Pirate Word of the Day – Sam

Lady Blade Blog

From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Sam: to “stand SAM,” to pay for refreshment, or drink, to stand paymaster for anything. An Americanism, origination in the letters U.S. on the knapsacks of the United States soldiers, which letter were jocularly said to be the initials of Uncle Sam (the Government), who pays for all. In use in this country as early as 1827.

(I did not know that Uncle Sam went back so far. I wonder why it was Sam, as opposed to Scott or Steve…)

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The Road

A great short review of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which has been hailed as his best novel thus far. Though, I remember reading that some longtime fans of McCarthy were disappointed with the work–to say why would be a spoiler.

Book Lion

“Can you do it? When the time comes? When the time comes there will be no time. Now is the time. Curse God and die. What if it doesnt fire? Could you crush that beloved skull with a rock? Is there such a being within you of which you know nothing? Can there be? Hold him in your arms. Just so. The soul is quick. Pull him toward you. Kiss him. Quickly.” (The Road by Cormac McCarthy)

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

In The Road, McCarthy creates the impression of a bleak, dying world by revealing the mind of the narrator, not the world itself. He mirrors the man’s confusion and bewilderment at a world falling apart by switching the narrative voice from third to the occasional first or second person and refusing to give either the man or his son a name. As the book progresses, the grammar and spelling dissolves, as if grammar is…

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My New Reading Craze: Raymond Chandler’s Detective Fiction

I burned through two of Raymond Chandler’s novels, The Big Sleep and The High Window, so fast that I neglected to place them on my reading list.  These two novels, having a private investigator in his late thirties as the protagonist, are true page turners.  I am not sure whether I am more delighted by his ability to craft unique, realistic characters or his wonderful use of simile and metaphor.  In particular, I liked when he described a gun pointing at him “like the Second Street Tunnel.”  His creative use of metaphors and similes is one of the things which delights the reader and keeps one from placing down the book.

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The Big Sleep happened to be Chandler’s first Philip Marlowe, the private investigator referred to above, novel.  I have always been a fan of hardboiled fiction, but this was my first work of Chandler’s.  This story, like the one below, is delivered from a first person perspective.  Marlowe gets hired by a retired general, who asks him to dissolve a blackmail situation.  He has two daughters, one has a gambling problem, and the other is crazy and gets into all sorts of problems.  And yes, the latter is the one responsible for the blackmail situation.  Overall, this is a very tense novel as Marlowe must confront everyone from petty crooks to the police to a crime boss.  Most of the time, he’s not carrying a gun and needs to talk his way out of several tough situations.  A great read.

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James Garner came to mind as I was reading about Marlowe, and he does stare in a film with that name. I need to watch it!

Concerning how much I liked The High Window, it suffices to say that I read the novel in a day.  Rare are the occasions when I do that!  This one concerns a rich old lady who has a rare, gold coin from her collection stolen.  She suspects her son’s wife of absconding with it.  Similar to the above novel, this theft leads to a tale of murder, blackmail, and mystery.  The characters are somewhat more varied here, and the old woman is a terribly difficult client.  A must read.

Well, I hope that my dear readers will give these two works a try for light reading.  They’re well worth it.

T.H. White on learning

A great quote from T. H. White.

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“‘The best thing for being sad,’ replied Merlin, ‘is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins,…you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.”

– T.H. White, The Once and Future King

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NaNoWriMo: Classic Novels Written in a Month

Interesting Literature

Which classic novels were all written within a month? And which writer would take all his clothes off as a way of coping with writer’s block? We’re here to inspire you in your writing quest whether you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo or merely trying to complete (nay, perhaps start) a writing project.

This month, many people are taking part in NaNoWriMo, or ‘National Novel Writing Month’, which takes place every November. The idea is to write a novel – to start one if not to complete it – by writing 50,000 words across the month of November. Here at Interesting Literature we thought we’d offer some support for those undertaking NaNoWriMo by showing how even famous and established novelists have had to cope with writer’s block, deadlines, and writing quickly.

Douglas Adams memorably remarked, ‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.’…

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REVIEW: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

I’m not too interested in zombie books, but this one sounds interesting.

Uncle Critic

World_War_Z_book_coverMax Books (The son of the great Mel Brooks) has written one of the best, maybe the best, zombie book ever written. It is a person by person account of a global zombie war. The book is told through interviews of various people all done after the war has ended, they all tell of a different period during the war and from a different part of the world. The zombie invasion spread differently in different parts of the world. These interviews take you through the initial appearances of the zombies, the denial the world had then the panic once everything set in. You learn how people tried to migrate to the extreme north to get away and finally when the world decided to fight back. This book is really great start to finish; the story that is told is one that seems to chronicle a real world war that had…

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