Bad Bloggers and Rambles

I’ve only gotten a few books in the mail lately believe it or not. Four to be exact in the last week and a half. Here’s what I got:

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1. Undiscoverd Gyrl by Allison Burnett – This one is an ARC that I was SO excited to receive! I’m loving it so far. I’ve already jumped into it and it’s really, really good! Very relevant in these days of blogging and social media! I may have some critiques of it if the storyline doesn’t change, but we’ll see 😉

2. The Purloined Boy by Mortimus Clay – This is an ARC for a book that I’ll be touring for TLC Book Tours and it’s another one that I’m really excited about. I started flipping through it already and it looks very promising.

3. One Whole And Perfect Day by Judith Clarke – Mooched for the Printz Challenge.

4. Cut by Patricia McCormick – I’ve had this one on my wishlist ever since Rhinoa reviewed it a long time ago, so she’ll be getting a bad bloggers point for it. It’s also my first Paperback Swap book!

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I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post about the soldier that I admitted to our hospital. It’s a topic that touched more people than I thought. I wanted to address a few things too.

I don’t want people to get the impression that I think our government totally abandons every soldier. They don’t. But I don’t think they handle things very well. If this man was treated for his trauma as soon as he got back from war, I think he may have been saved much of what he’s going through now. But with the VA hospitals, you wait on a HUGE waiting list for any kind of treatment and you’re not allowed to go elsewhere for treatment! That is, if you have a VA hospital at all. New Orleans currently does not have a VA hospital. We have a VA building with case workers, but that’s all. Our hospital was destroyed in Katrina and they have yet to rebuild it. I do think the VA is a wonderful thing for our veterans…if it’s there and if you can get the care.

Secondly, Nymeth brought up something that I personally feel very strong about. And that is the term “disorder”. I hate that term, yet I write it out sever times a day. In order for me to admit someone into our hospital and have the insurance companies pay for it, I have to diagnose them with a “disorder”. When the fact is, the person is simply feeling an emotion. Sure, most of my patients are dealing with depression that is so severe that they are suicidal, but that’s because most of them are going through something quite severe. Yet I have to diagnose them with Major Depressive Disorder, or Depressive Disorder NOS. Just so the insurance companies will pay. PTSD is a prime example. Why can’t we just say a person has Post Traumatic Stress? Why add the term Disorder to the end of that? I think it’s a completely normal response to react in how this man did after seeing some of the horrific things that he’s seen. Yet we label him with something that has a negative connotation. A heart attack is caused by a disorder. Emotions are not. That’s my rant…yet I’ll continue to label people with disorders, because in this country that’s the only way to offer someone professional help. And I want that for my clients.

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What’s the worst reading month you’ve ever had? I’m just curious. This month I’ve read three books. A graphic novel with no words, a photography book with a couple of short stories, and a two issue comic book. That’s bad. Yes I’ve had much stress this month, but that’s just BAD for me!

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Finally, I can’t end this post without mentioning that the wonderful, beautiful, creative, red lipstick wearing Dolce Bellezza has started the Japanese Reading Challenge III. This is seriously one of my favorite challenges. I just love Japanese lit! No idea what I’ll be reading yet, but you can bet that I’m signing up! And look at the buttons!! One is by one of my favorite Japanese artists, Yoshitomo Nara, and the other is by one of my favorite bloggers, Tanabata. I’m so excited about this and thanks so much for hosting this again Bellezza!!!

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Give A Soldier A Hug

soldierI was going to do a Bad Bloggers post today, but I’ve decided to forego that idea after my night at the hospital. I’m taking a break from books on the blog today. Every day, soldiers are deployed to fight a war that they may or may not agree with. They do it selflessly. They put not only their lives on the line, but the essence of who they are as a human being. No one enters war and comes back from it unchanged.

I had a guy in his mid twenties present for admission today and he affected me in a more profound way than any other patient has since I’ve been working at the psyc hospital. This was a guy who should just be finishing college, living the best years of his life, and learning where he wants to go with his life. Instead, he considered his life over. He served two tours of duty in Iraq, his first being during the initial strike. The things he described seeing nearly brought tears to my eyes. He saw friends literally shot across the torso to the point where his body was literally separated into two halves. He shot and killed Iraqis only to eat dinner with their families months later. He described in detail the scent of human flesh on fire.

