12.27.2011

Forgotten Tales 4: The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories (Anchor Folktale Library) 
In which Hans Christian Andersen's soldier proves his mettle in various adventures.
(download or listen via this link)


References:
Read more of Hans Christian Andersen's works here.

12.21.2011

Episode 177 - Christmas Special: The Moon of the Trees Broken by Snow


In which Louis L'Amour gives us a different kind of Christmas story.


Episode 177, The Moon of the Trees Broken by Snow
(download or listen via this link)
Book Information

      12.17.2011

      Lagniappe 50: Cool for Cats

      In which the author reads for us ... Chapter 1 of Cool for Cats by Andrew Ordover

      Cool for Cats
      (listen or download from link above)
      A new detective with a distinctive voice.

      According to Webster
      la·gniappe \ˈlan-ˌyap, lan-ˈ\
      Function:
      noun
      Etymology: American French, from American Spanish la ñapa the lagniappe, from la + ñapa, yapa, from Quechua yapa something added
      Date: 1844
      : a small gift given a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase;
      broadly : something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure

      12.15.2011

      Episode 176: Genesis, chapter 41


      In which Pharaoh has nightmares and Joseph takes charge.

      Episode 176, chapters 41
      (download or listen via this link)
      Book Information
      • This book is under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
      • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
      • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
      • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
        Mentioned Links

        12.09.2011

        Episode 175: Bridge of Birds, chapters 10-11

        In which the reason for murder is revealed and Master Li tells a story.
        Episode 175, chapters 10-11
        (download or listen via this link)

        Book Information
        • Story rating: PG-13 for occasional adult situations.
        • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted permission by author Barry Hughart to read Bridge of Birds. Please contact Mr. Hughart or his agent for any permissions.
        • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Bridge of Birds and the other two books in the trilogy that comprise The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox. It is available on Kindle too!
        • More information about Barry Hughart
        • Subterranean Press
        Highlight
        My Huffduffer Feed
        (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

        12.03.2011

        Episode 174: Genesis, chapters 39-40


        In which Joseph acts honorably and is tossed into the clink where everyone has a dream.

        Episode 174, chapters 39-40
        (download or listen via this link)

        Book Information
        • This book is under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
        • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
        • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
        • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
        Podcast Highlight
          Mentioned Links
          My Huffduffer Feed
          (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

          11.25.2011

          Episode 173: Bridge of Birds, chapters 7-9

          In which we hear about a dancing girl, see ghosts, and have a brief interlude for murder.
          Episode 173, chapters 7-9
          (download or listen via this link)

          Book Information
          • Story rating: PG-13 for occasional adult situations.
          • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted permission by author Barry Hughart to read Bridge of Birds. Please contact Mr. Hughart or his agent for any permissions.
          • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Bridge of Birds and the other two books in the trilogy that comprise The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox. It is available on Kindle too!
          • More information about Barry Hughart
          • Subterranean Press
          Highlight
          My Huffduffer Feed
          (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

          11.08.2011

          Episode 172: Genesis, chapter 38


          In which we discover that the Bible thinks nothing at all of including explicit material ...
          the story of Judah and Tamar


          Episode 172, chapter 38
          (download or listen via this link)

          Book Information
          • This book is under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
          • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
          • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
          • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
          Podcast Highlight
            Mentioned Links
            My Huffduffer Feed
            (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

            10.25.2011

            Episode 171: Halloween Special - The Beautiful People by Charles Beaumont

            We visit a future in which rebellious teenager Mary is a misfit.
            She doesn't want to be beautiful.


            Episode 171, The Beautiful People
            (download or listen via this link)
            Book Information
            Halloween Podcast Highlights
            October is Fundraising Month!
            Consider donating to your favorite podcasts ... even if only a few dollars or a comment/review to show your support.
                My Huffduffer Feed
                (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                10.13.2011

                Episode 170: Bridge of Birds, chapters 4-6

                In which there is great need of a goat
                (it doesn't have to be that good a goat) ...
                and we encounter bandits.

                Episode 170, chapters 4-6
                (download or listen via this link)

                Book Information
                • Story rating: PG-13 for occasional adult situations.
                • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted permission by author Barry Hughart to read Bridge of Birds. Please contact Mr. Hughart or his agent for any permissions.
                • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Bridge of Birds and the other two books in the trilogy that comprise The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox.
                • More information about Barry Hughart
                • Subterranean Press
                Halloween Podcast Highlights
                Other Links
                October is Fundraising Month!
                Consider donating to your favorite podcasts ... even if only a few dollars or a comment/review to show your support.
                    My Huffduffer Feed
                    (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                    10.10.2011

                    The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle ... at SFFaudio

                    We read, we discuss ... and this time, it seems, we even kinda almost argue ... of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- Of cabbages--and kings-- ... or to be more precise of the yellow peril, the cold war, cows and Moties and evolution ... and whether pigs have wings.

