Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Review: Chaneysville Incident David Henry Bradley Jr.

The Chaneysville IncidentThe Chaneysville Incident by David Henry Bradley Jr.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's somewhat a boring read in some parts and it is maybe because I'm not interested in history and this book has a lot of it since the main character is a historian. At times, I would really have to push myself to read it. I always make sure that when I start a book, I read it to the end. That's just how I read. However, I like the story, the mystery of it, the ending too. It's a look into the controversial topic of black history and I'm just relieved that it is not happening now. We are all brothers and sister no matter what our color or race. That is my belief.

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Book Summary

The legends say something happened in Chaneysville. The Chaneysville Incident is the powerful story of one man's obsession with discovering what that something was--a quest that takes the brilliant and bitter young black historian John Washington back through the secrets and buried evil of his heritage. Returning home to care for and then bury his father's closest friend and his own guardian, Old Jack Crawley, he comes upon the scant records of his family's proud and tragic history, which he drives himself to reconstruct and accept. This is the story of John's relationship with his family, the town, and the woman he loves; and also between the past and the present, between oppression and guilt, hate and violence, love and acceptance.

About the Author

Bradley, David (b. 1950), author and professor of creative writing. Born and raised in Bedford, Pennsylvania, David Bradley's horizon was shaped by a rural world near the soft-coal region of western Pennsylvania and by his father, a church historian and eloquent preacher, who frequently took his son on trips to the South. After high school Bradley was named Benjamin Franklin National Achievement and Presidential Scholar. In 1972, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a Thouron Scholarship for the University of London, where he received his MA in 1974, and established a lasting interest in nineteenth-century American history, resulting in the writing of four versions of his second novel when he returned to America.

In 1975, with the publication of his first novel, South Street, Bradley showed a keen interest in depicting everyday life and in the use of vernacular language. The book is centered on a black bar, a black church, and a hotel lobby on Philadelphia's South Street. In an ironic black urban version of the Western genre, Bradley has the black poet Adlai Stevenson Brown temporarily live and work amidst the unstable conditions of the black ghetto. Brown functions as a catalyst for the fantasies of hustlers, drinkers, whores, and preachers, whose sexual and material power games, articulated in vividly idiomatic speech and couched in ebullient or caustic humor, add up to a virtuoso dramatization of a vibrant, though depressed, city milieu.

Bradley's second novel, The Chaneysville Incident (1981), won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1982 and was quickly recognized as a major text of African American fiction. Its protagonist, John Washington, a history professor in Philadelphia, in the process of exploring his family and group history finds himself confronted with his father's dying friend Old Jack (an embodiment of the black oral tradition); with the life plans of his father Moses and his ancestor C. K. Washington (who both tried to exert covert influence on the white power structure); and with his white girl friend, Judith a psychologist, who eventually helps John to make meaningful a partially buried and fragmented history through an imaginative complementation of the data from several incidents near Chaneysville, especially the voluntary suicide of a group of fugitive slaves when threatened with reenslavement.

After shorter spells as an editor and a professor of English, David Bradley settled at Temple University in Philadelphia as professor of creative writing in 1977. He has published a variety of essays, book reviews, and interviews in prestigious periodicals, magazines, and newspapers treating topics such as black education and literature, the exemplary lives and self-concepts of black athletes, and the status and reception of Malcolm X. Bradley worked on a Malcolm X film script for Warner Brothers between 1984 and 1988 but gave up hope when faced with the systematic evisceration of Malcolm's figure by Hollywood. With Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Bradley edited the three-volume Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America in 1998.

Some rumors about Bradley's working on a detective novel notwithstanding, the author in a 1992 interview claimed to be at work on a nonfiction book about the founding documents and the continuing tradition of racism in America.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Review: Going Overboard Sarah Smiley

Going Overboard: The Misadventures of a Military WifeGoing Overboard: The Misadventures of a Military Wife by Sarah Smiley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and I loved Sarah Smiley. This book made me cry towards the end. I love the fact that eventhough she had issues on infidelity, she woke up and saw in the end that she should really be with her husband and I really like that. Sarah Smiley is now one of my favorite authors! I would love to read more of her books, if there are any.

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Book Summary

GOING OVERBOARD chronicles the life of Sarah Smiley, a young Navy wife whose husband Dustin goes to sea for a longer-than-expected deployment once the war with Iraq begins. The daughter of an admiral, Sarah grew up in and around the Navy. She really thinks she knows what to expect from military life but feels ill-prepared for the many ups and downs she experiences while her husband is gone. She writes about her problems (real and imagined) and successes with disarming candor as she matures when he is away.

