by Joyce Carol Oates

“Zombie” is just one of Joyce Carol Oates numerous enthralling novels. In 1995, it received the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for a horror novel.

Ever wonder what is the impetus for a serial killer? What makes the fiend tick? Oates takes the reader into the mind of a cold, calculated serial killer where a conscience does not exist but just a carnal desire to subjugate. Will Q_ P_ ever get his zombie?

Oates portrays a terrifying mind of a serial killer through creating a unique writing style, which aids to establish a multidimensional character. Quentin P. narrates in the first person voice recollecting his past savage crimes. He sometimes refers to himself in third person, evoking an eerie image of a man with a public persona. The language is colloquial and distinctive for the innumerable ampersands in place of the traditional “and”.  Readers should be warned there are graphic descriptions that will have you cringing.

It succeeds to petrify and haunt the mind, for its uncanny consonance with infamous sociopaths. There is a conspicuous similarity between the main character, Quentin P. and Jeffery Dahmer. They are both homosexuals from a well-to-do family, on probation, registered sex offender, and have a substance abuse problem. Most importantly they share the desire to create their own zombie through morbid techniques.


Memories of My Melancholy Whores

Memories of My Melancholy Whores
by Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez is well known for his novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in the Time of Cholera” which was adapted to motion picture in 2007. His most recent novella, “Memories of My Melancholy Whores” received mix reviews. It is believe to be his last written work stated by Carmen Balcells, his literary agent.

Captivating from the first sentence, “The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin.” Many thoughts may ruminate though a person’s mind. Is this a story about a perverted old man or worse a pedophiliac? To the contrary, it is a story about a man with a troubled conscious for the ninety years of life he has lived. By the age of fifty, he has had sex with over five hundred women, all whom he has paid.

The unnamed narrator recollects his past dual life, which is the journey of a man whose life should be ending but has just commenced living at the mature age of ninety. The catalyst, a female prepubescent child laborer supporting her family by sewing buttons on garments and subsequently selling her virginity.

The short story (115 pages) is enjoyable for its contemplation aspects, projection of ideation, rationalizing decisions, and role of sex and love. “Memories of My Melancholy Whores” is perfect for a book club discussion group.

Lastly, what does “The tiger does not eat far away” mean? I have a few theories, but will refrain discoursing my opinion, for it would give too much information about the plot, spoiling it for others.


White Is For Witching

White Is For Witching
by Helen Oyeyemi

Dissimilar to other haunted house novels, it does not commence with a paranormal investigation, rather a disappearance of Miranda Silver (Miri). The story recounts the path of Miri’s life leading to her disappearance, which intertwines with an ancestral home that does not want to relinquish its grasp on the Silver women, clinching even to their demise and anyone who is not welcomed. There are creaks and whispers, a flicker of light then darkness; it will open to consume. Does it sate the desires and the needs?

Oyeyemi, composes a poetic story laced with similes and allegories, narrated from four perspectives, Miri, her lover Ore, her twin brother Eliot, and the omniscient house. Each character contributes to a lucid story, maintaining an individualistic perspective, creating distinctive and empathic characters especially Miri, who suffers from an unusual disorder, pica. The house casts a forbidding umbra with its omniscient capability. Back dropped in frigid Dover, England, fused with Caribbean folk tales of voodoo and a soucouyant, a creature portrayed as a decrepit woman by day, and by night, abandons its skin to roam the dark sky as a fireball in search of exuberant youths to drain their life essences, blood, initiates an eerie supernatural realm concurrent to the mundane qualities of the political back dropping of foreign affairs.

I would highly recommend “White Is For Witching”, for its darkly elegant prose and its gothic horror qualities of varied love, desire, and labyrinthine house. Lastly, read it for the grapple of life, Miri’s life.


Elsewhere by William Peter Blatty

by William Peter Blatty

Blatty lionized for his blood-curling novel “The Exorcist” and its eventual motion picture, has a novella “Elsewhere” recently republished by Cemetery Dance Publication. It was initially published in Al Sarrantonio’s anthology “999”. A few days ago, I received my limited edition copy of “Elsewhere”, which is signed. Significant, for it is my only signed book by the wordsmith.

After reading a sundry of haunted house novels, there is obviously an underlining trite theme; a group of individuals investigate the authenticity of a house egregious reputation. Some novels surpass this cliché like Richard Matheson’s “Hell House”. Blatty’s “Elsewhere” is a haunted house novella, which commence with an investigation but transcends to an original haunted house story. Blatty similar to Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” utilizes psychological horror to supplement the plot. What is really happening? There are foreshadows throughout the story.

