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review 2016-12-13 15:50
I finally found THE Book of books!
Spine Tinglers - Zenka Woodward

This was THE book that started it all!



I've been looking for this book for Over 20 Years! I'm not even kidding! Thank You to Char's Horror Corner for referring me to a group called "What is the name of the book?"  I finally found the book! The book was called “Spine Tinglers” and it was such a strange little book of the poem's I honestly remember it scaring the hell out of me.



It was published by Lady Bird and the authors and cover artists were Zenka and Ian Woodward, I don't know the year it was published but I remember having the book in the 1985.




This to me is that one Holy grail of book's I have Needed, and wanted and now I have it, I can't even express the joy of having Finally gotten a copy!




The poems and pictures even today while not so much spooky to me are still as strange as they was when my mother used to read them to me!

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review 2015-03-04 05:28
Creole Culture Meets High Tech
The Pepper In The Gumbo: A Cane River Romance - Mary Jane Hathaway,Kathryn Frazier

The definition of gumbo is almost as slippery as that of Creole. Just as gumbo can contain pretty much any kind of meat or seafood, Creole is a vague and inclusive term for native New Orleanians, who may be black or white, depending on whom you're asking. - Jay McInerney

I'm Creole, and I'm down to earth. - Boozoo Chavis

Technology. . . is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and stabs you in the back with the other. – Carrie Snow

Alice Augustine lives the life she has always wanted. The owner of a rare book store willed to her by the elderly couple, the Perraults, who offered her peace after the death of her family, Alice is happy. Well, as happy as you can be when your bookstore runs in the red every month, and your boyfriend is a self-centred ass. But still, she is proud of her shop, proud of her Creole culture, and just as proud of the fact that she lives her life with as little technology as possible. Let’s face it – in this day and age, the art of conversation is dead, the paper book is a rarity, and nobody pays attention to anyone else – everyone runs around with their noses in their iPhones instead.

Everything is good, though, in historical old town Natchitoches, Louisiana. Alice is on the board, so nobody can damage the culture of the city, right? Well. Not so much. For something terrible has happened – without going through any proper channels whatsoever, the Mayor and his cronies have allowed the building of a ScreenStop right in the middle of Historical Old Town – a glass and steel monstrosity that fits in the neighborhood like mud on the Mona Lisa. ScreenStop is everything that Alice abhors about modern life. A haven for people who live their lives in front of screens, fighting orcs and monsters instead of visiting with friends, having conversations, and generally being real live human beings. Oh, and reading books.

The billionaire wizard of ScreenStop, Paul Olivier is the penultimate “Creole boy makes good” story. Raised by a single mother in a shack on the wrong side of the tracks in Natchitoches, he is determined to rub the town’s nose in his success. He lives in his world of game design, public appearances and growing his gaming empire. Nevertheless, there is something different about him. For Paul Olivier has a second identity – an identity which draws him to Alice, a persona of poetry and books, kindness and charity, that could help both of them – or destroy everything.

The Pepper In The Gumbo honestly tore me apart. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the book. The writing, the characters, the French Creole history that is so important to Alice. Alice isn’t perfect by any means, but she is real and likable, even if you want to smack her and tell her to wake up a few times. That is what makes her character honest and interesting. And Paul is an enigma that I enjoyed deciphering. He pissed me off just as often as he made me appreciate his more positive qualities. All things that make him interesting.

There were some things that weren’t logically presented in the book – like why Alice didn’t explain to Paul that his building’s paperwork wasn’t legal, even though his lawyers told him there was no problem, even though the building definitely didn’t follow codes. Be that as it may, what drove me nuts about the book is exactly what makes it a wonderful piece, in its own way, for a contemporary audience. The effects of technology upon humanity – upon what makes us humans. In Alice’s eyes, Paul and his kind are, “luring a whole generation into willful ignorance. She felt like the world was in love with Paul Oliver and she was the only sane person left."

In a lot of ways, I have to agree with Alice. Humanity is so busy running around with their noses in the aforementioned iPads, they no longer raise their heads long enough to say “hello” much less have a conversation. The idea of what constitutes “achievement” is dropped to the level of winning another level in a game, something that means her young friend Charlie, who helps out in the bookshop, “was wasting her life on false achievements that meant nothing in real life.”

Mary Jane Hathaway has done a good job of pointing out the good and the bad on both sides of the story. The loss of intellect brought on by a life consumed by video games, a world where players have been known to die from sitting so long in play mode that they literally die in their chairs, to the other side of the coin, where Bix, Alice’s nearly blind friend can make the type on an e-reader large enough that he can actually read his beloved books he hasn’t been able to read in years.