He’s now suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many people suffer from this due to all kinds of causes. A person can live with PTSD as the result of abuse, war, or even something that others may consider trivial. But I see it more and more at the hospital since the war. The numbers have easily doubled. I’ve worked with a man who suffers from PTSD from the Vietnam War and I can’t help but see the same life for this young man in his twenties if he didn’t seek help. Right now, he battles the flashbacks, the nightmares, and the hallucinations with a 12 pack per day and a few Xanax. What kind of life is that for a guy in his twenties? He sees everybody he comes across as a target. He’s angry. He’s angry.

I’d be angry too. This is a young man who put everything on the line for his country and when he was discharged, he was left with very few resources. The VA offers some assistance, but only after you’ve served your time on the waiting list. It had to get to the point where he had to be hospitalized at a psychiatric hospital for him to get the help that he truly needs. At the end of my assessment with him, I thanked him for all that he did and told him that I was sorry for all that he sacrificed while I fought back tears looking at this kid who has so much potential behind this tragedy. If you know a soldier or someone that has served in a war, give them a hug and tell them how much they’re loved. They need it.

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Author Spotlight: Sheryl Keen

Today was my day to host the book, Journal According to John by Sheryl Keen for the Pump up your Book Promotion Tour. Sadly, I didn’t receive the book in time, so I couldn’t review it, but here’s a synopsis and a little bit about the author! Sounds interesting!

aboutSheryl A. Keen has a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in English Literature from the University of the West Indies. She lives in Canada where she works in Administration.

In addition to prose, Sheryl also writes poetry. When she is not writing, one of her other loves is painting.

You can visit Sheryl A. Keen’s website at http://www.sherylkeen.com/

aboutbookFollowing a nasty bar brawl, John, a twenty-eight-year-old man, follows a close friend’s advice and begins keeping a journal. He’s recently divorced from his wife, Debbie, and he hopes the journal will provide a tool with which to make sense of his brief, failed marriage and to determine why he is so emotionally challenged.

As a therapist specializing in behavioral issues, he knows he has to pull his own life together. If he tells people to clean up their own lives, modify their thoughts, and learn new, more appropriate behaviors, he knows that he’s got to step up and follow his own advice. Early on, he realizes that his mother, the curator of a gallery that specializes in steel art and other nontraditional works, has largely shaped his thoughts and actions. But just how much can he blame her for his current state of affairs?

Soon the words in the journal are flowing easily and quickly. When painful thoughts are no longer avoided and dreams provide fuel for his writing, the journal takes on a life of its own. Will John discover the reasons for his dysfunctional situation? Can keeping a journal help him improve his life?

The Sunday Salon – Weeding the Shelves and Outrage

So I’ve decided to join PaperbackSwap. It’s really nothing against Bookmooch at ALL. I love Bookmooch despite my small complaints about it and I plan on continuing to be an active member of the site. But PaperbackSwap has so many books available that Bookmooch does not!! I’m shocked. And excited…and scared of what my TBR shelves could become as a result of this :/

This was my thought process when I decided to start weeding out my shelves. Even though we’re moving to a bigger house soon, there will actually be LESS room for my books. I don’t know how that works exactly, but it’s the truth. Until I finally grow up and get my own place, I’ll have to limit the amount of room for my books. I just can’t talk my mom into having a library at the house :p So I put up a whole bunch of books today on Paperback Swap that have been sitting on my shelf for awhile.

