‘ahems and ahahs’

Literature, & Etc.

Archive for the ‘bookstores’ Category

with 2 comments

puppetmasterIt is always pleasant when someone you love recommends a book for you. I told Erin that I was in the mood for something short and light, and she advised me that maybe a children’s book would be appropriate for the end of the summer. I have picked up a novel by a first time writer, Joanne Owen, who has written Puppet Master. Here is the description on the back:

When Milena meets the charismatic Puppet Master and his menacing proteges, the twins Zdenko and Zdenka, in Prague’s Old Town Square she has no idea quite how much her life is about to change. In a story rich in the traditions of circus and theatre, myth mingles with the mystery of a missing heiress, Milena’s mother, and her daughter’s magical legacy is revealed.

How cool does that sound? I know that I’m intrigued and it’s a short 200 pages, so should be just the right thing to pass a few days. Cheers.

Written by thebeliever07

September 2, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Gastronomic Exotica by Louis Bakay

leave a comment »

Several things are interesting about Dr. Louis Bakay. The first being that he is a brain surgeon and historian on the Faculty of Harvard Medical School, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery of the University of Buffalo. The second is that in his past time he enjoys reading and writing about a history of epicures and societies obsession and love for all things food-related. The third is that he is not even a passable cook but an enthusiastic gourmet. flegel3

Random books are the best and I stumbled across this in the food section a week ago while browsing for some gifts for a few of my friends. Dr. Bakay takes the reader through a history of eating from the Stone Age where “the bones of animals found during excavations in Europe reveal what man ate in prehistoric times” all the way to modern French cuisine.

The book is full of interesting facts and random information surrounding the history of how society (mainly Western) has consumed food. For example:

“A typical example of feudal meals was one recorded of the wedding of Wilhelm von Rosenberg at his castle in Bohemia in 1578: 370 oxen; 98 wild boar; 2,292 hares; 3,910 patridge; 22,687 thrushes; 12,887 chickens; 3,000 capons; a large number of eel, carp, salmon, and pike. Also 5 tons of oysters and 40,837 eggs. It was washed down by 6,405 pails of wine.”

You have to love the excess of it all. Not that much has changed since then, but still all of that for a single wedding is impressive.

If you can find this book, it seems to be out of print, or if you can find me and remind me to lend it out, this is definitely a fascinating review of how we eat through the ages. Cheers.

Written by thebeliever07

August 21, 2009 at 11:27 am

Forgotten Bookmarks:

with 2 comments

What is the weirdest or most delightful thing you’ve ever found in a bookmark? And if you think you’re alone in the horror/joy that is biblio-discovery, think again. Chips, fingernail clippings, the dreaded “snot/booger”, *shudders.

I think one of the best things I’ve found in a book was in the Marcel Proust collection that I picked up a number of years ago. Inside is a postcard of a landscape illustration from the 18th century and a note written in a language and script I cannot make out. I have no idea what it says, but I am sure its something beautiful and heartfelt. It makes me smile for some reason.

There are many, many, sites & blogs devoted to the things that people find in books. @Intralibris @BiblioBuffet [ The Legend of the Bacon Bookmark!!! ] @Mirage Bookmark [ Most comprehensive bookmark reference site on the internet. ] @Bookmark of the Week @Enclosures and so forth: “I work at a used and rare bookstore, and I buy books from people every day. These are the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books. “

I could keep on going, so many more. Enjoy.

Written by thebeliever07

July 26, 2009 at 8:51 am

Posted in bookmark, bookstores

Tagged with , , ,

leave a comment »

The past few weeks have seen a drastic slow-down in the amount of blogging. One reason for this is that I have been unable to read anything and seeing that a majority of this blog is devoted to literature and reading, well you can understand why.

I went to the bookstore with Erin Monday and I think I may have found a book that will pull me out of a slump. It has a number of advantages going in its favor which might help me out of this funk. It is a short read at 160 pages. It is a short story collection as well so it allows me to read it in short bursts.


