“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”–Mark Twain

As Mark Twain says of good books in the title of today’s post, so it is true as well of good posts:  you actually have to read them to get the benefit of your advantage of being able to read, having a computer, et cetera. Along those lines, the time has come around again for me to do homage to the sites which, though most of them aren’t new, are relatively new to me.  The blogs below make up the next five newest blogs I’ve been revelling in, with my comments appended.  If I’ve recently started to follow your site but haven’t commented about it yet on my own, it’s because I’ve started to follow you more recently than I did these folks below.  I’m reading and commenting on a lot of sites now, and at some point I’m going to reach the saturation level, where I can only write about sites I read without following them.  There are only so many hours in a day!  To those who have been Freshly Pressed or have won another award, I offer congratulations and sympathy:  they are very busy people right now, but I’m sure must be busily enjoying the recent attention.  So, here goes:

Peter Monaco– at http://petermonaco.com/ .  Peter defines himself as a husband and father foremost, and a worker in analytical mathematics.  So far (though he promises to come back some day and edit his early posts after he’s published lots of novels and mention them), he writes very witty, alert articles with innovative and funny titles, such as:  “If You Want to Write, Don’t Barf on Your Readers,” “A Query to All You Blog Stalkers Out There,” and in the mastery of the bright ripost, “Things to Say as a Jerk for a Day.”  These titles are probably tantalizing enough to draw your curiosity to him quickly, but if not, I should tell you that he does have more serious moments when he considers such things as the mechanics of writing (like characterization, for example).  He also features clever stick figure drawings as illustrations of the writing principles and jests he enunciates.  All I can say having observed his site so far is that you should beware of not taking your sense of humor along with you when you read him:  he’s serious-minded, but tongue-in-cheek at the same time.  So, without further ado (as they say in the MC business) I’ll leave you to it, commenting from my own perspective only that I think he has mastered pacing very well in reference to just when to drop the punchline (and though bombs aren’t funny, I can view him as one of his stick figures up in a glider, “bombing” us below with meringue pies).

The Long Summer– at http://thelongsummerblog.wordpress.com/ .  The promise of this site is also in what still is yet to come, for our writer here is a sort of foreign correspondent in the making, a teaching NYU Abu Dhabi fellow who will be teaching and tutoring in writing English for undergrads during the next year from this August to the end of next May.  His name on the blog is mattatthemovies, and his real moniker is Matthew J. Flood.   Though his two posts that caught my attention were on Susan Sontag’s distaste for tourists’ pictures and his comical essay about what it’s like to fly Business Class on a United Arab Emirates flight (versus Economy Class), he suggests that there are many more posts to come, not only on the topics and praxis of writing and teaching, but (pace Susan Sontag) also including a lot of wonderful photographs and visuals like the ones already on his site.  He’s probably getting settled into his teaching job right now, because it’s been a couple of weeks since he’s published a new posts, but all in all, I’ll be very glad to hear about him and his experiences in Abu Dhabi, and I hope you’ll all follow him, too.

Shelf Love–at http://shelflove.wordpress.com/ .  At this site are two simply wonderful reviewers of books, and their title is apt, for reading their reviews and comments not only draws one’s attention to excellent new and older publications, but also is a real act of “self-love” on the part of any serious reader.  Their names are “Jenny” and “Teresa,” and they attract what seems like a huge and faithful following of readers in all categories of writing except the cheap or tawdry.  For, they are attuned to quality and the pursuit of excellence.  If you have a question about any book you’ve happened to read which falls in the literary category, they’re really very hard to stump:  not that anyone would or should try, because their help is immensely more valuable than showing them up would be, even were one so underhanded as to try it.  They seem to have both further information at the tips of their fingers as well as recommendations, and have suggested more books for my list of things to read that I will probably be able to cover in a lifetime.  They will cause me to be extra busy with even the things they’ve recommended that I have time to read, but there are, after all, worse ways of spending one’s time.  Kudos, ladies, and keep those reviews and comments coming!

thelivingnotebook— at http://thelivingnotebook.wordpress.com/ .  Here we have a multitalented young writer much engaged with the question of what spurs creativity in general, and he theorizes, and writes, and draws analogies, and draws dream mandalas and basically includes us with great welcome in the things he’s learning and coming up with in his journey through graduate school (I don’t remember if he said it’s an MFA, but to judge by his output and perspective, it well could be, as well as whatever else he is engaged in academically).  He has thoughts on many different aspects of what makes writers write, and what in fact makes one person a writer and another a hack.  He seems fully in touch with both his inner angels and his inner demons, and I would guess is in the process of getting a compromise from the two camps, so that he can engineer a few creative projects based on their interaction.  Most importantly, he is in the process of crafting himself, which is, after all, what good writers really do.  I hope some day to see a novel, poetry, or short stories he’s written, especially since he is so generously sharing the journey to them with us.

Beauty Is a Sleeping Cat–at http://beautyisasleepingcat.wordpress.com/ .  Here is another excellent and considering reviewer and commenter on world literature, who also shows a wide conversance with different aspects of the literary endeavor.  “Caroline,” who has not only been Freshly Pressed but has also won the Liebster Award, in recent posts has covered such widely diverse topics as Dickens and “The Dickens Dictionary,” and the Canadian writer Mary Lawson.  She has held an Antonio Tabucchi week complete with a Giveaway.  She has a regular feature known as Literature and War, in which her latest feature was Aharon Applefeld’s “Story of a Life.”   This wide variety is only scraping the surface of her literary talents, however.  She also writes on different authors in the categories of American, British, German, French and Japanese literature.  She has in her cloud categories as well the subjects of short stories and non-fiction.  She seems either to be immensely educated literarily and/or to be a very fast, accurate and comprehensive reader with multiple enthusiasms.  Now her blogsite is one of my regular enthusiasms for the insights it offers.

That’s all for this post on other bloggers I’ve met through WordPress.com’s sites.  There will be more to come next week.  See you then.  Until then, I will be writing my usual posts on literary topics and interests of my own, and I hope you will enjoy these as well.  In leaving you today, I would like to quote what Gustave Flaubert had to say about writing:

“It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating.  Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made then almost close their love-drowned eyes.  When I brood over these marvelous pleasures I have enjoyed, I would be tempted to offer God a prayer of thanks if I knew he could hear me.  Praised may he be for not creating me a cotton merchant, a vaudevillian, or a wit.”

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4 Comments

Filed under Articles/reviews

4 responses to ““The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”–Mark Twain

  1. You are entirely too nice. I think the reason I love your summary so much is that it describes exactly who I am. I want to make you laugh but at the same time, come away with something more.

    It’s great to receive validation through someone who’s writing I respect as much as yours. I may do a self potrait depicting that exact bomber scene, though I prefer jelly donuts as ammunition.

    Thank you!

    • I’m glad you like my site too, and I would be delighted to see your forthcoming self-portrait of the glider bomber scene–meringue pies or jelly donuts, take your pick (P.S. Jelly donuts might be better, because I understand you already owe someone else on your site some jelly donuts!)

  2. I didn’t do a lot of blo reading these days and look what I’ve missed. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad we discovered each other’s blogs, yours is quite different, quite special and I enjoy reading it very much.

  3. Yes, I got to your good wishes comment first, so I just told you about it again! See, it IS possible to cross in the e-mail just as in the regular snail mail (sorry for the repetition).

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