"Two aliens have wandered Earth for centuries. The Changeling has survived by adapting the forms of many different organisms. The Chameleon destroys anything or anyone that threatens it. Now, a sunken relic that holds the key to their origins calls to them to take them home—but the Chameleon has decided there's only room for one."
Camouflage is yet another exciting and fascinating SciFi book by Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Joe Haldeman. I'm not an English Literature major, or even a colonel, but it's rare to find writing as fine as Mr. Haldeman's. You are not so much conscious of reading words in a book, but more aware of becoming part of a wonderful journey.
Camouflage is the story of two non-terrestrial entities that arrive at Earth at the beginning of time. One, the 'Chameleon', is the bad guy, the other, the 'Changeling' is the good guy or gal or Great White Shark.
I imagine there is intended to be some mystery to which human the 'Chameleon' has become, but when it is revealed it's not that big of a shocker because you always knew he was there somewhere.
As is Haldeman's trademark, this 296-paged hard cover is divided into forty-seven chapters, which for some nonsensical reason makes it quicker to read.
He skillfully blends actual Earth history in with the lives of these two eternal beings which makes the reading even more interesting.
As is also an unfortunate trademark of Joe's, his almost entirely unnecessary sexual escapades, this time centering on making sure that the reader knows that surely one-half of all men from all time are homosexuals. His description of the female 'Changeling' administrating oral sex to a male human is simply a little too detailed from me to believe that a male heterosexual wrote it, or would ever feel the need to write it.
After forty-six chapters the book wraps up incredibly quickly during the ten-paged forty-seventh chapter. To this reader it seemed too quick.
Camouflage, sans the unnecessary and unnecessarily detailed sexual grapplings, is another Joe Haldeman work that I enthusiastically recommend.
reviewed: November 11, 2007
Begun:10/29/2007 Finished:11/04/2007Purchased: January 2007
Where:barnesandnoble.com B&N Net Rank: 5,323
Pages: Hardback, 296pp
"William Goldman is one of the most successful screenwriters of the past forty years. His book, Adventures in the Screen Trade—the tell-all that revealed the secrets behind the business of the big Hollywood screen—is a classic, the bible for anyone who wants to be a screenwriter or wants the inside scoop on Hollywood. Now, with his fascinating sequel—Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade—Goldman brings us up to speed, with the latest lowdown on Hollywood moviemaking.
In Which Lie Did I Tell?, Goldman details his experiences—good, bad, and ugly—over the past fifteen years. He gives us gossipy, terrifying, hilarious, and insightful stories from the set of such films as The Princess Bride, Misery, Maverick, and Absolute Power. He fills us in on what it's like to work with Mel Gibson, Kathy Bates, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, and many other Hollywood players.
. . . "
If you are a movie goer, an aspiring screenplay author, or an actor, you will absolutely treasure reading Which Lie Did I Tell? by author William Goldman. As all three, 'goer', 'aspiring', and 'actor', I was delighted to see that Mr. Goldman gave my acting persona 12.5% of the glory of a successful motion picture.
Because after filming a recent movie scene, and finding the lighting took up 98% of the time, and my lines 2%, as an actor, I felt entirely insignificant.
Don't let the 462 pages of text concern you, as this book reads as quickly as a Michael Chricton thriller. As a suggestion, it would be 'capital' carry-on to take on a round-trip, cross country airline flight. And if you're in a real hurry to get the scoop, you can always refer to the excellent 20+ page index.
Which Lie Did I Tell? is an autobiography, a Hollywood tell-all and especially an instruction book for anyone interested in screenplays. Not only that, it is as well-written and fascinating and as easily read as any of today's popular novels.
In the Hollywood tell-all sections we learn that Gene Hackman has nothing to prove, that Clint Eastwood is exactly the decent man he appears to be, that James Cameron is "... an asshole ...", and who really wrote the screenplay of that hit 1990s university-situated movie that two then new male actors (who've written nothing since) keep getting the credit for.
Author Goldman also gets us accustomed to reading screenplays even in their odd layout and finally explained to this poem-hater why poems take the form they do.
