Saturday, April 26, 2014

THAT Line That Caught My Eye - The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth

Now that I have read and fully comprehended The Dying Animal by Philip Roth, I wanted to spend a little more time with him to see if my feelings would apply to his other works. Right now, I am reading the book The Ghost Writer, concerning his alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, and his meeting with famed author E. I. Lonoff. I would like to share with you a particular passage that caught my eye so that I re-read it several times.

This is Roth at his finest, in my humble opinion:

“Her art was everything, a point of view no less beguiling to me than the large painted gypsy-girl eyes and the small unpainted she-monkey face, and those elegant, charming tableaux she could achieve, even when engaged in something so aesthetically unpromising as, half asleep in the middle of the night, taking a lonely pee in my bathroom.”

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Review - The Dying Animal by Philip Roth

First, let me say that the first and last book I had ever read by Philip Roth was The Human Stain, followed by many years of steering away from his work because, as I now realize, I did not understand him. True, Roth is considered by many to be a pillar of English literature and recommended reading when one wants to read books of a "higher" nature. Yet, I could not understand him and therefore, avoided him and read other books.

However, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I decided to return to Mr. Roth and see if perhaps, with Time, my mind was ready for him. So, I chose one of his smaller novels, The Dying Animal, and read it in two days with much joy and literary bliss.

David Kepesh is a sixty something TV culture critic and lecturer at a college in New York who is quite the Casanova. He loves women and is not ashamed of it. However, when he meets the lovely Consuela Castillo, his world is turned upside down and forced into a sexual awakening that even he was not prepared for.

This slim novel reminded me of one of my favourite classic novels - Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: an older man who is taunted, teased and seduced by a younger woman who plays the part of the nymph, the seductress and Muse in whom he pledges his eternal devotion to. There is no love only lust and yet, just like Humbert, Kepesh is drawn ever deeper until it is too late to regain the piece of him he willingly sacrificed.

I actually enjoyed reading the story from Kepesh's point of view; it was bitter, elitist and sometimes quite funny and I actually hoped that he would find a sense of redemption through his tryst with Consuela. When he did experience it, it was not in the way I had imagined it and my respect for Roth as an author increased.

While this may not read like a book review per se, I still wanted to talk about the novel and my appreciation of it. I will definitely read the other Kepesh book entitled The Professor of Desire and return to his hedonistic world.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Book Review - The Way of the Black Beast by Stuart Jaffe

The first time I ever met author Stuart Jaffe was during Contraflow, an awesome convention located in New Orleans, Louisiana. I hit it off with him immediately and knew that we were going to be good friends. However, it was during Midsouth Con 2014 that I purchased a copy of one of his books - The Way of the Black Beast - Book One of The Malja Chronicles. A month later, I began reading it.


Most, if not all, of my books reviews are of books that I liked/loved quite well and this one is in the same category. If you are looking for a book that includes not only magic but also technology, strong emotions that run the gambit, a well laid out story and a kick ass female lead who is also very human, then The Way of the Black Beast is for you.

Imagine a world in which magic ruled everything: the food one ate, the seasons that constantly changed and even the people who inhabited said world. Magicians were seen as the lawgivers, caretakers and everything in between for the world and the world was good.

Now, imagine that same world destroyed by the very thing that helped shape it.

Welcome to the Devastation.

Malja, a young woman who is also a cold blooded assassin, is on a mission: to find her fathers, Jarik and Callib, two very important and dangerous magicians, and kill them. She must be able to survive a world horribly twisted and damaged by magic as well as those who still carry magic in the form of tattoos on their bodies, not to mention protect a young mute boy named Tommy who is also a magician who has not yet become insane by his magic. She has questions that need answers and the only people who can answer them for her are the ones she must destroy as well. Oh yeah, let's not forget the Bluesmen (wink) in whom I want to know more about very, very much.

I hope you are reading this, Stuart. I want to know more about the Bluesmen.

