Saturday, February 14, 2009

All Work and No Play

Work has been kicking my butt this week, and that'll probably continue through next week. Then we'll have a little break for Mardi Gras. I don't really plan to do any parading. Been there, done that. I'll be home relaxing and reading. About all I've been able to get read is a couple of items I'll briefly review below. I also haven't been able to visit blogs as regularly but will try to get caught up today. My blog list is so big by now, though, that it's become pretty tough to make it through every post. I'm typically seeing about 80 posts a day.

Books Read:

I So Don't Do Mysteries by our own Barrie Summy. I am very much not the audience for this book. I think its target audience is 9 to 12 year old girls. There was still a lot of humor in it that I caught, and the writing was perfect for both the characters and the audience. I believe a lot of young girls will enjoy it very much. There were certainly many twists and turns, and most chapters ended with neat cliffhangers.

The Nightmare Collection by Bruce Boston. I very much am the audience for this book, which is a collection of Boston's speculative poetry. It's chock full of poems as well, weighing in at 95 pages, which is a tome compared to the typical poetry chapbook of 25 pages or so. And everything here is very good. Boston is quite possible the best speculative poet working today. His works have received numerous awards, but the proof is in the reading. Consider, "A small woman wearing a sheathe of dark feathers," or "I build engines from ivory and scrimshaw and the jaw-bones of apes."

Let me end with a quote from one of Boston's prose poems.

"When capital severed the tongues of science, when
politiicans sat in boardrooms, when the great religions of
the world would not stem the rising tide of mouths and
hands and the Earth began to wobble under the weight of
our species, you may remember that our family would often
gather for a sumptuous Christmas feast."

Nuff said!


LoveRundle said...

80 posts! Wow, that's a lot. I think I barely even know more than 20 people online. I'm starting to feel anti-social.

Barrie Summy's book looks cute. I'll have to pick that up. I'm starting to really enjoy mysteries.

The Nightmare Collection, sounds great. I'll have to add that to my TBR list right away.

X. Dell said...

Understand the work grind. It's good that you're posting at all. And it's easy to get swamped under bloglists. I think anyone's who's blogged for any appreciable length of time will empathize.

Guess you're krewed-out for the Mardi Gras. Don't blame you. I haven't taken part in the Holloween Parade in Greenwich Village for years, now.

BTW, I've been reading over some of my eight-year-old nephew's books to help him with schoolwork. Some of the stuff they hae for kids is a lot better than I remember it being for us.

Donnetta said...

Well, BOTH of these sounds right up my alley. I want to write for kids-little bitty guys and also early adolescence. But I also love poetry and nightmares. Do the two mix?

Looking at your previous post, I love Faulkner and hubby got me an old old copy of Sound and the Fury for a present one Christmas. Also love Lovecraft. Will forever be influenced by Asimov and Kafka in some fashion. And Dr. Seuss. Go figure. D

Miladysa said...

I LOVE the cover of that Boston book and he had me at ""A small woman wearing a sheathe of dark feathers,""

I will certainly be taking a look at him :D

80 posts - ouch! I gave up blogging once because it became more of a chore than a pleasure. If someone leaves a comment I always try to return the visit but as much as I would like to I had to accept that keeping up with every post is impossible.

Hope you both enjoy this special day :D

Charles Gramlich said...

Christina, some of those 80 posts are multiple posts by the same individuals, but yes, my blog list is pretty long.

X. Dell, yes, I agree, there is some awesome stuff for kids out there these days, especially in nofiction.

Donnetta, I think you're a bit more electic than I am. And I'm sure that's a good thing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Miladysa, I've begun being more selective too, out of survival.

Barrie said...

Charles, thank you so much for reading my book. Because I know it's not exactly up your alley. :) You are a sweetheart!

Greg said...

Reading and relaxing sounds great. Hope you enjoy it! I may have to buy that Boston book... I've always heard great things about the man, but never read more than the occasional poem in magazines we were both in.

laughingwolf said...

i'm not the target for barrie's book, either... not sure of bruce's, but am captivated by the cover and title....

Rick said...