                    Come by and listen to the conversation.

                    10.03.2011

                    Welcome Visitors from A.V. Club

                    I hadn't thought to check statistics for a while. When I saw visitors had jumped to unusual levels last week I figured it must be a mistake. (Like the time someone linked to an episode as being a free Christmas song.)

                    No. It was deliberate. A.V. Club, which is a serious part of The Onion, mentioned Forgotten Classics last week.
                    OUTLIERS
                    Forgotten Classics
                    If you’ve ever thought of listening to audiobooks but don’t want to pay for them or can’t decide what to listen to, this podcast is for you. Host Julie D and her fellow readers choose fairly obscure books in the public domain to read chapter by chapter, much like a bedtime story. The stories range from tales of Americana to apocalyptic sci-fi adventures, and the tone of the readers is generally soothing and warm—except when they attempt to mimic the voices of some characters and end up sounding a bit goofy. Episode 168: Bridge Of Birds Chapters 1-3 kicks off Barry Hughart’s blending of Chinese mythology with Western storytelling that follows the journey of Li Kao and Number 10 Ox. Originally there were to be seven books produced, but a conflict with the publishers forced this book into obscurity, where Forgotten Classics found it. 
                    Holy moly, that was a surprise. A wonderful, wonderful surprise. Thank you A.V. Club and welcome to those dropping by!

                    We're alternating episodes between the above-mentioned Bridge of Birds and Robert Alter's translation of Genesis, where we are looking at the book from a literary point of view (mostly).

                    Browse the Library for a complete episode listing or the Authors' Page to see the variety of books we've read here. You'll find everything from romance (The Black Moth) to ghosts (The Uninvited) to espionage (Riddle of the Sands) to a classic very few remember to actually read (Uncle Tom's Cabin). Enjoy!

                    October Means Halloween ... All Month Long

                    HALLOWEEN (the book): I downloaded a sample of this book of Halloween short stories. I definitely would pick up the actual book because Ray Bradbury has forbidden anyone to use his work in ebooks and his story October Country is no exception. It is not in the ebook but is in the print version. There is an extremely interesting essay at the beginning about the history of Halloween. Among other things, it points out that Americans have fallen into the habit of celebrating Halloween all month long ... as this very post probably proves. (I prefer to look on it as a count-down, but po-tay-to, po-tah-to, right?)

                    Redecorating Middle-Earth in Early Lovecraft (Always Halloween and Never Thanksgiving): Amy H. Sturgis reinforces that month-long celebration point with her annual Halloween count-down. Art, quotes, and other ghostly things will be there every day of October.

                    Halloween Haunt: This annual podcast is back up and running. I always enjoy it for the good mix of fact, poetry, and pop culture episodes.

                    9.29.2011

                    Episode 169: Genesis, chapter 37


                    In which dreamy Joseph finds that an ornamented tunic is the last straw ...

                    Episode 169, chapter 37
                    (download or listen via this link)

                    Book Information
                    • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
                    • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
                    • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
                    • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
                    Podcast Highlight
                      Mentioned Links
                      My Huffduffer Feed
                      (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                      Coding a message for Operation Declare ... this way to Mount Ararat

                      Scott and I discuss Declare by Tim Powers. ... so spy-ish, so John LeCarre-ish, so much Catholicism everywhere. Get it at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast.

                      FLOWCHART: Navigating NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

                      Now this is a chart I could spend hours reading. Books and pithy comments.
                      Over the summer, NPR solicited the input of its listeners to rank the top science fiction and fantasy books of all time. Over 60,000 people voted for the top picks which were then compiled into a list by their panel of experts. The result? This list of 100 books with a wide range of styles, little context, and absolutely no pithy commentary to help readers actually choose something to read from it.

                      We at SF Signal have, once again, come to the rescue. This flowchart is designed to help you follow your tastes, provide context, and fulfill (indeed exceed!) any need for pithy commentary you might harbor.
                      Via The Sci Fi Catholic.

                      9.26.2011

                      7th Annual Podcast Awards Nominations Now Open! Nominations close September 30th, 2011

                      You can only submit the nomination form once so take that opportunity to nominate all the podcasts you love ... once "submit" is hit, then you're done for 2011!

                      Of course, I'm thinking that this might be fun for nominating Forgotten Classics and A Good Story is Hard to Find.

                      And, then, there are the many other podcasts that I love listening to and want to nominate, such as CraftLit, SFFaudio, and way too many others.

                      If you like a podcast, drop by and sign them up. It's a nice way to say thanks and share the podcasts you love with people who might not have heard of them.