What was quite instructive is that the last chapter contains an exciting original mystery-adventure screenplay of Mr. Goldman's, which by then, we read as easily as a daily newspaper.
He then sends his work out to to five famous authors to be critiqued and it comes back slaughtered worse than the victims in his story of, The Ghost and the Darkness.
In reading Which Lie Did I Tell?, being it is a book about movies, movie-people, and screenwriting, I was delighted to discover, that unlike the previous few non-fiction titles I had recently read, there was no mention of 'Global Warming', 'National Health Insurance' or the Iraq War.
I give Which Lie Did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade my highest recommendation and have awarded it the coveted Five Sun MustoWn (Must Own) Award® from the MW Review of Books.
reviewed: November 3, 2007
Page 45 "What I came to town, in 1953 ..."
Page 94 "... perhaps no other animal has had such graph changes..."
Page 100 "... realize two facts, neither of them good for the Jews: (1) the letter opener is gone ..."
( as there is no mention of "Jews" prior, I believe the above should read: "neither of them good news:" )
Page 169 "... and heading towards him. He stand there wide-eyed, rooted ..."
Page 434 "... with Jimmy in a bar, middle of the might, with the most ..."
"Dutch geology student Alfred Issendorf makes a wonderfully quixotic journey in this previously untranslated 1966 gem from Hermans (1921-1995), a Dutch novelist who worked in Paris. Alfred sets out for Norway's northernmost region of Finnmark with three other students to try to confirm their professor's dubious hypothesis that regional craters resulted from meteor impact rather than Ice Age glaciers. Insecure, exhausted, doubting his career choice and barely up to the physical rigor of trekking through the Arctic wilderness, Alfred begins to imagine that everyone-his companions and their mentors-is plotting against him. . . . "
A Dutch geology student journeys to Norway to see if he can prove that their symmetrically-round glacier-water-filled holes were caused by ancient meteorites. The only common language he and his Norwegian companions speak is English so Alfred is left out of quite a few conversations, which allows time for many journeys within his own mind.
I realize that Beyond Sleep by author Willem Frederik Hermans is a work of fiction, but I imagine the endured physical travails of the characters themselves were true-to-life reflections of European reality in the 1960s. That being so, these people, other than for their weakness for tobacco, are tougher than all but professional full-time United States soldiers. The hardships Alfred and the tragic Arne endure, would have virtually all of his reader's turn around and give up, leaving the book unfinished at page one hundred five.
Until near page two hundred, when the long suffering and gloomy-thinking Alfred gets seriously lost Beyond Sleep is about as exciting as a Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign speech. As a matter of fact B.S. began life as my October "bedstand book" but proved so efficient at immediately slamming my eyes shut, I had to reschedule its reading for the daylight hours. I will have to admit however, that the seduction scene involving the American woman from Tromso was one of the most tasty and tantalizing I have ever read.
The book surely lost much in translation, for 21st Century American reader's must miss many understandings a 20th Century European would not. Assuming the truth was told, I learned a great deal about the people, wildlife and geography of Norway. Who knew Lapplanders lived in Norway?
Apparently, author W.F. Hermans is known for his spartan use of words. And nothing could have more clearly demonstrated that to me, than by my current reading of Dies the Fire by book-club author S.M.Stirling, who uses more adverbs in his sentences than the Chinese use lead in their paint.
Beyond Sleep is not a bad book, but certainly nothing like the "1966 gem" described above by Publisher's Weekly. Perhaps, they, like Alfred's mother in Beyond Sleep, generate their reviews not by reading the actual book, but by reading various published reviews?
"This is a public glimpse into the private worlds of the rich and famous, revealing some surprising bequests! Whether generous or eccentric, miserly or philanthropic, people as diverse as John Lennon and Groucho Marx; Doris Duke and Jerry Garcia; Frank Sinatra and Phil Hartman all, at one time or another, prepared their Wills, leaving fortunes large and small, monetary and otherwise, to a variety of people, including some who expected much more than they received!"
