Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lists: the Best Books I read in 2011

I have read a lot this year - 60 books total! Next Year, I hope to start and finish books before jumping to the next one, there were way too many books left unfinished.   Oh well! The top five books on the list were chosen by how well I recalled the book during my non-reading hours.
All in all a great year of reading, here is my top 5 books for 2011:
  1.   Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder:

    This book was a lot of fun as I plunged into Hodder's Steam Punk - Time Travel Adventure.

  2. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

    Gravity's rainbow was the hardest book to read for this year.  But it was so worth it!

  3. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

    The laughter was exhausting.

  4. I, Claudius by Robert Graves

    Proving Rome was full of debauchery.

  5. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

    The characters remained with me for a long time after completing the novel.

  6. (not finished yet) Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.

    Bonhoeffer grabs a hold of you and won't let go, you might know the ending of the story, but what this does is show the man and where his theology and core beliefs were developed

I am looking forward to 2012!  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Books and Music

Stephen King the Stand Modern Library Read this Month.... To listen to my whole Modern Library and Music Juke Box: Listen Here.

Bruce Springsteen

Blue Oyster Cult

Bob Dylan

The Sylvers

Larry Underwood

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Caged in Darkness (Caged #1)Caged in Darkness by J.D. Stroube

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was invited to read and review Caged in Darkness by J.D. Stroube, from the author’s invitation, and I am very glad that I read this one.   The book captures the best of my guilty pleasure reading, that of Young Adult coming of age stories. 

Savannah, the main character is a sixteen year old on the threshold between the nursery and the adult world.   Savanah has found a sanctuary from her parents, who appear at first the embodiment of evil.  But then her world is tipped over when she accidently bumps a box over and releases a devil from his crystal palace.   The devil is now bent on killing and possessing the innocent in order to regain his strength.

The book reminded me of Dawson’s creek and the love triangle between Joey, Dawson, and Pacey.   The kids are so hormonally charged and have no real way to deal with this energy that the sparks lay right at the surface, and are about to light into a dramatic volcano.   J.D. Stroube then adds a bit of the supernatural to the mix and the volcano spouts in a captivating young-love story. 

Stroube’s understanding of the teen years is apparent; she perfectly describes the psychology behind teenager’s complicated and intense feelings.   She mixes this psychology with a sense of humor in order to lift the reader up from the intensity.

One problem I had, which was probably my own fault, was the switch of narrators.  I would be reading and then ask, “Wait who’s talking here? Okay its Ash, so this is a guy’s perspective, which makes sense.”  This at times distracted from the overall story.  But the different narrators did add something to the overall effect of the story. 

Stroube’s research into the supernatural was great.  It left me wanting to find out more about witches in history, the role of the niphilim, and fallen angels.  I wish she would have spent a little more time developing the setting.   I wanted to know more about the town in which the story takes place.  

I was hooked throughout the book and definitely was entertained by J.D. Stroube.  I can’t wait to read another one by her, there are so many possibilities.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Innagural Winter Story Festival 26:27

Twas the Night (Late) Before Christmas by Richard Armour 

"The hour was now midnight and quite a bit past,
But our labors, thank Heaven, were finished at last...
As we gazed at our efforts through lead-lidden eyes
And thought of the morrow and shouts of surprise,
We prayed that the children, the morn of St. Nick's
Would please not awaken at least until six!"

The whole version of this poem is hilarious, however, this is not available in the public domain; and I do not want to get sued for printing this poem in whole, without permission from the author.  Hopefully, someday this 1947 poem will be published on the public domain to rekindle the fun spirit of Richard Armour.