                      9.24.2011

                      Person of Interest: Buckle Up, People

                      Men o' action used to be plentiful in prime-time. Handy with their fists and at ease with weaponry, they'd slug and shoot their way through whatever crooks were available.

                      Now they're a dying breed. Women call the shots in most of this fall's new dramas, with just one of them dependent on a hard-charging leading man. Old school CBS is the carrier and Person of Interest is the show. Buckle up.

                      Jim Cavaziel, beaten to death in The Passion of the Christ, gets a chance to mete out punishment as a presumed dead former government operative who feels betrayed and looks like hell until Michael Emerson from Lost finds him.
                      Uncle Barky's review made me hope that the things interesting me in this new series would hold up when watching it.

                      What caught my eye?
                      • Jim Caviezel
                      • That guy who was Ben on Lost (ok, Michael Emerson...he'll always be Ben to me)
                      • J.J. Abrams
                      Then we watched it last night (from the DVR, natch) and I saw:
                      • Created and written by Jonathan Nolan (yes, you know that Nolan name from brother Christopher and they work together often)
                      • 9/11 themes used for good
                      • Big Brother is watching ... and gonna help us out for a change ... albeit cryptically, natch
                      Good acting, interesting script, nice character establishment, hints of further story arc ... all set for turning into something very watchable indeed.

                      We're in. And buckled up.

                      Bookin' Along

                      It has been far too long since I've talked about books ... so here we go with a gaggle of book-ish things.

                      THE GRAVEYARD BOOK: Scott Danielson, my partner in crime at A Good Story is Hard to Find, has reactivated his blog. Just in time to remind us that Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is perfect for October reading. How I loved that book. Not sure how I'll find time but I need to keep it in mind for rereading then.

                      DRACULA: now that the idea of October reading has been broached, albeit a couple of weeks early, it is perfect timing for Heather Ordover at the CraftLit podcast to begin Dracula. Heather is like the best teacher you ever had, taking you through classic books, while providing the full audiobook at the same time. In this case, she recruited people to read in the book's various voices (it is written as letters). I've been waiting a loooooooooooooong time for her to do this book, which is one of my favorites. She does talk about crafts at the beginning of each episode but if you check the bottom of the shownotes—a time code is given for each episode letting you know when the crafty chat ends and the book talk begins.

                      REAMDE BY NEAL STEPHENSON: I've never cared enough about this writer's subjects to make myself take the intellectual effort to finish one of his books. However, this one ... well, he addresses a lot of subjects that this review makes me think I'll be interested in reading about. I may make the leap.  (If the link doesn't lead to a full review, go to Google and find it and then click through ... that usually gives you the whole thing.)

                      LORD OF THE RINGS ... FOR BEGINNERS
                      : A reader attempting the Lord of the Rings books brings up things I'd never thought of as problems in getting through them ... but finds it worthwhile anyway. A good primer: watch the movies first.

                      WHY VIOLENCE IS VANISHING: Aha! What we've been saying in our household all along ... we think it is more violent these days (or equally so) to the olden times because it is shoved in our face by modern media so much that we think it permeates the fabric of life. Not so says Steven Pinker in an article adapted from his upcoming book. At least worth looking at the article.

                      RECOMMENDATIONS IN EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITING: Darwin Catholic answers a reader's question about good reads from early Christians and invites commenters to add to his list. There are some familiar titles and some not so familiar. Though Mike Aquilina hasn't shown up in the comments ... my early Christian reading is dictated by what he shares in his fantastic books featuring the Fathers of the Church. For example, his book Angels of God? *kissing fingertips* Amazing. (Hey, someone's gotta keep an eye on current zombie books for a good worldview, right? So I let Mike ... and Darwin ... keep up with the other stuff.) Anyway, check out Darwin's post and Mike's blog.

                      PREGNANCY BOOK: Sarah Reinhard's got questions about specific pregnancy situations for a book she's writing. Have experience with bedrest, depression during pregnancy, mothering alone (i.e., single parenting), mothering multiples (i.e., twins), pregnancy after abortion, stillbirth, and unexpected (surprise) pregnancies? Then go take her survey!

                      PRINT ON DEMAND BOOKS: Now this is a nifty idea:
                      HarperCollins Publishers Inc. ... said it would make about 5,000 current paperbacks available to bookstores through On Demand Books LLC's Espresso Book Machine. The desk-sized device can custom print a book in just a few minutes. That means even if a physical copy is not in stock, it's still available almost immediately.
                      ============

                      HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX: Just finished listening to Jim Dale's superb reading of this book. I can't believe that I have forgotten such big chunks of plot (and it just gets worse with the following books). On the other hand, that allowed me to have a lot of suspense over what was actually in that Department of Mysteries.