Wills of the Rich & Famous: A Fascinating Glimpse at the Legacies of Celebrities belongs in the toilet. Toilet room, that is. The very large font in the book makes it easy to read from a distance, as for instance when you would have to lay it down spread-open between your feet for that one last good push hands gripping either side of the toilet seat.
To start, I suggest the reader thumb through the "End Notes" beginning on page 521, which explain the background of 'Last Will and Testament', shows a few photocopies of interesting wills, and signatures, and ends with a glossary of handy-to-know when you're dead legal terms. Don't get the wrong idea, author Herbert E. Nass's book is an easy-going commode-room-book to help you make going easy.
The book is sectioned off into thirteen types of dead celebrities, such as, 'The Beautiful People', 'The Comedians' and 'The Super Rich'. Within its pages you are not likely to read much super-secret information, because those intimate and private details are sequestered inside of separate trusts and legal devices which are not available for public inspection. (Speaking of reading, I admit that while I read every one of the one hundred people who were written about, I did not read every single word of every single will.)
However, you will read why billionaire Howard Hughes' dozens of wills were not accepted by the court and how and why they were deliberately so screwed up by The Aviator himself. You will also discover the reason why J. Paul Getty's body was on ice (at Swanson) for almost three years before it could be defrosted and slid onto the appropriate shelf in his mausoleum in Glendale, California.
Each celebrity is assigned a subheading. For instance, for comedian Paul Lynde (1926-1982) we have 'Hollywood Box', a play on the television show 'Hollywood Squares' which he made a hit. For Orson Welles (1915-1985) we have 'Raising Kane' and for Spencer Tracy (1900-1967) 'Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner.'
I was surprised at the stinginess of many of the dead, except for the thirteen-chaptered will of Frank Sinatra in which he was quite generous to many of the 'little people'. While reading, one thing to keep in mind is the inflated value of money, with billionaire's John J. Astor IV 1912 sum of 'One Hundred Thousand Dollars' being worth $2,100,000 in today's 21st Century currency.
By the way,
"Astor chivalrously made certain that all the women and children were put in the lifeboats before himself",
and then remained on board and went down with the Titanic on April 15th, 1912.
Can anyone even imagine 1997 Titanic movie director, and lying S.O.S. (which does not stand for 'Save Our Ship') "King of the World!" James Cameron doing the same, especially knowing his sacrifice may not be publicized for weeks, if ever?
reviewed: October 21, 2007
Begun: 05/24/2007 Finished: 10/15/2007Purchased: December 2006
Where:HamiltonBook.com B&N Net Rank:
Pages: Hardback: 564pp
Wills of the
Rich & Famous
A Fascinating Glimpse
at the Legacies
" 'When funding is cut for the Sonomak - the fusion power project that she and her ex-husband are working on - Dr. Katie McGuire faces an uncertain future. Until the real potential of the Sonomak is unwittingly revealed.' In steps the mysterious Alexandra Mitchell. Armed with unlimited resources, Mitchell commandeers the Sonomak project for her own use. With her team now assembled, including Katie, her ex-husband, and physicist Jack Preston, Mitchell reveals her true goal: to use the Sonomak to create a brand new universe, a Picoverse one million-millionth the size of our own universe. Now, all systems are go on an experiment to deliberately rip apart the fabric of space-time."
What can I write about Picoverse by author Robert A Metzger? It was a bedtime book and I'll admit I never had any hesitation in picking it up and reading it every night for one month. In that there was no sloppy sex, it did fit my idea of a true science fiction book that young people could read. There was lots of action. A couple of the main characters were necessarily a little shallow because we did not discover what or who they were until near the end. Come to think of it, although attempts were made, I did not find myself caring about any of the characters.
Using the fusion reactor termed the Sonomak, Picoverse involves the creation of multiple universes, the next always smaller than the original, hence the "pico" part of the "verse". Much the same people populate each picoverse only wearing different biographies. However the action is centered not in the everyday life of any single picoverse, but in the protagonist's attempted return, with her son, to their original universe. The book is complicated and confusing especially into the last one hundred pages when I had a real problem telling who was who wanting what along with meeting Neanderthals and certain individuals who had lived for hundreds of thousands of years. It was very hard for me to discern exactly the story the author was trying to tell. Possibly part of my problem in comprehending the story was in taking too long to read the book. (After all, my daughter finished the latest Harry Potter book in only six hours.)