As Max Frisch said, “Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” But then again, the very technology that has turned us into a nation of mindless screen-gazers, where Nobody ever talks to each other anymore. Has also given us access to the classic words of those authors and poets who are no longer grist for the publishing mill. I just downloaded of the books mentioned in the story, The Seraphim, and Other Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (original publication date January 1, 1838) off of the Google project. I hope you read The Pepper In The Gumbo. And I would love to hear what you think about it. As I said, parts of me rant about the loss of civilization (and good book stores!) to technology. Another feels guilty because, yep, I read everything on e-reader these days – can’t help it when I suffer a bit of what Bix suffers – I just can’t read as long in paper as I can on an e-reader screen where I can make the type larger, change the background colour, and raise and lower the brightness. Sigh. So, Pot/Kettle much?

I downloaded The Pepper In The Gumbo though my Kindle Unlimited account. When KU first came out I didn’t think it would be worth the monthly fee. Boy, was I ever wrong!

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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text 2014-09-02 15:11
Labor Day is over. Back to school with some advice from 1595.

Tired of all those modern self-help books with endless advice on how to conduct your life? Well, apparently that sort of thing has been around for a long time according to a fun blog called "Ask the Past." Here is what students were being told about going back to school over 400 years ago. 


How to Behave in School, 1595

"...when thou art at Schoole, bee studious in thy lectures learning, attentive to thy Masters wordes and documents, what soever thy Master shall teach, mark it heedfully, and meditate thereon earnestly...more..." 
Source: askthepast.blogspot.com/2014/08/how-to-behave-in-school-1595.html
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review 2014-01-14 11:52
Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll
Dreadnaught: King of Afropunk - D. H. Peligro,William Knoedelseder

The inside back cover of Dreadnaught features a photo of D H Peligro. Not a snap from the halcyon days - with the Dead Kennedys or the Chilli Peppers - this is DH as he is now. Still dreadlocked, still handsome. He's wearing a striped shirt and a red tie and he's howling at the camera, his tattooed arms muscular and defiantly crossed. He looks vital, alive, undimmed. Look closer and you can see that next to the natty red tie, his white shirt is stained with blood.


Legendary drummer to two of the biggest punk bands of all time, that image provides a perfect summary of Peligro's story: one of talent and energy and a limitless capacity for self destruction. He grew up poor in St Louis, ran wild in the back streets, discovered music, left for San Francisco and simultaneously discovered women, booze, drugs and a burgeoning indie scene. He made the most of all of these and tells his story of fame and the inevitable fall from grace with a touching lack of self pity and terrifying matter of factness. It's a familiar story: from booze and casual sex, to dope, to coke and from there to the oblivion-seeker's drug of choice, heroin. Quite a portion of the book is taken up with this and although it's a chilling read - especially when it hits home just how many times he has attempted rehab and failed - it's also funny and entertaining. There are road trips to Mexico, a relationship with a Brazilian witch, hijinks in the tranny clubs of San Francisco. DH Peligro has lived at first hand that which the rest of us would only dare to watch through our fingers.


At the time of writing, he's clean. His closing sentence: 'I work hard, and it's a lot easier without a monkey on my back.'


Keep that monkey off your back DH.

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text 2013-10-09 01:41
of tea bags and rare books
Tea Time: Tradition, Presentation, And Recipes (Running Press Miniature Editions) - M. Dalton King

I spent some time at the UTPA Special Collections department today. I don't think I've been this excited for weeks!


The librarian, Janette Garcia, opened up the collection of rare miniature books and laid them down on the table in front of me. I squealed over a rare copy (one of thirty--one of THIRTY!) of a work by Lewis Carroll (in my excitement I forgot to actually read it! /sad face).


With trembling fingers, I took these books out of their plastic wrapping one by one by one and sat with them for a long time.


One of the books I did read cover to cover was a short booklet called The 2nd Course in Correct Cataloging or Further Notes to the Neophyte, compiled by David Magee. It was hilarious. It was laugh-out-loud funny. Good old library humor anyone would enjoy.


Parting at the end of the afternoon would have been much more emotional if I didn't remember that the Special Collections exists at my University's library. Gosh. If you're a book lover at UTPA, have an affinity for old, rare books, and haven't browsed Special Collections yet, you're missing out on so much.


Let me know if you ever march there. I might go along with you and we'll fawn over perfect binding and the flawless antiquity of old books together.


(P.S. The image linked to this post is a miniature book called "Tea Time: Tradition, Presentation, And Recipes" and--here's the cute part--the bookmark is a little tea bag label. Janette is especially fond of that one!)

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