These are mostly books that I’ve read already and know that I won’t read again. There are a lot of titles that I didn’t want to part with just because I liked having the book on my shelf even though I wasn’t nuts about it…does that make sense? Like Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Alessandro Barrico’s Silk, C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters and The Four Loves…those kind of books. It’s just not my genre I think. Does anyone else do this? Hoard books that you just like having on your shelf even though you didn’t love them? Or am I just crazy? I’m guessing the answer to that question is the latter. I haven’t touched my TBR books because they’re all in boxes right now. So they’ll remain mine 😉

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As for the outrage, I’m sure we all know what this is going to be about. Bloomsbury and their stupid ass cover for Liar. Seriously? Seriously?! Is this 2009 or did I miss something? Is it really possible that we still have the mindset that the face of a black woman is going to turn people off from reading a book???? Sadly, I know the answer to that question as is evident by Bloomsbury’s decision to put the face of a girl with caucasian features on the cover of a book about a black girl. I think the worst part of the whole thing is Bloomsbury’s blatant denial of the issue, remarking that if the book is about a liar, why wouldn’t she be lying about her race? Come on…seriously, do you think we’re all freaking stupid??? Don’t toss around bullshit excuses. Take responsibility for your poor judgment and your own close-mindedness. It’s stuff like this, Bloomsbury that keeps us from moving forward as a society. Though I have to say that I’m honestly thrilled with the outrage. I hope it continues to grow until Bloomsbury might finally take action.

Batman: Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader by Neil Gaiman

batmanBatman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? (Deluxe Edition) By Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert
2009
128 Pages
4/5

I’ve never been a huge Batman fan, but I like him enough. I’ve never read all that many of the Batman comics, but I know enough to know who the main villains are and Batman’s backstory. And that sufficed just fine for this latest installment in the Batman series.

Originally published as Batman 686 and Detective Comics 853, Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader tells the story of Batman’s death. Neil Gaiman wrote it to be the final tale of Batman no matter where the series may go in the future. That was certainly no easy task, but if anyone was up to the challenge, it’s Neil Gaiman. The story takes place at Batman’s funeral, before his casket. All of the familiar villains are there, Catwoman, The Joker, The Riddler, just to name a few. His friends are there as well. And everyone has their own story of how he died.

Gaiman uses this story as a great way to show that life is not about how we died, that doesn’t matter, it’s about how we lived and how we will continue to live on. Batman must learn this for himself as he looks beyond his own grave. I bought the deluxe edition of this one, and I’m so glad that I did! It has a section of Andy Kupert’s amazing sketches for the series along with the stories behind the drawings. Gaiman and Kupert both wanted this to be an homage to all of the previous Batman artists and writers, so we see different styles of Batman all throughout the graphic novel, but through an Andy Kupert lens.

The version I have also comes with a few standalone comics at the end which are all fantastic and each deals with a different villain. There’s a great story about Poison Ivy that I absolutely loved. Is it worth the $25 sticker price? I think it is if you’re a batman or Neil Gaiman fan. If you’re just curious about it, pick it up at Amazon for $15 and if you’re not nuts about it, pass it on to someone who will be! For I think that there will be lots of people raving about this tale.

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Bookish Stuff

How’s everyone doing? Nope, still haven’t finished anything this month aside from a graphic novel with no words and a photography book :p But that doesn’t mean there’s not bookish stuff to talk about!

First there’s the biggest news of all! And that is the fact that I did not buy ANYTHING from BookCloseouts.com giant Childrens and YA sale! I started to. But then I realized when I had 9 books in my basket and I was only to the “F”s that I should probably just stop. And I can’t tell you how hard that was. I had tons of books that I had found that were on my wishlist. But at the rate that I was going, I figured out that I would’ve ended up buying something like 39 books. And that’s just no necessary :p But I know a lot of other people hit up the sale, so I can’t wait to see what everyone else got!

I did get two books in the mail this week. One was the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book written by Neil Gaiman which I reviewed a couple of days ago, and the other is A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi. The first was amazing, the second looks promising! And no points are awarded this week! I’ll give you all a rest 😉

I got a present in the mail today! I had completely forgotten that I had won a subscription to Bookmarks from my favoritest Debi in the world until it arrived today!! And who did I think of right away? Dewey. Do you remember when she used to do her Sunday Book Coveting posts with the lists of all of the books she found from Bookmarks Magazine? I loved those posts and she inspired me to start picking up copies of it at my bookstore. Well now it’s great to have it just delivered to my doorstep. And yes, I’ve already found several books that I want just based on my first very quick glance through.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Lowboy: A Novel by John Wray (Really want this one!!)
The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

And like I said, this is just the first go around…this is likely to quadruple in size after I read the whole magazine. Thanks Debi 😉

