Tuesday, May 30, 2006
File this under "Oh my God."
Maybe it's just his way of saying, "I had nothing to do with it."
'Bad Twin,' a Novel Inspired by 'Lost,' Makes the Best-Seller Lists - New York Times: "After making the Publishers Weekly and Amazon.com best-seller lists, the book, published by Hyperion this month, will appear for the first time on the New York Times best-seller list on Sunday, at No. 14. Hyperion said more than 300,000 copies had been printed."
Fictionalized fiction becomes bestseller, and what should we make of it.
Also in this article, my favorite local independent bookseller makes an appearance:
Margaret Maupin, a buyer for the Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver, said "Bad Twin" sold out quickly there. "I'm not sure that the people who are buying this are your general book buyers, but they love the TV show," she said.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Maybe I'm getting as grumpy as a certain NYT reviewer, but I can't think of much good to say about this novel. I'm not sure that it can really be called a novel and that may be my biggest problem with the book. I know that it was well liked, NYT notable book and all, but there was no real cohesive element here. No arc. No compelling plot line. And our first person narrator wasn't even terribly likeable.
Believe me, I wanted to like it. And though I didn't like Lee Fiona, I understood her. And there were great things brought up, great revelations. Yet, I kept looking back at the the number of pages I still had left to read and wondering why I should continue reading. I was really let down.
I'm beginning to feel more old fashioned all the time. I just expect more out of a book. I was just looking for something to pull me along in this book. The author misses opportunities to make a point. Somewhere near the middle of the book when there actually is a crisis, her friend steps in and saves the day without a lesson learned. Disappointing.
Was this an autobiographical novel? Was this one of those that could have been a memoir? It feels like that to me. And that's not a good thing for a novel.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Shining by Stephen King
Mencken Chrestomathy by H. L. Mencken
Emma by Jane Austen
Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
The Group by Mary McCarthy
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Ulysses by James Joyce
Swimming With Giants by Anne Collet
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Last Empire Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Dead Souls by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Maybe Rory has read all of these, but I can at least pretend I have.
One of the most literate shows on television (second only to 'Gilmore Girls'), Lost is getting people reading. This NPR article focuses on The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien, but the number of books seen on the show is excessive.
Here's the books shown or referenced on the show (via Lostpedia):
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
After All These Years, by Susan Isaacs
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, by Ambrose Bierce
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
Bad Twin, by Gary Troup
The Holy Bible
The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Lancelot, by Walker Percy
Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens
The Outsiders, by Susan E. Hinton
The Stand, by Stephen King
The Third Policeman, by Flann O'Brien
The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
Watership Down, by Richard Adams
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne
Now, there's a summer reading list.
The sad fact is that they really believed that they did nothing wrong. A lot of folks in suits had better be questioning their own ethics today.
"President Bush personally ordered the Justice Department today to seal records
seized from the Capitol Hill office of a Democratic congressman, marking a
remarkable intervention by the nation's chief executive into an ongoing criminal
probe of alleged corruption.
The order culminates an escalating constitutional confrontation between the Justice Department and the House of Representatives, where lawmakers have demanded that the FBI return items seized during a Saturday night raid of the office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.)."So, let me get this straight: There are investigations into roughly 50 sitting
Senators or Congressmen, and one of the few Democrats in the hot seat actually
has his office raided by the FBI. So, all sorts of outrage about that (charges
of intimidation by the DoJ and the like) from both sides of the aisle. And then
the Pres jumps in to seal the seized documents? Verrrrry interesting. Nice
precedent for the next investigation. Oh, didn't I hear Denny Hastert's name
Saturday, May 20, 2006
So, to spite those who seek a boycott of the movie, tonight I am going to see the movie. Besides, I'm never going to read the book.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Bad Twin by Gary Troup
Last night I finished this book and it was probably the most awful book I've ever read. Written by a fictional character as a spin-off of the television show "Lost," it is a mystery loosely related to the show's back story. That is, it involves companies and institutions that exist in the "real life" of the show. Very meta.
I'm not a fan of mysteries, so maybe I'm a little biased to begin with. I expected a light and easy read. I expected some writing to chuckle at, but not something to be truly annoyed by. Shouldn't a private detective be able to do some deducing on his own? He seemed not to have an original thought at all. And when he reached a decision, some sort of epiphany, it never came through any sort of deliberation. It took about half the novel to even get the story along enough for us to understand what mystery we were sorting out. But even at that point I had faith that it would all turn out well.
