book is half as good as his speech was, it'll be worth it. He made me think, and that can be a hard thing to do.

From Publishers Weekly:
Yankoski's parents were right: It was crazy to live as a homeless person in six American cities for five months; fortunately, this crazy idea makes for quite a story. Yankoski, a Christian college student, challenges the reader to learn about faith, identify with the poor and find "more forgotten, ruined, beautiful people than we ever imagined existed, and more reason to hope in their redemption." The journey begins at a Denver rescue mission and ends on a California beach. Along the way, Yankoski and a friend learn the perils of poor hygiene and the secrets of panhandling. They meet unfortunates like Andrew, who squanders his musical talent to feed his drug habit, and hustlers like Jake, who gives the pair tips about how to look and sound more pitiful to get more money. Yankoski tends to moralize: "If we respond to others based on their outward appearance, haven't we entirely missed the point of the Gospel?" Still, the book features fine writing ("I awoke, rolled over and saw beads of sweat already forming on my arms. Saturday, early morning, Phoenix") and vivid stories, authentically revealing an underworld of need.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nevermore ...

I've always been kind of a fan of Ed, and it appears John Cusack is also:
"He was a great romantic and he had a great sense of humor, and he was one of the great self-destructive lunatic writers of all time. He was the first rock star writer, first professional writer - he was quite a character. He was witty, sarcastic and very combative with other writers, he was a literary critic and always itching for a fight...He was a really lunatic kind of person - he would insult other writers and challenge them to duels. He was way out there."
Here's the story on the new movie about Edgar Allan Poe.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Where it's good to be a Golddigger ...

Attended a youth basketball tournament in Lead, SD, today. Lead is about 3 miles from Deadwood and both school districts merged years back to form the Lead-Deadwood Schools. As you will note in the photos below, there's a lot of history there. Lead is famous for its gold and Deadwood for its gambling. I thoroughly enjoy both towns.

In the Lead trophy case sits this basketball from their lone hoops championship back in 1918.

Here's the gym banner that shows the founding of each school: 1895 and 1896.

Here's a shot of the "old" gym in the Lead High School. It's a Hoosiers throwback gym. Note the cement bleachers and the running track around the top of the gym.