I picked up a collaboration between Jorge Luis Borges & Adolfo Bioy-Casares. The work is entitled Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi and based on my first impression is a South American Sherlock Holmesian mystery.  The “Sherlock Holmes” of this particular novella/collection is Don Isidro Parodi a man of astounding intelligence who has been wrongly convicted of a crime and currently resides in a jail cell.  This situation though does not keep people from consulting him, very reminscient of interior my

Written by thebeliever07

July 8, 2009 at 10:28 am

The Complete New Yorker

with 2 comments

If you’re a liberal lit. snob such as myself then “Eustace Tilley” is an image that you are most likely familiar with, but for those unawares, this character has become the mascot of The New Yorker magazine, a cultural arts and news magazine that provides a host of information, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. new yorker

If there is one thing I love more than literature and pretentious snobbish behavior, it is getting a deal. The Indian in me screams for joy when I can get something at half cost. Sadly, bargaining is not as popular here in North America as it is in my own country back home where everything on the street can be haggled and bartered and reduced if one has the right amount of patience and fortitude. I digress though, back to the subject at hand.

I recently purchased The Complete New Yorker: a complete digital archive of back issues from 1925 to 2005representing more than 4,000 issues and half a million pages) available on nine DVD-Roms. This thing retailed at $130 and I picked it up for $30 on-line at Chapters.

The primary reason I picked this up is thanks to J.D. Salinger. There are a number of short stories that he released only through this magazine that are no longer in print and now I have full access to them, along with so many others.

pressThe amount of information in this archive is overwhelming and I find myself at a loss of where to begin, so at the moment I’ve simply taken to jumping around with various years and reading different short stories and editorial comments. If you have some money, I would suggest investing and picking up a copy, so much information and history. It will be nice to throw this on in the future at some point and show the next generation significant moments in history as catalogued through this media: 9/11, President Obama, etc.

Now all I need is The Complete New Yorker Cartoon, here’s hoping for cheapness in two years. Cheers.

Written by thebeliever07

June 22, 2009 at 7:43 am

leave a comment »

I have a large collection of books and my library is constantly overflowing: onto the floor and off of the shelves. I have a pretty good memory when it comes to the books that I own and the memories associated with those books. I know that certain books are gifts from certain people and this is a pleasant thing. There are some books that go beyond a simple association with a friend or relative and this then is one of the pleasures of owning so many books and collecting them in a personal library. I’ve had people ask me why I insist on owning books and there is a very simple answer. I collect books because they are very much like family to me.

It’s amazing how I can look at my library and see certain periods of my life: that was when I was obsessed with fantasy, that was my science fiction age, that was only a few years ago when I was all about biographies, etc.

I thought I’d share one book in particular that is bound up in memory.

Dune by Frank Herbert

Sadly I do not own the actual book that is associated with this memory, as I most likely gave it away, something I tend to do as a result of my need to share passion of literature with all I meet. I must have been about 11 or 12 when my Aunt, my Massi (mah- seee) and her family took me on a trip to Yellowstone National Park. At some point on our way from Dallas to Utah we ended up at a small airport waiting for a transfer onto a smaller plane and I did not have anything to read, so my cousin said that she would let me pick any book in the airport book store. I think the cover of Dune is what caused me to pick it up.


Let’s be honest, that is an intriguing book cover and if you saw that on a rack you would pick it up and at least consider it.

I am so very glad that I picked this book up as it was my first introduction to the power of science fiction. Dune still resonates with society today (extremist faith and ideology, economic dependency on a single product, war, revolution, justice, etc.). I was unable to get my face out of the book for the rest of the trip. Anytime I see Dune in a bookstore this memory jumps right into my head and makes me smile.