                      SPOILERS follow: I was struck again that Dolores Umbridge is well placed in the position of High Inquisitor. She is on the side of right and yet what a horrible person she is. Between her delight in cruelty and Cornelius Fudge's vanity, those whose hearts are pure (Dumbledore, Harry, et al) have a war on two fronts as they struggle to stop Voldemort from obtaining the weapon he needs. All are nominally on the side of good, yet what a difference is made by intention. And that's the point, of course. Or a big part of it. Interesting to read these books again and finding that the messages I remembered have much harder points than I recalled. Equally striking and moving is hearing Harry's glimpse of Snape's innermost memory of humiliation. Snape has a choice (as do we all) of whether to be hateful and petty but he also has had a life with all too little love and/or respect. Harry is too young to understand but we then see Albus Dumbledore with even more admiration as he trusts Snape. We also realize that just because someone is on the right side, even with the right motives, this does not mean we have to like them ... or even that they are likable.

                      How could I have forgotten the ending of this book, with the anger and grief and conversations about death? Really well done with a solid moral worldview beneath it.

                      ============

                      SO MANY BOOKS  ... IN FOR REVIEW: clearly the last month or so is when everyone (and I mean everyone) has books coming out. I've got a big stack of books, some of which I asked for, others which I didn't. All, however, are welcome! My only problem is figuring out what order to read them in and how to work in my monthly book club and podcast reading (Book club: A Mended and Broken Heart: The Life and Love of Francis of Assisi by Wendy Murray; A Good Story Is Hard to Find podcast: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury). A That's a problem that every reader loves, right?

                      So here's the list of what's waiting at the moment, with super-brief descriptions. All look promising, but if you try one and find something you don't like ... just remember that I haven't read them yet. A flip-through is what made me want to try them. So you have to ask yourself, do you feel lucky? "Well, do you, reader?"
                      • Mercury Rises by Robert Kroese: just beginning this (relatively speaking). The sequel to Mercury Falls, which I have yet to review but liked very well as a very amusing take on an angel and a girl preventing the Apocalypse. I'm about 100 pages in and the characters have just gotten into situations that I find interesting enough that I've decided to keep going. A slower start than the first book, but I'll allow it. Amazon Vine review copy.
                      • Weightless: Making Peace with Your Body by Kate Wicker: a little book that looks as if it has some good things to say about women, weight, and self esteem. A formula of sorts for health of mind, body and spirit but not preachy (thank goodness!). Author review copy.
                      • Centurion's Daughter by Justin Swanton: got this one out of the blue but have read the first couple of chapters and it looks like a well written piece of historical fiction set in Gaul (France) when the Roman Empire was in its last gasps. An unusual period to choose as a setting and, as I say, the writing looks good so far. Next on my list after Mercury Rises. Publisher review copy.
                      • The Pope and the CEO John Paul II's Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard by Andreas Widmer: usually the title alone would make me say, "No, no" but a flip through the pages was intriguing to make my heart say, "Yes, yes ... well, maybe anyway." Worth a try for sure. Publisher review copy.
                      • The Sufficiency of Grace by Sarah Fotopoulis: Grace is widowed with a young son but even more devastation is on the way. Grace is going to get a chance to learn just what her name means in this Christian fiction. That is all I can really tell from the book description. This is by the wife of a long-time family friend and I heard about it long before I got a copy. Haven't had a chance to do much more than look over the first chapter and, I have to be honest, new science fiction coming in is always going to pull me to it more than straight fiction ... so it may be a little while before I get to this one. But that first chapter looked good and the Amazon listing has a couple of good reviews. Author review copy.
                      • Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by James Martin: We all know this is probably a book tailor-made for me. Catholicism, humor, and Father Martin's writing which has always resonated with me. I'm going to be part of the blog tour for this book with my review on October 24. So I'm putting off beginning it because of other book deadlines ... but it is a hard one to skip over, I'm telling you. Publisher review copy.
                      • Reiser's Ramblings by Fr. Bernard Reiser: A collection of the best columns written over the past 30 years, these look homey and straight-forward. All profits from the sale of Reiser's Ramblings go to Haitian relief efforts sponsored by Reiser Relief Inc. Publisher's review copy.
                      • Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese of Lisieux by Heather King: What can Therese of Lisieux teach Heather King when she spends a year reflecting on her? Probably quite a lot as I know after simply reading Story of a Soul. Looks very readable as the first two chapters go ... King alternates telling Therese's story with her own life. My sampling was interesting enough that it was hard to put down. Publisher review copy.
                      • Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (also Hexed and Hammered): Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, and wields a magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. And so forth. These YA novels are all the rage and no one loves them more than Heather Ordover at CraftLit podcast, who I trust a great deal. So when I saw the entire series of audiobooks at SFFaudio I thought I'd try them. Just got them a couple of days ago and, what with the Harry Potter listening, haven't had a chance to try them. Publisher review copy.
                      • Patient Zero: a Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry: Joe Ledger has to kill the same terrorist twice in one week and begins to wonder what's going on. Especially after he is recruited by a very elite group to handle a new security threat in the U.S. I tried the first bit of this on my Kindle after hearing the guys at Writing Excuses podcast speak favorably of them. Once again, I saw it pop up at SFFaudio and so snagged this audiobook to try. Publisher review copy.
                      • Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs: Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is hired to find Ramblin' John Hastur. The mysterious blues man's dark, driving music - broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station - is said to make living men insane and dead men rise. Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur's trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil. Shades of Robert Johnson, anyone? Scott Danielson saw this come in at SFFaudio and thought it looked like my kind of book. I think he just might be right. Have begun listening but am not past the first chapter yet. Rather violent (especially for listening where you can't skim to soften such things), but I'm hanging in there because that sort of thing often backs off once the story and characters are established. So far, so good.

