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grendel1031 posting in Book Salon
user: grendel1031
date: 2009-11-28 12:17
subject: New publication
security: Public
For fans of English courtroom humour, you might enjoy "The Humourous Story of Farmer Bumpkin's Lawsuit" by Richard Harris.

Think Rumpole.

By the way, it's free.
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user: wakarenokyoku
date: 2009-09-18 19:35
subject: Murakami Haruki
security: Public
Howdy! This is my first post here, so hopefully it doesn't sound too naive to the pros here and all.

I've recently finished Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and more or less fell in love with good ol Murakami - admittedly, I initially decided to buy the book simply because I found out that it had inspired the setting of another anime I used to watch.

Ending spoilers ahead, duh.Collapse )

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grendel1031 posting in Book Salon
user: grendel1031
date: 2009-09-12 22:20
subject: Back to Publishing
security: Public
Since yesterday, I have published the complete works of Dashiell Hammett. Then discovered that his work is not out of copyright. So, it will not appear on the Grendel Hall Press website.

However, Philo Grubb, Correspondence School Detective, by Ellis Parker Butler, is out of copyright, has been published, and has been uploaded to the Grendel Hall Press website.

This is one of a series of "deteckativin'" books which became fashionable shortly after the advent of Sherlock Holmes and Co. A number of people, including George Barr McCutcheon (whose Anderson Barr books are delightful), decided that producing send-ups of the genre was worth their time.

I think that reading and publishing such send-ups is worth my time. I hope you do, too.
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Shannon posting in Book Salon
user: beforetoday
date: 2009-04-01 09:48
subject: China 101
security: Public
Hi there!

I just learned I've been accepted to participate in a program that brings area teachers to China for two weeks. However, I'm grossly uninformed about pretty much everything related to China. The upside is that I'm thrilled about the amount of learning that's going to take place between now and when I leave in July. The downside is that I have no clue where to start. I've run a few searches and tried poking around some sites, but I wound up overwhelmed within ten minutes.

I'm looking for readable books about anything related to China. I'd prefer nonfiction, obviously, but if there's a novel out there that gives me an accurate picture of life in China, I'd be game. These can be books about China's past, present or future.'

I recognize I cannot hope to develop a complete picture of an entire nation and culture through a few books. However, I'm looking to reduce my ignorance by whatever means necessary.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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A pelican named Thel posting in Book Salon
user: thelican
date: 2009-03-25 16:20
subject: still inchoate literary salon
security: Public
Any Twin Citians out there?

I’m looking for people who’d like to form a small group of writers and readers (three to five of us would be about right).  The ideal members will be people who are not just writers but really strong readers, who are adept at analyzing literature, and who can articulate in both contemporary and canonical terms what their literary sensibility is.  (I tend to prefer and have been influenced by a style that’s more Proust via Nabokov than, say, Hemingway via Carver, but I can still be responsive to writers who are cultivating a style closer to the latter.)  As a group, we’d meet several times a month to critique each other’s writing and discuss literature on a level that’s constructive and inspiring to us as writers. 

If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, please contact me at hsilep [at] yahoo. com.  Tell me about your literary aesthetic and what kind of writing you do. 

So, well, about me: I’ve done the MFA thing (although, in retrospect, not at a time when I could’ve gotten the most out of it), studied literature at the doctoral level, write reviews of current literary fiction and poetry, and have some experience on the inside of the small press scene.  I write fiction and prose poetry, and take absolutely to heart what Mallarmé said about it being the job of the poet to renew the language of the tribe. 
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Samantha posting in Book Salon
user: shadowsandform
date: 2009-03-01 18:13
subject: Request for recommendations.
security: Public

Although I intend to do my own research, I hope that I might find a starting point by asking for recommendations in this community.

I've been keeping tabs on what I read, and have noticed that the list of authors is primarily populated by dead white males, living white males, and white women. I'm very fond of the books I read, but I'm starting to appreciate that reading work from this general group might be somewhat limiting. I'd love to read authors with different voices, who write from perspectives I'm unfamiliar with.

If possible, would you be kind enough to recommend books (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, anything that you consider worthwhile) by authors from Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Japan, the Pacific and Asia? I'm interested in the well-established authors as well as work by newer authors.

Sorry for such a general question! This request covers a very broad area, I know.

