Monday, July 23, 2012

Poem of the Night - Hysteria by T.S. Eliot

As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were only accidental stars with a talent for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty green iron table, saying: "If the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden ..." I decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of the fragments of the afternoon might be collected, and I concentrated my attention with careful subtlety to this end.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review - The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

I know I am reading a great book if I am able to "see" myself in said location with said characters. That, to me, is a sign of a great storyteller who has quite a grip on what they have presented to the rest of the world. The Snow Leopard was that kind of book and so much more. Peter Matthiessen and his friend, the zoologist George Schaller (known as GS) travel to the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal in search of Zen enlightenment, bahral, 'blue sheep' and the elusive snow leopard. What I read was a several month account of two men, several guides and a combined ordeal of truth, Nature, peace, danger and knowledge that remained buried in my brain for days afterward. Before I go any further, I do have to mention this story. In May of this year, I visited Nashville, TN with my family. While we were out and about, my mother took me to Franklin, TN and specifically, Landmark Booksellers. Since my mother is painfully aware that I am quite the bibliophile, my level of foaming at the mouth was not too bad. Once we reached the parking lot next to the bookstore, my mother told me to have a good time and she would take a nap in the car. Now was my chance. I walked into the store, looked around and fell in love. I did notice, however, that there were signs regarding their discount books and their location. Having walked within the entire place twice, I marched up to the counter and politely asked about these discount books. The owner, a really nice guy, informed me that I had to "follow him", of which I did because, well, he was going to show me more books. We walked outside while having a lovely chat about me being from Memphis, as he led me to a small house located behind the bookstore. He then unlocked the door and opened and I nearly died. In front of me were rooms of books stacked from the floor to the ceiling. I also noticed that there was no air conditioner, a fact that would be my downfall much later. In any case, the gentleman told me where everything was, bid me to have fun and to close the door once done and soon, I was alone. With thousands of books. Here are several of the photos I took of the place:
I scrambled to find books while trying hard not to either fall down or die of heat exhaustion. Even now, while I think about that moment, it brings a smile to my face. So, why did I mention that story, you may ask? For the simple reason that my copy of The Snow Leopard was one of the books purchased during that moment of biblio-glory. However, once I finally decided to read the book, I realized that the first thirteen pages were missing. I, therefore, located a copy of the book at one of the libraries in Memphis, made copies of the pages and stuck them in my copy. I also have plans to laminate the dust jacket and place it on a wall in my apartment. Yes, I have it that bad for books. The Snow Leopard is a wonderful book that showed how a man overcame much in order to trek out on such a journey. This is an excellent book for a person who enjoys a good story, anything regarding travel or any book regarding enlightenment. I did spend some time reading comments made about this book on Amazon and was shocked to find that a lot of people did not like the "religious" aspect of the book, i.e., the Zen moments Peter experienced and felt the need to write down. All they wanted was a travel book and that was that. However, we all have our journeys to make, be they around the world or just to the end of your city. Once you have made the journey, what then? What will you do with yourself now that the journey is over? What did you learn during the journey? Although Peter did not see a snow leopard, the journey was much better than the actual goals. And that, to me, makes all the difference in the world.

Book Review - The Martian Women by Tyree Campbell

Tyree Campbell, the mastermind behind Sam's Dot Publishing, has done it again! If you are looking for a straight up science fiction story written well that leaves you wanting more, The Martian Women does not fail to satisfy. Meet Teresa "Traci" Minerva Timberlake, a woman that does not know the meaning of "can't". Thanks to discovering a secret to further space travel, she is sent to court in the hopes of suppressing such information for other humans living on Mars. Yet, thanks to being a fifth generation Martian woman, her deceased relatives' history on the Red Planet proves that blood is truly thicker than water or even a rocky planet. Campbell's writing is paced well while the story is fleshed out just enough so as to keep the interest level high. Once you reach the end, you will probably want to read it all over again. Sam's Dot Publishing is known for their novellas, magazines and novels of many genres, making sure that the reader will be up for many hours while steadily turning pages. I have read several of their titles plus featured my work in their magazines and they do not fail to disappoint me and my hunger for a great story to read. If you happen to attend a sci-fi convention in which Sam's Dot Publishing is listed as a vendor, stop by the table and pick up a copy of The Martian Women or any of their other titles. Also, tell Tyree that Viridian Girl says hi.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quote - Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

"And it seemed she was like the sea, nothing but dark waves rising and heaving, heaving with a great swell, so that slowly her whole darkness was in motion, and she was ocean rolling its dark, dumb mass. Oh, and far down inside her the deeps parted and rolled asunder, in long, far-travelling billows, and ever, at the quick of her, the depths parted and rolled asunder, from the centre of soft plunging, as the plunger went deeper and deeper, touching lower, and she was deeper and deeper and deeper disclosed, and heavier the billows of her rolled away to some shore, uncovering her, and closer and closer plunged the palpable unknown, and further and further rolled the waves of herself away from herself, leaving her, till suddenly, in a soft, shuddering convulsion, the quick of all her plasm was touched, she knew herself touched, the consummation was upon her, and she was gone. She was gone, she was out, and she was born a woman."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review - The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos

One cool thing about being a bibliophile is that I will make the time to attend a book signing that interests me, no matter the length of the trip. I recently traveled to Oxford, MS to attend a book signing at Square Books for what seemed to be an interesting novel as well as author. I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie Bakopoulos, author of the novel The Green Shore, a book that I think everyone should read. The backdrop is Athens, Greece during the 1967 military coup d'etat, with special attention to one particular family: Eleni, a widowed physician, her brother Mihalis who is an eccentric poet and Eleni's children Anna, the youngest, Sophie, the eldest and her son Taki. Each member of the family responds to the unfolding events in their own way and yet each action overlaps with everyone else, thereby creating a story that is rich with history, love, betrayal and awareness. Mrs. Bakopoulos writes with such a delicate flair that I could smell the fresh oranges being squeezed for juice, see the pamphlets calling the people to action and hear the sounds of Greeks weeping and laughing all at once. This is a novel of family and of choices and I savoured every word with an intense desire to not only know more about the characters but to also read about such a period in Greece's history. In short, read this novel. You will not regret it.

Book Review - Price of Admission by Sylvia Shults

I had the pleasure of meeting Sylvia Shults at Fandom Fest in Louisville, KY this past weekend. Actually, after meeting her publisher, David M.Youngquist, I knew I had to pick up a copy of her book at their table. I read Price of Admission during the course of one day and the only problem I had with it was that I read it too quickly. Price of Admission tells the story of Jessica Taylor, a young woman spinning her wheels in Life, who suddenly travels back in time thanks to a haunted house and meets, literally, the man of her dreams. Max is handsome, intelligent, a grand musician...and an immortal. I will not spoil the results of said mixture, yet I will say that thanks to Mrs. Shults' writing, the novel was a joy and a delight to read. I especially loved how she explained the immortality held by Max; the origins were very unique and well handled without it being completely unbelievable. When I feel as though I am with the characters in their current predicament, no matter how exciting or boring, I know that I am reading a well written book. Price of Admission is just that: a well written and enjoyable book that leaves me wanting more. Thankfully, after telling Sylvia how much I loved her book, she informed me that there will be a sequel, of which I look forward to. If you would like to know more about this awesome novel, please click on the link: Dark Continents Press