Short Synopsis:

Joan Freeboard, a realtor is implored to sell an upstate New York mansion that is proclaimed to be haunted by the original owners who had an unkindly death. In order to make a sale, Freeboard devises a plan to prove that the house is not haunted through having an investigation with a renowned psychic Anna Trawley, literary writer Terrance Dare, and parapsychologist Gabriel Case. However, strange behavior and a case of déjà vu lead to the inconceivable.


16 Free Books For Download

I have noticed many readers are looking for free ebooks. Majority of the free ebooks are public domain, which means those books are wonderful classic literature. However, as the eminent Mark Twain said, “A classic is a book which people praise and don’t read.”

Harlequin is having a 60 anniversary. To celebrate, 16 books are available for download, and it is free. Genres available are suspense and paranormal, passion, home and family, romance, and historical. However, I think all can be pigeonholed to the genre of romance. I do not read romance, but I will try one of the suspense and paranormal novels. In addition, majority of the book covers are the typical amorous representation of the ideal male specimen, in particular “Once A Cowboy” by Linda Warren is enticing.

The books are available in four formats: .pdf, ePub, eReader, and MS Reader. Download the ebooks at Harlequin Celebrates.


Robert Frost

I remember writing an analytical paper in high school (a very long time ago) about the eminent bard Robert Frost. My paper analyzed one of his most acclaimed poems, The Road Not Taken. Many would assert it is an unequivocal poem, but even Robert Frost remarked that it was a tricky poem, which I read repeatedly and always seem to discover a new angle to interpret. My devotion to the great American poet has not changed; I still admire and read Robert Frost's poems.

Friday, I was fortunate to come across while window-shopping, a signed copy of "You Come Too", displayed in a frame. A surge of excitement disseminated, it became the paramount of my day. I was no longer window-shopping; a bargain was struck, and I came home with a frame display of Robert Frost and a signed copy of his book mounted within the frame. (photograph of the upper left corner)

I am currently enthralled with Frost’s poem, Flower-Gathering.


I left you in the morning,
And in the morning glow,
You walked a way beside me
To make me sad to go.
Do you know me in the gloaming,
Gaunt and dusty gray with roaming?
Are you dumb because you know me not,
Or dumb because you know?

All for me And not a question
For the faded flowers gay 
That could take me from beside you
For the ages of a day?
They are yours, and be the measure
Of their worth for you to treasure,
The measure of the little while
That I've been long away. 


Another Book About Books: 501 Must-Read Books

Yet again another book that compiles noteworthy books of different genres into a handy reference guide for avid readers that want to find an engrossing read without doing a lot of research.  Do not have many bookish friends to recommend a book, do not have time to join a book club, do not have patience to go through a plethora of reviews, well books about books in particular 501 Must-Read Books maybe the perfect solution to the book finding blues. 
Two reasons to buy this book. One, it is a good source to discover worthy books to read. Two, it is in the bargain section.

The substance, 501 Must-Read Books is categorized by the following genres: Children's Fiction, Classical Fiction, History, Memoirs, Modern Fiction, Science Fiction, Thrillers, and Travel. Each enumerated book is accompanied with background of the book, brief synopsis, detail information about the author, and list of other published material by the author.

Must-Read Science Fiction Section

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Noel Adams
Hothouse by Brian Aldiss
Brainwave by Poul Anderson
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Crystal World by J.G. Ballard
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
Who Goes There by John W. Campbell
The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Erewhon by Samuel Butler
Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
A Strange Manuscript Found in Cooper Cylinder by James De Mille
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
To Your Scattered Bodies Go  by Philip Jose Farmer
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Dune by Frank Herbert
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Two Planets by Kurd Lasswitz
Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Shikasta by Doris Lessing
Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Dwellers in the Mirage by Abraham Merritt
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Time Traders by Andre Norton
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe
The Inverted World by Christopher Priest
The Green Child by Herbert Read
The Laxian Key by Robert Sheckley
City bye Clifford D. Simak
Donovan's Brain by Curt Siodmak
Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague De Camp
Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
Slan by A.E. Van Vogt
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade by Kurt Vonnegut 
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham


Regional Ghost Story Books

Ghosts of St. Augustine
by Dave Lapham

Florida's Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore Volume 2
by Greg Jenkins

During a vacation, people proceed to gift shops often to buy gifts for those friends and family that were not able to make the trip and to take home a remembrance of a time of relaxation and exploration. When I go to the gift shops, I look for books, which will extract me from my mundane life into blissful memories. I was fortunate to discover some regional ghost story books in St. Augustine, FL. These books will be a great addition to my other regional ghost story book collection.