Thanks in advance.
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Beba Adventurosa Du Marier posting in Book Salon
user: thegreatxavier
date: 2009-01-17 16:07
subject: (no subject)
security: Public
I've recently finished Kenzaburo Oe's A Personal Matter and very much enjoyed it. I have also recently enjoyed Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I was hoping I could receive some suggestions on books with other idiosyncratic, modern narrators.
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KDS posting in Book Salon
user: decemberthirty
date: 2008-11-08 11:53
subject: Request for recommendations
security: Public
I am in search of good nature writing. It can be book-length or essay-length, fiction or non, contemporary or classic...I'm not fussy about the particulars. So please tell me, you literary-minded citizens of livejournal, what is the best, the most inspiring, the most interesting writing about nature that you have read? Are you a fan of Thoreau? Is Annie Dillard your cup of tea? Tell me what you like in this area; I promise I'll appreciate any suggestions you can give me.
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user: xterminal
date: 2008-09-15 10:39
subject: Wow!
security: Public
earsPending Legal Action - Track 1 | Scrobbled by Last.fm
Maybe I'm way behind the times on this, but I just discovered the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. I found them because after I couldn't locate some poetry chapbooks I'd just gotten press releases about at Amazon, I googled the author's last name and the name of the chapbook, and pages popped up for each (for trivia purposes, they're Sharon F. McDermott's Alley Scatting and Barbara Edelman's A Girl in Water). Full text, if a bit ugly in the accessing of it-- a hyperlink to each page rather than a full scan. Still, this is about as awesome as awesome gets. If you're a poetry fan and looking for obscure, not-necessarily-brand-new stuff, this is tres cool.
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nodressrehersal posting in Book Salon
user: nodressrehersal
date: 2008-09-09 21:17
subject: Reading and writing. No 'rithmetic.
security: Public
earsPandora Radio - Pearl Jam - Off He Goes
Something odd and slightly unsettling is happening to me with alarming frequency during my current book read. I'm only on page seventy-three but on nearly every page so far there are paragraphs, sentences, or phrases that I think are poorly written. Well, maybe not always poorly written but certainly improvable.

I can't decide if this is simply a sign that it's not a particularly well-written book or if my eye (or ear, I hear myself in my head when I read) has improved because of my own writing efforts. Once you've agonized over getting a sentence just right, are you more apt to recognize a sentence that wasn't agonized over? I think I'm interested enough in the plot to keep going and am hoping that once I'm more deeply engaged the faults I'm finding will quietly fade away, but at this point I'm more than a little worried.

The book is Chris Bohjalian's The Double Bind. I've read two others by him that I really enjoyed- Midwives and Trans-Sister Radio. When I saw this on the buy 2 get 1 free table I grabbed it. I understand that not every book by a particular author can be as good as every other, and because I haven't re-read either of the other two I honestly don't know if it's me or the writing. It seems clunky, wordy for the sake of wordiness, explanations and descriptions that seem out of place, even the names are overused. Maybe it's so alarming because it's been ages since I read a book I didn't love or like a lot.

Don't just talk amongst yourselves... talk here. 

Xposted to:

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user: xterminal
date: 2008-08-27 10:25
subject: (no subject)
security: Public
earsBodychoke - Completion (Second Version) | Scrobbled by Last.fm
I'm so het up about this I could spit.

Here's the beginning of a review (of Gary Braunbeck's Coffin County) posted to Amazon.

"I suppose if you're writing the next Great American Novel, you can take your time developing the story and characters. On the other hand, if you're writing a modern horror novel, you really need to grab the reader's interest quickly. Horror is almost always a pure entertainment genre (outside of Poe and a couple others, it rarely qualifies as literature, which is fine; not every novel needs to be high-minded and thought-provoking)...."

Does this make anyone else just want to cry? The idea that people are ASKING for books that don't "take [their] time developing the characters"? And strongly inferring that character development and "pure entertainment" are mutually exclusive? Or any of the other things that are painfully wrong with this?

good christ, I hope this guy never gets his hands on any of Kathe Koja's early novels.
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scarredbyitall posting in Book Salon
user: scarredbyitall
date: 2008-07-31 23:05
subject: A Plague of Doves
security: Public
I am reading an absolutely fabulous book right now, A Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich. This is the first novel of hers I've read and its so good I wonder if I will be less or more wowed by her previous books when I get to them, and get to them I will. It really feels like this might be her masterpiece.