                      9.17.2011

                      Episode 168: Bridge of Birds, ch. 1-3

                      In which we meet Number Ten Ox and Master Li ...
                      and discover how a plague can learn to count.

                      Episode 168, chapters 1-3
                      (download or listen via this link)

                      Book Information
                      • Story rating: PG-13 for occasional adult situations.
                      • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted permission by author Barry Hughart to read Bridge of Birds. Please contact Mr. Hughart or his agent for any permissions.
                      • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Bridge of Birds and the other two books in the trilogy that comprise The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox.
                      • More information about Barry Hughart
                      • Subterranean Press
                      Podcast Highlight
                      My Huffduffer Feed
                      (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                      9.16.2011

                      Neil Gaiman on How to Read Gene Wolfe

                      I cannot tell you how to meet Gene Wolfe. I can, however, suggest a few ways to read his work. These are useful tips, like suggesting you take a blanket, a flashlight, and some candy when planning to drive a long way in the cold, and should not be taken lightly. I hope they are of some use to you. There are nine of them. Nine is a good number.
                      Now this is advice I can use. I picked up the link from Tamahome at Goodreads, where I love seeing what other people say about the books they are reading.

                      9.14.2011

                      Better Book Titles: Mein Kampf

                      I found Better Book Titles through Books on the Nightstand podcast. The concept is simple. As creator Dan Wilbur puts it:
                      This blog is for people who do not have thousands of hours to read book reviews or blurbs or first sentences. I will cut through all the cryptic crap, and give you the meat of the story in one condensed image. Now you can read the greatest literary works of all time in mere seconds!
                      Language warning for some titles ... so beware if that is a problem for you.

                      The cleverest, though, manage without bad language. As we can see...



                      9.11.2011

                      Episode 167: Genesis, chapters 35-36


                      Ch-ch-ch-changes ... for Jacob and hearing about Esau's progeny. Yes - the "begats" are upon us.

                      Episode 167, chapters 35-36
                      (download or listen via this link)

                      Book Information
                      • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
                      • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
                      • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
                      • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
                      Podcast Highlights (thanks to Gail)
                        Mentioned Links
                        My Huffduffer Feed
                        (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                        8.31.2011

                        Script Notes for Huck and Jim: Escape From New York

                        The river sang to itself. It sang its summer song, of fish below, reeds waving in the current, the dip of a bird’s bill as it flashed down and skimmed over the surface. The song kept time against the shore and against the raft as it floated down the Mississippi

                        - Must it be the Mississippi? Why not someplace more exotic—the Nile or Ganges, perhaps?

                        - Could run up the costs, but we’ll check it out.

                        Huck dangled his feet into the water. He lay on his back, watching the last lace filigree of cloud pull aside to reveal a night full of stars. Jim stood at the stern, pole in hand, watching the dark surface of the river rise and move in its slow dance.


                        “What do you think, Jim?” said Huck. “Were the stars born or just made?”

                        - Which one is black?

                        - Jim.

                        - Okay, is he more a Morgan, or a Denzel?

                        - The focus group suggested Will.

                        - Will! Yes. Very bankable. And Huck is a woman, right?

                        - Um… we didn’t test that possibility.
                        You get the idea ... it goes on from there and is simultaneously hilarious and sad (as we suspect this is a reflection of all too real Hollywood thinking). Read it at McSweeneys. Via Heather at CraftLit.

                        8.25.2011

                        Episode 166: The Green Girl, chapters 30-32


                        In which Mel makes a plan and all is brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
                        Episode 166, chapters 30-32
                        (download or listen via this link)
                        Book Information
                        • For The Fifth Annual SFFaudio Challenge
                          Courtesy of the Wonder Ebooks edition.