Dustin is a Navy pilot whom Sarah had known her entire life. As she is quick to point out, this doesn't make living together any easier. Often they seem out-of-synch, unable to communicate effectively with each other while living under the same roof. This lack of communication is only aggravated by Dustin's absences. When things get tough Sarah gets going --- to the comfort of a closet with her phone to call one of her good friends and discuss her problems.

Sarah writes with humor and unflinching honesty about being totally responsible for a two-year-old and a newborn. She feels like a single mother, even though she isn't. Dustin always took care of such things as mowing the lawn and balancing the checkbook, which Sarah now obsesses about. And she has a crush on her family doctor, an eligible bachelor, which leaves her by turns bewildered and excited, wondering if the doctor feels the same way about her.

While all of her friends are in France visiting their pilot husbands (she stays home because of her fear of flying), Sarah gets bitten on the leg by Courtney's cat. Since the cat had never been vaccinated, Sarah is informed that she may need a series of rabies shots. Being a bit of a hypochondriac anyway, this makes for a worrisome situation for Sarah, who doesn't even like cats to begin with.

Sarah shoots from the hip, lives in the moment, and is perplexed by her mother's listmaking and efficiency. Whenever Mom visits, Sarah reverts to being a needy child and is more than happy to let another adult take charge of the young children and the household.

Sarah's best friend moves out of her Florida neighborhood and clear across the country to California. Tanner, the much-loved dog Sarah grew up with, dies. The emails and phone calls to and from Dustin are less than satisfying, and she wonders where her marriage is headed.

Though she often feels like the Rock of Jell-O, Sarah is helpful and a good neighbor. She takes Melanie to the hospital and stays with her during a medical emergency and personal tragedy. She also takes in Melanie's daughter, Hannah, who is used to a very calm and orderly home environment. When Hannah asks why there are no vegetables on her dinner plate, Sarah realizes that not all families exist on hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.

People seem drawn to Sarah and willingly help her out. Her neighbor Brent mows the lawn without even being asked. Jody, Courtney and Melanie give her constant moral support, whether via late-night phone conversations or in person. Her frailties and quirks make her human and very likeable. Though her life seems to have a Lucy Ricardo quality about it, she is definitely the product of a younger, hipper generation.

Sarah writes a syndicated column about what she knows best --- life in and around the military. GOING OVERBOARD is her first book; hopefully there will be more to come.

--- Reviewed by Carole Turner *from

About the author

Navy wife Sarah Smiley is the author of Shore Duty, a syndicated newspaper column that reaches more than 2 million readers weekly, and of the memoir GOING OVERBOARD: The Misadventures of a Military Wife (Penguin/New American Library, 2005) and a collection of essays titled I'M JUST SAYING... (Ballinger, 2008).

Sarah has been featured in The New York Times Magazine ("Confessions of a Military Wife," November 6, 2005) and Newsweek, and on ABC's Nightline, CNN American Morning, CNN Sunday Morning, CBS The Early Show, Fox News Studio B, and MSNBC Live.

Sarah's life rights were recently optioned by Kelsey Grammer's company, Grammnet, and Paramount Television. A half-hour sitcom based on her columns and book is now in development. Film and dramatic rights are represented by Shari Smiley (surprisingly, no relation) at Creative Artist Agency in Los Angeles, CA. Sarah's literary work is represented by Jenny Bent at Trident Media Group in New York.

Sarah has been a Navy dependent for more than 31 years. She is the daughter of Lindell Rutherford, a career Navy F-14 pilot, and spent most of her upbringing amid the aircraft carriers and Navy bases in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Sarah Smiley has a B.S. in Education from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. She is the mother of three young boys -- Ford (6), Owen (4), and baby Lindell (1) -- and the wife of Navy flight instructor, Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Smiley." *from goodreads

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

GIVEAWAY: Win a signed copy of Book Crush by Nancy Pearl!!

Join this contest and win a free book giveaway! Only until October 22..