I simply didn't understand the ending either. Not that I didn't like the ending, I couldn't understand it well enough to like or not like it. Since I do my reviews more or less for fun, I cannot pinpoint exactly what went wrong with the book, but if I had been taking notes I could probably explain my dilemma. I think the author and the editor could have spent a month more tightening up the book so that a reader, not intimately involved in the book's creation could read it and understand it.
reviewed: October 14, 2007
Begun: 09/14/2007 Finished: 10/14/2007Purchased: August 2007
"The inside story of the Y chromosome's fatal flaw, as told by one of the world's leading geneticists.Male reproductive fragility has been the subject of much highly publicized recent research. Is it possible, asked the New York Times, that men face extinction? Bryan Sykes examines the validity of these shocking reports, focusing on the defining characteristic of men: the Y chromosome in their DNA. Guiding his readers through chapters like "The Blood of Vikings" and "Ribbons of Life," Sykes masterfully blends natural history with scientific fact, elucidating the biology of sexual reproduction, modern genetics, and evolutionary biology ... "
If you're English, possess the Sykes surname, a man-hater and a pacifist puke Adam's Curse: A Future Without Men is the book for you.
Apparently author Brian Sykes set out to prove the absolute evil-ness of Man and how the world would be better of without Him. This required him to engineer some fairly stupendous stretches of logic, fact and conjecture. One of his greatest constructions is how the Y-Chromosome (that determines maleness) has a mind of its own and by that same mind drove many men of renown to their accomplishments. This is contrary to common belief that these men's own drives, wants and intelligence allowed them to attain their great and historic heights.
Towards the end of the book, as he sweeps the world of defective-sperm laden men, he seems to forget, as he stated earlier, without the unbelievably complex mixing of male and female genes, that all offspring would be identical clones and susceptible to a single species-ending disease. And what if the beginning female were Rosie O'Donnell or even our own Arizona Governess Janet "Nappy" Napolitano? What a horrible thought.
Adam's Curse is another non-fiction work that I would imagine to be entirely about the science of genetics. But author Sykes cannot help but pontificate about global warming, politics and of course how only morons could believe in a Creator and deny the fact of Gaia's living breathing existence. Of course he probably also wonders why his book ranks near the one hundred and fourteen thousand in sales at Barnes and Noble.
Similar to many other left-leaning authors, he feels a deep need to prove, via genetic evidence, that homosexuality is not a choice but a destiny. A destiny that he hoped (since male homosexuals fertilize only tonsils and t**ds and hence do not reproduce more homosexuals) would be carried alone on the mother's X-chromosome. Being truthful, his hoped-for proof goes limp in the face of facts and always will. For a life of homosexuality is no more a cast-in-stone destiny than liver disease is for an alcoholic, because both activities are but choices to be made. Or not to be made.
Until about half-way through, the book is interesting and moves along at a good pace, but then, after the first mention of Gaia, and how Man has destroyed Her, it begins to drag, and by the final pages, you are congratulating yourself for finishing it.
Reading Adam's Curse: A Future Without Men, I learned a great deal about genetics and surprisingly, early life in England and Europe. If you can ignore author Sykes Mother Earth Gaia-Worshipping/Male-Hating, God-denying pendantics, you may discover that this a book in which you too will learn an awful lot about genetics.
reviewed: October 13, 2007
Begun: 09/28/2007 Finished: 10/08/2007Purchased: July 2007
Where:Daedalus Books B&N Net Rank:
Pages: Hardcover, 318pp
"They're everywhere. Silent and invisible to the naked eye, they're on everything we touch, eat, breathe - on every single inch of our skin. And despite the remarkable advances of science, germs are challenging medicine in ways that were unimaginable just a decade ago. Due to an explosion of infections never before reported in modern history and a new germ horror story surfacing every year, it's no small wonder that the world is up in arms - and that antibacterial soaps are a billion-dollar business. Now, renowned microbiologist Philip Tierno cuts through the media hype with the compulsively readable Secret Life of Germs, revealing exactly where the greatest threats may be hiding."