While reading this engrossing book, I kept comparing it to The Dark Tower by Stephen King, of which I read and thoroughly enjoyed. There is that same feeling of technology versus twisted magic in a misshapen world that I felt when I read The Dark Tower and yet Jaffe captures something quite different with his narrative that flowed well and kept up a good pace that will keep the reader engrossed. Jaffe, in my humble opinion, can tell a story rather well and is descriptive enough to allow the reader access into this world, whether they want it or not, without being bombarded.

I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series and I truly do hope that Jaffe and I cross paths again at a convention very soon.

Pick up a copy of The Way of The Black Beast and if you happen to meet Jaffe, you will be one lucky person for knowing him.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Love Affair With Books

So it was that I just finished watching the film 84 Charing Cross Road starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. This delightful and charming film is about the real life friendship between feisty New York writer Helene Hanff and British bookseller Frank Doel that spanned over 20 years. It all began with an ad in a literary magazine that catches the eye of Ms. Hanff, prompting her to order books from the antiquarian bookstore of Marks and Co. in London, England.

This film is a love letter to books and to all who simply adore them like myself. The feel and smell of books is an experience that can not be duplicated by anything else. A book, especially an old book, is a treasure that can be enjoyed by all. I even have perfume that smells like old paperbacks. Yes, it is rather like that.

When I read the book some time ago, I felt a sense of kinship between Helene and Frank; my love of books has been with me ever since I learned how to read. Although I am now a published and award winning author, I will drop almost anything for a book. Books are like a dearest friend, a candid lover, an older guide in Life and a trusting soul, each with their own stories to tell  to the world. The film does the book great justice and as stated before, is a delight to watch.

If you are a lover of books, you owe it yourself to watch the film and read the book. You will not be disappointed by either.

Now, if you don't mind, I've got a couch, a hot cup of tea and a book with my name on it for tonight.

Happy Reading.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review - Little Birds by Anais Nin

Let me just say right off the bat that I read Little Birds by Anais Nin in under two hours. 

Yes, I enjoyed it just that much.

Little Birds is a delightfully exquisite collection of short erotic stories mixed with wonder, enchantment and dreamlike verses that only Anais Nin could write. Each of the stories are what I like to call "slice of Life" stories in which we get a glimpse to a certain degree before moving on, yet our curiosity has been satisfied because the slice is filled with more than we expected. As much I enjoyed reading all the stories, my favourites were "The Woman on the Dunes" and "Saffron". You'll never look at that spice the same way again. These two stories stuck out in my mind as being the definite of what Anais Nin was all about and her "gifts" to the literary world. 

Anais Nin (February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was not only a master of the short story and poetic prose, but also a great storyteller when it came to writing about her life in her "Diaries". Although I never thoroughly read her Diaries, I have read her prose, including House of Incest, Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross and of course, Delta of Venus. Since she was great friends with great authors Henry Miller (author of Tropic of Capricorn) and Lawrence Durrell (author of the WONDERFUL Alexandria Quartet), it comes as no surprise as to the nature of her work. She was truly a master of the dreamlike, the ethereal, the decadent and the erotic. 

One of my favourite quotes by her: 

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom."

Monday, April 14, 2014

19 March 2014 ~

Will you still claim to love me
when I am dead and grey?
Will you profess such deep words
when my eyes become white?
My love for you shall remain
blasphemous and smelling of myrrh.
Touch my cheek one last time
before we part; give me something
to hold me when the dawn breaks.
I desire you and am bound to you;
I claim my title of slave with jasmine scented bonds.
Forgive me, dearest, and continue to love me.
Give me thine heart and soul
and shower me with tears
fallen freely and mixed with memories.
Make me say that I want you
with a dying breath scented with dreams
and never let me forget
that it was you who never ceased hating me.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

18 March 2014

I am no longer a stranger
to words that appear to harm me.
Forgiveness is such a formidable weapon
to wield and cultivate properly.
Feeling such emotions, raw and effective,
has left me blind to your charms
thrown like dust made of gold.
May I, then, ask a question
to discover why we are here?
Will your answer be the one I have been seeking
or shall it confuse me more?
My mouth bleeds red, dripping
carelessly upon my guilt stained hands.
The white gloves are not good enough
to count as penance.
I turn and see nothing that reminds me of you,
only a shadow, rotten and bloated,
that calls me by my true name.