Read more about this here.
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Follow Friday

I've just come across this today and I'm not yet sure how to go about it. I'm just following the steps enumerated and this is step#4. I hope I'm doing the right thing. But from what I understood at least you'll get to know new book bloggers and I want that. I'm a new book blogger. I started to blog about books because first, I love to read and second, I love reading :D. And I would really want to meet new friends who also love to read books and who also write books, so I can read them :)

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers -
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
8. If your new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

This week's question is: What is your reading suggestion?
I would suggest Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson because that is the best book I've read this week. You can read my review of the book here:

Here's a link list of other book bloggers to follow...

If you want to join in the fun, just type your information on the box below and leave a comment and you're in!
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Best Seller Book: Anywhere But Here Mona Simpson

I have found this book really touching. It has depicted in detail relationships between women, particularly among mothers and daughters and between sisters. I didn't like Adele during the first part of the story because I thought and felt that she's incapable of taking care of her daughter and that she's too materialistic. However, in the end, I understood her and anyway, nobody's really perfect. I am a mother to three sons and a daughter and I know I'm not that perfect either.

So, I give an really excellent rating for this book. It has touched me right to the inner core of my being. Bravo!

Book Summary
"Ann's mother Adele is making her move across the country, from Wisconsin to California. In California, she has no apartment, no job, no prospects, but she is convinced that nothing will ever happen to her if she doesn't leave Wisconsin, where all of her family live. Ann is grief-stricken at leaving her aunt, uncle, grandmother, cousin, and step-father, but Adele is the type of person who is always excited about something and never seems to look back.

In California, Ann adapts better than does her mother. While Adele continues to struggle with finding a job and a suitable man, Ann finds friends, a boyfriend, and an acting job on a primetime television show. The whole time, though, she continues to fight with and resent her mother. The primary focus of this book is the blowouts between the generally serious Ann and the often childish, impractical, and eccentric Adele.

The narration shifts among Ann, her Aunt Carol, and her grandmother Lillian, adding a level of plot and backstory to the novel. Through those chapters told by Carol and Lillian, we learn of the women who stood in for Adele as mother figures during Ann's early childhood, and we learn of their own childhoods and secret pasts."

About Mona Simpson
Mona Simpson was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, then moved to Los Angeles as a young teenager. Her father was a recent immigrant from Syria and her mother was the daughter of a mink farmer and the first person in her family to attend college. Simpson went to Berkeley, where she studied poetry. She worked as a journalist before moving to New York to attend Columbia’s MFA program. During graduate school, she published her first short stories in Ploughshares, The Iowa Review and Mademoiselle. She stayed in New York and worked as an editor at The Paris Review for five years while finishing her first novel. Anywhere But Here. After that, she wrote The Lost Father, A Regular Guy and Off Keck Road.

Her work has been awarded several prizes: A Whiting Prize, A Guggenheim, a grant from the NEA, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a Lila Wallace Readers Digest Prize, a Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, Pen Faulkner finalist, and most recently a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

She worked ten years on My Hollywood. “It’s the book that took me too long because it meant to much to me,” she says.

Mona lives in Santa Monica with her two children and Bartelby the dog.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Read free novels online: BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley

Book Summary

The Introduction (Chapters 1–6)

The novel opens in London in the "year of our Ford 632" (AD 2540 in the Gregorian Calendar). The vast majority of the population is unified under The World State, an eternally peaceful, stable global society in which goods and resources are plentiful (because the population is permanently limited to no more than two billion people) and everyone is happy. Natural reproduction has been done away with and children are created, 'decanted' and raised in Hatcheries and Conditioning Centres, where they are divided into five castes (which are further split into 'Plus' and 'Minus' members) and designed to fulfill predetermined positions within the social and economic strata of the World State. Fetuses chosen to become members of the highest caste, 'Alpha', are allowed to develop naturally while maturing to term in "decanting bottles", while fetuses chosen to become members of the lower castes ('Beta', 'Gamma', 'Delta', 'Epsilon') are subjected to in situ chemical interference to cause arrested development in intelligence or physical growth. Each 'Alpha' or 'Beta' is the product of one unique fertilized egg developing into one unique fetus. Members of lower castes are not unique but are instead created using the Bokanovsky process which enables a single egg to spawn (at the point of the story being told) up to 96 children and one ovary to produce thousands of children. To further increase the birthrate of Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons, Podsnap's Technique causes all the eggs in the ovary to mature simultaneously, allowing the hatchery to get full use of the ovary in two years' time. People of these castes make up the majority of human society, and the production of such specialized children bolsters the efficiency and harmony of society, since these people are deliberately limited in their cognitive and physical abilities, as well as the scope of their ambitions and the complexity of their desires, thus rendering them easier to motivate, manipulate and control. All children are educated via the hypnopaedic process, which simultaneously provides each child with fact-based education and caste-appropriate subconscious messages to mold the child's life-long self-image, class conscientious, social outlook, habits, tastes, morals, ambitions and prejudices, and other values and ideals chosen by the leaders of the World State and their predetermined plans for producing future adult generations.

