Posts tagged ‘reading list’

July 31, 2012

Hit or Miss, July 2012

Here’s what I’ve been reading and viewing for the past month.  (You can click on the links for short reviews or comments I’ve left elsewhere.)

Hits

  • A Distant Shore (John Houghton)
  • A Prisoner of Birth (Jeffrey Archer)
  • The Amazing Spiderman (movie)
  • The 2012 Rhysling Anthology
  • Signs & Wonders (Jennifer Crow)
  • How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction (J. N. Williamson, ed.)
  • Virgin of the Apocalypse (Corrine de Winter)
  • The Tortilla Curtain (T. C. Boyle)
  • The Poetry Home Repair Manual (Ted Kooser)

Along with the most recent issue of Dreams & Nightmares

Misses

  • There were no misses

Neither Hit Nor Miss

  • None here either!

It’s always a good thing to post an all-hit list!

So how was July reading and viewing for you?

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July 1, 2012

Hit or Miss, June 2012

Here’s what I’ve been reading and viewing for the past month.  (You can click on the links for short reviews or comments I’ve left elsewhere.)

Hits

  • The Cyberiad (Stanislaw Lem)
  • The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
  • Shakespeare in Love (movie)
  • Puss in Boots (movie)
  • Black Maria (Kevin Young)
  • 《我的心中每天开出一朵花》畿米
  • The Personifid Project (R. E. Bartlett)
  • Snow White and the Huntsman
  • Legends of the Fallen Sky (Marge Simon and Malcolm Deeley)
  • The Civil Servant’s Notebook (Wang Xiaofang)
  • The Phantom World (Gary William Crawford)

Along with the most recent issues of several magazines, including:  parABnormal Digest, Scifaikuest

Misses

  • There were no all-out misses

Neither Hit Nor Miss

  • 贴身感觉》张小娴
  • American Empire:  Blood and Iron (Harry Turtledove)

So how was June reading and viewing for you?

June 1, 2012

Hit or Miss, May 2012

Here’s what I’ve been reading and viewing for the past month.  (You can click on the links for short reviews or comments I’ve left elsewhere.)

Hits

  • The Mark of a Christian (Francis A. Schaffer)
  • The Avengers (movie)
  • 《下面,我该干些什么》(阿乙)(What Should I do Next, by A Yi)
  • Beast (Erin Donahoe)
  • Selected Poems (Tony Harrison)
  • Through the Woods (Erin Donahoe)
  • Big Shot’s Funeral (movie)
  • Stellar Possibilities (John Dunphy)
  • Up is Down (Mikal Trimm)
  • Contemporary Haibun, vol. 13 (Edited by Jim Kacian, Bruce Ross, and Ken Jones)
  • Pitch (Todd Boss)
  • Men in Black 3 (movie)
  • The Case for Working with Your Hands (Matthew Crawford)

Along with back issues of several magazines, including:  Scifaikuest, The World of Chinese (x2), Star*Line (x2)

Misses

  • There were no all-out misses

Neither Hit Nor Miss

  • 《1988: 我想和这个世界谈》韩寒 (1988:  I Want to Talk with the World, by Han Han)
  • The Curious Lore of Precious Stones (George Frederick Kunz)

So how was May reading and viewing for you?

April 30, 2012

Hit or Miss, April 2012

Here’s what I’ve been reading and viewing for the past month.  (You can click on the links for short reviews or comments I’ve left elsewhere.)

Several were close calls for me, with a few of the things I ultimately ranked “Hits” being fairly borderline calls, and one of the “Neither Hit nor Miss” reads being a good candidate for an all-out miss.

Hits

Along with back issues of several magazines, including:  Chinese Newsweek, Aoife’s Kiss

Misses

  • There were no all-out misses

Neither Hit Nor Miss

So how was April reading and viewing for you?

April 8, 2012

My Fill in the Gaps Watch

Since I will be making this my new blogging home, I will be using it as my main site for keeping up with my Fill in the Gaps List.  If you are not familiar with the idea of the Fill in the Gaps list, it’s a list of 100 books that a reader will read over a 5-year period (it began a few years ago and is supposed to end in 2012).  The books on the list should be those that fill in gaps between one’s regular reading responsibilities for work or school.  I’ve been keeping up with the list for a few years now, and think I will be on track to complete it by 2015.  I thought it wise to move the list over here to be able to keep track of it better, since my old site will fall by the wayside before long.

So, here’s my list.  I will move items up as they are either in progress or completed.  Those still to be read are on the lower part of the list.  Those on the Completed list are numbered according to the order I finished reading them.

My Fill in the Gaps Watch

Completed

  1. Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse)
  2. Woman to Woman and other poems (Agnes Lam)
  3. The 8th Habit (Stephen Covey)
  4. Mortician’s Tea (G. O. Clark)
  5. Poemcrazy (Susan Wooldridge)
  6. Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)
  7. Velocity (Dean Koontz)
  8. The World is Flat (Thomas L. Friedman)
  9. A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs
  10. Rip Van Winkle – Washington Irving
  11. Night and Day – Virginia Woolf
  12. Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman
  13. Brighton Rock – Graham Greene
  14. Ancient Skies – oino sakai
  15. House of Many Ways – Diana Wynne Jones
  16. Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster – Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty
  17. Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls – Yuri Rasovsky
  18. Relativity:  The Special and General Theory – Albert Einstein
  19. Catch Me if You Can – Frank Abagnale, Jr.
  20. Streamers – David Rabe
  21. Marco Polo Sings a Solo – John Guare
  22. The Romance of Tristan and Iseult – Joseph Bedier
  23. Le Morte D’Arthur – Thomas Malory
  24. Bush at War – Bob Woodward
  25. The Consolation of Philosophy – Boethius
  26. Wings – Arthur Kopit
  27. Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
  28. Holy Ghosts – Romulus Linney
  29. The Waters of Babylon – John Arden
  30. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  31. Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You – C. Durang
  32. Looking Backward – Edward Bellamy
  33. A History of the Middle Ages – Crane Brinton, John Christopher, Robert Wolff
  34. Atlantis – Greg Donegan
  35. A Descent into the Maelstrom – Edgar Allan Poe
  36. The Thorn of Lion City – Lucy Lum
  37. The Lake of Dead Languages – Carol Goodman
  38. Six Characters in Search of an Author – Luigi Pirandello
  39. The Castle – Franz Kafka
  40. Daughter of the River – Hong Ying
  41. Tomorrow When the World Began – John Marsden
  42. The Dragons of Eden – Carl Sagan
  43. Paul – Walter Wangerin, Jr.
  44. Walden – Henry David Thoreau
  45. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
  46. Prisoner of Zenda – Anthony Hope
  47. The Stolen White Elephant – Mark Twain
  48. Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
  49. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
  50. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  51. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  52. The Truth About Jesus – M. M. Mangasarian
  53. Crimes of the Heart – Beth Henley
  54. Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs
  55. The Twelve Caesars – Seutonius
  56. Nanjing 1937 – Ye Zhaoyan
  57. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
  58. Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  59. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life – Walter Isaacson
  60. The Mark of the Christian – Francis Shaeffer
  61. The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
  62. The Commentaries – Julius Caesar
  63. The Plague — Albert Camus
  64. Startling Moon – Liu Hong