                          NOTES: “Early sense of wonder SF.” First published in the March and April 1930 issues of Amazing Stories. Later collected in 1950 as Avon Fantasy Novel #2. “Melvin Dane has been seeing a vision of a green girl since he was a child. Images of her came over the ether. Is she just fantasy? Or a reality that managed to cross time and space? And now, with the Earth under threat of extinction, will Melvin ever meet that girl of his dreams?”
                        • Story rating: G (so far)
                        Podcast Highlight
                          My Huffduffer Feed
                          (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                          8.23.2011

                          I Can't Recommend Smallworld Enough

                          SmallworldSmallworld by Dominic Green

                          My rating: 5 of 5 stars


                          THIS ONE IS FREE FOR THE KINDLE. GO GET IT BEFORE THEY CHANGE THEIR MINDS.

                          I honestly did not mean to begin another book before finishing Silas Marner. However, Silas Marner isn't the sort of book I can read in bed before going to sleep. I have to be wide awake to pay attention and pick up on the subtle humor and other excellences therein.

                          So I turned to my Kindle, which I hadn't turned on in over a month as I recall. I was looking for short stories, figuring I could read one and put it down easily.

                          Turns out I was wrong. This collection of short stories that all are actually pieces of one larger story is indescribably amazing. Funny in a way that sounds corn-pone if I try to describe it, these stories are also gripping and will keep me up reading until I finish each one so I can see if the problem is solved, the danger averted.

                          Here's the description:
                          A strangely captivating novel from Hugo-nominated author Dominic Green. Mount Ararat, a world the size of an asteroid yet having Earth-standard gravity, plays host to an eccentric farming community protected by the Devil, a mechanical killing machine, from such passers-by as Mr von Trapp (an escapee from a penal colony), the Made (manufactured humans being hunted by the State), and the super-rich clients of a gravitational health spa established at Mount Ararat's South Pole.
                          The children's names are laugh-out-loud hilarious, but surprisingly you get so used to them that after a while you know exactly who is being spoken about.

                          Not done yet but I already know that this is one that I'll be giving as a gift as well as getting for myself in real paper, ink, and glue for rereading. I like it that much.

                          8.17.2011

                          Episode 165: Genesis, chapters 34


                          A disgraceful episode in which almost everyone behaves badly.

                          Episode 165, chapters 34
                          (download or listen via this link)

                          I know, I say episode 166, but I lost track.
                          Book Information
                          • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
                          • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
                          • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
                          • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
                          Story Highlight
                            Mentioned Links
                            My Huffduffer Feed
                            (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                            8.04.2011

                            Episode 164: The Green Girl, chapters 25-29

                            In which disaster strikes and Mel faces the Lord of Flame.


                            Episode 164, chapters 25-29
                            (download or listen via this link)
                            Book Information
                            • For The Fifth Annual SFFaudio Challenge
                              Courtesy of the Wonder Ebooks edition.

                              NOTES: “Early sense of wonder SF.” First published in the March and April 1930 issues of Amazing Stories. Later collected in 1950 as Avon Fantasy Novel #2. “Melvin Dane has been seeing a vision of a green girl since he was a child. Images of her came over the ether. Is she just fantasy? Or a reality that managed to cross time and space? And now, with the Earth under threat of extinction, will Melvin ever meet that girl of his dreams?”
                            • Story rating: G (so far)
                            Podcast Highlight
                              My Huffduffer Feed
                              (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                              8.01.2011

                              The Green Girl and The Bridge of Birds update

                              Turns out the last chapters of The Green Girl are super-long. Super action packed though, with much ingenuity AND finally we see Lord of Flame up close!

                              So, there will be two more episodes of The Green Girl instead of just one, based on my arbitrary comfort level in length. One will be out this week ...

                              Also, Jesse from SFFaudio sent me a story that I'm going to slip in there before we begin The Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart.

                              What kind of story? Think Twilight Zone ...

                              Don't worry, we won't put off The Bridge of Birds longer than that.

                              7.29.2011

                              Episode 163: Genesis, chapters 32-33


                              In which Jacob prepares for his family reunion.
                              Will he survive it?

                              Episode 163, chapters 32-33
                              (download or listen via this link)
                              Book Information
                              • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
                              • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
                              • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
                              • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
                              Highlights
                                Mentioned Links
                                My Huffduffer Feed
                                (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                                7.26.2011

                                Ancient Arabia, Djinn, and Two Improbable Heroes: reviewing The Desert of Souls

                                The Desert of SoulsThe Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones

                                My rating: 5 of 5 stars


                                The glittering tradition of sword-and-sorcery sweeps into the sands of ancient Arabia with the heart-stopping speed of a whirling dervish in this thrilling debut novel from new talent Howard Andrew Jones

                                In 8th century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving the puzzle, the scholar Dabir soon realizes that the tablet may unlock secrets hidden within the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the sands. When the tablet is stolen from his care, Dabir and Captain Asim are sent after it, and into a life and death chase through the ancient Middle East.
                                This was an easy and exciting read and I finished it quickly, partially because I was flipping the pages so fast.

