digg del.icio.us TRACK TOP
By Lisa | Filed in Quotables | No comments yet.

A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ? proof that humans can work magic.

– Carl Sagan, American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, book lover and all-around giant brain

Hot Guys with Books

digg del.icio.us TRACK TOP
By Lisa | Filed in Hot Guys with Books | No comments yet.

Nice suit.

nice suit





digg del.icio.us TRACK TOP
By Lisa | Filed in Quotables | No comments yet.

“The only way to do all the things you’d like to do is to read.”

– Prolific American authorTom Clancy

I saw this on Reuters a while back, and I had to laugh. I always take my pony to the park with me to read!

A man reads a book as his pony waits nearby, in central of Slaviansk

luckyIf you hang out here very often, you know that I love short stories. I think there is a real art to telling a story in just a few pages. In Lucky Alan: And Other Stories, Jonathan Lethem succeeds in a few stories – one or two stories stayed with me – but most left no impression.

My favorite story by far in this collection was “The King of Sentences.” Two hipsters, so self-absorbed they can’t see past the end of their own noses, are obsessed with an author they call The King of Sentences. They study his books, they read them aloud to each other, the become obsessed with the idea of tracking him down, worshiping him. They get the sort of reception they deserve.

The other standout is “Their Back Pages,” a story about forgotten comic book characters, stranded on an island. It stands out mostly because it is so weird!


C’krrrarn is staying within himself.


C’Krrrarn is stayin within himself.


C’Krrrarn sits perfectly still and tries to empty him mind.

But even weird gets tedious after a while.

This was, sadly, not a collection of short stories that I could sink my teeth into. My copy of Lucky Alan: And Other Stories was an Advanced Reader Copy, provided free of charge.

The History of Media Mail

digg del.icio.us TRACK TOP
By Lisa | Filed in Commentary | No comments yet.

Interesting thing: I was at the post office, mailing a book to a friend (Beast – I’m so sorry! I should have sent it ages ago!) when I happened to mention that I love the media mail rate. (Instead of $12 to mail my book, it was only $3.) The postman gave me – and everyone else in line – a mini-history of the old book rate plan. It started in 1938 as a way to encourage reading, by making it cheaper to send books through the mail. More recently, the classification changed to “media mail” and it covers books and videos. For me, it’s a lifesaver. When I send books to friends, when I give away books on the website, mailing can be the most expensive part of the whole deal. (One year, I didn’t restrict a giveaway to US residents, and I spent almost $40 shipping a box of books to a winner in Canada. Ooops!) I think it’s great that the federal government gives a subsidy to the Post Office so that I can ship books to distant friends on the cheap! My tax dollars at work finally!

New on the Shelves…

digg del.icio.us TRACK TOP
By Lisa | Filed in New Books | No comments yet.

shakesThe Shakespeare Conspiracy (A Christopher Klewe Novel Book 1), by Jeffrey Hunter McQuain

What makes a secret worth dying for? That’s what Christopher Klewe, a brash young professor from Virginia, finds out in Jeffrey Hunter McQuain’s new thriller “The Shakespeare Conspiracy” when he stumbles upon the most shocking cover-up in literary history.

On a rainy Halloween at Washington’s Kennedy Center, a masked killer brutally stabs Klewe’s best friend. Before dying, the victim deliberately drops his raincoat across a puddle and scrawls the letters “SoN” in his own blood. Investigating the murder scene, Klewe is joined by Zelda Hart, a married reporter for The New York Times. They learn the victim’s ear was severed and find evidence of a 400-year-old secret society. When questioned by police, Klewe reveals the surprising question he’s been researching: was Shakespeare black?

Outside Kennedy Center, they meet a drunken security guard who saw the murder and swears that “Shakespeare did it.” Klewe and Zelda grow less skeptical when a figure wearing a Shakespeare mask and wielding an Elizabethan dagger chases them into the Metro subway system toward Maryland.

