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a little night musing's picture

We read books: let's review them here! Leave your reviews in the comments.

Note: you need not write a long review. Just a few words telling us why you are mentioning the book can be useful. And feel free to stretch the definition of "book" if you like.

It's been suggested that the book reviews have been too serious. Well, as the judge remarked the day that he acquitted my Aunt Hortense...

So instead of what I had planned for today, I'm bringing in something a bit lighter.

But don't feel constrained by the tone of the post or of the previous comments: write on whatever you have on your mind, book-wise!

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a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

and only slightly ribald:

Pogo's Sunday Punch by Walt Kelly

This is a collection of Pogo from the 1950s: it's out of print, but a few copies are still around. (Check Amazon, for instance.) It was one of the first books given to me after I learned to read. Based on the copyright dates, it must have been around the time I learned to read, in fact. (Which probably explains a lot about me.)

It's a wild and twisted ride, full of stuff I probably didn't get at the time and zany wordplay. Here's a fairly typical page, not that anything is "typical" of Pogo:

Walt Kelly anticipates the dogcow!

To this day I find myself from time to time chanting such choice pieces of Pogo-ana as "Moon Over Mamie" or "Frozen Food (or Master's in the cole, cole slaw again)":

There was a frozen man
And he walked a frozen mile
And he found a frozen pack of peas
In a very frozen style
And when the pack was open
The birds began to rave:
"The dear old land of the deep old freeze
Is the good old home of the brave"

If only our elected officials (not to mention their appointees) would take this message to heart, how much better things would be in the body politic!

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

Keith Laumer's series starring Jame Retief of the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne: I won't bother to try to describe them since this is done ably in two sites which will also allow you to read some Retief for yourself online!

Wayne's Retief of the CDT page

Retief! by Keith Laumer - Baen Books (with a prologue by David Drake, a collection of Retief stories, and afterword by the editor Eric Flint, all online)

Submitted by lambert on

Interesting SF series whose premise is that shrinks run the world for the usual suspects, and you'd best be a "high natural" (vs. merely "untherapied") if you want a real job. Most jobs are freelance through Workers, Inc. ....

Submitted by Lex on

I'm just finishing the more scholarly version of the same idea and do not recommend it for anyone who isn't interested in deep exploration of Mediterranean society of the time and/or scholarly Biblical history.

But the short, popular version written by John Dominic Crossan is a great one to get an entirely different perspective of the man, the myth, the legend that is Jesus Christ.

It can be had on Amazon for less than a buck:

http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Revolutionar...

A taste:

http://books.google.com/books?id=FdOn0Ih...

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

The Israeli mystery writer Batya Gur does as good a job as anyone I can think of at portraying insular social institutions -- the extent to which common goals are shared or not, personal and professional loyalties and rivalries, betrayals. Her first two novels were set in a psychoanalytic institute and a kibbutz. I wanted one set in a symphony or opera company, just to enjoy reading about a bunch of musicians, but she went for Murder Duet instead. Then a university literature department, and after one not set in a closed institution, she returned to form with Murder in Jerusalem, published posthumously.

It's set in an Israeli national TV network, primarily in the news division. You get the varieties of personal ambition, how people define succeeding and what they're willing to do to succeed, the moral issues they address themselves and how they judge others. It's less insular than the psychoanalytic institute and kibbutz novels because the issues extend out into the society.

Good read if you like crime fiction.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

I like murder mysteries in unfamiliar settings. I will have to give this a try.

Submitted by hipparchia on

and to get them both in the same thread is sublime!

my grandparents had a book of pogo cartoons that was kept in the collection of stuff for visiting grandkids. i can't remember the book title, but i loved rereading it every time we visited.

i haven't got reviews, not having read any of them yet [although i've been meaning to], but your bringing up pogo has inspired me to move them to the top of my reading list:

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

sorry to comment on a long dead thread, but yeah- both of those rock.

and it's not "grandkids," it's just "kids." heh, i'm teasing you, but i think all of post-child and child-free folks with breeder relations and friends keep a shelf or box like that. i go with paints, tiles, Lego, Narnia, and Clone Wars, with some funky stuff i drew myself years ago mixed in. :-) i like to play with all of those, which is why i keep them.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

Modeling clay, puzzles, moon sand, etc...