                                Asim and Dabir somewhat remind me of Number Ten Ox and Master Li from Barry Hughart's stories of a China that never was. Asim is not as dim as Number Ten Ox and Dabir is not as wise (or old) as Master Li, but it is a classic pairing of brawn and brains, which can lead to misunderstandings that are sometimes comic but which can endanger everything if both do not learn to trust one another. By the end of the book we are fond of both characters, as, indeed, they are of each other.

                                The adventure itself is multi-faceted and highly inventive, while still remaining true to form in what feels like a factually based universe. In fact, Jones has taken great care to keep the historical facts true to form with Jaffar and the caliph being based on the actual historical people. In this, he must have been highly influenced by the stories of Harold Lamb, several volumes of which he collected into anthologies before writing his own novel.

                                Room was clearly left for more adventures and I hope that Jones is at work on the next. I can't wait to see what Asim and Dabir must tangle with next.


                                View all my Goodreads reviews

                                Most of my reviews are posted on this Book Reviews page.

                                7.25.2011

                                Lagniappe 49: East of Eden

                                In which we hear the story of Olive and the airplane...

                                East of Eden
                                (listen or download from link above)
                                A delightful vignette that I wanted to share.
                                Scott and I will be discussing the entire novel (as much as we can in an hour)
                                at A Good Story is Hard to Find in Episode 15.

                                According to Webster
                                la·gniappe \ˈlan-ˌyap, lan-ˈ\
                                Function:
                                noun
                                Etymology: American French, from American Spanish la ñapa the lagniappe, from la + ñapa, yapa, from Quechua yapa something added
                                Date: 1844
                                : a small gift given a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase;
                                broadly : something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure

                                7.22.2011

                                Episode 162: The Green Girl, chapters 17-24

                                In which Melvin and Sam encounter Lord of Flame
                                and Alexander learns some new tricks.


                                Episode 162, chapters 17-24
                                (download or listen via this link)
                                Book Information
                                • For The Fifth Annual SFFaudio Challenge
                                  Courtesy of the Wonder Ebooks edition.

                                  NOTES: “Early sense of wonder SF.” First published in the March and April 1930 issues of Amazing Stories. Later collected in 1950 as Avon Fantasy Novel #2. “Melvin Dane has been seeing a vision of a green girl since he was a child. Images of her came over the ether. Is she just fantasy? Or a reality that managed to cross time and space? And now, with the Earth under threat of extinction, will Melvin ever meet that girl of his dreams?”
                                • Story rating: G (so far)
                                Podcast Highlight
                                  My Huffduffer Feed
                                  (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                                  7.18.2011

                                  John Carter of Mars Trailer



                                  I could never get into the books (and oh how I've tried) but I could definitely get into this movie.

                                  Directed by Andrew Stanton. Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and now this live action movie. I'm ready.

                                  Via Scott at Rivets and Trees.

                                  7.16.2011

                                  Lagniappe 48: Just So - The Elephant's Child

                                  In the High and Far-Off Times
                                  the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk ...

                                  The Elephant's Child
                                  (listen or download from link above)
                                  As always, read with dash and verve by Will Duquette.

                                  See the story, a poem, and all the illustrations with Kipling's captions.
                                  As always, thank you to Will Duquette for his tip-top narration.

                                  According to Webster
                                  la·gniappe \ˈlan-ˌyap, lan-ˈ\
                                  Function:
                                  noun
                                  Etymology: American French, from American Spanish la ñapa the lagniappe, from la + ñapa, yapa, from Quechua yapa something added
                                  Date: 1844
                                  : a small gift given a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase;
                                  broadly : something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure

                                  Episode 161 Genesis, chapter 31


                                  In which Jacob and his family go on the lam.
                                  Episode 161, chapter 31
                                  (download or listen via this link)
                                  Book Information
                                  • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
                                  • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
                                  • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
                                  • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
                                  Highlight
                                    Mentioned Link
                                    My Huffduffer Feed
                                    (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                                    7.07.2011

                                    Episode 160: The Green Girl, chapters 9-16

                                    In which Melvin and Sam pursue Earth's enemy,
                                    discover astounding new forms of life, and make a new acquaintance.


                                    Episode 160, chapters 9-16
                                    (download or listen via this link)
                                    Book Information
                                    • For The Fifth Annual SFFaudio Challenge
                                      Courtesy of the Wonder Ebooks edition.