Written by thebeliever07

June 21, 2009 at 8:58 am

leave a comment »


Miss Erin gifted me with a book recently, a collection of short stories by South American writer Francisco Coloane, Tierra Del Fuego. We were browsing at the Crapters the other day and Miss Erin playfully hid a book behind her back and turned to me, “You’re going to hate me for showing you this.” [ Reason being that we both should not purchase books for one because we have so much already to read and the second because we cannot afford it. ] She shows me the back of the book where the following is written:

Long arms, arms like rivers, are necessary to fully embrace Francisco Coloane. Or perhaps it’s necessary to be a squall of wind, gusting over him beard and all. Otherwise, take a seat across the table from him and analyze the question, study him deeply; you will surely end by drinking a bottle of wine with Francisco and happily postponing the matter to some later date. – Pablo Neruda

Now I don’t know about you but I tend to trust authors implicitly. Authors I enjoy who recommend other authors or mention authors that have influenced their own writings become mandatory reading for me. I have discovered so many wonderful authors as a result of writers who mention other writers or works that they find fascinating for one reason or another. I think that one of my favorite discoveries was through Graham Greene who recommended Patricia Highsmith’s collection of short stories as he wrote of her: “Highsmith is a poet of apprehension.” I recently wrote a paper on Patricia Highsmith and my relationship with Erin began with Patricia, so I owe Graham quite a bit.

So feel free to share stories or commentaries on authors you’ve discovered through blurbs. I think that for the most part, authors usually have a good sense of what is good literature and what is great. Here’s hoping Pablo, if your taste in literature is anything close to your style of writing and poetry, I nothing but good times ahead of me. Cheers.

Written by thebeliever07

May 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Stumbling into a deal…

leave a comment »

I was having coffee with some friends earlier this afternoon and stumbled into the bargain section at Crapters and found a deal so good I spent money I clearly should not be spending. But, when you find a deal like this, how can you possibly pass it up. Michael Chabon’s collection of Non-fiction Essays and Musings Maps and Legends, originally priced at $26.99 for $7.99. mapsand

I have had a long time love affair with Michael Chabon and I suppose I owe Dave Eggers a thank you for this love. I read Dave Eggers memoir A Staggering Work of Genius years ago and this is how I discovered McSweeney’s Quarterly Review & The Believer Magazine, and through these two mediums I was led towards Michael Chabon’s literary masterpiece The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. The way I see it, Michael Chabon is to our generation what George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway were for those respective generations of the past, voices that reflect on our current times. I highly suggest this collection as well as any of his fiction works, particularly Kavalier & Clay and Gentleman of the Road. Worth your time.

The Day of the Locust

leave a comment »

“Scattered among these masquerades were people of a different type. Their clothing was somber and badly cut, bought from mail-order houses. While the others moved rapidly, darting into stores and cocktail bars, they loitered on the corners or stood with their backs to the show windows and stared at everyone who passed. When their stare was returned, their eyes filled with hatred. At this time Tod knew very little about them except that they had come to California to die.” – The Day of the Locust – Nathanael West –

n1800251 The story centers around a group of misfit individuals who work on the outside of the Hollywood Film Industry. The real sadness is that these individuals seem to be unaware, if not unaware, then at least willfully blind of their condition.  The artist, the fading vaudevillian, the starlet, the everyman, the gangster, the cowboy, the child star/prima donna, and the doting mother.

Set in the late 1930’s, just before WWII. What this book presents is the exact opposite of what Hollywood is touted to be for so much of the time. B-Movie stars stuck in a land that only privileges the A.

Despite these sad figures that dominate the landscape of the novel, there is something beautiful, beautiful and vulgar about the way that these characters insist on living their life, in fighting for their dream. I am not sure if that is a hopeful image or a tragic one.

It’s a quick read and well worth your time. There was a definite Hemingway The Sun Also Rises feel to this novel. Some of that same bleak sit around and wander, not really sure where to go. The pacing of the novel was a bit slow but I found it allowed for a more in depth exploration of the characters. The ending of the novel is quite disturbing and presents an image that will not go away anytime soon. Check it out at the library or bookstore. Worth it and as I said, a fairly quick read. I finished this in one day. Penguin: 183 pp.

Just Ordered:

leave a comment »

I love ordering books online. Do not have to deal with long lines or ridiculous people and their stupid commentary. Can’t wait for these to arrive, cheers.


Written by thebeliever07

March 31, 2009 at 10:56 am