Finally, a question about Bookmooch or any other book swapping site. What do you guys do when you mooch a book and the sender won’t send it? I’m not a “mean” person…so as bad as I want to cancel all of my mooches and leave bad feedback, I probably won’t. But I’m so aggravated right now! I have like 11 books requested right now that are all at least a month old since I’ve gotten any update and quite a few of those were originally requested in April! I’ve contacted them all and was very nice just asking for a status update, but nothing 😦 And I’ve already cancelled 9 requests since I started bookmooch because of this problem…I don’t want to have so many cancellations on my account. Any suggestions on how you deal with this?

Alrighty…that’s enough book talk….if I don’t shut up, I’m going to go on a shopping spree! G’night!

Who Killed Amanda Palmer

I called in sick to work today because I needed a mental health day. At least I’m calling it that. Things have just be super stressful lately, not all in a bad kind of way, but working at a psychiatric hospital can just wear you out. So I lay in bed not really wanting to get out of bed, happy being here and the doorbell rings. A twist of fate would pull me out of my funk when this arrived at my door:

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Yes, that is Who Killed Amanda Palmer, a collection of photographic evidence WITH stories by Neil Gaiman. And I’ve already read it (for the first of many times). I can’t put into words how beautiful of a book this is and how eclectic of a book it is. It features numerous pictures of the amazing Amanda Fucking Palmer dead. Yes, dead. And there are stories mixed in by the always wonderful Neil (Fucking?) Gaiman. By the way, if the two of them were ever to get married, I totally thing Neil should change his middle name to “Fucking”. But I digress.

Who is Amanda Palmer, some of you may ask. I didn’t really get into Amanda Palmer that much until the last year or so. I had known who she was when she was the lead singer of The Dresden Dolls, a punk cabaret duo. I would see that she was playing at one of my favorite bars here in New Orleans called One Eyed Jacks, formerly known as The Shim Sham. It’s a bar in the French Quarter that used to have a cabaret night and always has amazing bands. I knew a few Dresden Dolls songs…the popular ones, but never fell in lust love with Amanda’s music until she released her solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you must. The album is all things good: haunting, meaningful, poppy and catchy at times, goth at times. Just a fantastic album. Oh, and Amanda is now dating Neil Gaiman. Seriously, look at the two of them, they’re adorable:

amandaandneilSo, the book. It’s a companion piece to her new album. Neil Gaiman writes his version of the story behind the book at the beginning. No one knows who killed Amanda Palmer, but she has turned up dead all over the world. And everyone knew she died when she did. There are suggestions that she was taken to another plane of existence and all of the Amandas are copies of the original. He ends his first story by writing “If you see Amanda Palmer on the street, kill her, said the graffiti under the bridge in Boston. And beneath that somebody else wrote, That way she’ll live forever.” I ask only one thing…don’t follow this piece of advice!

The photographs are stunning in so many ways. They are a compliment to her album. There are photos that are completely haunting, photos that evoke so much emotion in one piece, photos that tell endless stories from a glance, and the occasional photo that might just make you giggle. Like the one with three people walking down the street with a severed arm flying in front of them. Ok…so maybe my sense of humor is a little different than others :p There is nudity in the book, just so you know and it’s beautifully done. One of the many beautiful things about Amanda is that she embraces her body rather than fear it, something that seems rare these days. And I think that’s beautiful.

The stories by Neil are right up there with all of the others he’s written. They’re clever and not what you would expect. I’ve never seen a man who can create so many unique stories. It’s proof to any writer that there is a new story to be told still. His stories serve to add depth to many of the pictures, to tell the tale in a different way than you might imagine when you first lay eyes on the picture. I wish there were more stories than what there is, but at the same time, the balance was just right in the book.

The book also has the lyrics to all of the songs from the Who Killed Amanda Palmer album and I have to say that her lyrics rival Neil Gaiman’s words. When listening to the album, I’ve gained an appreciation for Amanda as a songwriter, but it’s different when you see the words in print and read them on their own. She’s a fantastic lyricist as well as a songwriter.

Am I happy with the book? Uh…yeah.

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