To maintain the World State's Command Economy for the indefinite future, all citizens are conditioned from birth to value consumption with such platitudes as "ending is better than mending," i.e., buy a new one instead of fixing the old one, because constant consumption, and near-universal employment to meet society's material demands, is the bedrock of economic and social stability for the World State. Beyond providing social engagement and distraction in the material realm of work or play, the need for transcendence, solitude and spiritual communion is addressed with the ubiquitous availability and universally-endorsed consumption of the drug soma. Soma is an allusion to a mythical drink of the same name consumed by ancient Indo-Aryans. In the book, soma is a hallucinogen that takes users on enjoyable, hangover-free "holidays", developed by the World State to provide such inner-directed personal experiences within the socially-managed context of State-run 'religious' organizations, social clubs, and the hypnopaedically-inculcated affinity to the State-produced drug as a self-medicating comfort mechanism in the face of stress or discomfort, thereby eliminating the need for religion or other personal allegiances outside or beyond the World State.

Recreational sex is an integral part of society. According to The World State, sex is a social activity, rather than a means of reproduction, and sexual activity is encouraged from early childhood. The few women who can reproduce are conditioned to use birth control (a "Malthusian belt", resembling a cartridge belt holding "the regulation supply of contraceptives", is a popular fashion accessory). The maxim "everyone belongs to everyone else" is repeated often, and the idea of a "family" is considered pornographic; sexual competition and emotional, romantic relationships are rendered obsolete because they are no longer needed. Marriage, natural birth, parenthood, and pregnancy are considered too obscene to be mentioned in casual conversation. Thus, society has developed a new idea of reproductive comprehension.

Spending time alone is considered an outrageous waste of time and money. Admitting to wanting to be an individual is shocking, horrifying, and embarrassing. This is why John, a character in the book, is later afforded celebrity-like status. Conditioning trains people to consume and never to enjoy being alone, so by spending an afternoon not playing "Obstacle Golf," or not in bed with a friend, one is forfeiting acceptance.

In The World State, people typically die at age 60[11] having maintained good health and youthfulness their whole life. Death isn't feared; anyone reflecting upon it is reassured by the knowledge that everyone is happy, and that society goes on. Since no one has family, they have no ties to mourn.

The conditioning system eliminates the need for professional competitiveness; people are literally bred to do their jobs and cannot desire another. There is no competition within castes; each caste member receives the same food, housing, and soma rationing as every other member of that caste. There is no desire to change one's caste, largely because a person's sleep-conditioning teaches that his or her caste is superior to the other four. To grow closer with members of the same class, citizens participate in mock religious services called Solidarity Services, in which twelve people consume large quantities of soma and sing hymns. The ritual progresses through group hypnosis and climaxes in an orgy. In geographic areas nonconducive to easy living and consumption, securely contained groups of "savages" are left to their own devices.

In its first chapters, the novel describes life in The World State as wonderful and introduces Lenina and Bernard. Lenina is a socially accepted woman, normal for her society, while Bernard, a psychologist, is an outcast. Although an Alpha Plus, Bernard is shorter in stature than the average of his caste—a quality shared by the lower castes, which gives him an inferiority complex. His work with sleep-teaching has led him to realize that what others believe to be their own deeply held beliefs are merely phrases repeated to children while they sleep. Still, he recognizes the necessity of such programming as the reason why his society meets the emotional needs of its citizens. Courting disaster, he is vocal about being different, once stating he dislikes soma because he'd "rather be himself." Bernard's differences fuel rumors that he was accidentally administered alcohol while incubated, a method used to keep Epsilons short.

Lenina, a woman who seldom questions her own motivations, is reprimanded by her friends because she is not promiscuous enough. However, she is still highly content in her role as a woman. Both fascinated and disturbed by Bernard, she responds to Bernard's advances to dispel her reputation for being too selective and monogamous.

