March 24th, 2009

gud magazine

GUD Reviews: "Scrofula" by Matt Dennison

Scrofula (cover)
by Matt Dennison
Pudding House, 2008

28 pages, $10/chapbook

Scrofula, a collection of twenty poems by Matt Dennison, is strongest in the poems detailing ordinary life. These include the poems Scrofula, Found in My Garden After the Rain, Premise, and The Spider Weaves.

I admit it, the title sent me to the dictionary—knowing scrofula was some kind of illness—to find

"scrofu·la (skräf′yə lə)—noun-tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands, esp. of the neck, characterized by the enlargement of the glands, suppuration, and scar formation."

This first poem, bearing the title also of the book, has strong, clear images that linger in the mind. As the young man and old man searched through the hill's "hundred summers' growth" for buried head stones, they "marched with pitchforks/ side by side, shoving their fingers into the ground, feeling for what had been slowly bowed/ and buried by the dull weight of time", and further in, " entire families would be/ laid out in descending scales of grief, all voices stopped within the same small/ circle of days and how one family, from suckling child to father, had been Taken By Scrofula/ in the winter of 1868, the dark/ earthy sound of which I tried again/ and again in the thick summer air" and going on, includes a quiet tribute to the old man—"tying the posts together in a complicated,/ old-fashioned way whose secret of doing/ I knew would vanish with the old man"—paying tribute to life and to death which calls us "in the ultimate foreign tongue."

(read more @ GUD Magazine and see how to win our signed review copy)

x-posted to bookish, books, bookshare, book_worm

[Review by Jill Stockinger for GUD Magazine]

YA Author's Book Threatens GA Town's Gentility

Parent Complaint Removes Book from Ringgold Middle Library
by David Carroll
RINGGOLD, GA - Ringgold Middle School's library includes one less book after a parent filed a complaint over "inappropriate content."
The book is The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon. Although critically acclaimed, the book's opening pages include several uses of the "F-word," a passage about a boy sliding his hand down a girl's sweater and pants, a crude slang reference to a girl's breasts, starting a fire in a school, a theft of school supplies, a girl's menstrual period, teen suicide attempts, and a boy setting himself on fire.

Quick question for the child-rearin', God fearin', folks of Ringgold, GA:
With the exception of the "F-word" (and maybe sweaters), doesn't the Bible make mention of everything else in your complaints list? Hell, the Old Testament alone has sex passages galore, breasts being referred to as pomegranates, an angelic arson in the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah, the theft of gold chalices, livestock and Joseph's coat of many colors, at least two mentions of menstruation, multiple references to both suicide and murder, and a guy who prepares a human-sized spit so's he can slow roast his son in a sacrifice to God.
Now, I know what you're gonna say:
But the Bible mentions all of these things to help educate its readers regarding right and wrong. Well, so does Runyon's The Burn Journals. Did you actually read the damned thing? Every complaint on your laundry list of 'offensive topics' is used in the book to illustrate the author's thoughts and actions before he matures, before he begins to think about how his actions affect others, before he becomes basically the sort of stand-up fella that you all want so desperately for your kids to become.
I urge you to take the time to (re-)read the book. While it's true that many parts are disturbing (it's about Runyon's failed attempt to kill himself, after all), none are romanticized or unnecessarily lurid. It's actually a beautiful and compassionate book. A book that doesn't talk down to kids, but to them, and in doing so, attempts to help them through the always tempestuous emotions accompanying adolescence.
This book was written to keep kids from hurting themselves and others. You'd think that parents would applaud such a thing.

Previously on our blog: Author du jour: Brent Runyon

2 Reviews

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

This book was supposed to be about a boy obsessed with the murders happening in town. He soon meets his neighbor, a young "girl" who only comes out at night, etc, etc...she is a vampire.
The majority of this book is filled with absolute nonsense...most parts of this book are irrelevant, unnecessary and boring. The best scenes are the vampire and murder scenes and those are few and far between.
I felt the book was just getting good in the last 50 pages or so.
Maybe all the good parts were lost in the translation.
I give this book a 1.5 out of 5.

Marley and Me by John Grogan

This was an incredibly fast read. I really enjoyed it. The story hits so close to home with everyone whose ever owned and loved a dog. One page, you will be cracking up with laughter, the next you will be crying.
It was quite sad toward the end, the last 50 pages were filled with sobs. Constant sobs.
I would definitely recommend reading it, if not just to learn about the breed of Labrador retriever and the joys and pitfalls of owning a dog.
I give this book 4 out of 5.

new book

I am looking for a new book to read and was wondering
if any of you could recommend anything

I am a big fan of J.D. Salinger and that sort of
witty asshole sarcastic type of writing.