The nieces and nephews will have to find their OWN stuff to play with when they visit!

Pol C's picture
Submitted by Pol C on

Reviewing is the main thing I do on my blog these days.

The last couple of things I wrote about were the Virginia Woolf short story "Kew Gardens" and Stevie Smith's Novel on Yellow Paper. With the first, I've been slowly making my way through a collection of Woolf's short stories. With the second, a friend of mine on the Slaves of Golconda book-reading blog chose it for discussion there.

My review of "Kew Gardens" is here. I think it's the best of Woolf's short pieces.

My thoughts on Novel on Yellow Paper are here. It's an interesting piece of autobiographical fiction, although derivative in approach and ultimately a minor book. I enjoyed it, though.

I'm just getting started on Blame, by Michelle Huneven.

a little night musing, that Pogo book looks great even at that small size. You have my envy.

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

And you get "THe Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody" by Will Cuppy, my absolute favorite historical review!! I read this as a young girl, and it absolutely turned my head around about "history" and made me laugh so hard I almost ruptured myself. I still love it, and it makes good BR reading due to short chapters. Amazon has used copies starting at around 55 cents.
(BTW I remember reading Pogo in the newspapers as a child, and as I grew older, it just got funnier..."We have met the enemy, and he is us" is the classic quote, Walt Kelly was a stealth progressive in the 50's when the McCarthy era was in its heyday, and was responsible in many ways for my twisted sense of humor and my politics, so, a big TY to you ALNM for giving him props!!)

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

I think I used to own this Will Cuppy. It fell out of my collection, probably one of the many moves. (A lot of books and records vanished in moves, mysteriously.)

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

This is one of my best reads in 2009, and the only one mainstream enough that I can rec to non-fantasy & non-genre readers.
It's basically a version of Wolverine.

Loup Garron was born and raised in Santa Olivia, an isolated, disenfranchised town next to a US military base inside a DMZ buffer zone between Texas and Mexico. A fugitive "Wolf-Man" who had a love affair with a local woman, Loup's father was one of a group of men genetically-manipulated and used by the US government as a weapon.

Carey is a really really good writer, which may surprise people who haven't read any of her Kushiel books because they're not into that genre (epic fantasy heavy into kink & politics), but if you've read her Godslayer duology also (LOTR from Mordor's pov), you realize she has amazing range as a writer and she is really into exploring ethical questions from the uncomfortable side of the question.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I love it when I stumble across people who've read the same books I have!

I haven't read her Godslayer series yet, but I loved the Kushiel's Legacy series, but I haven't read Namaah's Kiss yet.

And I loved Santa Olivia. I read on io9 that she's planning a sequel too. It won't be focused on the town of Santa Olivia this time, but on the outside world, which I'm really excited about.

Reading Santa Olivia was so interesting, b/c unlike Kushiel, which is set in 8th century France, in a "what if" world, Santa Olivia feels like it could be our world. That the policies that allowed Loup's town to be erased like that, got their birth in the PATRIOT ACT. So exploring that world will be an engaging read.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

I like the new main character, Moirin, a lot, almost as much as the Phedre; and more than than Imriel. And she goes to alterChina and there is all sort of cool wushu type stuff going on. It's a lot of fun -- you should definitely read it.

A sequel to Santa Olivia would be fantastic.

Aeryn, btw if you want to check out my goodreads lost of books it's here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/146743

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Way before my time as an iconic book so it remained unread longer than it should have. Just started reading it, but have enjoyed it thus far. And not just because of the Z.F.