In Progress

  • The Dining Room – A. R. Gurney
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne

The Rest

  • The Kite Runner – Khalad Hosseini
  • The Sayings of Jesus – Anna Wierzbicka
  • A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson
  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl
  • Catch – 22 – Joseph Heller
  • A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley
  • Candide – Voltaire
  • Ben Hur – Lew Wallace
  • Toilers of the Sea – Victor Hugo
  • Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  • Paradise – Toni Morrison
  • Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
  • The Decameron – Boccaccio
  • Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Human Comedy – William Saroyan
  • The Beautiful and the Damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Scenes of a Clerical Life – George Eliot
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • Ragged Dick – Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • The House of the Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Bedknob and Broomsticks – Mary Norton
  • Deltora Quest – Emily Rodda
  • When the Gods are Silent – Jane Lindskold
  • The Pickwick Paper – Charles Dickens
  • Brazil – Annette Haddad, ed.
  • The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Painting Churches – Tina Howe
  • The Orthodox Way – Father Kallistos Ware
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – August Wilson
  • The $30,000 Bequest – Mark Twain
  • An Ideal Husband – Oscar Wilde
  • Zhao the Orphan – Ji Junxiang
April 1, 2012

Hit or Miss, March 2012

Here’s what I’ve been reading and viewing for the past month.  (You can click on the links for short reviews or comments I’ve left elsewhere.)

Several were close calls for me, with a few of the things I ultimately ranked “Hits” being fairly borderline calls, and one of the “Neither Hit nor Miss” reads being a good candidate for an all-out miss.

Hits

  • The Red Room (H. G. Wells)
  • Kylie’s Kiss (Delia Latham)
  • Nanjing 1937 (Ye Zhaoyan)
  • The Dream of Reason (Anthony Gottlieb)
  • Becoming Madame Mao (Anchee Min)
  • The Apartment (Greg Baxter)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (onstage)

Along with back issues of several magazines, including:  The World of Chinese, Newsweek, Aoife’s Kiss

Misses

  • There were no real misses, though “The Ice Palace” came close.

Neither Hit Nor Miss

So how was March reading and viewing for you?

February 29, 2012

Repost: Hit or Miss, February ’12

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Hit or Miss, February ’12

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February has been a pretty good month of reading and film for me — not a long list, but mostly good stuff.

 

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading and viewing over the past month…

 

 

Hit List

 

  1. •Fishbone (Sheng Keyi)
  2. Wreckage (Ha Jin)
  3. •The Heart of Haiku (Jane Hirschfield)
  4. •The Trouble with Poetry (Billy Collins)
  5. •Apolocyntosis (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
  6. Tarzan of the Apes (Edgar Rice Burroughs)
  7. •Northern Girls (Sheng Keyi)
  8. •Between Lions and Lambs (N. T. McQueen)
  9. •Bolt (movie)
  10. Crimes of the Heart (Beth Henley)
  11. Antony and Cleopatra (onstage)

 

 

 

 

Magazines:

Aoife’s Kiss (back issue)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss List

 

  1. •salt (Mani Rao)
  2. The Truth About Jesus:  Is he a myth? (M. M. Mangasarian)

 

 

 

 

 

Neither Hit nor Miss

 

  1. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
  2. •Oedipus of Thebes (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

 

 

 

 

A bit of a mixed bag this past month.

 

I’m glad that I managed to make something of a dent in my Fill in the Gaps list.

 

 

So….

what have you been reading and watching for the past month ?

 

 

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
silken
salt?! I wonder if that is the same book my son had to read a few years ago for school. it was a miss with him too. I think I read it. very dry but some interesting tidbits throughout. though not really a HIT in the reading. it is no longer required reading at school either!
Thursday, March 1, 2012 – 11:51 AM
I don’t think this is the same one.  I remember talking to him about that one.  This was a poetry collection, kind of.  Some of it was just too random to seem like poetry though.  (And that coming from someone who is very open to all sorts of styles of poetry!)
Thursday, March 1, 2012 – 12:51 PM
February 13, 2012

Repost: Filling in the Gaps, update 2012

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Filling in the Gaps, update Feb 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

I started participating in the Fill in the Gaps 100 Books reading project in 2010.  The idea is to come up with a list of 100 books that will “fill in the gaps” between the reading you “have” to do for one reason or another (like work or studies) until 2015.  I have continued to post my list on the right edge of each entry I’ve made at this blog ever since I started on my Fill in the Gaps list, updating it as I go along.

So far, I’ve found that I tend to make good progress on the list for a while, then lag for a while, then make good progress again.  For some reason, it just seems to go in spurts for me.

From late last year until the beginning of this, I hit a real slow period.  It took me more than three months to read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, I think.  After that, though, it sort of took off, and I’ve read a couple more titles on my list since I got back to Shanghai at the beginning of this month.  (A long delay at the airport on the way here helped me finish Crime and Punishment.)

I thought it might be fun to post some thoughts (not reviews, just ramblings, really) about the titles I’ve read recently.  It might also motivate me to keep moving ahead with the list.

Crime and Punishment, for some reason, didn’t work well for me.  I’ve read other works by Dostoyevsky and generally like reading him.  While The Brothers Karamazov is a favorite of mine that really engaged me as I read, Crime and Punishment had exactly the opposite effect.  I labored through it, and found my mind wandering as I read.  I was disappointed with that, because it was one of the titles from my list that I’d really looked forward to tackling.

The Truth About Jesus (M. M. Mangasarian) was another title that didn’t do much for me.  Unlike Crime and Punishment, I know exactly why this book didn’t work for me.  It comes from a time and a mindset that always seems to rub me the wrong way, a time when everything seemed to be expressed in such black and white terms, and when everyone seemed so certain of everything they thought they knew.  (Yes, I am exaggerating.)  I don’t have any problem reading books that express views opposed to Christianity, or that present good arguments that are meant to demonstrate that Jesus was not who Christians claim he was.  Mangasarian’s approach, however, seems to me to meander across too broad a range of things that he considers “Christian” to be of any real value (at least to me).  He conflates issues of what church fathers, church practice, the Bible’s writers, the copyists, and Jesus himself have all done, lumping them together as if they are one organism.  (In fact, reading texts written to address religious debates from an Enlightenment perspective, it starts to feel a lot like the contemporary political arena in America.  Yawn.)  No matter which side of the debate the writer stands on, it’s just too easy to find holes in all that he says, especially because the tendency in these texts is to take what one representative of “the other side” (which is defined in its broadest possible terms) has said and then tear it to pieces.  It’s easy to make a case against a movement if you choose one of the crackpots within that movement as the spokesman for it.  And really…. what movement doesn’t have its crackpots?  Anyway, just to be fair, I’ve read plenty of debates from the Christian perspective that were written during this same era and from the same perspective, and I find them equally irritating and demeaning of “the other side.”  Every now and then, I convince myself that reading another book from this paradigm will somehow be good for me, maybe even challenge my own thinking in some way.  Upon finishing those texts, I usually end up wishing I hadn’t bothered.

