Friday, September 21, 2012

Deep thoughts by ... Oscar Wilde

“If you want to be a grocer, or a general, or a politician, or a judge, you will invariably become it; that is your punishment. If you never know what you want to be, if you live what some might call the dynamic life but what I will call the artistic life, if each day you are unsure of who you are and what you know you will never become anything, and that is your reward.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

'There is no thief like a bad book'

Interesting Minneapolis Star-Tribune story:
The monthly book club met in a cheerful library on a sunny Saturday. Everyone had read the selection, "Gideon's Trumpet," and most had highlighted scores of important passages or marked them with Post-It Notes.

A sign on the wall read, "There is no thief like a bad book."

There was no wine, no finger foods matching the theme of the narrative. The meeting began and ended promptly and everyone was dressed casually, in prison-issue gray T-shirts and shorts, or jeans.

The gathering was held, as always, in the library of the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee, the state prison for women.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homework ...

So Haugs Junior needed to memorize a poem for freshman English. He wanted a short one, of course. So I recommended EAP's "Alone" and to my surprise Junior actually took his father's advice.

One of my faves:



From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

Saturday, September 8, 2012

So I read my first e-book ...

My wife has one of those Kindle Fire things you may have heard of. I see her on the couch with it every night. I usually give it an eye roll, like when I see her on the Pinterest website or watching the Food Channel.

I'm a bit old-school when it comes to reading, maybe even a little high-brow about it. I've looked down my nose at the e-readers. Sure, I don't have a problem with people downloading my e-book or short stories. In fact, I encourage it. Mo' money.

 But I finally went over to the dark side last week and downloaded the First Assassin, mostly because I'd been thinking of buying it but then saw a limited-time-only 99-cent offer at National Review and figured "what the heck." The offer just kept staring at me. Kind of a like a link that says: "Jennifer Love Hewitt in a bikini." How does a guy NOT click on that?

 So I read it. All in all, the book was kind of meh. And so was the reading experience on an e-reader. I just found it too easy to speed-read through things. Maybe it was the novel, but I don't think so. I also didn't like not being able to write in the book. I know, I know, there's some keys you can click and do-hickey to tap and I could type something in. But then I don't have the book on my bookshelf to pull down and check out when the mood strikes.

 I'll probably hi-jack wifey's Kindle from time to time, but I'm less apt to now than I was. Ya'll enjoy it. No sweat off my brow. It just doesn't do it for me. I'll stick to using computers for the reason they were intended:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Coming to a theater near you ...

Three books I’ve read are being made into movies coming out soon. I went to Lawless last weekend and saw the trailers for Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas and James Patterson’s I, Alex Cross. I am currently reading Koontz’s latest in the Odd Thomas series and love it.

I didn’t know they were making a movie out of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi until I saw a news blurb today saying they’d dumped Tobey Maguire from the cast because he was too big of a name and overshadowed the other actors. I feel your pain, Tobey.

Life of Pi is one of my top five contemporary novels. It was so good I’m not sure I want to go see the movie in fear of it denigrating my memory of the novel. I wish Martel were a more prolific writer because I also enjoyed his Beatrice and Virgil. One of the strangest books I’ve ever read, I several times considered quitting it part way through. But I kept wondering where he was going with it, and am glad I stuck with it.

While you wait for these movies to come out, check out some of these stories worthy of linkage:

** Each year, the World Science Fiction Society presents the Hugo Award for Science Fiction Achievement. Browse this year's winners, including Jo Walton's Best Novel-winning "Among Others," and see past winners.

** So I quit drinking 15 years ago. I didn’t know Budweiser would take it so hard.

** Apparently, Emily Dickinson was no 19th Century version of Kim Kardashian. Thank God. As only the second-known photo of her has been discovered.

** My main man, Prince, is MTV royalty. Here is a collection of his video hits.

** Eleven great Secret Service code names.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

An oldie and a goodie

I was going through a box of my father's old books (he was a JFK assassination conspiracy fanatic), when an old, thick book caught my eye. A really old book.

Ends up it was a 1885 Norwegian Bible belonging to my great-grandfather Lewis Petersen. Stuck inside was a picture of the old Norskie himself. Quite a handsome chap at that.