Wednesday, January 28, 2009

R.I.P. - John Updike

I'd be lying if I were to say I am terribly versed in John's books. In fact, my understanding of his writing is limited to say the very least. In fact, I think I should stop reading the book I am reading and change over to one of his books out of respect for him to aquaint myself better with this fine man of letters. In highschool I got to read one of his stories for a creative writing class and have since then only on occassion read a handful of his stories. Though I have no idea which one it was. I wish I could say why this is the case. One thing I do know is he does have the tendency to write about things that are very painful in a realistic fashion without giving us the easy out to feel better about ourselves afterwards. He was the rare write who could stare lifes ugliness in the eye without blinking, even when the other side pulled a gun. If his stories don't make you feel uncomfortable and make you squirm then you are probably not human. That is probably why I do not read more of his works. I do not want to be faced with the ugly side of my own humanity. That I can be just as much the adulterer given the chance as any of his protagonists. What a terrifying idea espcially as a Christian. One thing I do know for certain is that he was forever the bridesmaid and never the bride. He was often on the short list for the Nobel Prize never having received it. What a shame.

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posted by Out Of Jersey | 6:29 AM | 3 comments

Monday, January 26, 2009

Very Naughty Children

1) The Week In Geek challenged us to read a chapter from a classic book and write a short review. Ok, so what do I choose? It wouldn't be any fun to choose something that I had read before or an author of whom I am at least somewhat aware of their work. Oh no, that would be too easy. So what possessed me to read the first chapter of E. Nesbit's "The Phoenix and The Carpet"? One thing I should have realized by the title is that this was a story meant for children. Perhaps it is the time in which it was written or it's very British style that made it not translate well for me. For one thing the children were all so very, very naughty as is usually the case with stories like this. Look at the four children in "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe". They too were very, very naughty. Perhaps this is meant to give them a certain charm that could make an adult like myself smirk at my own impishness as a youth if it weren't for the fact they are so darn proper about everything. All the exclamations of "Oh so sorry" and such just don't sit well for me. I am not reminded of a British Dennis the Menace, but instead come off as being very stuffy and not very charming. I couldn't wait for this chapter to be done and cannot say I will read any more. Who is this lady anyway?

2) I wouldn't say I am intimidated by classic literature. Difficulty in literature doesn't scare me since I probably would give up on the book with a sigh of "oh well!" and call it a day. I mostly want to understand what would make someone consider one book a classic over another? I attempted to read books like The Scarlet Letter, Ulysses, and Moby Dick usually getting frustrated for one reason or another. Out of all honesty I finished Ulysses, but couldn't tell you a damn thing what I read. It still sits by my bed stand begging for me to try again. Then there is Germinal by Zola which, for whatever reason, I have to force myself to even get halfway through though I find the work to be quite readable. I am not sure what books I would recommend. Just because I like them doesn't mean others will. Jules Verne "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" is a good if not plodding read. Conan Doyle's "Hound Of The Baskervilles" was entertaining, but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn't seen the movie first.

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posted by Out Of Jersey | 11:06 AM | 4 comments

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bye, Bye Dodge

A friend of mine sent me an article on how the state of the economy will impact the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival. I have many fond memories of my years making the long drive to central Jersey and going all poetry geek at meeting and getting autographs from some of my favorites. The atmosphere was relaxing and open to allow us to just enjoy the day. We could sit back outside the tent listening in the warm sun or take a nice stroll along the river. Then came my last visit this past September. I tried to blog about it after the fact, but a poet who was a speaker there didn't take too kindly to my representation of the festival. Trying to do the right thing and being a bit of a wuss I removed the post. Sadly I regret that because to this day I feel I was right. Long gone was the relaxed atmosphere that I enjoyed to be replaced with a more regimented schedule. Everywhere you turned there was something going on and instead of giving the poets the freedom to speak organically about their experiences as a poet and what the craft means to them allowing us, the attendees, dictate the direction of subject matter. No, now the directors created lectures so pretentious if it weren't for the talent of the poets speaking it would have died a quick and painful death. All this to say I was disappointed. I missed being able to walk along with a poet and discuss any such matter without feeling rushed, sitting under the trees with people I never met before and enjoying the moment, and I missed how relaxed I felt. I am not surprised in the least. I am sorry this is the case, but I am hoping that this will be a lesson they will learn to not take the reader for granted.


posted by Out Of Jersey | 11:16 AM | 2 comments

Friday, January 09, 2009

Big Bang Theory

And this is why I love the show Big Bang Theory.

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posted by Out Of Jersey | 5:27 AM | 4 comments

Reading Test

Hat tip to Geek Monkey for this one

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Book Snob
Literate Good Citizen
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Fad Reader
Non-Reader">What Kind of Reader Are You?">Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


posted by Out Of Jersey | 4:59 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pimps In The Pulpit

I regularly visit Pulpit Pimps sight because I had my ears tickled many years ago by the prosperity gospel's message. Melvin calls the video at the end of the post Pimps On Parade. I'd be hard pressed to disagree.


posted by Out Of Jersey | 5:14 AM | 1 comments