Crime of the Heart was the definite highlight of this batch of titles from my Fill in the Gaps list.  I really enjoyed reading the play, and would like to see it performed.  It was funny, and it was poignant too.  I liked the characters, and I liked the way the tension unfolded.  There is much in Crimes of the Heart that scratches the reader in me just where she itches.  I have never had the pleasure of seeing it onstage, but if I get the chance to, I will jump at the opportunity.

Tarzan of the Apes is what I am working on now.  I’m about a third of the way through it.  There’s a lot in the book I enjoy.  I like Tarzan, and it’s fun to see his story play itself out.  There are other things in the book, however, that grate on my nerves.  I’ve had my fill of the superior attitudes of colonialism in recent months, but here I am reading Tarzan of the Apes, which just oozes with that exact attitude.  It’s not even presented subtlety.  The book just blatantly says that Tarzan is endowed with an extra (I’m tempted to call it superhuman) measure of intellectual prowess and moral virtue because he is, by blood, an English lord.  He’s so innately clever that he teaches himself to read English — which he’s never heard spoken — simply by poring over the English primer he finds in the hut where his parents had settled when they were abandoned in the coastal jungle by the pirates.  Oh. Brother.  But still… I have to admit that the story is rather fun, if you can ignore the pompous superiority.  Burroughs always writes a good, action-packed tale, and there’s a reason Tarzan has been such a well-loved character ever since he appeared on the page.

That about does it for my recent burst of energy in pursuing the titles on my Fill in the Gaps list.  If things carry on as they have in recent weeks, I should finishTarzan of the Apes in the next few days, and then I’ll decide what I want to move onto next.

February 1, 2012

Repost: Hit or Miss, January 2012

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Hit or Miss, January ’12

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January has been a pretty good month of reading and film for me — not a long list, but mostly good stuff.  I especially enjoyed reading Sheng Keyi’s short story “Fishbone,” which I translated for a magazine in Beijing.  It’s a good story.

 

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading and viewing over the past month…

 

 

Hit List

 

  1. •Fishbone (Sheng Keyi)
  2. •up against the window (Jim Kacian and Bruce Ross, ed.)
  3. •The Science Fiction Poetry Handbook (Suzette Haden Elgin)
  4. •Courageous (movie)
  5. •Cat Country (Lao She)
  6. •Psychoentropy (Julie Shiel)
  7. •Disturbed (Julie Shiel)
  8. •Celestial Bodies (Keith Sikora)
  9. •The Tin Men and other poems (Kendall Evans and David C. Kopaska-Merkel)

 

 

 

Magazines:

Beyond Centauri (the most recent, and 1 back issue); Star*Line; Aoife’s Kiss

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss List

 

  1. •No misses this month!

 

 

 

 

 

Neither Hit nor Miss

 

  1. •Idylls of the King (Tennyson)

– I know, I feel terrible!  It was more about my mood than the book, obviously.

  1. •It’s Complicated (movie)
  2. •War Horse (movie)

 

 

 

 

Another no-miss list.  I love that!

 

So….

what have you been reading and watching for the past month ?

 

 

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
silken
got mine posted. mostly hits this month
Wednesday, February 1, 2012 – 10:33 PM
Shelly
Good stuff! I will go have a look.
Thursday, February 2, 2012 – 12:40 AM
January 7, 2012

Repost: Agenda 2012

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Agenda 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I don’t usually have a real agenda for my reading, unless there are certain texts assigned for work.  For the most part, I just make my way through my books (several at a time) as I feel like it.  Recently, though, I worked on a list of things that I wanted to read in 2010, focusing on books that are geared to help me become a better writer (specifically, a better writer of speculative poetry).  I continued the practice last year, and enjoyed the process once again.

I’ve included last year’s list at the bottom.  Here, though, is a new list that I will use for 2012.  I have decided to read a couple of the books that I didn’t get to last year (listed here in brown), and added a lot of new ones too.  It looks like a long list, but a lot of the poetry collections are actually very short, so it’s not as daunting as it seems.

Several of the poetry books are things I’ve ordered.  They’ve not yet been shipped, so I’ll get a bit of a late start on them this year.

Poetry Collections

The Trouble with Poetry (Billy Collins)  

The Phantom World (Gary William Crawford)

Signs and Wonders (Jennifer Crow) 

Virgin of the Apocalypse (Corrine De Winter) 

Beast (Erin Donahue)

Through the Woods (Erin Donahoe)

VAMPS (James S. Dorr) 

Stellar Possibilities (John J Dunphy)

The Tin Men (Kendall Evans & David Kopaska-Merkel)

21 Novel Poems (Suzette Haden Elgin)

Dreaming of Days in Astophel (Lyn C A Gardner)

To Be Read in 500 Years (Albert Goldbarth)

Selected Poems (Tony Harrison)

The Engagement of the Spur (Janie Hofmann)

Shocks (Aurelio Rico Lopez III) 

Falling Through Nothing (Scott Nicolay) 

Poems (Charles Hamilton Mangrove)

Fair Warning (Susan M Sailors)

Disturbed (Julie Shiel) 

Psychoentropy (Julie Shiel) 

Celestial Bodies (Keith Sikora) 

Unearthly Delights (Marge Simon)

Legends of the Fallen Sky (Marge Simon and Malcolm Deeley)

City of 1000 Gods (Marge Simon and Malcolm Deeley)

Dragon’s Dictionary (Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo)

Dragon Soup (Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo)

Wild Hunt of the Stars (Anne Schwader) 

Idylls of the King (Tennyson) (in progress now) 

Up is Down (Mikal Trimm)

The Handless Maiden (JoSelle Vanderhooft)

Improbable Jane (s c virtes)

Black Maria (Kevin Young)

Collections by Todd Boss ,  Ha Jin , Edwin Morgan

Anthologies

The Rhysling Anthology (upcoming)

Dwarf Stars (upcoming) 

The Essential Haiku (ed. by Edward Hass)

….along with a big stack of back issues of various poetry magazines

Nonfiction

The Heart of Haiku (trans. by Jane Hirschfield and Mariko Aratani) 

The Poetry Home Repair Manual (Ted Kooser) 

Biocentrism (Robert Lanza)

Myth and Science:  An Essay (Tito Vignoli)

How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction (ed. by J. N. Williamson) 

The Japanese Haiku (Kenneth Yasuda)

A Backpack and a Bit of Luck (Zhang Su Li)

Fiction

The Illustrated Man (Ray Bradbury) 

The Quinx Effect (Tyree Campbell)

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

The Crater, or Vulcan’s Pride (James Fennimore Cooper)

