Monday, July 11, 2011

Read What I See

I thought for 2day, I would share with you some of my thoughts about my recent book purchases from B&N.

To refresh your memories, I'd asked for suggestions from everyone as to what I should buy for books.

Out of the four book that I'd purchased, I've read two and these two are what I'll be offering my opinion on. I will offer my opinion on the other two as well at the very end of the post.

1} The Devil At Large: Erica Jong on Henry Miller

This book was highly recommended to me by a regular reader of mine, so I thought I would take a chance on it. Normally, I don't read Erica Jong, but I have heard of Henry Miller, so I thought that this would be a nice intro to the both of them.

Unfortunately, I gave up about one-quarter to one-third of the way through. I guess the main reason why I did was that the writing was just a little too dry and cerebral for my tastes.

About 20 pages in I actually had to force myself not to jump whole sections just to see if anything of note or interest was going to happen.

I'm sure that Erica Jong is a good writer, but it felt like I was reading a psychological case history that was written by a doctor who was overly intertwined with their patient.

I won't tell you not to buy it, because you should get multiple opinions about a book before making a decision, but I will say that this book didn't leave that good of an impression on me.

2} Beat To A Pulp: Round 1

This book was highly recommended by dozens of people for the past year and a half, and this was going to be one of my primary purchases this year.

For the most part, I did enjoy this anthology. It was a blast reading some of the stories the second time around and some of the other stories the first time around, since there were short periods of time when I wasn't able to read the e-zine.

To answer your question, the reason why I said 'for the most part' was that there were two stories that I didn't like.

One was a story called "The Unreal Jesse James". I wasn't too keen on it the first time around, so I completely skipped it the second time around.

The other was "Acting Out", which started out with great promise, but became so convoluted and disjointed in such a short period of time that I skipped to the last page of the story and started reading backwards to see if I could make any sense out of it.

End result was an epic fail for that story.

Overall the book is a great intro to the concept of the short story and definitely a refreshing change of pace to the overly literary and painfully cerebral short stories that seem to be force fed down the collective throat of the general public (yes, I've read way too many literary journals, and I suspect that for a good percentage of the reading public, that is the only way they get their short story fix). If you're not overly familiar with the short story genre, then this book is a great place to start.

Now, as for the other two books that I bought: Blood Hunter and Night Brothers, the main reason as to why I haven't read them yet is pretty simple.

Lack of down time at work. Work has been rather chaotic and tense for the past month or so, so I really haven't had the time to make any kind of inroads on my reading. I have gotten about 90 pages into Blood Hunter and even though the jumping around makes me scratch my head at times, the story itself has kept me entertained. As soon as I can find some quiet time, I'll try to complete it. When I do, the other will be cracked open and read.


Great way to burn a few brain cells. Try it some time. Who knows, maybe you'll become smarter than the people who'd hired you in the first place.


  1. I tried one of JOng's books years ago. I could never figure out the point.

  2. If that Erica Jong book is that dry, then you should save it for a night you can't sleep. :)

    My friend Janice told me that she should bring me orthodontic journals for such times.

  3. Sorry about that, I loved that book! I'll get you a different book because I feel bad now. Really. Send a title :)

  4. Charles: I'm very open to trying new writers and I'm willing to give her another shot with another title.

    Lynn: Yikes! That could be a scary suggestion to execute.

    Seriously though, I usually can read anything. I can handle dry and I can handle cerberal, just not at the same time.

    R: No need to apologize. You made a good suggestion and I decided to take a chance.

    Reading a bio is often a crap shoot. Either you get a seven on the first roll, or boxcars on your second.

  5. Try Henry Miller's QUIET DAYS IN CLICHY. It's a fast, easy read and entertaining as all hell. TROPIC OF CANCER is, of course, his masterpiece, but it certainly falls into the category of 'cerebral,' despite the fact that the writing is very poetic. I love the book. I think Henry Miller was one of the great liberators of literature, but I also know not everybody digs his work.

  6. AC: Thanks for stopping by.

    I will definitely give that a look the next time I go to the library.

    I've heard of Tropic of Cancer but never read it. Did see a nifty documentary that had him at a town hall style meeting with a group of feminists from the 70's.

  7. I found a book you should read. Written in 1976 by...I think it was Pamela Hill. Any book by Pamela Hill.

    The reason you should read them is she is, per the blurb on the dust cover, "one of the greatest living novelists of high romance and demonic obsession".

    Anyone who can top such a crowded field MUST be readable.*

    *previous statement may contain lies

  8. Awesome list! Now I'm totally in the mood for a B&N run...

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  9. Reading tastes are so personal. It's hard to recommend books for someone unless you know them and their taste very, very intimately.

    Right now I'm reading Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. At first I loved it for the poetic writing, rich in mythic imagery, but half-way through it seems to have no plot and I can't see what the point is. I'm going to keep going to see if it goes somewhere, but it's starting to grate.

  10. Thanks, G. I really appreciate you taking the time to buy the book and then review. You're a helluva good friend.

  11. Darth: Cute. :D

    If you're being serious, then I will check her at out at the library. The library is the best way that I know of to try out new authors without spending gobs of money.

    Sarah: Thanks. I'm pretty eclectic with my reading tastes, so quite often I'll solict suggestions from friends/co-workers on what they like.

    S.R.: Like I said, I'm pretty eclectic with my tastes. Haven't always been like this, so I've enjoyed the suggestions that I'd gotten over the years from my friends.

    David: You're more than welcome.

    This is a good book and probably the best example of how to properly self-pubish one that I've seen in years.

    I've seen & read one other book that was a quality self-pub. And just like the buzz you created for yours with a fantastic marketing campaign, this person did the same with theirs as well.

    Some day, I'll be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century and partake in the e-book. When I do, you and Charles will be the first I'll pick up.

    In the meantime, I'll try my best to talk you up wherever I am, be it the real world or cyberspace.

  12. No, not serious...never read any of her work. I just loved the tagline.

  13. Darth: Yeah, that does sound like a great tag line. Not quite pompous, but definitely brazen enough to make you pick up the book to see what's what with it.


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G. B. Miller

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