Archive for the 'Reading and Writing' Category

National Novel Writing Month 2007

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

That’s right, NaNoWriMo 2007 is well underway, with the current crop of writer wanna-bes cranking out over six million words in the first two days. Sure, only 23 of those words are actually publishable, but you have to start somewhere.

As for me, I’m off to a late start. Today, I tried eating something substantial for the first time in nearly a week.

Big mistake, that.

So, one more night of being under the weather and hopefully daddy gonna be all right.

And He Tapped His Foot in the Hogwart’s Bathroom Too

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Oh no, another reason for the right-wing religious nutzoids to think Harry Potter is of the devil:

NEW YORK (AP) — Harry Potter fans, the rumors are true: Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and Headmaster of Hogwarts, is gay.

J.K. Rowling, author of the mega-selling fantasy series that ended last summer, outed the beloved character Friday night while appearing before a full house at Carnegie Hall. After reading briefly from the final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” she took questions from audience members.

She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds “true love.”

“Dumbledore is gay,” the author responded to gasps and applause.

I’m not sure how “Dumbledore is gay” answers the question of whether or not he finds true love. Does that mean that gay people can or cannot find it?

I’m all confused now!

Lysa Harding Hates Her Vagina

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Well, not really (I think), but she sure hates books that talk about sex, even when they are cautionary tales about the problems that can follow sexual activity at a young age:

BROOKWOOD — Lysa Harding, 15, couldn’t believe the sexually charged prose of the novel she checked out from the library at Brookwood High School. Her grandmother was offended, too.

Now they’re refusing to return the book, “Sandpiper” by Ellen Wittlinger, saying other teens shouldn’t be exposed to it…

The novel tells the story of a 15-year-old girl named Sandpiper Hollow Ragsdale who is on a “sexual power trip and engages in random hookups,” according to a review by the School Library Journal.

The book has been favorably reviewed and is intended for older teens, said Jane Smith, library media specialist for the Tuscaloosa County School system.

“It’s a cautionary tale for teenagers that oral sex is sex,” Smith told The Tuscaloosa News.

Oh, sure, Jane Smith (if that is your real name), let’s just teach the kids about the emotional, physical, and social aspects of sexuality by including sex in the discussion. Riiiight.

What kind of hippie free love freak are you?

Everyone knows it’s best just to tell the girls they can get preggers from kissing, and to tell the boys that women have teeth down there. Like a snapping turtle. A blossoming snapping turtle. With teeth.

Snap. Snap. Snap!

Lysa, who checked the book out at random last week for a book report, said it goes into too much graphic detail for high school students.

“I honestly believe that it should not be at school, because at my school they teach abstinence and no sex before marriage, but then all the book is teaching is how to do those things,” she said.

Which tells me that, rather than grasping the message of the books she reads, Lysa writes book reports that read like so: “This book was good. I liked it a lot. It made me happy. I like ponies. And baby Jesus. Baby Jesus on a pony would be nice. The end.”

Just charge her for the damn book and put a new one on the shelf.

Quote of the Day

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Just a paragraph I liked in the book I finished reading today. The book, The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman, is about what would happen to the world we know if all of mankind simply disappeared one lovely afternoon. It’s a fascinating read on how fleeting our greatest achievements would be, and how lasting some of our follies. In this particular section, he touches on our efforts to project ourselves into space, if not in person, then in a historical record of sorts, be it a spacecraft with a gold record or decades of television broadcasts traversing the void between stars.

As the Voyagers and Pioneers erode away to startdust, in the end our radio waves, bearing sounds and images that record barely more than a single century of human existence, will be all the universe holds of us. It’s hardly an instant, even in human terms, but a remarkably fruitful – if convulsive – one. Whoever awaits our news at the edge of time will get an earful. They may not understand Lucy, but they will hear us laugh.

Eh, I don’t know. I liked it.

NaNoWriMo 2007

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

So, who – other than David and me – is thinking about engaging in that annual exercise in futility known as National Novel Writing Month?

Yes, it’s a couple of months away, but we like to embrace suicidal struggles early on.

If you’re one of those who feel the call, feel chosen, feel destined to be a part of this event, an event that quite possibly results in the largest amount of grammatical loose stools the world has ever seen in a 30 day period, then let us know.

We plan to form some kind of Ernest Hemingway / Charles Bukowski Drinking Club for Writers (Writing Club for Drinkers?), meeting up in the Denver area at least once a week, during which we will imbibe delightful beverages, converse, and then – come morning – regret not writing anything the night before.

C’mon, I know you’re sold on the idea – join us!

How Does Harry Potter End?

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

Are you one of those who simply must know, even before you read the latest book, how Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows brings the epic series to a close?

Well, you’ve come to the right place, because this is not just your source for all things American Idol, it’s also your source for all-things “most recent Harry Potter book.”

So, how does it end? You won’t believe me when I tell you!

First, Harry wakes up and discovers that all of the previous books were nothing but a dream. No lie! Suddenly everyone is calling him “Pat” or “Duffy” or “the Duffman.”

But, deep inside, he knows he is Harry Potter, boy wizard!

He sets off to find Hermione and Ron, asking everyone he meets if they have seen them. They all respond with “What the heck kind of name is Hermione? Sounds like it would make your hoody-hoo itch. What ever happened to nice names like Jane?”

Never one to give up, never one to surrender, Harry pushes on, and finds Hermione working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, that much is true. She’s traded in her magic for tips and she works hard for the money, so hard for it honey.

Hermione tells Harry about how he fell into a coma months ago, and Harry delights her with tales of their dreamed adventures. While they spend hours doing this, Ron, who lives just across town, is run over by a lettuce delivery truck and never gets to hear these great tales. His loss.

In the end, Harry and Hermione settle down in a nice little home with a white picket fence, where they spend their days writing posts purporting to be about the adventures of Harry Potter, but which are really designed just to see how many people click through to the post.

The end.

RIP Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Dead, at age 84.

He became a bit incomprehensible politically towards the end – not that I didn’t get his point, just that his reasoning always seemed a bit more like “nutty uncle” than “insightful artiste” – but his novels will line the Classics shelves for decades hence.

Perhaps I will take down a Vonnegut from the shelf tonight and read until I drift to sleep…

Book Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

Yes, I know that Oprah recently put this out as the pick of her book club, but don’t hold that against it.

The Road tells the story of a father and son as they struggle for survival in a world that is gasping its last. We are never told exactly what happened to the world; it could be any of the end-times scenarios that mankind has either dreamed up or made possible. It really doesn’t matter how things got so bad, just that they are so bad.

Theirs is a burden to “carry the fire,” that essential goodness of our common humanity, so easy to maintain in the day-to-day, but which finds itself tested when other avenues offer simpler means to live another hour.

McCarthy’s text reflects the dying fire in its spare verbiage, bleak words painted on a gray canvas, in which even the most brutal of acts by man against man are stated with an unsettling numbness. In a world in which everything is in short supply, nothing should be wasted – neither food, nor bullets, nor words, nor punctuation.

Through much of the book, the only color in the land exists in the relationship between the father and son, where hope and love make them “each the other’s world entire.” By stories end, as other bits of color are found, despite the hopelessness of it all, we realize that hope we must – for what is the alternative? Maybe hope is just enough to keep us going.

Well worth the read.

Update: Looks like The Road has won the Pulitzer.