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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:03 pm 
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sassy molassy
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I'm reading Treasure Island on my new e-reader that Chris bought me for my bday!

I haven't ever read it and so far so good!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:39 pm 
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Buzz Killington

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Location: Orange County, Calif.
Tattoos on the Heart: Tales of Boundless Compassion was written by Father Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest that founded Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention program in L.A. Boyle is one of the people I most admire simply because he’s a tireless person who seeks to improve the lives of men and women who want to leave gangs and start over. This book is filled with lessons that alternately make you laugh and cry, often in the same chapter.

When Homeboy Industries opened, they received so many death threats, they wanted change the after hours voicemail message to, “Thank you for calling Homeboy Industries. Your bomb threat is important to us.”

Boyle was in his office when he heard a homegirl on the switchboard say, “Go ahead and bring that bomb, you mutha fucka. We’re ready for your ass.”

Boyle suggested she tell the caller, “Have a nice day and God bless.”

When the first Homeboy Bakery burned to the ground, a fire inspector asked Boyle if any of his former employees were disgruntled. He said, “No, all my employees are disgruntled.” He also wrote about hardened felons showing up for work to see the remains of building smoldering, and breaking down in sobs. (The bakery was in an 80-year-old building. The fire started in the electrical system.)

In the years working with the homies, Boyle has said funeral masses for 165 youths. (He was the pastor for Dolores Mission in Boyle Heights, which has the highest gang membership in the nation.) It’s what keeps him working in what others would call a hopeless situation.

Eight years ago, Boyle was diagnosed with leukemia and was told he has ten years to live. I hope the doctors are wrong, and that Boyle will live much longer.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:50 pm 
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Buzz Killington

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Triumph (Carolyn Jessop) is a superb book written by the ex-wife of Merrill Jessop, the leader of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound in Eldorado, Texas. This was the same group that was raided by Texas Child Protective Services and the Texas Rangers in 2008 after protective services got a call from inside the compound from a 12 year old girl saying that she was married to a man against her will, raped, and was pregnant. Carolyn Jessop is the only woman to escape the FLDS and win legal custody of all 8 of her children. (Her previous book, Escape, was about how she fled the cult.)

In this book, Carolyn outlines how she tried to help the Texas Rangers and Child Protective Services, understand the FLDS culture, and how to cope with 400+ children taken into custody. Most of the children were returned to their families, which Jessop views as a failure of the legal system. She also details the personal qualities she needed to break free from the cult.

Later this month, her ex-husband goes on trial for marrying underage girls (average age of marriage of FLDS girls is 12 to 14 years old), and transporting one of his wives from Canada to the U.S. In addition to Eldorado, Texas, there are FLDS communities in Utah, Colorado City, Arizona, and Bountiful, British Columbia.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:42 pm 
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Buzz Killington

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I've just started reading Charles Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby. Earlier this year, a literary critic from the Los Angeles Times called Dickens the perfect author for the Great Recession because he wrote about the consequences of economic downfalls.

This is from the first chapter of the book:

Quote:
Speculation is a round game; the players see little or nothing of their cards at first starting; gains MAY be great--and so may losses. The run of luck went against Mr Nickleby. A mania prevailed, a bubble burst, four stock-brokers took villa residences at Florence, four hundred nobodies were ruined, and among them Mr Nickleby.


I think Dickens is underrated. He really gets into the psyche of his characters and I like that he shone a light on the social injustices of his day, which in many cases, aren't too different from social injustices now. I've read Great Expectations, Hard Times, and A Christmas Carol for my degree. The one that surprised me the most is A Christmas Carol because all the movie versions aren't nearly as dark as Dickens's novella.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:20 pm 
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No Rank: Oilers Skank
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Just started reading Slaughterhouse-Five for class. I haven't read it before, but always wanted to, so I'm pretty stoked on it. Three chapters in and I can already tell that I'll be buying the rest of Vonnegut's books. Pure brilliance.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:25 pm 
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Buzz Killington

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Location: Orange County, Calif.
For the Mark Twain fans on the board, and I know there are a few...

The book section of the L.A. Times had a lot of coverage about Mark Twain today. The first volume of his autobiography is being printed by the University of California Press and will be released on Nov. 30. Twain wrote his autobiography over 35 years and ordered it embargoed for 100 years after his death. The book is over 700 pages long, but about 200 of it is notes.

The Times liked the autobiography, calling him a “proto-blogger”: “This was his version of reality, and what an entertaining record it is. Twain has given us "an astonishment" in his autobiography with his final, beautifully unorganized genius and intemperate thoughts. Pull up a chair and revel.”
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-twain-autobiography-20101114,0,4101342.story

There’s another article that’s an appreciation of Huck Finn on its 125th anniversary.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-mark-twain-20101114,0,5921342.story

The essential, overrated and overlooked works by Mark Twain.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-twain-sidebar-20101114,0,2939987.story

Twain wrote for the L.A. Times from 1900-1902. Here are his works.
http://www.latimes.com/media/acrobat/2010-11/57494168.pdf


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:03 pm 
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Calling A Connetticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court overrated?