The Book of Myths (Jeanie Lang)

Last Days of Pompeii (Baron Edward Bulwer-Lytton)

Cyberiad (Stanislaw Lem)

The American Cyclops (James Fairfax McLaughlin)

Vulcan’s Workshop (Harl Vincent)

….and something by Michael Crichton , Lao She , Ha Jin, and Jules Verne

Here’s a review of the 2011 list   

Poetry Collections

A Book of Minutes – Cathy Smith Bowers

Blood Verse – Derek Clendining

I Feel so Schizophrenic, the Starship’s Aftbrain Said – Kendall Evans

On Metallic Wings – Angel Favazza

Brushfires – David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Symphony of the Universe – Deborah P. Kolodji

Touched by the Gods – Sandra J. Lindow

The Anatomy Theater – Nadine Sabra Meyers

Oddities – Aurelio Rico Lopez III and Kristine Ong Muslim

ChemiCKal Reactions – Karen L. Newman

Raven’s Runes – Karen A. Romanko

Dark Eden – Lewis Sanders

Cyborgia – Susan Slaviero

Remnants – Eddie Tay

Sometimes While Dreaming – Marcie Lynn Tentchoff

Genesis, an epic poem – Frederick Turner

A Galaxy in a Jar – Laurel Winter

Black Maria – Kevin Young

Collections by the following poets (not yet sure which collection I’ll tackle for each)

T. S. Eliot

Tennyson

Anthologies

The Rhysling Anthology (upcoming)

Dwarf Stars (upcoming)

Up Against the Window (ed. by Jim Kacian and Bruce Ross)

Modern Japanese Tanka

The Essential Haiku (ed. by Edward Hass)

Haiku World (ed. by William J. Higginson)

Out of Everywhere (ed. by Maggie O’Sullivan)

….along with a big stack of back issues of various poetry magazines

Nonfiction

The Practice of Poetry – Robin Behn

Ragnarok:  Age of Fire and Gravel – Ignatius Donnelly

The Science Fiction Poetry Handbook – Suzette Haden Elgin

Simians, Cyborgs, and Women – Donna J. Haraway

Science and Poetry – Mary Midgley (in progress now)

Dark Thoughts:  On Writing – Stanley Wiater

The Japanese Haiku – Kenneth Yasuda

Fiction

The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury

The Crater, or Vulcan’s Pride – James Fennimore Cooper

The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde

Last Days of Pompeii- Baron Edward Bulwer-Lytton

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

The Game – Diana Wynne Jones

Cyberiad – Stanislaw Lem

….and something by J Alan Erwine, Charles Williams, and Philip K. Dick

6 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
silken

just finished The Hunger Games. really good! and you  have something by Michael Crichton right? really I think my favorite is the first I read Prey. though there are some other good ones. State of Fear is a good one too.

happy reading!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012 – 09:51 AM

I do have something my Michael Crighton. I think I have 3, in fact.  I’m planning to read the one you sent for Christmas.  It looks like a good read.

I’m really looking forward to Hunger Games.  I’ve been finishing up some things I needed to get done, and so haven’t started it yet.  It looks like something I will really like.  Did your daughter like it?

I have a feeling there will be lots of items listed in brown on next year’s list, but this is what I’d like to accomplish this year.  (It’s always better to dream big, right?)

Saturday, January 7, 2012 – 02:12 PM
silken
yes, we have both liked Hunger Games and she can’t wait for the movie. I do think you will really like it. I am on the third book now (so is she) you will prob want to read all three too
Friday, January 13, 2012 – 08:43 AM
I am sure I will.  I still haven’t started it, and may wait until I head up to Shanghai to read it.  I’ve got a few projects piled up right now, and I think if I start this one, I might end up letting reading time eat into work time.
Saturday, January 14, 2012 – 10:39 AM

It’s nice to see that you’ll be reading so many books again this year. At the end of last year, I went through the books I had reviewed and came up with over 40. I was surprised. Goodness knows how many I would have if I made up lists in advance.

Malcolm

Saturday, January 21, 2012 – 10:10 AM

At the rate I’m going, I might not make much of a dent in the list this year.  But I do like how it gives me some focus each year in a specific reading agenda.  There are a number of these books that I ordered and have not yet received.  Since I’m heading back up to Shanghai next week (before they arrive), it will take me even longer to get started on the bulk of this list.

It’s great that you reviewed 40 books last year.  Nearly one a week!

Monday, January 23, 2012 – 09:29 PM
December 26, 2009

Repost: Something New for 2010

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Something New for 2010

Saturday, December 26, 2009

For the new year, I am starting a new project.  I will be offering poetry and writing coach services for people who are interested in learning or improving the writing craft.  You can see how it works on the website I’ve set up.

 

Engaging a poetry or writing coach can be a useful for:

 

  1. ✦people who have to write as a part of their job and would like to make their writing more effective

 

  1. ✦“closeted” poets and writers who would like to prepare their work for eyes other than their own

 

  1. ✦poets and writers who want to learn how to prepare manuscripts for publication

 

  1. ✦poets and writers who would like to better prepare their writing for publication, in hopes of receiving more acceptance letters

 

  1. ✦novice poets and writers who want to understand the conventions of writing better so that they can shape their work to interact with a community of other readers / poets / writers

 

  1. ✦readers, poets, and writers who want a broader appreciation of the tradition of poetry (see poetry courses)

 

Not every writer or poet is fortunate enough to have other writers with whom they can interact and share the writing experience.  Many writers would like to take their work to the next level, putting it into circulation and seeing it published, but are unsure how to go about the whole process.  An experienced coach can help poets and writers who find themselves in such situations.

 

I have decided to start offering coaching services because my own blend of skills, experience, and interests suit such an arrangement.  I have always loved reading and writing — the two activities in which every good writer is sure to be absorbed — and also teaching.  I have 6 years’ experience teaching undergraduates in the English literature department of a private university in Singapore, and more than 15 years’ experience tutoring adult students in writing (academic and creative).  I have always preferred individual training sessions to classroom time, as it allows for closer interaction between student and teacher.  In addition, it allows the pair to focus on specific needs rather than simply aiming to cover a set of material.  In one-on-one training, the focus is on the needs of the learner.  And I really like that.

 

As a writer, I have enjoyed seeing my own work grow over the past several years.  As an undergraduate student (20 years ago!), I was engaged to assist one of my professors in completing two manuscripts that he was preparing for publication.  Since then, I have done professional writing for more than 15 years, developing material for businesses ranging from entertainment giants to shrimp farms.  I’ve written material for historical societies, magazines, corporations, and advertising agencies.  I branched into more creative endeavors roughly 10 years ago, but mostly, at first, only helping with editing and proofreading.  After a while, I began to send out my own poetry for publication.  I currently have about 200 poems, book reviews, and articles in print or accepted for publication.  My first poetry collection, Cyborg Chimera, was released by Sam’s Dot Publishing last year, and 30 of my haiku appeared in dark ‘til dawn, a collection of designer art pieces.  I’ve enjoyed the process of growing as a writer, and hope to share that experience with others who are interested in engaging coaching services.