I was recently reading F Scott Fitzgerald stories and I liked his style of writing as well.

any recommendations are appreciated.



thank you for the recommendations
i will look into them :)
fairies wear boots

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

Title: Wicked Game
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Genre: Sexy pentacle tattoo, fiction, vampires
Pages: 361
Copyright Date: 2008
Cover: A woman, shown from the lips down, stands in front of a power station and a building that says WVMP in glowing letters. She is wearing purple lipstick, a transparent black top, and jeans with a heavy leather belt. She has a star tattoo on one shoulder, and a tribal wing tattoo sticking out of her jeans.
First line: "Family curses never die, they just mutate."
Best part: It's off to the side of the standard vampire mythos.
Worst part: Some of the interactions between the protagonist and the vampires are a little hard to believe.
Grade: B-
Recommended for: Fans of the genre. Fans of music, especially indie radio.
Related Reads: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie, Heart of Stone by CE Murphy, Staying Dead by Laura Ann Gilman

Ciara is hired by a desperate independent radio station as a marketing intern. They must hugely increase their revenues or they will be bought out by a conglomerate. When Ciara discovers the radio station's secret - all its DJs are vampires - she sees a chance at a real plan - a crazy plan. She turns the secret into a cheesy marketing ploy. But secrets from everyone's pasts - including Ciara's - will be knocking at the door all too soon...

This is a funny and engrossing book. Fans of the genre will find it a welcome addition, and for my part, I'm hoping for sequels. B-.

#23 Tris’s Book by Tamora Pierce

I first discovered full cast audio in 2008 when I listened to Tamora Pierce’s Melting Stones (the first book ever written with a full cast audiobook format in mind). Since then, I have experienced a few other full cast audio books, including Sandry’s Book, and now Tris’s Book. Much like when I listened to Sandry’s book, I was surprised at how well the voices fit the characters, how well the book flowed in the as an audiobook, and how much I could still enjoy a book that I had first read more than seven years ago.

Tris’s Book continues the Circe of Magic Series at Winding Circle Temple. During the book, the four mage children (Sandry, Tris, Briar, and Daja) are surprised when they discover that their magic has become bound together. Thanks to the magic that Sandry did to save them from the earthquake, they can now speak mind to mind, and even share Tris’s talent for hearing other people’s voices carried in by winds. They have little time to dwell over this. When Winding Circle is attacked by pirates, even the youngest mages abilities will be needed to defend the place they now called home.

After first reading the book in 2002, I posted a review on (which is still listed as one of the “most helpful customer reviews” as I was shocked to discover. All of those awful spelling/grammatical errors!) . I praised it for “its vivid descriptions and wonderful characters,” and I still agree with that assessment. One of the things that I did not pick up at sixteen that I now appreciate more at twenty-three is the teacher student relationships in this book. I enjoyed watching the young mages learn to find the reach and limits of their abilities. I also enjoyed the fact that the student’s four teachers are not just high and mightily great mages, but as well developed as our heroes. I also had a greater appreciation for how well structured the plot was for this book. As mentioned before, I was highly impressed with the full cast aspect of the book. Every voice was obviously picked with the original character in mind, and each person gives a strong performance.

Although I have a greater love for Tammy’s Tortall books, there will always be a special place in my heart for the Circle series. Tris’s Book was my favorite of the Circle of Magic books when I first read the series seven years ago, and it looks like the same is true today.

Rating: four and half out of five stars
Length: the print version is 272 pages
Source: paperbackswap
TBR Pile: 153 books
Similar Books: For more books about young people learning magic, try The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling, A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer, So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane, and A School for Sorcery by E Rose Sabin.
Other Series/books I've read by this author: For Tortall: The Song of the Lioness Quartet, The Immortals Series, The Protector of the Small, Daughter of the Lioness, and Terrier. For The Circle Series: Circle of Magic, The Circle Opens, The Will of the Empress, Melting Stones (my review). I have also read the Young Warriors anthology, which she edited and contributed a short story to, and her short-lived Marvel Comic series White Tiger: A Heroes Compulsion. For short stories, I have read “Elder Brother” (from Half Human), “Student of Ostriches” (from Young Warriors), and “Huntress” (from Firebirds Rising). Phew.

xposted to bookish and temporaryworlds
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John Grisham

Pre-Script: It's the first time I will write about books, so, I don't know what to say, really,.

Books. I learn a lot from them. From history to life-saving facts, these handy books are real important to save for.