Bernard's only friend is Helmholtz Watson, an Alpha Plus lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering (Department of Writing). The friendship is based on their similar experiences as misfits, but unlike Bernard, Watson's sense of loneliness stems from being too gifted, too handsome, and too physically strong. Helmholtz is drawn to Bernard as a confidant: he can talk to Bernard about his desire to write poetry.
[edit] The Reservation and the Savage (Chapters 7–9)

Bernard, desperately wanting Lenina's attention, tries to impress her by taking her on holiday to a Savage Reservation. The reservation, located in New Mexico, consists of a community named Malpais. From afar, Lenina thinks it will be exciting. In person, she finds the aged, toothless natives who mend their clothes rather than throw them away repugnant, and the situation is made worse when she discovers that she has left her soma tablets at the resort hotel. Bernard is fascinated, although he realizes his seduction plans have failed.

In typical tourist fashion, Bernard and Lenina watch what at first appears to be a quaint native ceremony. The village folk, whose culture resemble the contemporary Indian groups of the region, descendants of the Anasazi, including the Puebloan peoples of Acoma, Laguna, and Zuni, and the Ramah Navajo, begin by singing, but the ritual quickly becomes a passion play where a village boy is whipped to unconsciousness.

Soon after, the couple encounters Linda, a woman formerly of The World State who has been living in Malpais since she came on a trip and became separated from her group and her date, to whom she refers as "Tomakin" but who is revealed to be Bernard's boss the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning, Thomas. She became pregnant because she mistimed her "Malthusian Drill" and there were no facilities for an abortion. Linda gave birth to a son, John (later referred to as John the Savage) who is now eighteen.

Through conversations with Linda and John, we learn that their life has been hard. For eighteen years, they have been treated as outsiders; the natives hate Linda for sleeping with all the men of the village, as she was conditioned to do, and John was mistreated and excluded for his mother's actions, not to mention the role of racism. John's one joy was that his mother had taught him to read, although he only had two books: a scientific manual from his mother's job, which he called a "beastly, beastly book" and refused to read, and a collection of the works of Shakespeare (a work banned in The World State). John has been denied the religious rituals of the village, although he has watched them and even has had some of his own religious experiences in the desert.

Old, weathered and tired, Linda wants to return to her familiar world in London; she is tired of a life without soma. John wants to see the "brave new world" his mother has told him so much about. Bernard wants to take them back as revenge against Thomas, who had just reassigned Bernard to Iceland as punishment for his antisocial beliefs. Bernard arranges permission for Linda and John to leave the reservation.
[edit] The Savage visits the World State (Chapters 10–18)

Upon his return to London, Bernard is confronted by Thomas Tomakin, the Director of the Hatchery and Conditioning Centre who, in front of an audience of higher-caste Centre workers, denounces Bernard for his antisocial behaviour. Bernard, thinking that for the first time in his life he has the upper hand, defends himself by presenting the Director with his long lost lover and unknown son, Linda and John, John falls to his knees and calls Thomas his father, which causes an uproar of laughter. The humiliated Director resigns in shame.

Spared from reassignment, Bernard makes John the toast of London. Pursued by the highest members of society, able to bed any woman he fancies, Bernard revels in attention he once scorned. Everyone who is anyone will endure Bernard to dine with the interesting, different, beautiful John. Even Lenina grows fond of the savage, while the savage falls in love with her. Bernard, intoxicated with attention, falls in love with himself. In short, John brings tremendous happiness upon the citizens of London.

The victory, however, is short lived. Linda, decrepit, toothless, friendless, goes on a permanent soma holiday while John, appalled by what he perceives to be an empty society, refuses to attend Bernard's parties. Society drops Bernard as swiftly as it had taken him. Bernard turns to the person he'd believed to be his one true friend, only to see Helmholtz fall into a quick, easy camaraderie with John. Bernard is left an outcast yet again as he watches the only two men with whom he ever connected find more of interest in each other than they ever did in him.

John and Helmholtz's island of peace is brief. John grows frustrated by a society he finds wicked and debased. He is moved by Lenina, but also loathes her sexual advances, which revolt and shame him. He is heartbroken when his mother succumbs to soma and dies in a hospital. John's grief bewilders and revolts the hospital workers, and their lack of reaction to Linda's death prompts John to try to force humanity from the workers by throwing their soma rations out a window. The ensuing riot brings the police, who soma-gas the crowd. Bernard and Helmholtz arrive to help John, but only Helmholtz helps him, while Bernard stands to the side, torn between risking involvement by helping or escaping the scene.

