Category Archives: Thoughts

Reading Resolutions

I’ve been keeping a running bibliography of books I read since 1993. I keep it in a little spiral note book and jot down the date I start and finish reading each book. This habit has proved helpful when I find myself re-reading a book that I didn’t remember reading … but everything feels like deja vu. I can just go look it up … did I read this book before?

Although I’m still keeping this written record, I’m now also logging it into my Good Reads account.

Why?

Well, I like to have the written back up … and it is much more portable. But Good Reads gives you some interesting stats that I would be hard-pressed to do with my little notebook. For example, I know from what I’ve recorded that I started and completed reading 21 books in 2011. However, Good Reads told me that

  • I completed reading 23 books in books in 2011 (I had started two of them in 2010.)
  • I’ve read about 6,575 pages in 2011 (of course they are counting the total pages of the two books I started in 2010, and not the book I started but haven’t finished reading yet).

With my notebook, if I want to see how my reading compares from year to year, I have to flip through a lot of pages. But with Good Reads, I can quickly and easily see that my most prolific reading years were 1999 (31 books) and 2004 (30 books).

Looking on this, I can see that it will more than likely take me almost 5 years to read the books currently sitting in my review queue for The Genre Traveler(more…)

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Writing honest book reviews

This weekend, one of the staff over at the New York Journal of Books shared this interesting article about book reviewing with all us reviewers. Apparently, an author was awarded a hefty sum for damages caused by a scathing book review.

The article is a very interesting read and if you have any interest at all in writing, or even reading, book reviews, I recommend you read it.

The piece got me to thinking. Since I write book reviews for both the New York Journal of Books and The Genre Traveler, I have a stake in the liability of book reviewers.

That said, I believe I’ll be O.K. I tend to be a reviewer who respects the humanity of those reviewed. Just because I didn’t find a moment of enjoyment in reading a book, just because reading each successive word felt like forcing my head through Jell-O, doesn’t mean I have to be nasty. It is quite possible that the book would be better suited to a different kind of reader. So, for my The Genre Traveler reviews, I always write from my own personal perspective and include things that both worked and did not work for me. I know that things I didn’t like about a book might be perfectly delightful for another reader.
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Conquering Mythologies

I’m currently reading The Mythology of Supernatural by Nathan Robert Brown … I’m reviewing it for both The New York Journal of Books and one of my blogs, The Genre Traveler.

In the section about Lilith, it talks about the exile elements of Lilith myths:

“So why would the ancient scribes make a point of writing a story in which Lilith is exiled …? The answer is that she was likely the ruling deity of a popular cult from some preexisting culture group. And just as Lilith was defeated by a new pantheon of gods and goddesses, so were her followers defeated by a conquering society.”

This got me to thinking …
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A Nearly Fatherless Fathers’ Day

Dad

 
Today is the first Fathers’ Day without my Dad. He died in January, shortly before his 80th birthday.

When he died, I hadn’t seen him in about 10 years. We’d talked on the phone, but hadn’t seen each other. There were reasons for that that I wish didn’t exist. I made bad choices and stuck in a marriage that was bad for me on so many levels that it actually kept me away from my family. Something I regret and am sad to admit.

I loved my Dad … still do. He was such an important part of my life and helped me become the person I am today, which although not perfect, is pretty darn good … all things considered.
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Perspective and Not Knowing

socratesThe following is a paper I did for my Philosophy class in Junior College. I got an A on it and it is an interesting read. Enjoy!

During his trial, Socrates said, “The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing.” This is somewhat of a circular statement that denies itself, for if you know that you know nothing, then you know something. If you know nothing, then you cannot know that you know nothing, for you know nothing.

Maybe the word “know” needs defining. The Random House College Dictionary says that “to know is to be aware of something as fact or truth.” To know is “to perceive or understand clearly and with certainty.” These definitions suggest that to know something is to be closed to a change or different perspective of what it is that is known.

Socrates also said that virtue is knowledge. But if one knows nothing, how can one have knowledge? Knowledge is, according to the Random House Dictionary, “the fact or state of knowing, clear and certain perceptions of fact or truth.” The key word to this definition, I feel, is “perceptions.” This word allows for change, for as one’s “perceptions” change — sod does “fact or truth.” Therefore one cannot _know_ something in a clear-cut, concrete way, as a mathematician knows a triangle will always have three sides, but one can perceive what is fact or truth for the moment and for oneself. Therefore, one can know that what one knows now may change, and that one doesn’t know it for certain, but just perceives it for now. An example would be Newton’s law that any two falling objects fall with the same speed, because gravity is equal. Physicists are now finding other forces than gravity which can make one object fall faster than another.
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Fortune Cookies

evening starI can be kind of a pack rat at times, so over the past few weeks I’ve been going through all my old files and boxes and clearing out the clutter that no longer serves me.

Among the stuff I found a small collection of fortunes plucked from cookies over the years and thought I’d share them with you.

You will travel far and wide for both pleasure and business.
Well, given that my soon-to-be-ex husband couldn’t make up his mind where we should settle down to start a family, that one came true. In the 13 years we were married, we lived in five different states. Within those states, we lived in 11 different cities. And that still doesn’t give you how many times we moved!

Versatility is one of your outstanding traits.
Hmmm. I guess versatility is what happens to you when you need to constantly expand your skill set so you can remain gainfully employed while moving about the country!

You are going to have a very comfortable old age.
Way too young to know if that one will come true!
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