Non-review of books

Here’s a few books I’ve read recently that I’m not going to review.

The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America’s UFO Highway, by Ben Mezrich. Interesting, but in order to make a point it has to ignore a lot that doesn’t fit with the theme of the book.

Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny. Read this one so I could participate in a book discussion group. I liked it, but apparently I missed one of the major points in the narrative when it was either implied or directly stated that what was coming next was flashback.

Aesop’s Illustrated Fables, Barnes & Noble edition. I liked it. I could see a lot of parallels to other morality tales. Just flipping through right now, I find “The Farmer and His Sons”, which is almost perfectly preserved in Jesus’s teaching (700 years later) of the gardener who had a dream that there was treasure buried beneath a tree. I liked reading the whole tale from which we often just distill the lesson. Plus I was intrigued to see Aesop break the 4th wall when he told stories about the slave Aesop.

The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin. This won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the National Book Award when it was published in 1974. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s the passage of time and seeing a fair amount of sci-fi since this was published, but I don’t really get why this would have been so spectacularly received.

Writers of the Future, Volume 34, edited by David Farland. I read this and WotF Vol 33 this spring, to get a better feel for the stories that win the contest, as this is a writing contest I try to enter every quarter. I’ve had Honorable Mentions and one Semi-Finalist. I’d still like to win, as long as I’m eligible. I’ll take being not eligible, because I’ve been published, too.

I think there’s more, but I don’t remember. I used to keep a list of books I’ve read. I haven’t maintained that this year. Unfortunately.

 

P.S. Edited to add – I remembered one!

Adventure Cats: Living Nine Lives to the Fullest, by Laura Moss. Gave me things to think about as I try to train my cat to come with me camping, hiking, and bicycling.

Writing Practice – 4/8/2018

Inspired by Ursula K. Le Guin, Finding My Elegy, p 47.

Between us

is neither forgiveness

nor reparation

but only the sea waves, the sea wind.

 

Between us is a gulf

a vastness

a distance compounded by time,

that destroys consciousness with pity.

 

Between us is

nothing,

for we are bonded like ionic or

covalence or convalescents,

In a place not of our choosing,

surrounded by life not of our design.

 

Between us is

a rift, years old and fights wide,

stretched with each faint slight,

Deepened with each perceived snub,

Darkened with each impassioned plea for reconnection,

because of feelings of duty, an honor, and hobligation.

 

Between us is

a coffee table, with

two coffee cups, and

twelve ounces of coffee, and

three lumps of sugar in one,

and a dash of honey and two

creams in the other,

and two coasters, round, woven of some

brown wood-like material, gently

warming under the influence of

the mugs, and

two spoons, dripping, slowly dripping,

tendrils down their curved undersides

to pool on the ceramic surface of the table, and

a handful of napkins, unused, and

six minutes worth of tears, and

the unrealized expectations you

have now deposited upon that ceramic surface, seemingly designed for only this purpose, to comfort you, to catch your fall, to hold you up after I’ve done the incomprehensible, the unimaginable, the terrible, and told you I can’t have a baby with you, I won’t have a baby with you,

I already had a pregnancy with

you and I don’t any more.

Writing Practice – 2/6/2018 – Write about running out of space

[note: I like this because while I started off generically, it transformed pretty quickly into a dynamic I think many can relate to]

Write about running out of space…

When you’re packing, you have piles and piles and piles and shelves full of books and other shelves full of nick-nacks, and you’re trying to load them into packing boxes so they can all come with you, so they can all find a new space in your new home, so they can continue to be your companions, and they can continue to bring you comfort, peace, joy. But you only have so many boxes, she said you have to limit to three, there’s just not enough space in the new place for all of your items, remember, Jeanie said that, she’s a good daughter, she’s a peach, she’s a doll, she knows what’s best, they said you can have three boxes of clothes and three boxes of other items. They recommend only one box of books, though, as most residents don’t spend a lot of time in their room anyway, and there is that little residents’ library where free exchanges happen all the time, you won’t need more than a few books at a time anyway, because you’ll read one and then trade it out for another one, remember, Gerry, that’s what Jeanie said. 

So, here, let’s not get too sentimental over all of these little guys. I know! Let’s take one of every three, and that way you can have a lot, and we won’t have to fight her over it? She, here, this little blue gnome with the red hat; let’s take him and when you look at him you can remember the other gnomes, too, with the white hat holding a shovel, and that one with the yellow hat doing a cartwheel. I agree, they do look funny. That’s why you like them, isn’t it? That’s why you want to keep them? Well, little Blue here is going to keep you smiling, just you see. See? Here he is, all wrapped up in the paper and put softly in the box, right down there.

Now, about those pens. Quite a collection you’ve got. Any one in particular stand out? Oh? Why? Well, far be it from me to interfere with something used by President Kennedy! That’s obviously a go. Any others with special value? That one, why, it’s spectacular. NO! 24k-karat? How does it write? Well, splendid! Look at your signature. I’d never believe you’re almost eighty. You’ve got the fine motor control of a man half your age.

Why? Well, you see, it’s not really about fine motor control, is it? No, you see that. Jeanie told you yesterday, and the day before, I remember. I was here. With Kathleen now gone, dear, you’re just not able ot take care of yourself well enough. I know, it’s [illegible]. And, yes, quite humiliating. Far be it from me to try and pretend this isn’t hard on you – how rude of me. But – and please believe me here – I’ve seen it many times. A gentleman, still young at-heart and stout of body, will do very well at Piney Acres. Very well.

I’m certain. Yes. I’m certain. Now – about those shot glasses?