When they wake, Bernard, Helmholtz and John are brought before Mustapha Mond, the Resident World Controller for Western Europe. Bernard and Helmholtz are told they will be exiled to islands of their choice. Mond explains that exile to the islands is not so much a threat to force freethinkers to reform and rejoin society but a place where they may act as they please, because they will not be an influence on the population. He also divulges that he too once risked banishment to an island because of some scientific experiments that were deemed controversial by the state, giving insight into his sympathetic tone. Helmholtz chooses the Falkland Islands, because of their terrible weather, so he could write well, but Bernard simply doesn't want to leave and struggles with the World Controller and is thrown out of the office. After Bernard and Helmholtz have left, Mustapha and John engage in a philosophical argument on the morals behind the godless society and then John is told the "experiment" will continue and he will not be sent to an island.

In the final chapter, John isolates himself from society in a lighthouse outside London where he finds his hermit life interrupted from mourning his mother by the more bitter memories of civilization. To atone, John brutally whips himself in the open, a ritual the Indians in his own village had said he was not capable of. His self-flagellation, caught on film and shown publicly, destroys his hermit life. Hundreds of gawking sightseers, intrigued by John's violent behavior, fly out to watch the savage in person. Even Lenina comes to watch, crying a tear John does not see. The sight of the woman whom he both adores and blames is too much for him; John attacks and whips her. This sight of genuine, unbridled emotion drives the crowd wild with excitement, and—handling it as they are conditioned to—they turn on each other, in a frenzy of beating and chanting that devolves into a mass orgy of soma and sex. In the morning, John, hopeless, alone, horrified by his drug use, and the orgy in which he participated that countered his beliefs, makes one last attempt to escape civilization and atone. When thousands of gawking sightseers arrive that morning, frenzied at the prospect of seeing the savage perform again, they find John dead, hanging by the neck. *from Wikipedia*

About the Author

Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts.

Aldous Huxley was a humanist and pacifist, and he was latterly interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism. He is also well known for advocating and taking psychedelics.

By the end of his life Huxley was considered, in some academic circles, a leader of modern thought and an intellectual of the highest rank, and highly regarded as one of the most prominent explorers of visual communication and sight-related theories as well.[1] *from Wikipedia*

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best Seller Fiction: DreamCatcher Stephen King

This is the first Stephen King book I've ever read and all I can say is that it has lived up to my expectation of what King books should be. This is the best thriller book I've ever read! So, it's all thumbs up and I recommend it for everyone to read.

Personally, my eldest child is also in the retarded category, I accept it and I dare to say that because it's who he is and how he had become. And even if that's the case, I love him with all my heart. Duddits is afflicted with Down;s syndrome, my son has cerebral palsy. I was struck when I read the part of the book which says that the mother and son can actually practice telepathy. However, with my son, I think it's not the case, but, I think I'll try to listen a lot to him, Who knows? :D

Anyway, I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed how the story unfolded as I read it. I can never guess what will happen next. Each scene just made me want to go on reading. Well, that's usually the case if it's a good book.

Since I'm a busy person. I actually thought I'll spend about a month reading this book but turns out, not at all. That's how interesting the book was! So, go on ahead and read it. It's worth it and you'll never regret spending time reading it.

I am actually looking forward to watching the movie.