Last night in Key Largo there was a thunderstorm, and I just could not sleep, so I decided to read a few stories from both books. "Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore" Volume 2, has a more detail description of the ghostly historical locations than "Ghost of St. Augustine" although the latter is entirely dedicated to St. Augustine.

Dexter, an inmate of the Old Jail in St. Augustine haunts the prison looking forlorn for all his nefarious activities. Legends say that tour visitors sometimes sense cold spots or a pungent smell of anonymous insanitary prisoners of bygone days. When I took the animated tour of the Old Jail, I sensed nothing. I have yet to experience anything paranormal; however, it does not discourage me from enjoying eerie tales. A tale from "Ghosts of St. Augustine", Flagler College the former Hotel Ponce de Leon is haunted by the philanthropist that founded most of St. Augustine, Henry Flagler. A student once had the luck to meet his acquaintance after being called upon through rubbing a tile delineating Flagler’s countenance. Viewing Flagler College from a trolley tour bus, I saw college students gamboling on the front lawn caked in shaving cream. Oh, how I wish my undergraduate days were like that.

Take care my small audience, from under a coconut tree.


Historical St. Augustine Desktop Wallpaper

Currently, I am on vacation. I enjoy traveling to historical destinations; yesterday, I visited the oldest European settlement in North America, St. Augustine, FL. It is a fallacy that Jamestown, VA is the oldest European settlement as well as the glorious fight of Col. George A. Custer also known as Custer's Last Stand or the latter (I prefer) The Battle of Little Bighorn.

Photograph of part of Castillo da San Marcos National Monument (Fort)

Photograph of three palm trees on the grounds of Castillo da San Marcos.

Click on image obtain larger image 2560 X 1600.


The Suicide Collectors

The Suicide Collectors
by David Oppegaard

In 1995, Stephen King’s television two-part movie The Langoliers (published in Four Past Midnight) aired on ABC. Since viewing The Langoliers, I became captivated by apocalyptic novels. I would assume most people would feel a sense of bereft being the only or among the few people left in the world. However, when I was a teenager, I daydreamed about what I would do if the Earth population dwindled. I would read and enjoy the downtempo silence, but of course sooner or later the silence would be a monotonous surging of frustration.

The Suicide Collector by David Appeared is an apocalyptic novel. The world’s diminishing population is due to multitude of suicide. Narrated through Norman the main character, travels to Seattle after hearing that there is a new flourishing community with a cure for the despair. Along his journey with neighbor Pops, they encounter a variety of people demonstrating an array of coping strategies such as a gangs, feral children, and a cult. Throughout the story Oppegaard keeps the reader interested through giving titbits of information about the mysterious dark cloaked suicide collector, who peculiarly knows when someone has given in to the despair. The million-dollar question, what has caused the despair also coaxes the reader on to the next page. Even though I enjoyed reading majority of Oppegaard’s first novel, the conclusion felt short and cheated. In fiction, sometimes there should be more.

So, I will be looking for another apocalyptic novel that can quench my thirst for a catastrophe with a few good characters. It should be stated Oppegaard’s characters were likeable and believable through his use of riveting flashbacks.


My Haiku

I have not written a haiku since my days of undergraduate studies, but after reading "Breathers, A Zombie Lament", I had a sudden urge to write one, of course inspired by life.

"Dilation Of Wan"

lonely dark abyss
shroud in constricting shadows
endless nothingness


Breathers, A Zombie's Lament

Breathers, A Zombie's Lament
by S. G. Browne

“Breather’s, A Zombie Lament” should not be pigeonholed into a category of zombie novels. It is a dark comedy, but also has the solemn of a classic zombie novel; there is gore, but more importantly there is gore with fierce humor. However, it does not minimize the carnage. I in particularly liked the breather’s recipes and haiku. Just one of the humorous haiku in "Breather's A Zombie Lament":

maggots feast on fat
subcutaneous buffet
sounds like Rice Krispies

(Browne. p.289)

In a philosophical note, Browne has the ability to write about zombies and cannibalism while encapsulating humanity’s salient problem, discrimination. Throughout the book, there is implicit correlation between zombies’ societal treatment and marginalized members of society such as racial discrimination against African Americans. For instance, what are zombies to do if they are not allowed to do everyday recreational activities? How can a zombie get a decent job without a social security number? Later in the book, Browne becomes explicit with an association with Rosa Parks among a few other exemplar figures and situations.