Hi Charles! I'm going to pick up "The Nightmare Collection." Sounds well crafted. It's like a vicious cycle, though- read about good books, buy good books, go to work to afford to buy good books. It's an expensive addiction!

Lana Gramlich said...

I still say that looks like Neil Young on the cover of the Nightmare Collection (he's coming to Jazz Fest, BTW...had you heard?)

Travis Cody said...

The Nightmare Collection sounds interesting.

I had a book on my shelf by Roger Zelazny called A Night in the Lonesome October. It's a very easy read and I'm surprised it's been sitting unread on my shelf for so long. I think I got it as a book of the month from SciFi book club.

It's quite good. But then I'm a Zelazny fan.

MarmiteToasty said...

Good job I only post rarely then LOL.... that way you dont miss me :)

Bloody hell at 80 posts..... bloody work always gets in the way of life and blobbing lol


Charles Gramlich said...

Barrie, glad to do it. Good work.

Greg, Boston has several collections out. All that I've read are awesome and I think I've read four or five at least.

laughingwolf, if you like dark poetry Boston is great.

Rick, long time no see. I know what you mean. I could go broke buying all the stuff I hear about and want.

Lana, you're right, the picture does look like Neil Young. yes, I heard that about Jazz fest. maybe we should go this year.

Travis, I've liked almost everything I've read by Zelazny. Strangely, though, I kind of gave up on the Amber series after about five books.

MarmiteToasty, yes, on an ideal day I'd do my blogging in the morning and have the rest of the day off for other fun things.

David Cranmer said...

Thanks for the reviews and my wife has just finished Barrie's book and agrees it's a fine read.

Donnetta said...

Charles: "Eclectic" not schizophrenic, right? D

Cloudia said...

Mardi Gras, of course!
Enjoy your time however you choose to celebrate it, Charles
Yes, it's impossible to keep up with all the worthwhile bloggers, which is why I appreciate my regular visitor/commenters so much. aloha, Sir-

Jo said...

I had never heard of Bruce Boston, but I like what I read here. I read your post too, about writers who have not influenced you. Interesting! One of my favorite science fiction authors was Arthur C. Clarke, and I loved "Childhood's End".

Charles Gramlich said...

David Cranmer, it was interesting, for sure.

Donnetta Lee, I suppose it depends. I'm of two minds about the thing.

Cloudia, I always enjoy learning more about Hawaii.

Jo, I consider Childhood's End one of the great novels of all time. One of my absolute favorites.

the walking man said...

I'd never heard of Boston (big surprise right) but I found this interview to be very interesting.

Copyright © 2002 John Amen.

BernardL said...

The quote from the poetry book gives a detailed and bleak word picture in very few words.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, I'll check out that interview. I hear about Boston a lot because he's in the SFPA with me, and I also see his stuff talked about a lot at HWA. (Science fiction poetry association & Horror Writer's Association.)

Bernarld, I thought the longer quote was very relevant to the greed factor on Wall Street these days.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Barrie really nailed the voice of teenagers.

Middle Ditch said...

Another great quote I read some time ago is

"When there is no more clean water to drink, woods and plants have died, when the animals and fish have disappeared, crops have failed to mature yet again .... Then we might just realize that we can't eat money"

Or something like that. I admire you for keeping up but 80 posts a day! Flipping heck!


laughingwolf said...

i like all things dark, if well crafted... will look for it

Steve Malley said...

Charles, loves those snatches of phrase. Poetry's great for that.

Lana, you're right, it *does* look like Neil Young. That old fellah gets around-- he just played here in Auckland!

BIBI said...

Wow that's a lot of posts to go through in one day!
Your blog is interesting, and I am always game for writers and people who like poetry. I also love people who have a knack for writing. And I am a total bookworm.
You now have a new fan! :^)

Chris Eldin said...

Cool that you read Barrie's book!
:-) Hope the butt kicking doesn't last too long.

Charles, sorry in advance for this copy and paste, but it's the quickest way for me:


I wanted to ask you if you could take a moment and send me an email at my new email address:

(You don’t have to write anything, I just want your email address for my new contact list, if that’s okay).
The hotmail server where I am has been locked up for over a week, and I can’t access my contact list. I’m sorry I’m posting this on your blog. And I’m also sorry this is a copy and paste letter. Will be back around….
Thanks!! And if you can’t, no worries!

