My warped sense of humor causes me to find this John Irving piece kind of amusing. I know (or, I hope) that Irving was trying to encourage aspiring first-time novelists to keep at it, but if I were one of those, this would probably scare the crap out of me. This is nothing against Irving, by the way, because I generally admire the man’s writing and he has written at least two novels that I consider to be among my all-time favorites.
Hard as it is for me to believe, we are already at the end of the first quarter of 2012. This is proving to be one of my favorite reading years in a long while because it seems that everywhere I turn this year, I’m finding another great book to read, That means that, although I read strictly from my TBR stack for the whole month of January, that stack seems to reach a record height about three times a week – and it’s still growing.
To this point, these are my favorite novels of 2012 – books that entertained me, made me think, taught me lessons about the world, and kept me up way too late on work nights:
1. State of Wonder – Ann Patchett – an unforgettable drama in the Amazon
2. The Might Have Been – Joseph M. Schuster – baseball and life
3. The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes – read this one very carefully
4. Edge of Dark Water – Joe R. Lansdale – hillbilly noir
5. The Angel Makers – Jessica Gregson – WWI historical fiction
6. The Beginner’s Goodbye – Anne Tyler – a deceptively simple tale
7. The Detour – Andromeda-Romano-Lax – a WWII love story/thriller
8. Taft 2012 – Jasons Heller – Taft runs for president in 2012
9. Carry the One – Carol Anshaw – guilt carried for a lifetime
10. The Iguana Tree – Michel Stone – sympathetic look at illegal immigration
So much good fiction has found its way to me that my nonfiction reading has unfortunately suffered greatly. Because I have only read seven nonfiction titles in the last 90 days, I am going to hold off until at least the end of June to post my first nonfiction Top 10 list.
I can’t wait to see what surprises me in the second quarter.
(Below you will find one of the most famous live performances of all time, Brown’s appearance on the TAMI show, which includes his signature song, “Please, Please, Please.” Enjoy
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)
Renee, you are the winner of the Being Flynn book-movie-tie-in with lucky number 19. That was the second number to come up – but no one chose 17, so the book and Fandango bucks are yours.
Just send your mailing instructions to samhouston23 at gmail dot com and I will forward the information to the movie publicity people so they can send the prizes directly to you.
Congratulations to Renne, and a big thank you to everyone else who entered.
First, I want to say that this post is not meant as a rant against rappers, nor what they so ludicrously dare call “music” (OK, I couldn’t help myself – had to get at least one lick in). But I could not post the following video without saying something up front because me promoting a video recorded in this style is not something I ever dreamed I would be doing; I normally would turn this kind of thing off as soon as I could find a place the right place to click. Some of you might feel the same, but do give this one a chance because it has a positive message about reading – and, at this point, anything that can make reading a book “cool” to young people is probably a good thing. So, despite the depths to which popular culture has been dragged by rappers and the thugs who produce it, give this one a look.
Here goes. Try to get past the title of the piece and listen to the message. It will surprise you, I think.
There is still time to put your number in the hat for a chance at the book tie-in to the new Robert De Niro movie, Being Flynn. Right now, your odds will be pretty good since I have less than ten entries.
I am going to announce a winner on Monday afternoon, so there are just three more days to enter. I received a copy of the book being given away by its publisher and it looks good.
I never take the time to go through the owner’s manual of any device I purchase before I start pushing buttons and learning about it through what often turns into a painful trial-and-error process. I just do not have that kind of patience. And that probably explains why I am often later drawn to much better written manuals produced by third-party writers who seem to know everything there is to know about my new toy – and exactly how to explain it to me (with color pictures). Android Fully Loaded is one such manual that caught my eye. Even though I have been using my Android-based cell phone for about nine months now (after switching from one of the now failed Palm phones), I learned things from Rob Huddleston about my phone and its capabilities that I probably never would have discovered on my own.
Because I am a firm believer in capitalism, I find something like this proposal from France to be totally misguided and destructive. I don’t know that the tax situation regarding Amazon.com is the same in France as in the United States but, if it is, the Minister of Culture there is overlooking the obvious. Even if the sales tax policies are different, this is a bad mistake because businesses that cannot survive on a level playing need to adjust accordingly.
As it stands now in the U.S., Amazon only has to collect and pay sales tax to states within which the company operates a physical facility of some sort, usually a huge warehouse or two from which items are shipped. That does, in my opinion, give Amazon an unfair edge on their competitors – businesses that have to collect sales tax on every sale they make. Amazon is leeching customers from these other companies and, especially in this tough economic time, customers will continue to flock to any retailer that starts with an eight or ten percent immediate price advantage. That’s only consumer common sense.
Now Frederic Mitterand, the previously mentioned minister, is proposing a special tax on Amazon and large bookstores there to “help out” the smaller stores. Why not just close the tax loophole that allows Amazon to pay so little tax in comparison to smaller companies?
Europe is not America; I get it. But socializing bookstores is bad business and will, I imagine, have numerous unforeseen consequences for everyone – including consumers and those very bookstores that would receive the cash infusions. Just watch book prices skyrocket in France – unless they are already regulated by the government of that country.
I am truly surprised that a series of posts that started on Book Chase more than four years ago is still drawing comments from around the world. Those posts began as a discussion of my reaction when I first learned that Anne Perry had been convicted and punished for her participation in a very brutal murder when she was a teen. The many comments added to the posts have expressed shock, negative reactions (including a difficulty enjoying Perry’s mysteries any longer), and substantial amounts of support for the author.