Stephen King fans, rejoice! The bodysnatching-aliens tale is his first book in years that slakes our hunger for horror the way he used to. A throwback to, The Stand, and The Tommyknockers, Dreamcatcher is also an interesting new wrinkle in his fiction. Four boyhood pals in Derry, Maine, get together for a pilgrimage to their favorite deep-woods cabin, Hole in the Wall. The four have been telepathically linked since childhood, thanks to a searing experience involving a Down syndrome neighbor--a human dreamcatcher. They've all got midlife crises: clownish Beav has love problems; the intellectual shrink, Henry, is slowly succumbing to the siren song of suicide; Pete is losing a war with beer; Jonesy has had weird premonitions ever since he got hit by a car.
Then comes worse trouble: an old man named McCarthy (a nod to the star of the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers) turns up at Hole in the Wall. His body is erupting with space aliens resembling furry moray eels: their mouths open to reveal nests of hatpin-like teeth. Poor Pete tries to remove one that just bit his ankle: "Blood flew in splattery fans as Pete tried to shake it off, stippling the snow and the sawdusty tarp and the dead woman's parka. Droplets flew into the fire and hissed like fat in a hot skillet."
For all its nicely described mayhem, Dreamcatcher is mostly a psychological drama. Typically, body snatchers turn humans into zombies, but these aliens must share their host's mind, fighting for control. Jonesy is especially vulnerable to invasion, thanks to his hospital bed near-death transformation, but he's also great at messing with the alien's head. While his invading alien, Mr. Gray, is distracted by puppeteering Jonesy's body as he's driving an Arctic Cat through a Maine snowstorm, Jonesy constructs a mental warehouse along the lines of The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci. Jonesy physically feels as if he's inside a warehouse, locked behind a door with the alien rattling the doorknob and trying to trick him into letting him in. It's creepy from the alien's view, too. As he infiltrates Jonesy, experiencing sugar buzz, endorphins, and emotions for the first time, Jonesy's influence is seeping into the alien: "A terrible thought occurred to Mr. Gray: what if it was his concepts that had no meaning?"
King renders the mental fight marvelously, and telepathy is a handy way to make cutting back and forth between the campers' various alien battlefronts crisp and cinematic. The physical naturalism of the Maine setting is matched by the psychological realism of the interior struggle. Deftly, King incorporates the real-life mental horrors of his own near-fatal accident and dramatizes the way drugs tug at your consciousness. Like the Tommyknockers, the aliens are partly symbols of King's (vanquished) cocaine and alcohol addiction. Mainly, though, they're just plain scary. Dreamcatcher is a comeback and an infusion of rich new blood into King's body of work. --Tim Appelo * from*

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Read free novels online: THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings Summary

In THE LORD OF THE RINGS, the world that Tolkien has created is rich and real, complete with civilizations of men, orcs, trolls, dwarfs, elves, and hobbits, all fully imagined, with customs, traditions, and languages of their own. Full of quiet humor and high moral seriousness, the trilogy appeals equally to young and old, to aficionados of fantasy and serious students of literature.

In Part 1, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, the hobbit Frodo, his servant Sam, and his companions Merry and Pippin set out on the first stage of the quest to destroy the ring. They are joined by the wizard Gandalf and a mysterious man called Strider, later revealed as Aragorn, King of Gondor; these two are the most formidable of the heroes leagued against Sauron. Along the way they are hounded by the Black Riders, Sauron’s agents, and the party splits up.

Part 2, THE TWO TOWERS, tells of the opening of the War of the Rings, in which the forces of Gondor defeat Saruman, the traitor wizard and minion of Sauron. It goes on to recount the journey of Frodo and Sam into Mordor, Sauron’s black and blighted kingdom.

Part 3, THE RETURN OF THE KING, recounts the defeat of Sauron and the triumph of Aragorn, made possible by the fulfillment of Frodo’s quest. THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which can be enjoyed both as an adventure story and as a profound exploration of the nature of good and evil, is a deeply rewarding work that invites rereading. *from enotes*

About Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973), who pronounced his surname /ˈtɒlkiːn/,[1][2] was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature there from 1945 to 1959.[3] He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.

After his death, Tolkien's son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth[4] within it. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings.[5]

While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien,[6] the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature[7][8]—or, more precisely, of high fantasy.[9] In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".[10] Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning dead celebrity in 2009.[11] *from Wikipedia*

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Read Free Novels Online: LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov

Book Summary

Lolita is divided into two parts.[1] It is narrated by Humbert Humbert, a literary scholar born in 1910 to a Swiss father and an English mother in Paris, who is obsessed with what he refers to as "nymphets". Humbert suggests that this obsession results from the death of a childhood sweetheart, Annabel Leigh. In 1947, Humbert moves to Ramsdale, a small New England town, to write. He rents a room in the house of Charlotte Haze, a widow. While Charlotte tours him around the house, he meets her 12-year-old daughter, Dolores (also known as Dolly, Lolita, Lola, Lo, and L), with whom he falls in love at first sight. Humbert stays at the house only to remain near her. While he is infatuated with Lolita (an observant but rather crass teenage girl), he disdains her preoccupation with contemporary American popular culture, such as teen movies and comic books.
While Lolita is away at summer camp, Charlotte, who has fallen in love with Humbert, tells him that he must either marry her or move out. Humbert reluctantly agrees in order to continue living near Lolita. Charlotte is oblivious to Humbert's distaste and pity for her, as well as his lust for Lolita, until she reads his diary. Upon learning of Humbert's true feelings and intentions, Charlotte is appalled. She makes plans to flee with Lolita and threatens to expose Humbert's perversions. But as she runs across the street in a state of shock, she is struck and killed by a passing car.
Humbert picks Lolita up from camp, pretending that Charlotte is ill in a hospital. He does not return to Charlotte's home out of fear that the neighbors will be suspicious. Instead, he takes Lolita to a hotel, where he meets a strange man (later revealed to be Clare Quilty), who seems to know who he is. Humbert attempts to use sleeping pills on Lolita so that he may molest her without her knowledge, but they have little effect on her. Instead, she initiates sex. He discovers that he is not her first lover, as she had sex with a boy at summer camp. Humbert reveals to Lolita that Charlotte is actually dead; Lolita has no choice but to accept her stepfather into her life on his terms.
Lolita and Humbert drive around the country, moving from state to state and motel to motel. Humbert initially keeps the girl under control by threatening her with reform school; later he bribes her for sexual favors, though he knows that she does not reciprocate his love and shares none of his interests. After a year touring North America, the two settle down in another New England town, where Lolita is enrolled in school. Humbert is very possessive and strict, forbidding Lolita to take part in after-school activities or to associate with boys; the townspeople, however, see this as the action of a loving and concerned, while old fashioned, parent.
Lolita begs to be allowed to take part in the school play; Humbert reluctantly grants his permission in exchange for more sexual favors. The play is written by Clare Quilty. He is said to have attended a rehearsal and been impressed by Lolita's acting. Just before opening night, Lolita and Humbert have a ferocious argument, which culminates in Lolita saying she wants to leave town and resume their travels.
As Lolita and Humbert drive westward again, Humbert gets the feeling that their car is being tailed and he becomes increasingly paranoid, suspecting that Lolita is conspiring with others in order to escape. She falls ill and must convalesce in a hospital; Humbert stays in a nearby motel, without Lolita for the first time in years. One night, Lolita disappears from the hospital; the staff tell Humbert that Lolita's "uncle" checked her out. Humbert embarks upon a frantic search to find Lolita and her abductor, but eventually he gives up.
One day in 1952, Humbert receives a letter from Lolita, now 17, who tells him that she is married, pregnant, and in desperate need of money. Humbert goes to see Lolita, giving her money in exchange for the name of the man who abducted her. She reveals the truth: Clare Quilty, an acquaintance of Charlotte's and the writer of the school play, checked her out of the hospital and attempted to make her star in one of his pornographic films; when she refused, he threw her out. She worked odd jobs before meeting and marrying her husband, who knows nothing about her past.
Humbert asks Lolita to leave her husband and return to him, apologizing for the unpleasantness between them and promising her a good life, but she refuses, and Humbert breaks down in tears. He leaves Lolita and kills Quilty at his mansion, shooting him to death in an act of revenge. He then is arrested for driving on the wrong side of the road and swerving. The narrative closes with Humbert's final words to Lolita in which he wishes her well, and reveals the novel in its metafiction to be the memoirs of his life, only to be published after he and Lolita have both died.
According to the novel's fictional "Foreword", Humbert dies of coronary thrombosis upon finishing his manuscript. Lolita dies giving birth to a stillborn girl on Christmas Day, 1952. *from Wikipedia*

About the Book

Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris, later translated by the author into Russian and published in 1958 in New York. The book is internationally famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle-aged Humbert Humbert, who becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze.
After its publication, Nabokov's Lolita attained a classic status, becoming one of the best-known and most controversial examples of 20th century literature. The name "Lolita" has entered pop culture to describe a sexually precocious girl. The novel was adapted to film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, and again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne.
Lolita is included on TIME's 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. It is fourth on the Modern Library's 1998 list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th century. *from Wikipedia*

About the Author

Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg into a wealthy, aristocratic family. His father, Vladimir Dimitrievich Nabokov, was a liberal politician, lawyer, and journalist. The household was Anglophile - Nabokov spoke Russian and English, and at the age of five he learned French. Nabokov received his education at the Tenishev, St. Petersburg's most innovative school. At 16 he inherited a large estate from his father's brother, but he did not have much time to enjoy his wealth. During the Russian Revolution his father was briefly arrested. The family emigrated to Berlin and Nabokov entered Trinity College, Cambridge, from where he graduated in 1923. Vladimir Dimitrievich was murdered in Berlin in 1922 by a Russian monarchist. More about Navokov in this link

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