Category Archives: books

A challenge to herself

Even her novels are, in a sense, commen­tary on her novels. The books of Earthsea grow in subtlety and wisdom, one to the next: The Tombs of Atuan a correction to A Wizard of Earthsea, Tehanu a correc­tion to the whole fantasy genre. (Tehanu also boasts, I have to add, the best climax I have ever read in any novel, of any genre. In every climax, we should encounter the protagonist’s best efforts, and something extra: the breath of the gods. In Tehanu’s climax, the breath is STRONG.)

Source: A challenge to herself

Monday Musings–8APR24

Found this book at Goodwill. I read these back in the 70s/80s, and loved them. Zelazny is a great writer with a lot of style, and always a pleasure to read. Get it on Amazon

A storyteller without peer. He created worlds as colorful and exotic and memorable as any our genre has ever seen.” —George R.R. Martin

One of the most revered names in sf and fantasy, the incomparable Roger Zelazny was honored with numerous prizes—including six Hugo and three Nebula Awards—over the course of his legendary career. Among his more than fifty books, arguably Zelazny’s most popular literary creations were his extraordinary Amber novels. The Great Book of Amber is a collection of the complete Amber chronicles—featuring volumes one through ten—a treasure trove of the ingenious imagination and phenomenal storytelling that inspired a generation of fantasists, from Neil Gaiman to George R.R. Martin.

Or Barnes and Noble:

Or use my affiliate link to Bookshop, and help me, and a local bookstore out:

Been a slow week for me, and that’s about all I’ve got for today. Read books, they’re good for you, and fun.

Why you should read everyday

Because it actively engages your brain, reading is one of the healthiest hobbies for your mind. Not only is reading educational and informative, which is beneficial in itself, but it also rewires the connections in your brain, leading to many benefits.

  1. Stress reduction. Studies show that reading can help relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles, with a reduction in stress of up to 68% in people when silently reading a literary work for only six minutes.
  2. Mental stimulation. Research suggests that reading can slow the progress of Alzheirmer’s disease and dementia by keeping your brain active and engaged, especially when reading out loud.
  3. Memory improvement. Reading has been shown to slow the rate of memory deterioration and even improve your memory and thinking skills.
  4. Vocabulary expansion. Reading is one of the best ways to learn new words. That’s why many researchers advocate for more reading experience in schools.
  5. Better focus. Researchers have found that, compared to using social media, reading helps improve concentration by increasing the capacity for longer attention spans.
  6. Improved brain connectivity. Studies have revealed that reading a narrative improves the connections inside the left temporal cortex of the brain—the area which is associated with language reception. The increased connectivity lasts for a few days after a reading session.
  7. Stronger analytical skills. When reading fiction, your brain takes notes of all of the details and gets into critical thinking mode to try to figure out what happens next, a practice that is useful not just when reading but in day-to-day life and work.

As playwright and novelist Somerset Maugham put it, “to acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” And yet… So many distractions, so many series to watch, so many podcasts to listen to. Finding the time or the motivation to read can be hard.

Monday Musings — 26FEB24

This is what it looks like out there this morning.

Here’s some books for you.

Fiction. Sharply strange and eerily familiar. Absurdly funny and terrifyingly serious. Surreal, fantastic, gritty, real. The stories in Matthew Cheney’s Hudson Prize-winning debut collection range across various styles, modes, genres, and tones as they explore the worlds of family, love, memory, and loss. BLOOD: STORIES reprints work originally published in such different venues as One Story and Weird Tales, and it includes four new stories that travel from contemporary New Hampshire to historical Prague to might-have-been Mexico to a future world where no reality stays real for long. Reality flows through these stories, even at their most surreal and lyrical, because reality is more than just what is or even what might be: reality is whatever gets beneath our skin and into our blood. The pages of BLOOD: STORIES not only take an axe to the frozen sea within us–they make a course for the heart.

Started reading this book of short stories, loving it so far. Not only is he a short story writer, but he has written introductions to several of one of my favorite writer’s books, including:

Which is a book of SF criticism.

Samuel R. Delany’s The Jewel-Hinged Jaw appeared originally in 1977, and is now long out of print and hard to find. The impact of its demonstration that science fiction was a special language, rather than just gadgets and green-skinned aliens, began reverberations still felt in science fiction criticism. This edition includes two new essays, one written at the time and one written about those times, as well as an introduction by writer and teacher Matthew Cheney, placing Delany’s work in historical context. Close textual analyses of Thomas M. Disch, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny, and Joanna Russ read as brilliantly today as when they first appeared. Essays such as “About 5,750 Words” and “To Read The Dispossessed” first made the book a classic; they assure it will remain one.

That’s it for this Monday. Have a great week.

Monday Musings–19FEB24

Read two books this week. Both on just about thesame subject. The first Grunch of Giants, was. published in 1981 and is more for historical value, But Bucky got a lot of stuff right, although this book was not about solutions. He alludes to his previous book Critical Path (or for those.

