We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves- Book Review

Not all 300+ page books are created equal.  Sometimes they feel like a chore.  Sometimes they take forever to finish.  Sometimes we abandon them.  But not Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.  It felt like a dream.  Within pages, I knew I was already sorry it was not longer.  That I would never want it to end.  I couldn’t stop reading.  I didn’t want to read anything else.  She had my undivided attention. Continue reading

Duplex, by Kathryn Davis

duplexWhat a strange, dark, beautiful world Kathryn Davis has created in her novel Duplex.  And the best part is how it sneaks up on you.  Everything is all perfectly normal, but then there is, almost in passing, a sorcerer.  And robots.  And fairies.  Horsewomen.  Aquanats.  But subtly, almost like you’re the strange one for seeing anything out of the ordinary.  And you find yourself questioning whether you’ve seen anything at all. Continue reading

Lost Boys Symphony- Quick Review

lost boys symphonyJust wanted to give a quick shout out to Mark Ferguson’s debut novel, Lost Boys SymphonyI loved it, read it at a break-neck pace, could not put it down.  It would be difficult to review in any detail without some serious spoilers.  The writing itself is very good.  It involves time travel, which is one of my favorite artistic devices/concepts.  He goes into greater depth in terms of addressing how time travel and varying versions of reality would impact thought and memory.

Continue reading

Rediscovering Maya Angelou

maya angelouAs I have mentioned here before, there was a time in my life when poetry was very important to me.  Reading it, studying it, writing it, writing about it.  I read a lot of poets during that time, by assignment and by choice.  I really liked some, and I really didn’t like others.

Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter Nineteen- “You done been paid.”

blood meridian sky Huge developments!  HUGE!  THE HUGEST!!!

Okay, this was a great and exciting (but also bloody and disturbing) chapter.  Tempting to jump to the end, but that’s not how we do things here at the good ship Dunce Academy.  But hang in there; it will be worth the wait. Continue reading

Waiting List Woes

Before I say anything disparaging, let me first make clear that I probably live in the best public library system in the country, if not the world.  The facilities are exceptional, they have an unbelievably current and comprehensive selection, the librarians are friendly and intelligent and well-read.  And the wait-list system itself is wonderful and very useful.  Pretty much any book you can think of, my library system has it, usually several copies, often in multiple media (i.e. hard copy, large print, CD, e-book).  And I can request a hold on a book from any library in the system, to any library in the system, and it will usually be there in a week or less.  Very efficient and necessary to my insatiable reading needs.

But Continue reading

Momma Don’t You Worry- Book Review

momma dont you worryOccasionally, we here at the Dunce Academy get the chance to read new authors.  Such was the case with Louie Lawent’s Momma Don’t You Worry, a touching tale of childhood and the complicated dynamics between a child and his mother as he starts to recognize/exercise his independence.

If you’ve ever thought writing a children’s book would be easy, Lawent can prove you wrong.  Despite the relatively short length and facial simplicity of the tale, it needs to work on multiple levels at once.  Thanks to Lawent for the chance to read this sweet and moving story.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor- by Thomas C. Foster

“Humankind cannot bear too much reality.”  T.S. Eliot.

Based on the title alone, I had been wanting to read this book for quite some time.  And the subtitle, “A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines” only further piqued my interest.  Having finished the book, I find the title to be more accurate than the subtitle; this certainly seemed like a guide to how many professors dissect literature, for better or worse.  But as to “lively and entertaining,” while it may be the most lively and entertaining guide of its kind, I’m not sure that’s saying much. Continue reading

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls- by David Sedaris

I have been amused by every David Sedaris book that I have read.  As is so often the case with talented and prolific authors, each new one I read becomes my new favorite.  This was the case with Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, not, I don’t think because this is necessarily his most funny, but because it was, to me anyway, his most relateably human. Continue reading