 

I am looking forward to 2010 and this new step in my own writing and teaching.  It is nice to bring my professional experience together into one service that I think can be of help to other writers and poets.

 

 

 

 

 

©2009 Shelly Bryant

 

 

 

 

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
silken
I hope this works out well for you!
Saturday, January 9, 2010 – 05:13 AM
Thanks!
Saturday, January 9, 2010 – 03:03 PM
December 14, 2009

Repost: Something to Look Forward To

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Something to Look Forward to

Monday, December 14, 2009

This is going to be a good Christmas.  I already know what I am getting from Santa, because my mom needed to ask whether I could make it work outside of the US.  She’s getting me a Kindle Reader from Amazon.  (I’ve borrowed one from a friend who got his for his birthday earlier this year, so I know I can get it to work in Singapore and Shanghai.)  It is going to be so nice to be able to carry loads of reading material with me, without it weighing so much.  Packing for all my travels just got so much easier.  (Thanks, Mom!)

 

I’m also excited to hear that Jasper Fforde has a new book coming out.  This is not a Thursday Next book, nor is it Jack Spratt.  It’s a new tale altogether, from what I understand, called Shades of Gray.  Fforde is one of my favorite writers, and I am really looking forward to this book, as it promises to be a little darker than his previous works.  A little darker, with all of his amazing humor and outstanding writing?  I can hardly wait.

 

I’m planning on ordering the Kindle version of Fforde’s new book, which will make a great package for me.  It will be great to have a new toy loaded up with a new work by an old favorite.

 

Does it get any better than this?

 

 

 

 

 

©2009 Shelly Bryant

 

 

 

 

4 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
Bonnie
I’m only a little jealous, but glad you’re getting something useful. Good thing you already knew that it would work for you. There are a lot of free books out there for the Kindle too. Just ask Wm. He knows.
Thursday, December 17, 2009 – 08:12 AM
My mom received it today, and set it up with my account.  I just spent the last hour or so sending free books to it.

Can hardly wait for it to arrive in Singapore now!

Thursday, December 17, 2009 – 10:46 AM
So far, I haven’t been tempted. I do see the advantage of being able to read a variety of books while traveling around without having to lug around hard copies. Plus, they show up right away when you find something new and just have to read it right now.

I’ll look forward to your upcoming Kindle reports.

Malcolm

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 – 11:42 AM
I’m loving it so far, Malcolm.  I thought I would mostly want to use it when traveling, so as to lighten my luggage.  But I’ve found that I wanted it with me when I was out of the house doing some work the past few days.  I had access to a couple of reference books, including a pretty nice dictionary, that I normally would have had to wait until I was home to go back and look at what I needed.  The ability to carry so much around in one little device is pretty handy.

And really, I don’t feel like I am looking at an electronic screen when I use the Kindle.  I don’t know how to describe it — it isn’t like paper, exactly, but the quality of print on paper is there.  It is really nice.

And, I like that this version of the Kindle makes it easy to carry PDF files.  I have printed out less material this week than I usually do, as I can store the material as a PDF file in my Kindle instead.  That has been handy for doing some reading of student papers and so forth.  I really hate reading on the computer screen, as it makes the eyes so tired.  This device enables me to read e-material, but without that fatigue to the eyes.  It is as good as advertised.

And the number and quality of free books available for the Kindle is fantastic!  I downloaded over 200 pieces for my mom to set up before she sent it over, and they are really quality stuff.  It’s great for people who like the classics, because there’s so much available for free.  In addition, I read a lot of ezines that make material available in PDF, and I’ve downloaded several of those for reading this week.  If you do much reading of material on the computer screen, then I think you would like the Kindle a lot, because you can read that same material on a device that feels more like a book (to both hand and eye) instead of on the computer, just by sending the PDF to the device.

Pretty great technology, I think!

Thursday, December 24, 2009 – 10:06 AM
November 23, 2009

Repost: Ebook Authors Supporting the Troops

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


E-book Authors Supporting the Troops

Monday, November 23, 2009

I just read an article about something my friend Malcolm Campbell is involved in,sending download coupons for e-books to deployed troops.  I thought it such a great idea that I wanted to give a little plug to the whole project here.

 

The project started when writer Ed Patterson was chatting with a soldier in the field.  The soldier mentioned the difficulty he had getting reading material for hisAmazon Kindle Reader.  The Kindle currently offers users the ability to get an amazing array of reading material at very reasonable prices — for those in the US.  The Kindle can’t be bought from an overseas account on Amazon (trust me, I know….), and if you buy one while in the US and take it overseas, you won’t be able to access the network.  The soldier, then, had a great product for keeping lots of reading material, but no means of updating his library.  Patterson decided to email a copy of his own e-books to the soldier.

 

That’s already quite a nice thing to do, but Patterson didn’t stop there.  He began rallying other e-book writers to send e-books to deployed troops all over the world.  My friend Malcolm, author of The Sun Singer and two Jock Stewart books, has joined in the program as well.  According to the article linked above, 60 people have already requested the code for downloading his books.

 

As Malcolm states in the article, this is a project independent of an author’s view of the war.  It isn’t about supporting a political decision, but about supporting the individuals whose lives are dictated by the decisions made.  I’m really glad to hear that Malcolm and other writers like him are doing this, and hope it will continue to expand.

 

 

 

© 2009 Shelly Bryant

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
Thanks for helping to spread the word. I just sent out another e-mail to a sergeant this morning. It’s a great way for them to keep up with their reading under trying circumstances. I’m glad smashwords jumped in to help support the effort.

Malcolm

Thursday, November 26, 2009 – 03:23 AM
Me too, Malcolm.  I think it’s a great project.
Thursday, November 26, 2009 – 11:03 AM
October 31, 2009

Repost: Hit or Miss, October ’09

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Hit (or Miss) List, October ’09

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It was a slower-than-usual reading month for me in October, but I did get to read some fun things, at least.  I did not, however, make much of a dent in my Fill in the Gaps list of 100 books to be read over the next 5 years.  I hope to get more of that done in November.

 

Here’s what I’ve been reading and watching in October:

 

 

Hit List

  1. • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke)
  2. • Night and Day (Virginia Woolf)
  3. • The Lover (onstage, in Mandarin)
  4. • Some of Washington Irving’s short stories:

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Spectre Bridegroom, Mountjoy, The Pride of the

Village

  1. •Back issues of The Fourth Genre, Chinese Language Learning and Chinese Literature
  2. •Various Chinese poems (for class)

 

 

 

Miss List

• The Master Builder (onstage)

The performance of this supposedly dense work turned out to be pretty weak

 

 

• The Rice Queen Spy (John F. Rooney)

 

 

 

 

Neither Hit nor Miss

  1. • 《甲申记》(onstage)

good acting, excellent choreography, but something just didn’t work (and I’m not sure I really got the story)

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what have you been reading and watching this past month?