The novel tells the intertwined stories of the Indians and the whites on and near a reservation. Narrated by various inhabitants of the town, this story weaves back and forth between the present (the lives of several of the locals) and the past (the original explorers and their harrowing journey to establish town in the first place, and later in time, a tragic lynching.) Here we see a young girl experiencing first love, a religious zealot who's lost her zeal trying to break free from the hold of the cult, a judge remembering the case of a tragically sad sack torn between two women, a grandfather's tale of the lynching he not only witnessed but experienced firsthand. . . each tale touching on the other, building from one character to the next.

I'm not quite down with the book, with a hundred or so pages to go, and unless Erdrich somehow ruins everything in the last third, I'll have to say this is one of the best books I have read so far this year.

crossposted to booktards
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lagizma posting in Book Salon
user: lagizma
date: 2008-07-06 21:18
subject: The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
security: Public
thingsreviews, ya
scarredbyitall reviewed The White Darkness for us back in January, and I was intrigued enough by her description to request it from the library. I was frustrated by the beginning of the book, and I'm still a little irritated that the narrator was so passive, but this was a beautiful book. I wish I had the original copy in which I stuck post-it flags on the most remarkable passages.

Searching for her original review, I realized scarredbyitall ALSO recommended The Dead of Summer to the book salon. I will be reviewing that soon, along with If I Did It and When The Husband Is The Suspect. My ultimate dream is to team up in a three-way girl-power true crime fighting ring with scarredbyitall and zenithblue.

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
An Insatiable Lust for the Antarctic, July 6, 2008

Fourteen year-old Sym is a classic young adult protagonist – the partially deaf social outcast who loses herself in intellectual pursuits and gets the boy in the end. Sym is obsessed with the white darkness of Antarctica, which is the favorite subject of her stand-in father, the wannabe adventurer Uncle Victor. Uncle Victor and Sym share a private world of science and history which makes Sym’s outward life more bearable, especially after the death of her father.

As the story opens, Uncle Victor surprises Sym with an elite tourist expedition to the South Pole. Victor reveals that he is on a quest for Symme’s Hole, a secret, mythical entrance to an underground civilization at the center of the earth. The reader will quickly realize that Victor harms others in his singleminded pursuit of adventure, but our narrator is painfully blind to Uncle Victor’s sociopathic behavior. She passively accompanies him without questioning why he stranded her mother at home, destroyed their cell phone, and drugged their friends on the expedition. As the novel unfolds further, Sym slowly realizes how manipulative and deceitful Uncle Victor has been her entire life, and she is faced with life-or-death survival in the company of a maniac.

THE WHITE DARKNESS is an adventure tale, a romance, and a coming-of-age story. The novel is lyrically beautiful on the subject of the South Pole, but the protagonist’s extreme passivity and lack of awareness renders parts of the narrative slow and frustrating to read. Still, I was hooked by the suspense, and I enjoyed the voyage through this queer, white world.
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Captain Babypants posting in Book Salon
user: cpt_babypants
date: 2008-06-23 09:44
subject: (no subject)
security: Public
Baudolino by Umberto Eco

While this book was amazingly well written and detail oriented, I have to say I probably won't read I have to say I probably won't read Eco again. The story seems to lose it's flow when the characters start to go on about the nature of the vacuum and other bits medieval philosophy. It's great from a historical perspective but not so much from a fiction perspective. So I guess I should say it's good, but not my cup of tea.
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john_jaman posting in Book Salon
user: john_jaman
date: 2008-06-17 14:13
subject: Bukowski!
security: Public
If this is spam, I'll totally take it down.

I work for a movie website and as I was doing some research into what films we have buried in our archive, I discovered that we have Bukowski: Born Into This, and figured I'd try to spread the word. The movie deserves to be watched.

Trailer behind the cut.Collapse )

x-posted to as many places as humanly possible. :P
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user: xterminal
date: 2008-06-12 09:14
subject: Whoa...
security: Public
earsAtlas Shrugged (audiobook)
Amazon.com to me

Dear Customer:

Starting May 31, 2008, the Borders.com/Waldenbooks.com website is no longer associated with Amazon.com. If you have been a customer of Borders.com/Waldenbooks.com teamed with Amazon.com, you have the option to receive information from Borders/Waldenbooks via e-mail--simply click on the link below and sign up by June 15, 2008:

Sign-up for Borders.com/Waldenbooks.com email notifications

If you do sign up, we will provide Borders.com/Waldenbooks.com with your e-mail address to enable them to send you their notices. If you don't sign up by June 15, 2008, we won't share your e-mail address with Borders.com/Waldenbooks.com. The choice you make will not change the messages you receive from Amazon.com.