Take "The Broker" written by John Grisham. It is about a power broker who got himself caught in a web so tight he can't even use his thirty years of experience to save his ass. Then, one of his partner got himself killed, so this power broker surrenders himself to the gov't and landed to a twenty-year serving time in Rudley Confinement.
But for security and intelligence purposes, the broker's own government pardoned him to see who will kill him first. In the process of the pardon, the broker was sent to Italy, in a town called Treviso, where he would be transformed to an Italian citizen. As things get cloggy, he will be transfered to Bologna, where he will meet a friend, a lady friend. When he learned that he was a big part of a game sponsored by his own folks, he escaped with a trail hard enough to smell as trained and famous spies amd termination groups followed him throughout the whole European continent. Using his powerful connections(including his son), he got himself out of trouble and back to his lady friend in Bologna.

Using Italy as his base place in his marvelous, page-turning book, he included lessons on Italian culture and history. He also wrote about a hundred Italian words.

You can learn so much from reading. I, for one, has been fascinated and impressed by books.


Post-Script: I would try to write something new about the books I lay my eyes upon.

And here's something I learned from The Broker

"Arriverdeci", means goodbye.
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J.K. Rowling

For starters, I mean those who are just about to experience the thrill and excitement reading can bring, I recommend the Harry Potter series. These books are fictitious, but reading them takes you into a new world of fantastic impossibilities and stupendous happenings. They were all written by J.K. Rowling. A pity, I don't know what's the meaning of J.K. haha. Still, if you can engage yourself reading the books, try watching the movie-versions. The seventh and final book was released last two years, but whoever produces the movies managed only to film the sixth book this November, if my sources serve me right.

To advertise the book, here's a pretty bad excerpt of the story.

Harry Potter series engulfs the life of Harry Potter, who in infancy, brought down, with no means fully understandable, Voldemort, the most horrifying but one of the best wizards of the time. But before Harry survived the wraths of Voldemort, this villain single-handedly or single-wandedly(haha) defeated Harry's parents.

A day later, an Albus Dumbledore appeared at some street in suburban England. he was waiting for someone. But not of much unexpectation, his colleague, Ms. McGonagall, appeared, in her cat form. She asked too many questions, he answered too less.

After minutes, a flying motorbike arrived, with a twice-your-average man carrying a shaggy bound of cloth which bears who appears to be Harry, the boy who lived.

After living ten years as an innocent Muggle, non-magic people, he was about to have seven full, joyous and  life-threatening years in a wizard school in United Kingdom, Hogwarts. In the course of his life at Hogwarts, he encountered so many things, from talking toasters, two-faced man, three headed humongous dog, baby dragon, a full grown dragon, a sphinx, a large spider, thousands of large spiders, a moving elder willow, hippogriffs, merpeople, goblins, dwarves, elves, beards that have gone too long,dementors, a giant serpent, flying broomsticks, transformation, apparition, all magical, even death.

I can't describe it enough, so if you want a full grasp on the story, try buying at the nearest bookstores.


Post-script: If there were any reasons why I would choose to be a wizard, it would be because I might see a Hermione Granger for myself, and if with any more luck, I would have it as beautiful as Emma Watson.^_^
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Paolo Coelho

If there is a writer good enough to leave mind-boggling statements to both kids and adults, he would be named Paolo Coelho.

Known for it's timeless lessons and morals, Paolo Coelho books are rated best among book raters when it comes to Values books. Carved from his own experiences, Coelho wrote these books to insprie, teach, and show how important it is to be virtues and understanding. He wrote his books with excellency you would find it hard enough to get away from them.

Among the books I have read, my favorite Coelho is "The Alchemist", a book about some boy searching for his personal legend. In his journey, he met severe challenges, which Coelho used to show how hard it is just to strive for one day.The challenges were bad enough to make him admit defeat, but Coelho then used his knowledge about the ways of the world to turn this crestfallen boy around.


P.S.- I love  the book because I felt so much connected to the adventurous boy. I would certainly be glad to look for my own Fatima. Hehe
Ripley Alien

Stephen Fry !

I've almost finished "The Stars' Tennis Balls" (an allusion to Bosola's line in The Duchess of Malfi (also recommended) ) and I must admit, I love it! The prose is rather simplistic but the moral story behind is wonderful and so is the plot (although he himself admits he nabbed it from The Count of Monte Cristo, but nevermind!)
Are his other books just as good?
Dunno who Stephen Fry is (for the Americans)?
Check out his twitter
Also, he hosts a hilarious question show called QI (quite interesting!) Clip here

LGBT fiction recommendations

Hi, everyone. I seem to finally have some time to devote to reading, and so I turn to you for recommendations. I'm interested not in a specific genre but simply in books that portray (in a positive light) gay and/or lesbian characters, whether their lifestyle is central to the story or an aside. I love most things modern (not trendy) as well as fantasy. I really enjoy Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series, if that helps.

I'd be very grateful if you would share with me the titles of your favorite books with LGBT characters. Thanks a bunch, and take care. :]