 

 

 

 

4 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
silken
will post mine soon.
Thursday, November 5, 2009 – 11:01 AM
I’ll be by for a look.
Friday, November 6, 2009 – 06:54 AM
Michelle
I always like your hit and miss lists.
I look forward to them at the end of every month
:o)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 – 12:15 PM
I’m glad someone bothers to read them!  I like posting them.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 – 06:22 PM
October 3, 2009

Repost: Hit or Miss, September ’09

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Hit (or Miss) List, September ’09

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I finally had a little more time for some reading and movie-watching.  I made a little headway on my Fill in the Gaps list in September, which was fun, and also got to catch up on some other reading/viewing I’d left hanging for a while.  And I had a lot of fun catching a few old movies on the MGM channel while I was unexpectedly back in Singapore for a week to settle matters for my China visa.

 

Here’s what I’ve been reading and watching for the past month:

 

Hit List

  1. •Quantum Lyrics (A Van Jordan) — see my review at Sloth Jockey
  2. •Velocity (Dean Koontz) — see my response at Fill in the Gaps

this was on my “Fill in the Gaps” list because I’d heard good things about Koontz’s writing; it was better than I thought

  1. •Macbeth (movie)  — 2006 Australian version
  2. •Slipstream (movie)

this was something I’d picked up on DVD some time back, and finally got to watch; very, very good

  1. •Zen in the Art of Writing (Ray Bradbury)
  2. •Dark Nebulae (John J. Dunphy)
  3. •The Mouths that Remain (Gavin Salisbury)
  4. •The Princess of Mars (Edgar Rice Burroughs) — see my response at Fill in the Gaps
  5. •The Fountainhead (movie)
  6. •Clean Slate (movie)
  7. •A Fish Called Wanda (movie)
  8. •Transformers 2 (movie)
  9. •Rip Van Winkle (Washington Irving) — see my response at Fill in the Gaps

 

 

 

Miss List

•Training Day (movie)

I’m not sure it was exactly a miss, but I really didn’t like it as much as I thought I would – too cliche, I guess

 

•The Aeneid (Vergil, a Librivox recording)

it’s not the text that was the problem, as I’ve always loved The Aeneid, but the recording; some of the readers just don’t read poetry well, especially Dryden’s rhyme and meter

 

 

Neither Hit nor Miss

  1. •The World is Flat (Thomas Friedman) — read my thoughts at Tai Shan

there were some good thoughts, for sure, but I probably waited to long to read it; it’s rather dated already

 

  1. Director’s Cut (Alton Gansky)

 

 

 

 

So, what have you been reading and watching this past month?

 

 

 

 

8 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
I would recommend the Swedish vampire flick ‘Let the Right One In’. The story centres on the relationship between a 12-year-old boy, Oskar, and a 200-year-old vampire child, Eli. Not your typical vampire movie. My wife, who has very little time for vampires, loved it.

And I’ve just finished ‘Rhyming Life and Death’ by Amos Oz. It’s a novella where we get to witness the writing process in action as we listen to the stream-of-consciousness narrative describing what goes on in an author’s mind. Next to no plot – and even some of the plot there is might well only be imagined – but I loved it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009 – 05:57 PM
Both sound like excellent recommendations, Jim.  Thanks!  I’m off now to check out both titles.  I have a feeling both will be added to my TBR list.
Saturday, October 3, 2009 – 11:02 PM
Interesting list. I haven’t seen any movies, other than on TV, for ages. As for books, I enjoyed Julianna Baggott’s “The Madam” and Pat Conroy’s “South of Broad.” The Conroy book doesn’t seem to work quite as well as his “Prince of Tides.” Right now, I’m reading Roberto Bolano’s very lengthy “2666.” I’m enjoying it so far, but have some 750 pages left to read.

Best of luck with your new book.

Malcolm

Monday, October 5, 2009 – 10:39 AM
Hi Malcolm,

I read some of your comments here or there (or perhaps here andthere) about your reading of 2666.  It sounds like a very intriguing read.  I think I might enjoy it, from what you’ve said.

I have mostly only caught movies on TV or DVD for the past several months, though I actually really love seeing them on the big screen (how old fashioned is that???).

I’m reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell right now.  It’s pretty good so far (about a quarter into it).  It was recommended by a couple of friends, and I am hoping to finish while one of those friends is visiting me here in Shanghai next week.  It’s always fun to discuss a book with the person who recommended it to you.

I’ll keep “The Madam” on my radar too, as well as Conroy’s work.

Monday, October 5, 2009 – 12:10 PM
I also enjoyed reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.” If you like it, you might also consider Clarke’s follow-up volume of stories which include one or two about the characters in the novel. It’s “The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories.” I ordered a copy of your book! YAY.

Malcolm

Monday, October 5, 2009 – 11:09 PM
If Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell continues along as good as it is so far, I think I’ll be happy to pick up the follow-up volume.  It’s a pretty good read, rather refreshing and fun.

Thanks for picking up my book.  I’ll look forward to hearing your feedback.  I’m anxious to see what real live readers think of it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 – 02:29 PM
silken
my list was up. and I am trying to keep up w/ my october one too! all my reading seems to be kid’s books though!
Saturday, October 17, 2009 – 05:27 AM
Nothing wrong with kids’ books— I love them!

I’ll be over to have a look at your list.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 – 09:36 AM
September 12, 2009

Repost: Fill in the Gaps, Infinite Jest

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Filling in the Gaps:  Infinite Jest

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Last weekend, I finished one of the longest titles on my fill in the gaps 100 books list, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.  It is hard to say exactly how I felt about the book.  But immediately upon completion, I already knew it was one I would be thinking about for some time.  So, my comments here are not going to be a review per se, but a rundown of my responses to the book, more like what I would record in a reading journal. I begin with last Saturday, Sept 5, the day I finished the book.

 

 

Saturday, Sept 5

I’ve been working on this tome since May.  It hasn’t been an easy read, though parts of it were incredibly absorbing.  It took me a long time to get to those parts, but I am not sure if that had more to do with me as a reader and the state of mind I was in, or with the novel itself.  Anyway, the parts that were engaging were worth the read, even though there were large chunks of the book that did nothing for me.

 

The end of the book frustrates me.  It seems it did not end at all, in fact, and that I could just pick it up and continue reading the same old thing over again.  There is no resolution, which I more or less expected.  But worse, there’s no sense that we’ve come to a stopping place at all.  But then, perhaps that is because we’ve not really had a plot either.  It’s more like a prolonged rambling (in amazing prose, of course) that just comes to a sort of abrupt stop.

 

 

Sunday, Sept 6

The notion of Entertainment and its connection to addiction (perhaps only made possible by contemporary consumer culture) is so adeptly explored in Infinite Jest.  I think this is what there is to love in the novel.  When I read about the book, before having purchased it, this was what made me want to read it.  I have to say that the treatment of the theme(s) is somewhat disorienting.  Perhaps that is the way it should be, though, as a sort of representation of the mind-reeling abundance of Entertainment possibilities today.