Obviously the writer of the article never heard of satire.


Well that, or I've become a victim of it myself...

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:10 am 
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Buzz Killington

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Location: Orange County, Calif.
I have given out more copies of The Mysterious Stranger than any other book over the last 7 years.

I want to read Letters to Earth and Roughing It. Parts of Roughing It are set in California and Nevada before Nevada was a state. He once said the coldest winter he'd ever experienced was summer in San Francisco.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:43 pm 
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Buzz Killington

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Location: Orange County, Calif.
I'm still making my way through Nicholas Nickleby. At more than 770 pages, I'll be reading it for awhile. I've also started reading The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad. Seierstad is a Norwegian journalist and was given permission to live with Sultan Khan and his family. She documents recent Afghani history through his family. Khan was supposed to be an engineer, but when he purchased an extra set of textbooks in Tehran and resold them for double the price in Afghanistan, he was hooked on books. Khan's lived through book burnings and banning by the Afghani monarchists, the Soviets, and the Taliban. He's also hid books all over the city to preserve Afghani history and culture.

The one thing I take away from this book is that it sucks to be a woman in Afghanistan. If you're raped, you better not tell anyone because you could be stoned for adultery. If you've got a few extra sons, your family can decide to take your baby boy and give it to a relative who has no sons. If you don't like who your parents pick for you to marry, too bad, nevermind that you're 14 and your husband is 40. If your husband is 50 and decides to marry a 15 year old girl, put up and shut up.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:30 am 
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Buzz Killington

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I'm reading Russell Brand's autobiography, My Booky Wook. Brand is an intelligent writer, and funny, but his constant need to screw up his life and take a lot of drugs gets depressing after awhile. Like Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes) said, the normal childhood isn't worth writing about.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:17 pm 
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Buzz Killington

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Location: Orange County, Calif.
Mark Twain's autobiography has made him the hottest author ever for UC (University of California) Press, and today, he made the front page of the L.A. Times, which is pretty damn good for a guy who's been dead for 100 years. This article is about the editing of volumes two and three of his autobiography at UC Berkeley.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-twain-20110308,0,1838495,full.story

The good news--UC Berkeley has a free online edition of the first volume of Twain's autobiography. You can read it at:
http://www.marktwainproject.org/xtf/view?docId=works/MTDP10362.xml;style=work;brand=mtp


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:47 pm 
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Only Mark Twain could be a bestselling author in three centuries - that is, with three distinctly new books.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:55 pm 
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Buzz Killington

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Location: Orange County, Calif.
I'm reading Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions by Lucy Hughes-Hallet. It's an older book (1991), but well written. Hughes-Hallet says that a lot of the information about Cleopatra was propaganda sponsored by Octavius, Julius Caesar's heir. He sponsored Virgil's The Aenid, which was about Marc Antony and Cleopatra in allegory, with the fainting Dido as Cleopatra.

Since Marc Antony was instrumental in holding the Roman Empire together after Caesar's assassination and was part of the Triumvirate, it wouldn't be a good move to drag Antony through the mud, so Octavius turned Cleopatra into an evil nympho. Actually, she was a scholar who wrote on philosophy, economics, and gynecology.

There's a newer book, Cleopatra: A Life, which just won the Pulitzer Prize. There's a movie adaptation in the works, reportedly with Angelina Jolie playing Cleopatra. The thing about Cleopatra is that she wasn't that attractive. Hughes-Hallet pointed to a coin from Cleopatra's reign which is in the British Museum. Notice the large hooked nose.
http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_image.aspx?image=k146931.jpg&retpage=17202


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:04 pm 
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Buzz Killington

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Location: Orange County, Calif.
I read this article about Denis Avey, who wrote a memoir about his experiences breaking into Auschwitz, twice. Avey was a British soldier who worked in the prisoner of war camp near Auschwitz. Some of the workers in the POW camp were sent in from Auschwitz, who told the POWs about the mass extermination of Jews and they could smell the stench from the crematorium. Avey arranged to switch uniforms with a Dutch Jew and bribed a guard with cigarettes to get into, and out of, Auschwitz. Avey said he kept quiet about this for 60 years because he thought no one would believe him. His story has been verified by an Auschwitz survivor.

Avey is 92 years old and his book is called The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz. It looks like quite the read.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_auschwitz_book


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:10 pm 
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Duck droppings wrote:
I read this article about Denis Avey, who wrote a memoir about his experiences breaking into Auschwitz, twice. Avey was a British soldier who worked in the prisoner of war camp near Auschwitz. Some of the workers in the POW camp were sent in from Auschwitz, who told the POWs about the mass extermination of Jews and they could smell the stench from the crematorium. Avey arranged to switch uniforms with a Dutch Jew and bribed a guard with cigarettes to get into, and out of, Auschwitz. Avey said he kept quiet about this for 60 years because he thought no one would believe him. His story has been verified by an Auschwitz survivor.

Avey is 92 years old and his book is called The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz. It looks like quite the read.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_auschwitz_book

I love history, especially WWII era stuff. I may just have to check this out.


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