I know I'm going to enjoy a book when it begins with the Ogden Nash poem, "The Germ."
The Secret Life of Germs Observations and Lessons from a Microbe Hunter exposes:
There are only four ways to spread germs
Why antibiotics sometimes cause diarrhea
What causes 'morning breath' (even if you are Morgan Fairchild)
How 80% of all infections are transmitted
Why we sometimes feel sick, but then don't get sick
Why you should close the toilet lid before flushing
Why the Bible was right about not having sex with sheep
Why scavengers can eat rotting food and humans cannot
Why we never eat pink chicken, but often chow down on pink steak
The reading is a little slow in the beginning and then again in the ending chapters, but the middle is simply a fascinating history of germs, their massive affect on Mankind, Science's discovery of them, antibiotics, and finally vaccines.
Being a political liberal, Dr. Tierno, who was the discoverer of the 1980s synthetic-fiber-tampon-initiated Toxic Shock Syndrome, after telling us how "... fecal matter contains the body's highest concentration of germs--again, this is about one trillion bacteria per gram", then goes ahead and pretty much condones anal sex for the male homosexuals in the crowd.
At one point he throws up his hands at our simply not knowing many things about the human body, even though we've been living in it, and studying it for thousands of years. But then he turns around and insists he knows that atmospheric 'Global Warming', of a planet 100 million times larger than the human body, and surely just as complicated, and studied only for the past eighty years, has as its major cause, Mankind.
He makes some other simplistic statements, such as proposing that 'only' ten billion dollars would insure safe water and decent sanitation for all humanity, when instead (outside of the laboratory and in the real world) that ten-thousand millions dollars would actually purchase car lots full of Rolls Royces, scores of mansions and dozens of private jets for the tyrants and their henchmen who run these same unsanitary nations.
He also believes he can deter germ-warfare by talk and treaties with people who are willing to strap bombs to their chests and explode themselves and kill men, women, children, infants, neighbors, relatives and the occasional uniformed soldier or policeman. However logic says these people cannot be stopped with ink on paper promises obtained by a former nut farmer and U.S. President, but only by proactive and deadly force.
Other than those Peter Pan Proposals and a few other naive solutions, The Secret Life of Germs is so very packed with need-to-know information that affects our lives and the lives of everyone we know and love, I believe every adult should read and learn from this book.
reviewed: September 26, 2007
Begun: 09/7/2007 Finished: 09/24/2007Purchased: October 2006
Where:HamiltonBook.com B&N Net Rank: 325,253
Pages: Hardcover, 278pp
"Harry White is a man haunted by a satyr's lust and an obsessive need for sin and retribution. The more Harry succeeds - a good marriage, a good corporate job - the more desperate he becomes, as a life of petty crime leads to fraud and murder and, eventually, to apocalyptic violence.
Author of the controversial cult classic, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby began as a writer of short fiction. He plunges the reader head-first into the densely realized worlds of his protagonists, in which the details of daily life rub shoulders with obsession and madness. Although fundamentally concerned with morality, Selby's own sense of humility prevents him from preaching."
Wow. What can be said about author Hubert Selby Jr.'s book The Demon? I find the 1994 cover artwork so much more fitting than the 1976 version, that much I can say.
The Demon, bristling, smoldering, crouching and anxious to leap off the nation's bookshelves into the minds of its reader's, as Ted Turner began Superstation WTBS, Rupert Murdoch added the New York Post to his empire, Wozniak & Jobs founded Apple Computer and nut-farmer Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford for President, had to be quite shocking.
Nowadays, in a country where the Judeao-Christian God and the unselfish, moral behavior He encourages have been deemed obsolete, foolish, divisive and time-consuming, the violent criminal acts Harry White perpetrates are so commonplace that only outstanding occurrences are ever recorded in our papers or even mentioned on the 10 O'clock News.