 

The treatment of sex, drugs, and addiction as interconnected facets of the Entertainment culture was especially fascinating.  It isn’t so much that that’s a foreign concept to me, as that putting it right up against sports, movies, etc., gave it a whole different perspective.  The intertwining (or entangling) of these elements in the text is probably what I enjoyed most about it.

 

 

Monday, Sept 7

Depression.  Who could know more about it than David Foster Wallace?

 

I am usually not one to read the author in(to) the text he’s penned, but it was hard not to  have thoughts of DFW’s demise enter the head when reading some of the more eloquent passages about depression in Infinite Jest.  Those bits are so well-written, so piercing, so insightful.  Is it authorial intrusion into the narrative?  The modest training I’ve had in critical theory recoils at the suggestion, but the casual reader in me found it difficult not to see a good deal of DFW in those bits of prose that dealt so poignantly with the black dog.

 

One way or another, the book’s treatment of Depression is elegant.   The descriptions of a despondent mind’s thought processes and the understanding of the impulse that drives the depressed to actions that seem so irrational from the outside (including suicide), are so lovingly presented that it brings the melancholy horror of those feelings close to the reader, simultaneously allowing for empathy and examination.  Anyone who has experienced depression would recognize the truth held in those passages, the first-hand knowledge they present.  Anyone who has not experienced depression would probably do well to pay close attention, if they want to understand it from the inside.

 

On another note, I finished Velocity last night.  After the long 4-5 months it took me to finish the 6th book from my Fill in the Gaps list, I finished the next in just a day.  Infinite Jest is a demanding read.  It required a lot of slow, careful attention from me.

 

 

Tuesday, Sept 8

The whole treatment of Subsidized Time in Infinite Jest is the first thing in the book that really caught my interest.  It is funny.  It is handled with a wry cynicism that is just perfect.  The idea of selling ad space on our marking of time just makes me laugh, and is well suited to the book’s critique of our current situation in which everything is for sale — or at least open for sponsorship.   And, it is quite fitting that most of the action of the novel takes place in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.

 

I just happened across the Infinite Summer website today.  I didn’t know this challenge was out there.  I started a little early, and finished a few week’s before the challenge’s dates dictate.  But I guess I unwittingly joined this community of Wallace’s readers.  Well, not exactly.  But I did more or less follow their reading schedule.

 

 

Wednesday, Sept 9

The characters in Infinite Jest are not at all endearing to me.  I’ve read plenty of comments by other readers about the characters, mostly calling them “memorable.”  That might be true, but I don’t feel much for them other than a sort of detached interest.  Hal is, not surprisingly, the closest to a sympathetic character that I find in the novel, but even he is presented in such a way that seems to distance him from the reader.  In this way, the book reminds me of the Gormenghast novels.  There I have a similar feeling that the characters are not at all sympathetic, though Titus does, from time to time, invite you in a  little closer.  Infinite Jest struck me in much the same way.

 

 

Friday, Sept 11

One of the things about Infinite Jest that is really well done is the way the book shows the problem of drugs, and of addiction in general, being something that cuts across social barriers.  There are abusers in the book who are young, and those who are old.  Rich and poor.  Various races and backgrounds.  It runs the gamut.  Drug and alcohol abuse play a significant role in exploring the theme, but it is really much wider than these problems.  It is all in the context of addiction to consumption, which covers a whole lot more ground.  And perhaps why it is so all-inclusive.

 

I also like the way the book handles its critique of various programs set up to help people suffering from addiction.  It is not just the fact that it pokes fun of these things, but that it seems to hit hard at the notion of a system that treats all problems of addiction as a pre-packaged sort of thing, as if all addictions are built on an assembly line.  And, even more insightful, it discusses the way these support groups can become an addiction in themselves.  When one of the characters finds himself in the wrong meeting altogether, this idea is handled especially well.  Our addictions, it seems, can sometimes function as interchangeable parts.

 

 

Saturday, Sept 12

I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what all Infinite Jest has to offer.  I think it isn’t a book for everyone, but that those who do read it will find plenty there to think about for a good long time.  I find myself thinking of it several times throughout the day, pondering over little bits and pieces at different times.

 

I have a friend who has decided to read it, but not necessarily from beginning to end.  She’s more likely to flip through here and there and read whatever jumps out at her at that point in time.  This might be a very interesting way to approach Infinite Jest, as a linear, beginning-to-end reading isn’t necessarily the best way to really get into the book.  Anyway, I am interested in seeing how her reading experience goes.

 

I wouldn’t recommend the book to just everyone, but would enjoy hearing thoughts from anyone who does decide to tackle it.  There’s a good reason that it was so much a topic of discussion when it came out.  It really has a lot to offer.  Even though there were parts of the reading process that were quite a chore for me, I am very glad I read it now that I am done.

 

 

 

 

© 2009 Shelly Bryant

 

4 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
silken
having never read the book, I must say that when I initially read this part of your post:

“The end of the book frustrates me.  It seems it did not end at all, in fact, and that I could just pick it up and continue reading the same old thing over again.  There is no resolution, which I more or less expected.  But worse, there’s no sense that we’ve come to a stopping place at all.  But then, perhaps that is because we’ve not really had a plot either.  It’s more like a prolonged rambling (in amazing prose, of course) that just comes to a sort of abrupt stop.

Sunday, Sept 6

The notion of Entertainment and its connection to addiction (perhaps only made possible by contemporary consumer culture) is so adeptly explored in Infinite Jest.  I think this is what there is to love in the novel.  When I read about the book, before having purchased it, this was what made me want to read it.  I have to say that the treatment of the theme(s) is somewhat disorienting.  Perhaps that is the way it should be, though, as a sort of representation of the mind-reeling abundance of Entertainment possibilities today.”

I thought the Infinite Jest and the notion of entertainment and its addiction were indeed the infinite jest, as well as the part of you never finishing it but could continue on and on and on reading it over and over again. kind of like those “how to keep an idiot busy” jokes (“A small card with “If you’d like to know how to keep an idiot busy for hours, turn this card over” printed on both sides.”) NOT THAT YOU”RE AN IDIOT, it just reminded me of that…his infinite jest….anyway, I thought it sounded funny! 🙂

Sunday, September 13, 2009 – 05:31 AM
That is exactly what it is like, silken.  And I think part of the thing the book is getting at is that we are idiots, an idiot society.  The society that built this whole entertainment culture must be an idiot, not just for building it in the first place, but for falling for the joke we ourselves set up.

In the book, there is a video cartridge in circulation that, once someone starts watching, s/he can’t stop.  THey watch until they die of it, effectively entertaining themselves to death.  Infinite Jest is the title of that film.  I read about this in the introductions to the book before I bought it, and it was this that really made me want to see what DFW had to say, since I always love reading him anyway.

