Click the image for 19 more Stephen King's quotes on writing

Most of the quotes were taken from this book.

1. “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”

2. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

3. “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

4. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

5. “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep…

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Defending The Delusion: Or How Journalists Pander To The Sheeple…

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Filling in the Blanks A Review of The Black Book of Buried Secrets, an informational encyclopedia in the 39 Clues series.

8113297Amy, Dan and Nellie; Jonah; Ian and Natalie; Alistair Oh; the Holts; and the Starlings have finally come togetherwith all 39 clues. They’ve even made the serum but overcame the temptation to use it.  That’s it, right? Over and Done. The End… Or is it? Remember what Uncle Fiske said about the other family? The Vespers?

In order to defeat them, all 5 branches of Cahills decided to reveal all of their secrets, to finally join as one complete unit, and so we have the BBBS, which will give you the skinny on everything from Irina Spasky’s poisoned fingernails to the Tomas branch’s Sea Lion spies.

We’ll set up the next leg of the journey when Cahills fight the Vespers to keep them within the family.



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Diamonds and Shaka A review of The Viper’s Nest by Peter Lerangis- Book 7 in the 39 Clues series.

6393047This book looks like we’re headed back to the United States, Peoria, IL in fact, until Amy gets a brainwave. Our indefatigable trio go into a library and look up choral music. They find they are headed not to Peoria, but to Pretoria, South Africa. (See, you were wondering about how vipers played into this, weren’t you? Yeah, me too. I thought the clue would be in a zoo or something…) Having ditched the Kabra’s by getting decoy tickets to Peoria, they land in Johannesburg and are greeted by a local man who gives Dan a coded postcard with the photo of a local Zulu hero, Shaka, who holds a Tomas shield. Dan surprises everyone by going into a bookstore for a biography.

As with all the other 39 Clues books, in short order Amy, Dan and Nellie are hot on the trail of Winston Churchill and a secret Tomas clue. We also find out quite a bit about Grace, Amy and Dan’s deceased grandmother, and some unexpected things about their parents. We learn so much about the Country of South Africa here that it is mind blowing, and much of it, a culture shock to many Americans. I looked up and double checked many facts as stated in the book simply because I could not believe it was really true. I won’t give them away, just let you read them for yourself… An excellent addition to the series.

****/ 5 stars.

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The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Review

zionMuch like the classic Maus by Art Spiegelman, this is a very important story. The Plot weaves through history, telling a narrative of how plagiarism from a tract called Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu by Maurice Joly ended up as a work of anti-Semitism created by Hermann Goedsche, writing under the name of Sir John Retcliffe.

The graphic novel opens with two introductions. The first by Umberto Eco, the Italian essayist, philosopher, and novelist (for those who enjoyed The Da Vinci Code, I highly recommend his book Foucault’s Pendulum, a much more honest look at the story behind Holy Blood, Holy Grail). The second is by Wil Eisner, the author of this work. In both, the first, Eco describes the importance of the work while in the second, Eisner tells about how and why he came to write it. While neither are necessary to understanding the work, they are both very informative.

Now, how does the actual work stack up? I compared it to Maus for a reason. Both deal with hatred. While Speigelman’s work offers a simplistic view of The Shoah (Cats vs. Mice), The Plot is more a historical narrative, giving the reader access to what has been known for years: that The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is a forgery. While Joly wrote his work as a satire against Napoleon III. But Joly is not without the crime of plagiarism himself, having copied from Joseph Balsamo by Alexandre Dumas. Sadly, the only mention of this latter part comes in the essay by Eco.

Overall, this is a very important work. It shows how a forgery, known for many years, has remained so popular amongst the hate-filled. Since it is in graphic form, it is easier to access and understand than many of the more scholarly work. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to know a sad element of our history as humans.


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ALONG CAME DIGIT: A review of “A Girl Named Digit” by Annabel Monaghan

12561863While I am far from a computer geek, one thing is certain. Many young girls are conditioned in the games we play, the toys we are given, the movies we watch and books we read, to accept that you cannot be smart and beautiful at the same time. Furthermore, you cannot be smarter in any way than a boy. It is never actually said to us, but it is implied. Even our teachers work hard to imply this to us. And then along came Digit. I was cruising in the young adult section at the library and came across this book. The girl on the cover was attractive enough with binary code all over the shiny blue paper. I decided I would give it a go.

Let me say that I am far from dissappointed. In fact I was let down that the next in the series isn’t due out for a few months yet. Digit is brilliant with math and numbers, she is beautiful, and she is living a lie, until she breaks the code that is running at the beginning of her “favorite” television program every week. She does what any responsible person does and she goes to the FBI. When they finally believe her she has to help them finish cracking the code to save even more lives, including her own.

