Sunday, July 29, 2007
I don't read a lot of dark serious books nowdays. After all, if I want to read dark serious stuff, all I have to do is read the news. So yesterday I grabbed a couple of Janet Evanovich novels off the to-read shelf. The woman has a formula, and she pretty much sticks with it. Okay, so it ain't the Great American Novel (what is, other than Mark Twain?). But it's more entertaining than watching American Idiot oops Idol anyhow.
Twelve Sharp -- yet more in the series about the world's most inept bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. This series has gotten darker over time and this one is no exception, but there's still plenty of laugh-out loud scenes and she still keeps to her formula -- you know that her heros might get scuffed up, maybe even creased with bullets or something, but none of the characters you care about will die or anything. Though Stephanie's car might get blown up or something (running gag in the series).
Metro Girl. Okay, so the McGuffin isn't convincing (really, a chemical warhead at the bottom of the ocean that still is good decades later?). Who cares? It romps along quite nicely, thank you. Just remember that some bleach blond dye jobs wearing pink poodle skirts have brown belts, once raced stock cars, and can fix engines, and you'll be fine. Hopefully she'll write more in this series, she's done setup for it anyhow. While not as funny as Stephanie Plum, it's still lots of fun.
So, what's your recommendations for some fun reading?
-- Badtux the Entertained Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 7/29/2007 12:42:00 PM
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Flowers for Algernon
For some reason, I am thinking of that oft-banned book. I wonder why.
-- Badtux the Connections Penguin
Labels: life, literature, navel-gazing
Posted by: BadTux / 5/09/2007 11:58:00 PM
Friday, February 23, 2007
Who supports our troops?
By now you've read more than you want to read about the sickening way in which the military and VA are treating the veterans of Oil War II. You've read about the horrible conditions. About how they deliberately give soldiers low disability ratings to deprive them of benefits, forcing them to appeal and appeal to get what they're owed by the nation that threw them into an unnecessary war and now refuses to care for them. About how veterans with severe problems related to the war, such as suicidal depression at all they did and all that happened to them and their fellow soldiers, are turned away from the VA hospitals.
I don't think there is any more I can add to that. "Support our troops" has to mean more than yellow ribbon magnets, but, sadly, I doubt it does. So I will instead post a poem:
He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,
-- In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
All of them touch him like some queer disease.
There was an artist silly for his face,
For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now he is old; his back will never brace;
He's lost his colour very far from here,
Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,
And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,
After the matches carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,
He thought he'd better join. He wonders why ...
Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.
That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,
He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;
Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.
Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears
Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.
Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity they may dole.
To-night he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him into bed? Why don't they come?
-- Wilfred Owen, December 1917
-- Badtux the Poetry Penguin
Labels: culture, iraq, literature, politics, war on terror
Posted by: BadTux / 2/23/2007 02:00:00 PM
Sunday, February 11, 2007
More weekend cocooning
The next two are part of the big load of 50% off books that came in from the Science Fiction Book Club last week...
Charles Stross, Glasshouse -- A good cyberpunkish novel that doesn't quite match its ambitions but still hits a solid double in the baseball of science fiction. This one works on multiple levels, and while it's not as mind-blowingly good as Singularity Sky, it's still a fine read for those who like quality science fiction.
Neal Asher, Brass Man -- Utterly unintelligible unless you've read the previous novels in the Gridlinked series. Even if you have (and I have), it is a fairly mediocre space opera with hints of cyberpunk. Not recommended.
The Boondocks Complete First Season, Uncut and Uncensored (3 DVD set): Holy crap! This shit is GOOD! Aaron Mcgruder is an equal opportunity (but very profane!) skewerer of the inanities of our culture. There's a couple of stupid episodes but for the most part Mcgruder hits it out of the ballpark, whether he has a resurrected Martin Luther King Jr. trying to preach to a church full of B.E.T. black trash and finally throwing up his hands in exasperation and dropping the "N" word left and right then puts his hat on and moves to Canada, or has rich white men and women reacting to his wanna-be black revolutionary kid protagonist in much the same way as Joe Biden reacts to Obama, "Gosh, you're just so ARTICULATE!". Having taught at black schools and thus experienced first hand the various parts of black culture that Mcgruder skewers, I applaud him for saying things I can't say without being called a racist bigot. And being white and thus the subject of many more of Mcgruder's sword thrusts, all I can say is "ouch!". As for Mcgruder's skewering of big business and the incestuous relationship between big business and government, all I can do is applaud...
-- Badtux the Cocooning Penguin
Labels: culture, literature
Posted by: BadTux / 2/11/2007 09:24:00 PM
Saturday, February 10, 2007
The Android's Dream
As noted in my post earlier today, I decided to read a book rather than go camping in the rain. I'm now finished with it. John Scalzi not only runs an interesting writing blog but also has some kick-rear novels. The Android's Dream, despite the title and cover with its shout-out to the great Phillip K. Dick, is not one of them. Rather, it is a romp, a romp with a literal deus ex machina at the end and a rather unexpected sheep (hence the shout-out to PKD). While an enjoyable read, I wouldn't buy it in hard cover unless you have a Science Fiction Book Club membership and can get it at 50% off during a special sale (as I did). Wait for the paperback.
-- Badtux the Literature Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 2/10/2007 11:45:00 PM
Friday, December 22, 2006
Time Magazine wants to turn us all GAY!
They selected Alison Bechdel's autobiographical father-daughter graphic novel Fun Home as their #1 Book of the Year.
Bechdel is, of course, as butch as a lesbian can get. (puts on Bill O'Reilly's thinking cap) Why, obvoiusly Time Magazine wants to turn all our fine young girls into butch dikes, at which point they'll stop having babies and the American race will die! Err, of course, "American race" is an oxymoron, as the very name "O'Reilly" should suggest (he's freakin' IRISH, fer cryin' out loud! Not even an Anglo-Saxon!). And as Mary Cheney is proving, being a lesbian doesn't stop you from having babies, it just substitutes a couple of mechanical acts in the process. But hey, what's a few facts between bigots, eh?
I'm not sure which blogger on my blogroll blogged about the book. I thought it was our resident woman artist Idyllopus admiring the artwork, but I just checked out her blog and didn't see it there. Anyhow, whoever mentioned it, when I read their blog article I checked out the first few pages on Amazon.com, then I went out to my local Tractors and Peasants Big Box Bookstore and bought a copy of it (it's under "Biography"). Whether you're straight or gay, it's just plain good, and it's good that some folks outside of the gay ghetto have recognized that. Even if recognizing that good art is good art means they'll be accused of being in the pay of the mighty pastel "Gay Agenda", that rainbow-clad supervillain who goes around zapping fine outstanding preacher men with his Gay Laser of Gayness and, like, wants to destroy America by turning us all gay so we won't reproduce and the
cockroachesMexicans will take over the empty ruins! Err, yeah. And pigs fly out of my butt every night too. Whatever.
-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
Labels: gay agenda, literature
Posted by: BadTux / 12/22/2006 08:10:00 AM
- Name: BadTux
- Location: Some iceberg, South Pacific, Antarctica
I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.
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Bill Richardson: Because what America needs is a competent fat man with bad hair as President (haven't we had enough incompetent pretty faces?)
Cost of the War in Iraq