If you placed an order for an available item from the Borders.com/Waldenbooks.com website teamed with Amazon.com before May 31, 2008, Amazon.com will fulfill that order and provide any necessary customer service associated with that order. If you have any questions about an open order, you can view your order information in Your Account on Amazon.com or find more information on our Help pages here:


Thanks for shopping at the Borders.com/Waldenbooks.com website teamed with Amazon.com.

Given Borders' current financial woes, is Amazon cutting its losses, or just being needlessly cruel? And should I spend the rest of my Borders gift card sooner rather than later?

Will Borders survive? Discuss.
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there's coffee in that nebula posting in Book Salon
user: un_crayon_rouge
date: 2008-06-11 13:57
subject: various
security: Public
First, a question: have you actually read "Uncle Tom's Cabin", and what did you think of it?

Then, an update: I have recently read "Against Happiness" and ended up hating the author for his airs of superiority. Anyone else read this, and any thoughts?

Finally, random: tell me what you're reading right now. For me, it's "God's Own Country", which took some getting into, but is now quite engrossing. I'm loving the historical part.

(I'm on vacation and procrastinating, hence the deluge of random questions.)
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scarredbyitall posting in Book Salon
user: scarredbyitall
date: 2008-06-09 12:06
subject: When the Hubsand Is the Suspect
security: Public
My guilty reading pleasure is true crime. I tend to like my true crime books of a certain caliber. The latest true crime read was When the Husband Is the Suspect which I didn't realize was written by F. Lee Bailey until I was a few murders in. Realizing that the author is a well-known and controversial defense attorney biased me to the reading. It was one of the stranger reading experiences I've had. I couldn't completely let go of the notion that the author wasn't to be trusted, though I found I liked his writing style. His often morbid and ironic sense of humor sometimes made me laugh and sometimes made me uncomfortable. The humor was needed to cut the darkness of the subject, and when it comes to murder, any jokes made in an attempt to lighten the reading are bound to be black humor. Still.

All of the crimes in the book are about uxoricide, or murder of one spouse by the other. (I am now trying to work that word into all of my conversations, which seems to be making people, my boyfriend in particular, nervous.) The cases range from Sam Sheppard to John Mason, going in order of the year the murders were committed. Many of the cases had similar threads--money as a motive, an unwanted baby as motive, or sociopathology. I liked the way Bailey organzied each chapter, with a timeline of events, an introduction to the players in the case, and a breakdown of the trial and the mistakes made by both lawyers and defendants. This is a defense attorney's view of uxoricide, and it's fascinating.

Some of the murders I was well aware of--Scott Peterson, O.J. Simpson--but others were largely unknown to me. I realized I would be lousy on a jury for a murder charge because I found that I couldn't be sure about guilt or innocence of a defendant in the majority of the cases. Of course not being on a jury, one doesn't get all the details of a trial, and I suspected that sometimes Bailey was leaving things out. The Simpson case was a particularly strange read. I have read a lot about that case and there were things I know Bailey didn't cover. Of course, he couldn't cover everything in a single chapter, which he tells the reader straightaway, but I still felt he was covering details that helped his view and ignoring details that support the other. In the cases Bailey worked, he suggests there is much grey area and that means the defendant was likely innocent or at least shouldn't be convicted. In the cases he did not work, he seems content to assume guilt. In several of these latter cases I was left with doubt. Bailey spends much time writing about the sloppiness of police investigations, until the reader feels that police never properly investigate a crime scene. He also writes about the husband's demeanor after the murder of a spouse and he urges the reader to question the "acting ability" of these men, as in, some of the husbands must be innocent because they would have had to be incredible actors to carry off their nochalant behavior had they just committed a bloody crime. In some ways, I felt like Bailey was trying to coach any future jurors on future murder cases in a way that would benefit a defense attorney. Perhaps this is an unfair assessment of mine.

If you like true crime, Court TV style, then this is a book for you. If anyone else here has read it, I'd love to get your take on Bailey's take.

(crossposted to booktards)
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