Charles Gramlich said...

pattinase, yes she did. That gave me pause at first trying to get into the story, but I began to pick it up as I read along.

Middle Ditch, that is a good quote. And kind of similar to the one from Boston. I hope people wake up to these things.

laughingwolf, yes, me too.

Steve Malley, Neil Young is one of those guys who will have to be killed because I doubt he'll die. He'll just go on getting older and rattier and still keep playing.

BIBI, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the kind comments. I'll drop by your blog as well.

Chris Eldin, I've just got to hang on a few more days. I'll email you.

Heff said...

Viewing 80 blogs ? That's no easy (or short) task.

Britta Coleman said...

Wow, love the Boston quote. Will have to check him out. Barrie's book looks like fun, too.

I'm amazed at how often I enjoy books for which I am not the target audience.

j said...

This is our first year to live near Mobile during the Mardi Gras season. I wonder if you have to live here many years to appreciate it? I have such a quiet existance I think it will always be beyond me.

When I am fully committed to blog reading and not distracted by the real world, I could see reading 80 posts a week easily. But it is a committment.

Charles Gramlich said...

Heff, indeed not. So many blogs, so few beers.

Britta, I'm the same way. I've really liked quite a bit of YA stuff even that I've read today.

Jennifer, that's 80 a day actually.

Chris Benjamin said...

speculative, yet an accurate description of the world we know. well done bruce boston.

Maalie said...

Mardi gras -in England we call that "Pancake Day" and celebrate it by eating pancakes, with any sort of filling you care to think of!

It stems from the old habit of finishing up the "goodies" before the 40 days of Lenten austerity.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Charles I have the same problem - but checking all those blogs is so addictive.

Scott said...


The Nigthmare Collection sounds good...I'll have to check it out.

Lauren said...

I love that excerpt! Great verbiage. I'm not a big collections fan, but I think that I am going to have to check that out.

My niece is getting Barrie's book for her b-day. I'm planning on reading it on the car trip down. Sh! Don't tell :-P

JR's Thumbprints said...

Man! That's a great line:
... Earth began to wobble under the weight of our species

Nice review of each. And I don't blame you for not partaking in Mardi Gras; I'm all for staying away from the crowds.

Barbara Martin said...

I liked the prose poetry this time as it had depth in the words. I'm going to look up the Nightmare Collection. Thanks, Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

benjibopper, Yeah, I thought it was particularly relevant to our current economic situation.

Maalie, yeah, that's the same basic concept here. Give everything away and party before Lent. The last day here is called Fat Tuesday, for eating all the fat.

ARCHAVIST, they are. and I learn new things every day.

Scott, I enjoyed it. Will probably read it another time just to reenjoy the flavor.

Lauren, I buy a lot of collections and anthos because sometimes it's very hard for me to find unbroken periods of time to read novels but I still need to read.

JR's Thumbprints, we did the Mardi Gras thing when my son was little but since then I just can't get up for it. Like you, I prefer to stay away from the crowds.

Barbara Martin, it's got some great stuff in it. BTW, I could never get the pics to load on your blog yesterday. Not sure what was wrong.

ivan said...

Ah well.

All work and no playmakes Jack. And that is good.
'Fraid for me it has beem the grasshoper syndrome. All play and no work, "The Play's the Thing!"--and look what happened! :)

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Hey Charles! Hang in there! I know how you are feeling these days. Plus I'm having a particularly difficult group of students this semester. You know the rule of at least one bad apple in the bunch? WEll I think I have more than my fair share. It is really making me wonder if I want to continue this anymore!

Anyway, don't worry about rolling through all the blogs. Get to them when you can. I know I totally understand as it is hard to get to everyone when life gets you so behind!



Charles Gramlich said...

Ivan, I'd like to be doing more play.

Ello, I've got three talkers in one of my classes, and they are sitting near the front, which tends to disrupt me. I've shsshed 'em quite a lot but it doesn't seem to do any good.