In the end, the ideas were more absorbing for me than the actual reading experience.  But I could sure see how this book could suck someone in, putting the whole phenomenon it is talking about into action, even as it critiques it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009 – 07:45 AM
Anonymous
在你家,你谈到了这本书,那么厚,读完确实不容易。
有句话叫做“娱乐至死”,不知道用在这里恰不恰当,但我想意思应该差不多吧
Monday, September 14, 2009 – 06:19 PM
娱乐至死 – that’s it exactly!  Entertaining ourselves to death.  Maybe DFW should have written in Chinese.  🙂
Monday, September 14, 2009 – 11:58 PM
September 5, 2009

Repost: Hit or Miss, August ’09

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Hit (or Miss) List, August ’09

It’s been a rather slow month for reading, especially because of the huge volume, Infinite Jest, taking up most of my time.  (I actually only finished it today, but am listing it with the August post because that’s when the bulk of the reading was done.)  Here’s what I’ve been reading and watching for the past month:

 

Hit List

  1. •Grosse Pointe Blank (movie)
  2. •Say Anything (movie)

an old favorite (yeah, I know….); and yes, it was something of a John Cusack phase, with these two titles in there

  1. •Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)

I’ll have more to say about this one down the road, I think

  1. •The Crab Flower Club (onstage)

a nicely put together, ironic piece about the women in a Chinese family who decide to start a poetry club

  1. •The Reduced Shakespeare:  the Complete Works (onstage)

absolutely hilarious performance; if you get a chance to see it, you’ll definitely want to catch it!

  1. •What Day is Today (onstage)

extremely disturbing, and very compelling; the narrative structure was very innovative, and the whole performance was very nicely done

  1. •The 2009 Rhysling Anthology (Drew Morse, ed.)

 

 

  1. •various issues of these journals:

Star*Line and Dreams & Nightmares

 

 

Miss List

No misses!

 

 

Neither Hit nor Miss

  1. •The Crucible (onstage)

not a good performance overall, but there were a few bright spots that redeemed it from being a  miss — & of course the script is amazing

 

 

 

 

So, what have you been reading and watching this summer?

August 29, 2009

Repost: Filling in the Gaps

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Filling in the Gaps

When I first heard about the fill in the gaps 100 books blog, I knew it was a place I would absolutely love.  I went over and made up my list right away, and have been reading the books I’ve listed there for the past several months.  Recent progress has been slow, as I am working on Infinite Jest, and it is rather a long read.  You can see my complete list here.

 

The list works as a means to prompt the reading blogger (or is it blogging reader?) to tackle a list of 100 books that are not currently on her/his TBR list.  The project is supposed to be completed in 2015, I think.  There are some really fun titles to be found on the various lists on the site.  As people are getting bigger and bigger portions of their lists taken care of, the discussions there are getting to be very fun.

 

I am, sadly, unable to access the site from China for the moment. (It’s rather fickle with access to Blogspot sites over here.)  As soon as I am back in Singapore, it is one of the places I hope to be able to visit and catch up.  All the same, I’m planning to keep up with my own list.  Since I can’t post my reviews or join the discussions there for the time being, I will put up comments from time to time here.  For now, I can say that of those I’ve completed (see the box to the right),The 8th Habit is the only one I didn’t like much.  Siddhartha was quite profound and enjoyable.  Woman to Woman and other poems and Mortician’s Tea are both good poetry collections, with moments of brilliance in each.  Poemcrazy is a fun thought-starter for poets, and maybe writers in other creative-type genres too.

 

As for the book in progress…  I’m struggling through Infinite Jest at the moment.  I expected to love this book.  Instead, it’s been a fairly tedious read for me all summer long.  I don’t know why I’ve had such a hard time getting into it.  I love David Foster Wallace’s writing, and usually love the type of tale he has put together here.  The themes are some of my favorites.  But it just isn’t working for me yet — and I am nearly 600 pages into it (in other words, not quite 2/3 done).  It’s disappointing to be unable to get into a book that I actually thought would be just my thing.  But still… I have a feeling I might be glad I read it when I am done.  My interactions with Wallace’s writings in the past have taught me that much.  Even his simple work, like introductions to anthologies, can be outstanding pieces.

 

If you haven’t gotten your 100 books list together, you might want to pop by over at the site and sign up.  It is a lot of fun to be in on the project with the others who read and blog there.

 

 

© 2009 Shelly Bryant

Saturday, August 29, 2009

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
I ended up not finishing INFINITE JEST. It’s been so long since I had it, I don’t remember the reasons now. Something near the beginning really bugged me, so I was–as I recall–reading with a bad attitude.

The site you mentioned is an interesting concept.

Malcolm

Saturday, September 5, 2009 – 02:33 AM
That’s actually how I felt too, Malcolm, that I was sort of reading with a bad attitude.  I stuck with it throughout the summer, thinking I would finish it before leaving Singapore for Shanghai, but still had maybe 300-400 pages to go when it was time to make that return.  Since I got back, I have just about finished (should be done in the next hour or so).    It is one of those books that I am glad, now, that I’ve read, though I can’t say I enjoyed the entire reading process.  Parts of it have been completely absorbing. The ideas have been engaging.  The writing is good. The topics are of interest to me.  But for all that, the reading has been something of a chore for me.

And yet… I am glad I’ve read it.  There are some good things in it — really good.  And as I’ve talked with a couple of different friends about the book, it’s begun to click for me what I do like about it.  It will still take some time to sort through, but overall I am already starting to be glad this one was on my Fill in the Gaps list.

You might really enjoy having a list like that too, Malcolm.  I know you are a good blogging reader.  The place is just made for that, and I could see you really getting into it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009 – 11:27 AM
August 22, 2009

Repost: Hit or Miss, June-July ’09

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


 Hit (or Miss) List, June-July ’09

It’s nice to be able to catch up on posting my Hit (or Miss) List, even if it is a bit more sparse than usual.  Here’s what I’ve been reading and watching over the summer:

Hit List

  1. •With Christ in the School of Prayer (Andrew Murray)
  2. •All’s Well that Ends Well (William Shakespeare)
  3. •Across the Universe (movie)
  4. •The Cherry Orchard (onstage)
  5. •Timon of Athens (William Shakespeare)
  6. •More of Me Disappears (John Amen)
  7. •Cover of Darkness (an anthology edited by Tyree Campbell)
  8. •King John (William Shakespeare)
  9. •A Closer Look at Science Fiction (Anthony Thacker)
  10. •The Prosody Handbook (Robert Beum and Karl Shapiro)
  11. •The Fisher King (movie)
  1. •various issues of these journals:

Scifaikuest, Star*Line, Poetry, Illumen, 32 Poems

Miss List

No misses all summer!

Neither Hit nor Miss

  1. •Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (movie)

I didn’t think the movie was as bad as the reviews I’d heard, but it wasn’t very good either

I will probably be back to a more regular reading load soon, though the next list (for August) will probably look more like this one, at least in terms of quantity.

So, what have you been reading and watching this summer?