Archive for the 'Literature' Category

The Roots & Amiri Baraka – Something In The Way Of Things(In Town)

Monday, November 1st, 2010


One of my favorite musical acts are The Roots. I love their approach to music. It has a raw authenticity to the craft and they are never afraid to collaborate or experiment with their own sound or with other performers. This weekend I was listening to one of their albums, Phrenology when I was reminded of the track, Something In The Way Of Things(In Town). I have heard the track before as I have listened to the album many times, but not recently. As I was listening to the track I found the social commentary chilling accompanied by the hollow Roots instrumentation and had to check into who was speaking. The speaker was Amiri Baraka. As it turns out in one of my classes right now we are reading Blues People by LeRoi Jones, now known as Amiri Baraka. I thought it was cool I stumbled upon a connection in my personal time to someone I was learning from in the classroom. So enjoy this excellent video done by a young filmmaker in 2007 and listen.

Raven by Allision Van Diepen

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

After finishing Pretty Little Dirty, I finally got a chance to move on to Raven. At present time, Allison Van Diepen is my favorite author to read. Her first two novels were excellent and Snitch is probably my second favorite book. So anytime she releases something I am anxious to check it out. I thought I would offer a few of my thoughts after I finished reading this impressive novel.

Van Diepen has a very smooth writing style that allows the reader to quickly become interested and then stay interested. Her style is transitive and before you know it you have already read 100 pages. Fantasy books do not make up the majority of my choice reads although I have read my fair share of them. Therefore I essentially only wanted to buy this book because of Van Diepen and the respect I have for her work. Truth be told, I never even read the preview. Needless to say I was not disappointed and actually read the entire book in one sitting.

The book is very good and the ending leaves the storyline open for all types of possibilities. A sequel could definitely be written although it probably isn’t pertinent. The main thought that came into my head when I finished the book was the potential for a television series. In my opinion the characters and plots create a universe that could easily be a success on TV with plenty of room for expansion and a strong foundation coming from this first book. I can also see these characters in a comic book series.

In either event it is a very good read and I recommend it.

Why Borders.com, Why? Part 2

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

So I thought the Borders.com drama was over but it isn’t. The last time I wrote about my troubled experience with the online division of the bookstore I mentioned quite a few things I wish they would get around to fixing, but the whole point was that I was trying to spend my gift card from 2006. I thought I had accomplished that mission after ordering several books. It turns out I was wrong.

After placing my order February 4th, they emailed me February 9th to say that my goods had been shipped. Great. I didn’t really read the email too closely ie. reading what they said I had ordered because I assumed they meant everything had been shipped. Anyway, March 11th they emailed again to tell me that one of my books was on backorder and that I would not be charged until it was shipped. Which was fine. Then April 1 they emailed to tell me that my item had been cancelled because they flat out didn’t have it! They also said they would be sending me a new gift card with the refunded balance on it so that I could buy something else. Thus, I still haven’t spent my gift card from 2006.

Now, overall there isn’t too much to be upset about. Other than the fact that I still don’t have the book I wanted. They communicated well, keeping me in the loop about what was going on with my order. I appreciate that. But the one thing I can’t figure out is: Why did it take two months for them to figure out they didn’t have my book? I mean its not like I bought it from their awful marketplace I alluded to in the first post which is comprised of independent vendors like Amazon. I got it directly from Borders. They know what they have in stock, right?

In either event what’s done is done. Frankly I still want that book though. So they need to get it in stock so I can use this gift card. Or maybe I should move on and by some other book. The saga continues…

What I’m Reading: Pretty Little Dirty

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Moving along in my 2010 initiative to actually find time for literature this year, I am about to start reading Pretty Little Dirty by Amanda Boyden. I bought this book on impulse the night I was shopping for Raven by Allison Van Diepen. I am not big on book reviews but I briefly give my thoughts on the book from my last What I’m Reading installment after the jump.

I finally finished Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson. It was an excellent book. Guterson wrote the book in a style that allowed each character to slowly be revealed through background stories of the past as the main storyline pressed forward. The main characters were well developed and the plot was embedded in the stories of the past so I had to keep reading to know where the story was going. Despite not knowing exactly where it was headed, the character development was more than enough to keep my interest throughout. Guterson also offers an alternative look at race relations in America, one that is rarely discussed between Japanese and Caucasian Americans before and after World War II. If you like mystery/courtroom/drama then I highly recommend this book.

Why Borders.com, Why?

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

After completing my most recent post about Snow Falling on Cedars I realized I still hadn’t bought Raven by Allison Van Diepen yet. I instantly had an impulse to make a purchase. Needless to say, when you’re shopping for something like books you can’t just stop at one. Before I knew it there were three other titles I wanted.

Four years ago I was given a gift card to Borders for my birthday or Christmas, I can’t remember now. Tonight was the night for it to  finally be used! I was a bit afraid that it had expired. In fact, the current Borders gift cards aren’t even designed the same way for the system to read so they must have really had to adjust to even accept my purchase. But I digress…

So I have all of my books added to my cart and whatnot, ready to checkout when I realize that my cart has 2 books in it instead of four like I selected. How did this happen? Well, Borders decided it was a smart decision to separate new purchases from used purchases. Seriously? I literally had to create a username for the site borders.com and then a completely new username for usedmarketplace.borders.com. Even worse was the discovery that my gift card was not to be accepted for any used marketplace purchases. Bonus!

Could you imagine if Amazon separated new and used items into two different stores? The notion in itself is ludicrous. What is Borders thinking? No wonder they are on the brink of bankruptcy. In a world where Amazon is a digital version of Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble is among the most stable stocks on the market(they aren’t going anywhere), Borders is manipulating its online customers like this? Forcing us to create multiple usernames, and pay multiple bills even though everything is being purchased at the same time. Horrible!

I have been to physical Borders stores countless times and I absolutely love the environment. I actually prefer it to Barnes & Noble, although I like their store atmosphere also. My confidence in Borders was so strong from a positive consumer experience that I actually purchased stock in the company back in 2008. I made a small profit before selling it preceding the bank collapse.

About a year later the stock has recovered from a flat line and is still border lining on unstable hovering around $1 per share. Yesterday the stock rose about 35% percent on reports from CNBC that Borders Group may not be going bankrupt after all. That’s great to hear but they have to do something about their internet setup.  You can’t expect to stay afloat without doing such simple things as accepting gift cards and not forcing customers to pay 2 tabs for one purchase.

Now I know why they have been crushed and Barnes & Noble is maintaining position. Borders is doing themselves in. For their sake I hope they change course soon before its too late. And as for my two purchases, since I couldn’t use my gift card for my used books I moseyed on over to Amazon. Would you believe I actually got one of the books new and the other still used for the SAME price as both of them used at Borders? And I only had to pay once!

What I’m Reading: Snow Falling On Cedars

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Starting when I was very young up until I started college, I loved to read all the time. I was a total book worm. Books are so entertaining. I would read everything I could get my hands on and plow through them in a matter of days, sometimes a night. Then life went on, I went to college etc. Well, now I am recommitting to the fine art of written works.

The first book up on my list is Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson. I got this book for Christmas about 3 years ago(wow) and finally have cleared some time out to read it on a regular basis. It’s sad to think I’ve had this book for 3 years. Back in high school I would get 6-10 books for Christmas and they would all be read within 2 months. How things change…

So I’m doing relatively well so far. I’ve just passed the 100 page mark and going strong. Hopefully I can finish soon because the paperback release of Raven by Allison Van Diepen is coming and I have been waiting to read it for a good year now.