After being cornered in a remote Maryland cabin by the killer, the two escape to look for answers at Shakespeare and Company, a famous Paris bookstore, as well as in London’s Globe Theater. As they solve each step of the mystery, though, they face new obstacles to overcome and more clues to unravel in their search for the truth.

Pursued across two continents by murderers, the desperate Klewe and Zelda have only three days to solve the strangest mystery of Renaissance history. The evidence mounts up, drawn from actual anagrams hidden in Shakespeare’s own words as well as historically accurate descriptions of Elizabethan paintings and observations made by the playwright’s contemporaries.

Their dangerous journey takes them ultimately to Stratford and the Bard’s final resting place. There the words of the playwright’s epitaph help thwart the deadly conspiracy.

Once hailed as “a jaw-dropping premise” by the late columnist William Safire, “The Shakespeare Conspiracy” is the first novel by a published Shakespeare expert. It offers readers the twists of a thrill ride reminiscent of “The Da Vinci Code” as well as that novel’s excitement of wondering whether its central secret just might be true. If so, this new thriller has the potential to expose the biggest literary conspiracy of all time, offering a whole new way of looking at the world’s greatest writer, William Shakespeare.

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

digg del.icio.us TRACK TOP
By Lisa | Filed in Book Review, Sci-Fi | No comments yet.


I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. This is the sort of book that makes you bounce in your chair while you’re reading it. You know that little frisson of glee that you get as a reader when you know something really cool is about to happen? I got that a lot in this book.

Mark Watney is a crew member on the third manned mission to Mars. Not as cool as being on the first mission, but still pretty darned cool for a botanist. But once they’ve landed, there’s a problem: a powerful sandstorm with winds strong enough to do damage to their equipment and living quarters.

“It was a ridiculous sequence of events that led to me almost dying, and an even more ridiculous sequence that led to me surviving.”

Everyone thinks Watney is dead; there is no reason to think otherwise. So they leave…and Watney wakes up to find himself stranded on Mars, with about a year’s worth of food, four years until the next Mars mission, and no way to contact Earth.

But he has science on his side! He’s a botanist – he can grow food. He understands how the space station works (and if he doesn’t, the computer has all the plans and specs and instructions and he’s got plenty of time to study them). He’s a scientist and he is going to science the hell out of all of this and figure out how to stay alive, how to contact Earth, and how to get home.

This is a book about science, but in the most entertaining way imaginable. Watney knows his stuff and as a narrator, he does a great job of explaining it to the reader. He explains how the supplies get there, how the space stations work, how they make fuel and water and oxygen. The descriptions of how he repurposes pieces of the ship and how he re-engineers the systems to grow food, communicate with Earth, and make his existence more comfortable were endlessly entertaining.

“Yeah, I know. A lot of my ideas involve setting something on fire. And yes, deliberately starting a fire in a tiny, enclosed space is usually a terrible idea. But I need the smoke. Just a little wisp of it.

“As usual, I’m working with stuff that was deliberately designed not to burn. But no amount of careful design by NASA can get around a determined arsonist with a tank of pure oxygen.”

Eventually, Watney makes contact with Earth and then the race is on to figure out a way to rescue him. As expected, it’s not just about the science — it’s a political and financial challenge, as well. The NASA scientists are dedicated to bringing him home, and you can’t help joining in the people around the world rooting for him.

This book was recommended to me by a friend with excellent taste. My copy of The Martian is a permanent addition to my personal library.




digg del.icio.us TRACK TOP
By Lisa | Filed in Quotables | No comments yet.

“There is nothing more luxurious than eating while you read—unless it be reading while you eat. Amabel did both: they are not the same thing, as you will see if you think the matter over.”

– English author E. Nesbit

They really aren’t the same, when you think about it. Sometimes I’m absorbed in the book; sometimes, the book is simply there to fill time while I chew.

Hot Guys with Books

digg del.icio.us TRACK TOP
By Lisa | Filed in Hot Guys with Books | No comments yet.

A hardcover! <swoon> A man after my own heart.