An Encyclopedia of Modern American Humor, ed. Cerf, Bennett (New York: Modern Library, 1954), 478-479. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bard of Roth's Jukebox

Do you have a difficult time find the right album for your teenage audiophile?  Let Twist and Shout Records lead you to their list of the best of 2011. Twist And Shout's List.  I love Twist and Shout Records, a store ran by the cat of two retired math teachers from Denver Public Schools.  I used to go to the shop all of the time when I was living on Bayuad street in the Washington Park area of Denver, Colorado.   I spent countless hours listening and honing my love for music. 
Wooden Shjips received second place on the list, right behind Tom Waits.   Wooden Shjips are a pyschadelic band from San Francisco, so not really my cup of tea.  I did like listening to Destroyer which was fourth on the list. Of course Tom Waits won! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Innagural Winter Short Story Festival 23:27

IF there is any team that most represents the dad.

Santa Claus is in the Living Room, written by Santiago Roncagliolo


Theme or Short Introduction

Memoir of living in a screwed up broken family. 

Intended Audience



Short story.

Memorable Quote

The new boyfriend treated me well and made Mom laugh. On the other hand, Dad . . . well, he kept on being Dad. He went along promising me that one day he’d get back with my mother and from time to time made tender gestures – like bringing her flowers or giving her a kitten. Without fail, those gestures backfired: Mom would find out he’d stolen the flowers from the neighbor's garden. Or she’d remind him – at the top of her lungs as usual – that I was allergic to cats.

Feedback Requested

I hope to keep Tending Turnips short and simple and easy for readers to find good short-stories.  I think having headings will enable the readers to find the story with more ease. Let me know if this is helpful, thanks Gregory D. Rothbard 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Innagural Winter Short Story Festival 22:27

 'The Maccabee of Miami Beach' by Thane Rosenbaum
A down-and-out retiree gets a dramatic chance at fame — though maybe not fortune —will he shine in the midst of the lights of Miami?  Miami, a city of bright light full of retirees, from New York and beyond.  This story is how one man got his final act of liberation.

Rosenbaum is also the author of the novel The Golems of Gotham.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Innagural Winter Short Story Festival 2011 21:91

Happy Chanukah, listen to the Spinning Top by Shalom Alechiem!
I love Shalom Aleichem because he captures the beautiful and ugliness of the human condition; or the "Jewish Human Condition".   His stories were the basis for Fiddler on the Roof.  Enjoy this story about Chanukah and the dreidel where betting is allowed and even holy  on those eight crazy nights. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Innagural Winter Short Story Festival 20:27

Tis the Season is a funny holiday story, set in the near future, a future where Christmas(TM) has been incorporated- Enjoy your right to laughter at the corporates, while we still have a chance. 

We set out early. There were a reasonable number of people on the streets, all of them doing that thing we all do on the 25th, where you don't say anything illegal, but you raise your eyebrows and smile a holiday greeting.

Reviews: The Fight of Our Lives

William Bennett helped me re-tune to the political spectrum in his book A Century Turns, which was published in 2010.  Now that it is 2011 and Bennett gives room for my fears in the book The Fight For Our Lives.   The Obama administration has exemplified what was wrong with the tenants of 1970’s elementary education, Free To Be You and Me, it allows the Bullies ample room to dictate the rules of the playground. 

But instead of Bullies with large arms and Neanderthal Thoughts, we have a world being run by the terrorists carrying nuclear war heads under their arms, and our President and Leaders say, "Hey as long as you don't bother us too much, you are free to stay as long as you want, and keep being yourself, -- your beautiful baby (imagine a sort of Sammy Davis Jr. voice). Just make sure the doors are locked, and the water turned off before you leave." Extremist fanatics are house guests with an addiction to methamphetamine; we welcome the terrorists in only to discover our house has been trashed. 

The United States use to reign in the fight for freedom, now we have abandoned our post and let the Barbarous Destructive Theologians free reign to do as they see fit.  This is not good, not good at all.  A bully does not change because they are cuddled and loved.  Bullies change when they know there are consequences to their actions.  This book is a hopeful wake up call to the United States, hopeful in waking the United States up before it is too late.

The one area that Bennett does not do a good job of is pointing only at Islam.  Islam is a fanatical religion but there are more fanatics out there than Islam.   He needed a more balanced attack; the way it stands now it appears that he is anti-islam to the extreme; which then makes him look like a grumpy bigoted old man. 

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." 

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