Books read recently by J. Zimmerman.
Inspired in part by's book blog.

Reader's Bill of Rights - after Daniel Pennac in Better than Life as quoted in the November 2003 Utne Magazine - includes the rights to:

{ December (diciembre (see also books on Spanish)) 2004 }


End of year book discard:

(12.29.2004) (12.27.2004) (12.26.2004) (12.25.2004)

A good day for watching videos:

(12.24.2004) (12.23.2004) (12.22.2004) (12.21.2004) WINTER SOLSTICE GREETINGS

Buy 'Hogfather'

This is the funniest book I've had read to me this year. Its humor is a little under-graduate-student, but so are the works of Douglas Adams and Monty Python, i.e., a quaint mixture of really stupid and really intelligent, interwoven with interesting satire.

There is a plot, appropriate to the Winter Solstice, or Hogwatch Night, which is the night that the plump Hogfather in his red suit and white beard climbs into his sleigh pulled by four pigs (Gouger, Tusker, Rooter, and Snouter), and delivers gifts to the cargo-cult worshipping (i.e., Capitalist consumer) boys and girls.

This year the Hogfather is missing, and his stand-in is everybody's straight man, Death.

The Assassin's Guild is responsible for the disappearance of the Hogfather, and they have been hired by the humorless Auditors of the Universe. The Auditors, being literal-minded accountants, want people to stop believing in things that aren't real and thus cause cosmic disorder.

It's up to Death's adopted granddaughter Susan (the 'gothic governess') to save chaos, and she is aided by a raven (addicted to eating eyeballs), the small-scythe carrying Death of Rats ('the Grim Squeaker'), and Bilious, the God (actually the Oh-God) of Hangovers.

Though soon we will come to Hogmanny (New Year), so it's possible that the Hogfather rides out on December 31st, not 21st nor 24th.

I look forward to listening to other books by UK writer Terry Pratchett (b. 1948).

Check your favorite search engine for the Denver Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club, which lists Pratchett's work and comments on several books.

Also recommended: Jingo and Thief of Time.

Also see other books by Terry Pratchett. (12.20.2004)

(12.19.2004) (12.18.2004) (12.17.2004) (12.16.2004) (12.09.2004-12.15.2004)




(12.03.2004) (12.01.2004)
Buy 'The Master' NEW !! Finished The Master (2004) by Colm Toíbín.

A historical novel that probes the fictional mind and passions of author Henry James much as he once probed the fictional minds and passions of his relatives and friends. A very deserving nominee on the short list for the 2004 Booker Prize.

A fictionalized study, based on biographical materials and family accounts. Externally the novel begins in 1895 in London, with Henry James' failure in the theater. Each chapter is headed by a month and year, moving forward in small jumps toward the end of the 19th century, while full of Jamesian memories of his life, family, and friends. Of special interest to writers are the observations on his process, from his acquiring of characters for his novels by listening and adapting:

And how did James think about his art?

"He did not ever in his life actively seek the hard doom of general popularity. Nonetheless, he wanted his books to sell, he wanted to shine in the marketplace and pocket the proceeds without compromising his sacred art in any way."

How did people think of James' use of people. One friend, Gosse:

"insisted that writing a story using factual material and real people was dishonest and strange and somehow underhand ... a cheap raid on the real and the true."

{ November (noviembre (see also books on Spanish)) 2004 }


(11.25.2004) (11.23.2004) (11.19.2004) (11.18.2004) (11.17.2004) (11.15.2004) (11.14.2004) (11.13.2004) (11.09.2004) (11.07.2004) (11.3.2004) (11.2.2004) (11.1.2004)

{ October (octubre (see also books on Spanish)) 2004 }


(10.30.2004) (10.29.2004) (10.28.2004) (10.24.2004) (10.23.2004) (10.21.2004) (10.19.2004) (10.18.2004) (10.17.2004) (10.16.2004) A couple of notes from the Fall 2004 UCSC Review: (10.15.2004) (10.14.2004)
Buy 'Number 10'
Finished Number 10 (2003) by Sue Townsend

More than a farce, Number 10 is an epic journey around Britain in the Tony Blair years.

Wakeup, Booker Prize, and include one of Sue Townsend's books in a list of your nominees!

The author gave us the marvelous four books on her young protagonist Adrian Mole (from The Adrian Mole Diaries : The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 to Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years).

Now her characters are grownup, though acting no more maturely. Accompanied by police officer Jack Sprat, the British P.M. (a.k.a. "that pratt Edward Clare"), disguised in his wife's clothes, and now named Edwina St. Clare, experiences the trials of the British public, including the collapsing public transportation system, elder care, and emergency care.

Number 10 is not only the location of the British Prime Minister's residence at Number 10 Downing Street. It's also the house number of Jack's Mum, who has been a conned into turning her meager home into a crack den.

One of the book's most resilient and sensible characters is the Pakistani taxi driver, whom Jack and "Edwina" hire when "Edwina" quickly gets fed up with public transportation.

During the week of this wandering, Edward's brilliant and over-achieving wife, Adele, stops taking her pills. Therefore she starts having hallucinations again.

Providing much needed romantic relief, Jack falls in love with "Edwina's" sister.

Readers outside the U.K. may miss a few of the jokes, but much of the satire is not exclusively British. The interwoven plots and adventurous characters are a joy no matter where you live.

Other books by Sue Townsend. (10.13.2004)

(10.12.2004) (10.11.2004) (10.07.2004) (10.05.2004) (10.02.2004)