                                      NOTES: “Early sense of wonder SF.” First published in the March and April 1930 issues of Amazing Stories. Later collected in 1950 as Avon Fantasy Novel #2. “Melvin Dane has been seeing a vision of a green girl since he was a child. Images of her came over the ether. Is she just fantasy? Or a reality that managed to cross time and space? And now, with the Earth under threat of extinction, will Melvin ever meet that girl of his dreams?”
                                    • Story rating: G (so far)
                                    Podcast Highlight
                                      Mentioned Links
                                      My Huffduffer Feed
                                      (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                                      6.29.2011

                                      Episode 159: Genesis, chapter 30

                                      In which Leah and Rachel begin an unusual competition
                                      and Jacob asks Laban for some pay.
                                      Episode 159, chapter 30
                                      (download or listen via this link)
                                      Book Information
                                      • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
                                      • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
                                      • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
                                      • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
                                      Podcast Highlight
                                        Mentioned Link
                                        • Mightier Than the Sword: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and the Battle for America
                                          by David S. Reynolds: NY Times review, WSJ review
                                        My Huffduffer Feed
                                        (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                                        6.21.2011

                                        Episode 158: The Green Girl, chapters 1-8

                                        In which Earth is under attack via the ether.
                                        And we meet Melvin Dane and the girl of his dreams. Literally.

                                        Episode 158, chapters 1-8
                                        (download or listen via this link)
                                        Book Information
                                        • For The Fifth Annual SFFaudio Challenge
                                          Courtesy of the Wonder Ebooks edition.

                                          NOTES: “Early sense of wonder SF.” First published in the March and April 1930 issues of Amazing Stories. Later collected in 1950 as Avon Fantasy Novel #2. “Melvin Dane has been seeing a vision of a green girl since he was a child. Images of her came over the ether. Is she just fantasy? Or a reality that managed to cross time and space? And now, with the Earth under threat of extinction, will Melvin ever meet that girl of his dreams?”
                                        • Story rating: G (so far)
                                        Highlight
                                          Mentioned Link
                                          My Huffduffer Feed
                                          (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)

                                          6.14.2011

                                          Called out of town unexpectedly

                                          Hi everyone... I was called out of town unexpectedly on Monday so the podcast will be later than I hoped.

                                          It would be this time, when I actually almost had it ready on Sunday, that I had to leave town before I could get it done.

                                          The good news is that I will have it done fairly soon after I get back, because there isn't much to do!

                                          In the meantime, here's a little news about The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, via Scott (my partner in crime at A Good Story is Hard to Find).

                                          The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox is available again thanks to Subterranean Press. This book is really hard to find and I count myself lucky to have taken a flier on the Science Fiction Book Club omnibus long ago when I noticed it. I received permission lately from author Barry Hughart to podcast The Bridge of Birds, the first book of the trilogy.
                                          From Publishers Weekly (Starred Review):
                                          "Reading Hughart’s endearing historical fantasy trilogy, first published almost 20 years ago, is much like 'wandering blindfolded through a myth devised by a maniac,' in the words of Master Li, the greatest and most frequently intoxicated wise man in a colorful seventh century 'China that never was.' Their rollicking adventures pit them against everyone from murderers and thieves to emperors and gods. Numerous Chinese legends, filtered through Ox’s simple perspective, blend seamlessly into both lighthearted and heartrending.

                                          6.10.2011

                                          Lagniappe 47: Just So - The Beginning of the Armadillos

                                          In which we hear a story of the High and Far-Off Times, Stickly-Prickly Hedgehog,
                                          Slow-Solid Tortoise, and Painted Jaguar.

                                          The Beginning of the Armadillos
                                          (listen or download from link above)
                                          Read with singular dash and verve and many wonderful voices by Will Duquette.

                                          See the story, a song of travel, and all the illustrations with Kipling's captions.
                                          As always, thank you to Will Duquette for his tip-top narration.

                                          According to Webster
                                          la·gniappe \ˈlan-ˌyap, lan-ˈ\
                                          Function:
                                          noun
                                          Etymology: American French, from American Spanish la ñapa the lagniappe, from la + ñapa, yapa, from Quechua yapa something added
                                          Date: 1844
                                          : a small gift given a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase;
                                          broadly : something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure

                                          6.08.2011

                                          Episode 157: Genesis, chapters 28-29

                                          In which Jacob has an unexpected encounter
                                          and gets a taste of his own medicine.


                                          Episode 157, chapters 28-29
                                          (download or listen via this link)
                                          Book Information
                                          • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
                                          • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
                                          • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
                                          • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
                                          Highlight

                                            Mentioned Link
                                            My Huffduffer Feed
                                            (where you can easily download sample episodes of the podcast highlight or other various podcasts I want to share)