I know that Book Chase finds new readers every day, so I think it would be appropriate to post links to two of the earlier posts here as a way of exposing the discussion to some to whom the information might be new and interesting. My personal opinion concerning Ms. Perry’s crime and the irony associated with her choice of profession (author of murder mysteries) has softened a bit over the past four years, but I still find it impossible to read her work. Others do not.
Hopefully, this will start a fresh discussion – and some new material associated with the murder and its aftermath will be brought to my attention. To this point, I have learned of an Australian book on the subject, a video interview in which Perry discusses the murder with author Ian Rankin, a major film about the girls and the murder, and a documentary shot in Anne Perry’s home. Links to each of those have been included in prior posts.
To regular readers this is old news, of course, and I apologize for repeating myself to them. Others, I hope, will find the subject to be as fascinating as I do.
Prior posts and all the details can be found here:
Justin Curfman’s debut novel, Wrecker, is a powerful condemnation of the horrible effects on a child that stem from neglectful (and, in this case, malicious) parenting. I want to stress that much of the book’s power stems from how graphically its disturbing content is presented. Some readers might be unable to finish this one; those who do make it all the way through will not soon forget it.
Wrecker begins as an almost comical look at life in the small town South, and so slowly morphs into a story of shocking depravity and abuse, that what happens to young Eric Fennell packs a much more powerful punch than it would have otherwise. Readers will likely be somewhat surprised again by the subsequent shift of tone that occurs when Curfman reveals the novel’s surprising ending. This one is quite the rollercoaster ride.
I did get some quality reading time in this morning, but I just wanted to share a little taste of where I spent the afternoon. This is some footage I shot at a benefit for a local guitar player who is suffering from cancer and trying to raise money for his treatment. His friends and fellow-pickers turned out for about seven hours of nonstop music on his behalf.
This is “Faded Love,” and you would never guess from watching this that it was the first time these guys had ever played together in this combination. With no rehearsal, they killed on this song (the young man in the red shirt and the fiddler with the pony tail are from an Irish rock band that calls Houston home base). The rest of the group have played together a lot and are some of the mainstays of the Houston country music scene. Lead singer is Leslie Sloan, a friend; the swing guitar is played by Wayne Turner; Harlan is on bass. Enjoy.
An interesting movie hits theaters today and the folks at Focus Features have asked me to sponsor a giveaway here on Book Chase in support of the new film.
The movie, Being Flynn, is based upon Nick Flynn’s 2004 memoir entitled Another Bulls-t Night in Suck City, the story of Nick’s non-exsistant relationship with his father, Jonathan – a man he has not seen for 18 years. Then his father suddenly reappears in Nick’s world.
What will make this one especially interesting to avid readers like you guys is, I think, that both of the Flynn’s are writers. The movie’s trailer gives a good feel for the movie’s content and quality:
This looks like one of those ever-rarer literary films, something for grownups – the kind of thing that might actually get me back inside an actual movie theater despite my aversion to the noise and rudeness that represents the typical behavior of today’s movie audience. De Niro is, of course, a draw in himself and, although I am less familiar with Paul Dano’s work, what I see of it in this trailer is impressive.
So, for a chance to win a paperback copy of the movie-tie-in novel and $25 worth of Fandango bucks, reply to this post with your choice of a number between 1 and 30. I’ll dust off my handy dandy random number generator to choose a winner some time in the next 10 days, depending on how many entries I get.
Additional links you might enjoy:
A headline over on the Chicago Tribune website caught my eye this afternoon. Eric Zorn has written a short piece on the e-book pricing controversy in which he offers a tweak to the current business plan being used to overcharge (in my opinion) readers for “major” e-book titles. The headline that caught my eye reads this way:
In the idea oven: ‘Used’ e-books
Zorn argues that even the backlists of many publishers are overpriced in e-book format, forcing buyers to opt instead for cheaper paperbacks or used copies of the books they want to read. In the case of used books, as he points out, neither publishers nor authors receive a dime from the sale of their work to a second, third, or fourth reader. Why don’t publishers instead, Zorn asks, drop their prices (based on the calendar, or otherwise) so that they and the authors sell more e-books and put money into the pockets of all concerned?
That started me wondering. Would you (I know I would) buy more e-books if you had the right to sell them to another buyer, or even give them away? I realize that the e-book bookstores would have to change their tracking mechanism in a way that would allow them to register the transfer to the new owner, but don’t tell me they can’t cope with that.
I would be a regular buyer of e-books if they were priced at $8 or $9 each and I knew that I could get half of my money back by selling the books to someone else. What I will not be doing is paying $15 for an e-book – any e-book – and I don’t see myself as the loser here. I will take that $15 and buy a hard copy, the version I prefer anyway, a book I can resell, trade, or give away. After all, unlike an e-book, I actually own a printed book.
I see that a new lit-movie is headed our way. This time it’s going to be Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.
I have always been repulsed by the whole “beat” scene, the hippie culture of the sixties, and the drug culture, for that matter, even though I came of age in the sixties and was exposed to much of it. So for me personally, this is probably a no-go or, at most, a NetFlix experience, but I thought some of you might be curious.
Too, I have never read On the Road – my question to you is, should I? Considering my distaste for the pretentiousness of that era, is there anything in there that might change my mind about Mr. Kerouac?
|William Howard Taft|
Here’s a worthy cause that is getting more national, even world, attention than the creators of this little video probably ever dreamed would happen. It what you see, dear readers, touches your heart, why not send a few bucks their way? They will appreciate it, and so will I.