Unlike many novels, “Breather’s, A Zombie Lament” packs a punch ending that rivals classic dramatic endings with the ever so uplifting badinages.

Short Synopsis:

Andy Warner, once a husband and father, has a tragic accident. He wakes up an undead zombie. Andy must acclimatize to a societal position regarded as below human. He is forced to live in the cellar of his parents’ home. His only comfort is group meetings with other fellow zombies; there he finds love, a special elixir, and a new zest for life.

The first chapter for reading is available at S.G. Browne's blog.


A New Banner

For my small audience, I hope you like my new banner. Through the years, I have tried about three different banners none demonstrating my personal style. This banner reflects my eclectic taste. For instance, there is Vincienzo, the shark in a jar of formaldehyde on the right; he is my dead pet shark purchased as a birthday gift last year. To the left, my canopic jar and Buddha head are displayed. Lastly, a marvelous caricature of me adds a personal touch. However, to complete the banner there must be many books, which it indeed contains.

I commissioned an extremely talented artist, A. R. Khan to create this personalized banner, who just happens to be a very close friend. Her work is diverse; she paints exceptional abstract, surrealism, and realism (portraits). She has the ability works with many mediums to create a distinctive piece. Besides traditional painting, she is a seasoned book illustrator. She is an artist for hire with the keen talent for personalizing. You can view more of her work here Arkart.

Above photograph of the real Vincienzo. 


Add A Little Pizzazz To Your Vocabulary

I am nowhere near the vicinity of cool. Trying to be trendy with the latest syntax is not my forte. For instance, I once told my friend “let’s roll with it” in front of her younger cousins, which are going to the New York City Public School of hard knocks. They corrected me rather quickly, and I was very embarrassed. However, occasionally, I will flabbergast myself with a clever, urban, raunchy slang.

Last night chatting with a girlfriend on AIM, I employed the term coochy-cobweb to describe the amount of sexual activity in her life. She is not too far from my inept hip (Do people still use that word to define cool?) vocabulary, so we both had a good laugh. I need to give props to Urban Dictionary. We had hours of fun flipping through Mo’ Urban Dictionary at the local Barnes & Noble and then visiting their website. We even made a compilation of the most hilarious words from A to Z, selecting one word from each letter. Be cool, be hip, be snazzy, check out our list courtesy of Urban Dictionary, and maybe you will apply these words in your daily vocabulary surprising the younger generation with your attune ability to adapt.

AIM rape – The act of messaging someone over and over against their will.

Barfarrhea – Diarrhea while vomiting, Barfarrhea is often caused by food poisoning.

Churched – Kinda like “you got served,” except it’s much better. No one likes the church; when you get churched, you got dissed and nobody likes you.

Double bagger – A woman so ugly that having sex with her is only possible with the use of two bags; one over her head, and a second bag over your own head in case her bag falls off.

Electrosexual – Someone who chooses video games over sex.

Fap – Often used to suggest that something is attractive. The onomatopoeic representation of masturbation.

Gigaholic – A geek who just needs to have the latest and fastest computer. My friends call me this.

Highway salute – An extended middle finger from a fist thrust forth while driving in a gesture of anger towards a person to which it is aimed.

Inbox rot - To neither accept, nor decline a friend request from someone on Facebook or Myspace. Used in situations when you don't want to accept someone's friend request, but you also don't want to be rude by declining them.

Jump the couch - A defining moment when you know someone has gone off the deep end. Inspired by Tom Cruise’s behavior on Oprah.

Kraft singles – Dollar bills. Derived from another slang term that refers to money as “cheese.”

L bomb – When someone unexpectedly tells you that they love you. Usually comes out of the blue when you least expect it and are not prepared to respond.

Mad props - A way to say “thank you.”

Naplash – What happens to you when you start nodding off and then you jerk your head back suddenly. It happens a lot when staying on the computer too long. Very dangerous if driving.

Onion booty – Booty that looks so good, it makes a grown man want to cry.