Examines the evolution of multinational corporations, from the military-industrial complex of the postwar period to the present world economic crisis, and evaluates the economic and political impact of such entities on the American and international economic systems

You can get this book at Amazon (Kindle) or as a free download at Archive .org

The other book is Cory Doctorow’s The Internet Con. which you can get at various places:

The platforms locked us into their systems and made us easy pickings, ripe for extraction. Twitter, Facebook and other Big Tech platforms hard to leave by design. They hold hostage the people we love, the communities that matter to us, the audiences and customers we rely on. The impossibility of staying connected to these people after you delete your account has nothing to do with technological limitations: it’s a business strategy in service to commodifying your personal life and relationships.
We can – we must – dismantle the tech platforms. In The Internet Con, Cory Doctorow explains how to seize the means of computation, by forcing Silicon Valley to do the thing it fears most: interoperate. Interoperability will tear down the walls between technologies, allowing users leave platforms, remix their media, and reconfigure their devices without corporate permission.
Interoperability is the only route to the rapid and enduring annihilation of the platforms. The Internet Con is the disassembly manual we need to take back our internet.

Even direct from Cory himself:

Cory has more of a solution to the problem than Fuller, which at this is more historical than something you could use in this era,and the book is highly recommended.

I’ve given you links to 2 versions of the books that you can get as EPubs. Some of you may not know how to read these on a kindle. Well it’s fairly easy, here’s the page on Amazon that explains it.

That’s it for me this week. Don’t forget to put pants on when you go outside.

Monday Musings — 27NOV23

I’ve been thinking (just thinking, mind you) about electric bikes, and maybe getting an electric trike. I don’t think I could do a 2 wheeler, because of my balance problems, but a 3 wheeler would work. I don’t go far most of the time, groceries, pharmacy, library. It would beat taking the truck out when I just want to go a short distance. Except in winter. No way, I can barely be outside in cold weather.

And they are better for the environment.

What advantages do electric mopeds and bikes have?

The electric transport revolution is a great chance to rethink how we move through our cities—and whether we even need a car at all.

Cars, after all, often have only one occupant. You’re expending a lot of energy to transport yourself.

By contrast, electric mopeds and bikes use a lot less energy to transport one or two people. They’re also a lot cheaper to buy and run than electric cars.

If you commute on an e-bike 20 km a day, five days a week, your charging cost would be about $20—annually.

In Australia, electric bikes are very rapidly going from a hobbyist pursuit to a serious mode of urban transport. Over 100,000 e-bikes were sold here last year.

Of course, you’re unlikely to use electric mopeds or bikes to drive from Sydney to Melbourne. Their real value is in short-hop trips—the school run, the milk and bread run, or even the commute—where they take roughly the same time or shorter than a car.

I finished The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin this week. Highly recommended.

“A gorgeous and inspiring work of art on creation, creativity, the work of the artist. It will gladden the hearts of writers and artists everywhere, and get them working again with a new sense of meaning and direction. A stunning accomplishment.” –Anne Lamott From the legendary music producer, a master at helping people connect with the wellsprings of their creativity, comes a beautifully crafted book many years in the making that offers that same deep wisdom to all of us. “I set out to write a book about what to do to make a great work of art. Instead, it revealed itself to be a book on how to be.” –Rick Rubin

Many famed music producers are known for a particular sound that has its day. Rick Rubin is known for something else: creating a space where artists of all different genres and traditions can home in on who they really are and what they really offer. He has made a practice of helping people transcend their self-imposed expectations in order to reconnect with a state of innocence from which the surprising becomes inevitable. Over the years, as he has thought deeply about where creativity comes from and where it doesn’t, he has learned that being an artist isn’t about your specific output, it’s about your relationship to the world. Creativity has a place in everyone’s life, and everyone can make that place larger. In fact, there are few more important responsibilities. The Creative Act is a beautiful and generous course of study that illuminates the path of the artist as a road we all can follow. It distills the wisdom gleaned from a lifetime’s work into a luminous reading experience that puts the power to create moments–and lifetimes–of exhilaration and transcendence within closer reach for all of us.

Or in case you’d like the ebook.

That’s it for this week. take care of yourselves, and stay warm.

Samuel R. Delany’s Atlantis: Model 1924 and the Origins of Blackness

“Atlantis: Model 1924” belongs among the most important fiction in Samuel R. Delany’s vast bibliography, precisely because it distills so much of what makes this black, gay Harlemite science fiction writer such a unique figure in American letters—including his family’s history, his thinking on race, sexuality, and gender, his artistic methods as a writer, and his creative approach to literary criticism. “Atlantis: Model 1924” follows the life of a 17-year-old black kid named Sam on his journey from North Carolina to Harlem in the fall of 1923. The character is based on the author’s father, and the storyline is based on Delany’s family history. Two of the fictional Sam’s siblings — Elsie and Corey in the novella — are based upon the famous Delany sisters, Sarah (Sadie) Delany and A. Elizabeth (Bessie) Delany, who became internationally known centenarians with their bestselling book Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years (1993).