With a title such as 'The Demon' I'm not giving anything away in revealing that the protagonist Harry White's behaviors go from bad to worst to worstest. Yes, 'worstest'. All the while the reader hopes, and is given hope, that Harry will see the light and change his ways. (Having just viewed the 1938 movie You Can't Take it With You I can help but think that The Demon is the "anti-You-Can't-Take-it-With-You".)
The Fruedian based cowpies of Dr. Martin's psychoanalysis didn't heal Harry in this fiction book, just like they don't heal in real life. Apparently author Selby had had some experience with Freud's nonsensical diving into our earliest memories and his edict of remaining buried in them as if you'd driven a loaded cement mixer with its churning and turning cargo into the ancient and cold and dark La Brea Tar Pits.
Author Selby, using page-long sentences, and no character dialog, keeps the action flowing, as evidenced in my own reading by having to convert The Demon from a 'bed-side book' into a daytime book, since flying through its pages at night did absolutely nothing to contribute to sleep.
However his insistence on odd punctuation, for instance a slash mark instead of an apostrophe ("...but I/ll tell you the truth.") and his occasional text spacing as if he were writing a Ginsberg poem penned by e.e. cummings, drew me 'out of the moment', and at first, hindered the pace of my trotting eyeballs. I figured maybe it was something going around in literary circles at the time and I feel it was wasted effort for both the writer and the reader.
The Demon is an excellent book whose prose will, I am certain, remain in my memory forever.
reviewed: September 13, 2007
In the 'small world' department: Authors Selby and Nick Tosches have teamed up on a website. After discovering this, I did recall a bit of Hubert Selby's writing style in Mr. Tosches book, In the Hand of Dante, which is likewise, reviewed elsewhere on my site.
Begun: 09/5/2007 Finished: 09/11/2007Purchased: August 2007
Where:amazon.com B&N Net Rank:
Pages: Paperback, 308pp
Prices: Cover 1976 - $1.95 used amazon - $3.67
"In a society begging to be duped, Martin Gardner is an inspiration to those of us who praise common sense over myth and superstition. Are Universes Thicker than Blackberries?, the newest collection of Gardner's most popular essays, confirms his stature as the wittiest, most devastating debunker of scientific fraud and chicanery of our time. In these essays, many of which originally appeared in The Skeptical Inquirer, Scientific American, and the Los Angeles Times, Gardner spans the realms of science and mathematics, literature, philosophy, religion, and mysticism. He lucidly examines startling and influential scientific concepts, such as the possibility of multiple universes and the theory that time can go backward ... "
Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries is an interesting thirty-one chapters explaining everything from science to math to religion to literature (where we learn the true story of The Tin Man and Little Red Riding Hood), then wrapping up with exposing old frauds and some new ones. I also found his chapters on autism (The Brutality of Dr. Bettelheim) and 'facilitated communication' in these days of best selling books such as the totally fraudulent The Secret very interesting and extremely pertinent.
As soon as I recovered from author Martin Gardner's absolute proof that my belief of a Christian God is total nonsense, I was able to complete my reading. But glancing at his headshot on the back cover, it certainly does look like Mr. Gardner's life is filled with joy ... doesn't it? Similar to the non-God-believing Albert Ellis, who wrote great books, but in person was seen to be about as happy as a losing pitbull owned by Michael Vick.
I confess that I skipped Chapter 11: "New Results on Magic Hexagrams", whose reading would put even Martin Short into a three-month coma. Likewise, since the only poems I consider worth knowing were written by Ogden Nash, I also passed on Chapter 18: "Three Parodies of Famous Poems."
Being a regular listener of Coast to Coast with George 'The Egyptian' Noory, and wincing every time I hear a phenomenon explained by the 'fact' that there are indeed multiple universes, I was delighted as author Martin wrote "... that there is not the slightest shred of reliable evidence that there is any universe other than the one we are in."
Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries? Discourses on Godel, Magic Hexagrams, Little Red Riding Hood, & Other Mathematical & Pseudoscientific Topics is simply a fact-filled and fun book that would be good for the bathroom or airport/airplane reading, and also handy to refute the claims of such charlatans as 'remote viewers' and crook-frauds like Uri Geller.
reviewed: September 10, 2007
Page 60 "... shape shown on the right-hand side at the bottom of the page." There are no drawings or shapes on the page at all
Page 191 "... Released in 1939, he came to the United States ... In 1994 he took over the University of Chicago. ... ,which he headed from 1944 ( 1994 reference should be 19 44 )
Page 268 "... Doyle freely admits that Slade cheated, by only now and then ..."
Begun: 08/25/2007 Finished: 09/09/2007Purchased: December 2006
B&N Net Rank:
Pages: Trade Paperback, 288pp
Psychics, ESP, Unicorns
and other Delusions
From the Publisher:
"Writers are notorious for using any reason to keep from working: over-researching, retyping, going to meetings, waxing the floors-anything."
"Sound familiar? This is what Dr. Karen E. Peterson-who has overcome writer's block herself-calls "the write-or-flight response." In this revolutionary book, psychologist and novelist Karen E. Peterson presents an easy, effective way to beat writer's block in only ten days. Based on new brain research and sound psychological principles, this innovative program shows writers how to conquer writer's block using such methods as ... "
Mr.Wonderful Writes:Write: 10 Days to Overcome Writer's Block. Period. by author Karen E. Peterson, Ph.D., is a good book for author-wanna-be's and it contains numerous new ideas about the process that I will probably use. However, it is a poorly organized and edited book and propounds some chemical-genetic challenges to motivation which I simply don't believe are real.
We are immediately exposed to the 'logical' left brain and the 'emotional' right brain and soon presented with questions to answer using our 'dominant' (right) hand and our 'non-dominant' (left) hand. Placing the pen in the hand controlled by the right brain, the left, supposedly allows that emotional half of our brain to finally speak out.
On page 58 we are told that "following" is a grid, and that using pencil colors selected by our right brain we are to fill in the 168 squares reflecting the 168 hours in one week. Happy-hours will be colored happy colors and not-so-happy-hours will be colored not so happy colors.
Only, there is a problem, there are two grids "following". One, on page 64 is titled "Time Management by Intuition" and the other, on page 65 "Energy Management by Color". I assumed she meant me to color-in the squares on the "Energy Management by Color" chart (even though the "Energy Management by Color" is never mentioned by name), so, while feeling awkward and unsure, my right brain chose several colored pencils and my left hand filled in a few squares. Then we are instructed, "If possible, pick the best part of the day for your writing and fill those in first--" ... but somehow the "Time Management by Intuition" chart is also to be filled in but I couldn't understand how or when.
By about the fourth or fifth checking off of lists, first with my right and then left hand, the phoneyness I felt decades ago, while pushing around the planchette on a Ouija Board, once again arose from the dead.
On page 84 she got into AD/HD which, your Mr.Wonderful, having always been the most screwed-up kid in both grade school (where in the early sixties I cussed out my male teacher and was the first child to be transferred among teachers) and in high-school (where I was suspended every single year to get my hair cut), I feel AD/HD is a simple maturity challenge that has been given the diagnosis of an illness or a disease and whose treatment is basically an expensive fraud. At that point I started to doubt the efficacy of her book.
By page 115 I stopped checking off the lists and next skipped a twenty-question(!) quiz on pages 122 & 123. On page 135 I restarted my left-hand, right-hand checking off of lists, but then on page 142 I stopped my chart-checking as it was becoming far too complicated.
On pages 149-151 she got into AD/HD once again and dragged in, OCD, PTSD and then EMDR therapy, all of which I believe that there is more proof of flying saucers than for these diagnoses being any more than a challenge of the will. Finally, frustrated, disappointed and angry, on page 155 I gave up my reading.
For me, it would be far easier to write my book while wearing a tinfoil hat to prevent the George Noory-mentioned E.T.s from abducting me, than to complete reading Write: 10 Days to Overcome Writer's Block. Period.
reviewed: September 8, 2007
Begun: 08/25/2007 09/06/2007*
*Gave up date. Too confusing, disorganized & pedantic.
Purchased: August 2007
Where:writersdigestbookclub.com B&N Net Rank:
Pages: Trade Paperback, 272pp