There is even a little romance here, and that is the only problem I have. Digit falls for her FBI protector who is 21. AND her parents are totally cool with it. Not that its totally unbelievable, but there are many young men who must register as sex offenders because they were 18, the girl was 17, her parents didn’t like it and file statutory rape charges. Add on to the fact that this guy is FBI, and everyone seems to know about their love, including his boss, and he still has a job, I find mind boggling especially with the current climate of the FBI, CIA, NSA and other members of the federal alphabet soup.

Over all, though, it is a really great book, and Digit is a fantastic role models for young women, because even though Digit is incredibly smart, she is also good looking and very funny. Great for adults and young adults alike

*****/5 stars

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Mean Girls…In Toe-shoes: A Review of Love You, Hate You by Charis Marsh, Book 1 in the Ballet School Confidential series

5245026For those who don’t know, I am a HUGE ballet nut, no pun intended. And it all started with PBS. I was about 3 or 4, before my parents got the big D. It was near the holidays and PBS was airing Cinderella. I only got to see a few minutes of the first solo that Cinderella does with the broom in the very beginning, because my mother hated the music and made me change the channel, but from then on, I was hooked. I wanted that! I wanted to be that ethereal figure dancing onstage using her body to tell a story. All I wanted was to dance. I begged my dad for ballet lessons. Finally in Fourth grade, I got to dance, but not the way i had hoped.

I began in a small dance studio where they almost absolutely refused to teach you ballet until you had had at least one year of tap. The music was fun, but I was dejected. I hated the noisy shoes, the loud sporadic movements. I wanted the smooth grace that was ballet. Unfortunately, when I got what I really wanted, it ended up being my sister and myself alone in the class. Not exactly a great idea, but you work with what you’ve got. To make matters even worse, our teacher seemed more focused on the money that she got from giving us lessons than she did really making us good dancers. There were no corrections, no directions on what we should or should not eat, nothing. No one seemed to take it seriously that I wanted to be Prima Ballerina.

By the age of 12, that dream was pretty much dead. I still love the ballet, but by that time my body had started that wonderful change, and it became very apparent that I would be too top heavy to dance. Not only that, but lack of a really truely dedicated teacher seemed to pop that particular balloon. I did my best to teach myself from books, and even now about twice a week, I stand at my kitchen counter and use that as a barre to make my legs strong.

Not being able to achieve my dream of Prima Ballerina did not cool my love for the ballet. I collected ballerina dolls, read stories about ballerinas, and dancers of all sorts. Even now a good book about the corps of a ballet will send me rushing to my makeshift barre to stretch myself. (Thank you, YouTube). So when I was at my local Library and I happened to see these series of books, of course I had to give it a go. The story follows 4 main characters, Kaitlyn, Alexandra, Taylor, and Julian the only boy to star in the books. (there are other main characters, but it is a fact that men in the dance world are outnumbered at least 3:1). Over all the book is a great story of one ballet school in Vancouver, but it is told, alternately in four different voices.

Kaitlyn has the best technique, but poor body type. She truely seems to work the hardest of the four and she seems to want it the most, unfortunately, it seems that both the school and her mother will drive her to an eating disorder just to get a good role and the career that she so covets.

Alexandra already suffers from an eating disorder, and is hiding it from the school and her parents. Painfully thin she feels that she is the best and should get everything, but she just doesn’t have the technique. She works hard but she seems to push all her troubles off onto the teachers, not her own lack of… well, something.

Then there is Taylor. She is constantly the butt of jokes, and it seems she is always being made fun of. She is simply not a good enough dancer for the big roles and she seems to only get the roles she does due to her body type, a perfect willow thin.

Julian seems to only be there because its fun. He seems to lack dedication to the dance and is only there on lark.

Now dance should be fun, you should enjoy it, but these young people are what is considered pre-professional. Which i guess would explain the purely cutthroat nature that is exposed in this book. Think Memoirs of a Geisha , and each character in turn gets to be both Sayuri and Hatsumomo. Each main character gets to be victim and tormentor alike. Not even likable Taylor whose biggest fault is that she is too nice, is nice all the time.

This is good and bad because while the characters are real, and I can totally see much of this acutally happening, much of it is also unacceptable bullying. From the teachers, I understand the Drill Sergeant bit. Push them harder than they ever will be in performance so that when the time comes they will shine. I get that. Can accept that, but Kaitlyn is “fat” for a dancer, Taylor doesn’t have the brain G-d gave a gnat, Alexandra expects accolades for sub-par dancing and Julian gets away with murder because he is a boy, and there is a shortage of boys. Worse of all in the climax of the story a series of pranks are pulled on Kaitlyn that are not only cruelly, but that could have injured her greatly, and no one does anything. The teachers, the parents just seem to let it pass as teenage hijinks.

In many ways, this is a great book for anyone who can see the truth, but it is detrimental in that in this climate of unbelievable cruelty going unchecked, an example is not set.

****/5 stars.

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