Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why Stephen King?

I've added a new page to my website concerning why I put a lot of stock into Stephen King.

As I say on that page, just by mentioning his name, I'll turn a lot of people away --- I'm fine with that.

I don't read his books because I think he's "the best ever" or has any special talent other than the ability to tell a good tale.

But I do want to mention his non-fiction here, because he has spent of lot of time and written a lot of words that parallel many of the points I try to make with this blog and the sibling website.

Also, over the next few months, I will be rereading portions of Danse Macabre and the forewards and afterwards of many of his books, and then discussing them here. Some things I'll agree with, others I'll disagree with, but either way, it'll provide a jumping off point for discussion, and maybe even enlighten all of us.

So here's your homework assignment: If you get a chance, jump out to my website to the page "Why Stephen King?" and read that short little essay on it. Also, take the time to read Danse Macabre and any of the extra stuff that he frequently puts in the front or back of his books (he usually does that with short story collections), then you'll be all prepared for the discussions to come.

Until Next Time,
Kingly Yours,

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Little Free Libraries

Maybe you've seen one of these in your community, or maybe you've only seen them on the internet, but Little Free Libraries are popping up everywhere and have become quite famous throughout this country and a country or two overseas.  They're little boxes mounted on a tree, set up in someone's front yard, or some other public place - a place where people can come up and either take any book they want or leave a few.

At a park near my home where The Boss and I can be found frequently has one such box, and I check it regularly. I've taken books, I've left books. The other day I took two paperbacks to donate, and inside discovered a little treasure. Before scrolling down to see the answer, look real hard at the pic and see if you can spot it.

Yep, my eagle eye zoomed in on it right away, and I snatched it out of there quicker than Gollum trying to steal back The Ring.

Sure, it's ten years old. But that someone thought to donate that instead of just throwing it away made me happy. It's in super good condition, especially considering its age, and it has a few authors featured whom I'm not familiar with. (Soapbox Rant to Follow - Feel free to skip: I also noticed that ten years ago, this pulp used to put the address label on the back of the magazine instead of dead center on the front like they do now. My Cheesy Readers have read my complaints about that before - how the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction covers up the cover art of their publication. But now we know this wasn't always the case. Ten years ago it was on the back. When my subscription started it was on the bottom of the front cover, and suddenly these past few issues it's moved to dead center on the cover. It just begs the "why" questions again: Why cover up the artwork? Why not move it back to the back where it used it be? End of Soapbox Rant)

The lesson here is if you do happen to stumble upon one of these mini-libraries take one brief moment to browse the titles, maybe take a book or two, return them when you're done, or if you decide you want to keep them, donate replacements. Tell you reader friends, encourage them to do the same. Keep the movement going. You'll never know who you'll make happy with a "new" book, but it is guaranteed that you will make someone happy, and that's all that matters.

Until Next Time...
Mini-ly Yours,

Monday, April 20, 2015

Comfort Reads Redux

My Cheesy Readers may remember my post a few months ago titled Comfort Reads in which I debated which genre book qualified as My Comfort Read --- that one book or series that I've read many times, where I turn to time and time again, where I can jump in the book anywhere and find myself caught up in its story again like returning to an old friend.

I mentioned that I had thought it was The Lord of The Rings series because I reread at least one book a year, but if I thought about random reading, I always turned to Dune. So I handed the honor to Frank Herbert's classic.

Remember that conversation? Of course you do.

Well, I was watching a documentary on the making of the sets of the LOTR movies and for the segment concerning Minas Morgul, they quoted text from the chapter "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol." Later I picked up The Two Towers and started reading the chapter they referenced. Next thing I realized, I was deep into the story of the climb with Frodo, Sam, and Gollum, and had read way past the part they described in the documentary. Quite an unexpected turn of events. I had just done what I said I had only previously done with Herbert's Dune. And then instances of other times this had happened came back to my memory, like the time I picked it up and relieved the death of Boromir and the splitting of the Fellowship, or the time I found myself randomly reading the confrontation at the Black Gate at Mordor. Hmmm... Maybe my previous decision was a bit hasty. 

So with that in mind, I felt compelled to log back on here and modify my previous statement. I had awarded the honor to Dune, but now I have to rescind that again --- the score is still tied, which is really the way it should be. If I'm in the mood for the fantasy genre, it's LOTR, and if I'm in the mood for science fiction, then it's Dune.

Simple enough. Now if I recall, the last I left our hapless heroes, Sam has just realized that spider venom doesn't immediately kill its victims....

Until next time...
Tie-ingly Yours,

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Words of the Moment VII (The chronicle of an Earth Hour)

Last Saturday we celebrated Earth Hour - a movement started in Australia that is now observed in dozens of countries across the globe. Once a year on a specified Saturday in March, everyone shuts out all their lights and electronics - smart phones, televisions, computers, tablets, etc.

The Boss and I decided to celebrate this year with a game of Trivial Pursuit by candlelight (later that evening we found out that a lot of people celebrate this way). But who knew a simple board game, no lights, and an hour to kill could increase one's vocabulary. So without further delay:

eponymous --- The question was simple: "What was Aerosmith's eponymous debut album?"
I should have known the answer, but the cover art from Toys in the Attic was stuck in my head, so I second guessed myself and got it wrong. The lesson here? I didn't know the definition of eponymous. If I had known that, then I wouldn't have had to try to recall my Aerosmith history. I would have known that eponymous means self-titled. In other words, even if someone who has lived their entire lives under a musical rock could have gotten that answer correct by simply knowing the definition of eponymous.

wroth - All authors get into various ruts, one of those situations where things tend to repeat themselves, be it descriptions, explanations, plots, etc. and George R.R. Martin is no exception. This time, he's in a word rut. I don't know how many times he used the word "wroth" in the first four books of his A Song of Ice and Fire series, but I do know he went on a "wroth-spree" about midway through the fifth book, because it seemed like it was popping up every two pages. All things considered, I guess a lot of characters deserve to vent a little "wroth" - they're all probably angry at George for killing off all their relatives, angry for the harsh conditions of war, angry at the betrayals and politics as people try to position themselves for the crown. Well...you get the idea. A lot of anger floating around that narrative.

So there you have it. Two words you may never use unless you play Trivial Pursuit by candlelight or decide to read George R.R. Martin, but should they be needed, you now have them at your disposal.

Until Next Time...
Unwrothily Yours,