Pop off – To tell someone to fight you or do something, rather than just standing there talking about it.

Qeef – To fart out of the pussy

Retail therapy – Shopping as an outlet for frustration and a reliever of stress.

Sexsuade - To convince someone to agree to, accept, or do something, usually by using the promise of sex (explicit or implicit) or by withholding sex until you get your way.

Thunderwear – Underwear for the extremely obese those who make the earth tremble when they walk. Specifically; thunderbra, thunderthongs, thunderpants.

Uggo - An extremely ugly person. This term is used when you are too lazy to say "extremely ugly person", so, alas, uggo was created.

Voicejail - The loop of options one gets stuck in when trying to navigate voice mail settings.

Whiskey dick - When you've had too much to drink and have a girl back home and cant get it up to perform the deed.

X-Bomb - A completely spontaneous urge to shit that has no "holding" potential. You feel it, and you have literally seconds to find somewhere to put it. The actual shit is usually more gaseous and wet than solid doo-doo, and typically explosive. (The term can be used as both a verb and a noun.)

Youniverse - The entirety of creation that relates to one specific, narcissistic individual. Used to indicate that a particular person has knowledge only of him or herself -- their universe consists only of them.

Zwog - To eat whatever you find under and between the keys on your keyboard.


Beach Scene Desktop Wallpaper

An aberrant of relatively warm weather between the cold and snow in February must be homage with a quick stop at the beach, precisely Long Beach, New York.

Pathway To The Ocean

Birdie Prints

Click on image obtain larger image 2560 X 1600.


Glass Soup by Jonathan Carroll

Glass Soup
by Jonathan Carroll

I enjoyed reading “The Ghost In Love” so much that I bought another Jonathan Carroll novel, “Glass Soup”. I did not know prior to reading “Glass Soup” that some of the characters were from his previous novel called “White Apples”. Nevertheless, “Glass Soup” is comprehensible without reading the prequel and sated my desire for a striking imaginative fantasy.

Similar to Carroll’s most recent novel “The Ghost In Love”, “Glass Soup” explores the concept of life and death. Cosmic equilibrium is contended for between good and evil. Bring back her beloved Vincent from death, Isabelle has inadvertently initiated Chaos’ ability to think and become a formidable contender creating nefarious adversary John Flannery. Tipping the balance dependence on whether Isabelle Nuekor’s and Vincent Ettrich’s child Anjo, is born in land of death.

Broximon, an infinitesimal man that can fit into a manila envelope and Bob, a polar bear that is God are just two of Jonathan Carroll’s surreal characters, but Carroll’s main characters are multidimensional serving to establish realistic characters. An aspect that manifests realism is that almost all of the main characters have committed adultery or has character flaws, but these moral imperfections are only an aspect that constitutes being human. In addition, Carroll’s witty humor pervades throughout the book. For example, Carroll conveys nemesis John Flannery despicable lascivious persona when he writes, “John Flannery was writing in his journal when the doorbell rang. He stopped, capped the silver fountain pen, and read what he had just written: Up close, most women’s pussies look like a piece of chewed gum” (p. 245).

I will most certainly look forward to another Jonathan Carroll novel.


The Ghost In Love: A Novel by Jonathan Carroll

The Ghost In Love: A Novel 
by Jonathan Carroll

"The Ghost In Love” is more than a mere ghost story regarding love. Jonathan Carroll creates an unpredictable story that tackles the subject of destiny and identity using unconventional circumstances that will make you laugh and discern that those are some profound prose that can motivate the most cynical human being. Love is a principal component, but not the cliché, I would do anything for you, rather how love can guide you to happiness. A clandestine confabulation between man and best friend (dog) conducted in a secure atmosphere (refrigerator), the angel of death appearing on a plate of bacon and eggs, and cancer floating around as a pink substance looking for its assignment seems preposterous, but Jonathan Carroll has a talent for making outlandish circumstances realistic.


Ben Gould, a man that should have died has come back with extraordinary abilities that seem more like a neurosis, which has overtaxed his relationship with girlfriend German Landis. Ben must find a way to put his life back together, but he must contend with his nemesis, someone we have all probably contended with throughout life. With his ghost Ling, dog Pilot, ex-girlfriend German, and death survivor Danielle Voyles, Ben is the evolution of humanities quirk to that pesky problem called death. 

I am rushing to buy another Jonathan Carroll novel.