People enjoy these sorts of books, so it should have all the necessary tricks. Soon enough we had a murder of one of the principal characters that occurred off the page, and then we were at the dramatic scene. Then something surprising and unexplained, not foretold, happens, then 'end scene.' Then the last few pages of the book are spent with three characters talking about everything and explaining what happened, why people were killed, the villain's motivations and the like. Then it was over. I hate it when movies have to explain it to you through dialogue at the end, and I'm certainly insulted when a book does it to me.
"Ugh," I said as I put the book on my night stand.
The book is believed to have been written by James Patterson and I would expect most of his books are better than this one. If I were him I'd claim that I wrote it through this character Gary Troup and he just isn't a very good writer.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.
Friday, May 12, 2006
The best? Toni Morrison's Beloved
Also-rans? Underworld by Don DeLillo, American Pastoral by Philip Roth, White Noise by Don DeLillo, Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver, The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson, Independence Day by Richard Ford to name a few.
Finally a 'best of' list that makes me feel well-read.
And this is only part of the story--part of the reason for Goss's sudden departure. And if the administration can put an active General who also was in charge of domestic spying in charge of the CIA, well, everthing is peachy.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
And these moves are supposed to make us feel safer? I know it's a new world, a post 9/11 world, but does that mean I'm willing to handover all my rights to the government in order to protect me? It doesn't sound to me like the right thing to do.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Bad Twin, by Gary Troup, released this week by Hyperion is a fictional extension of ABC's Lost. It's all part of what is called the Lost Experience. It's a multiformat internet game, meant to keep fans active and interested during the long summer hiatus. As goofy as it all sounds, I'm interested. I think this is where media is headed. And it doesn't stop with this book release by a fake author. Amazon has this exclusive video clip; and Barnes and Noble has another exclusive video clip. Borders even sent out a link to a third clip . And Hyperion has an author's website. Unfortunately, everything from the publisher has the disclaimer: Bad Twin is a work of fiction and all names, characters and incidents are used fictitiously; the author himself is a fictional character. Takes a little of the fun out of it.
Here a few of the other related sites, filled with clues and things to keep us all interested. And it's working.
The Hanso Foundation
The Dharma Initiative
And there's more to come.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Well, it turns out that the young Harvard prodigy (via book packager) might be in a little more trouble than we expected.
Little, Brown said it would not publish a second novel it has under contractNeed I say again how much worse this is than the whole James Frey nonsense? This isn't fabrication--this is outright theivery. I'm hoping to see someone go to court over this whole thing. Lessons should be learned.
with Viswanathan, 19. The publisher also said it would not publish the expected
revised edition of Opal Mehta.
•The New York Times revealed similarities between Opal Mehta and a second author's work, Can You Keep a Secret? by British writer Sophie Kinsella, published in 2004. Kinsella declined to comment Tuesday.
•The Record of Bergen County said it would review news articles Viswanathan wrote for the daily newspaper in northern New Jersey while she was an intern in 2003 and 2004.
Monday, May 01, 2006
As a primary condition of the dismissal, Mr. Limbaugh must continue to seek
treatment from the doctor he has seen for the last two and a half years, Mr.
According to Mr. Black, Mr. Limbaugh also has agreed to make a $30,000
payment to the state to defray the public cost of the investigation. The
agreement also provides that he must refrain from violating the law in the next
18 months, must pay $30 a month for the cost of supervision and comply with
other similar provisions of the agreement.
A bit of a let down, but he was charged and arrested and his sentence willl be commuted when he complies with the demands of the court. Let's all just remember this when he talks about "values."
For some perspective, Wikipedia provides some history of the day:
International Workers' Day (a name used interchangeably with May Day) is theSo we can try to slam it as a day for the communists, but it has a history important to all of us. So, a toast to the workers of the world.
commemoration of the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago, Illinois, and a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labor movement. The 1 May date is used because in 1884 the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, inspired by labor's 1872 success in Canada, demanded an eight-hour workday in the United States to come in effect as of May 1, 1886. This resulted in a general strike and the riot in Chicago of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday. The May Day Riots of 1894 and May Day Riots of 1919 occurred subsequently.
It will also be interesting to see how the day turns out, with protests, marches, and boycots. Our idea of the day may just change when the day is done.