Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hong Kong

While attedning a conference in Hong Kong this week I shopped in a local book store in the Pacific Place Mall which is attached to my hotel.

What I was most interested in seeing in the book store story were book titles such as --

"Why the Dalai Lama Matters"

Yes I know - while Hong Kong is officially a part of Red China it has greater autonomy than the rest of China. Additionally its citizens clearly enjoy greater freedom of speech and less censorship. The very fact that this book sits on a book shelf for sale is clear evidence that the citizens of Hong Kong can easily buy books that do not agree with official Chinese policy regarding the Dalai Lama as it tightens its stranglehold on Tibet.

Freedom of speech is the "Art of Happiness",


Friday, May 30, 2008

California Dreaming

"I went into a church and I began to pray............."
Mamas and the Papas
Yes the "California Dream' " song is on my mind since the "BookExpo America" trade show is being held in Los Angeles, California this week. I am in Minnesota and unable to attend this show but hopefully will be attending as an author in the near future if my book idea gains some traction with publishers.
Interested book worms out there can see the show's details at -
I see that Thomas Friedman - author of "The World is Flat" - is a keynote speaker. Given how dynamic the world economy is I am thinking he is due for a sequel to his book. No doubt the publishers would agree so they can sell more books!!
Read on,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Poetry from Louisiana

One objective for my reading this year includes reading "more poetry" selections. As part of that goal I just completed a collection of poems by a contemporary Louisiana writer whose work included themes like Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and white trash neighbors.

For this posting I wanted to share my favorite line from this collection of poems --

".......the nightly opera of the neighbors fighting with each other begins.............."

The imagery in this line really caught my attention -- the civilized atmosphere of an opera juxtaposed against a scene of domestic violence supplied by the neighbors. Then again how many opera lovers are wife beaters? Perhaps there is an inter-connected, universal theme here the author is highlighting for us.

Miles of stanzas to read before I rest,


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Children's Book Week

Sadly today marks the end of the annual "Children's Book Week" (CBW) which ran from May 12 through May 18. As noted in this historical overview from the CBW officially dates back to 1919 when it was first celebrated nationally --

However, as an old Boy Scout myself I especially like this bit of history for CBW from the same weblink --

"It all began with the idea that children's books can change lives. In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children's books."

Despite all the years I spent in the Boy Scouts along with active participation in its numerous activities I have no memory of learning about the role this Boy Scout leader played in promoting children's book nor did I even know until today (thanks for the email promoting CBW Amazon!!) that the Boy Scouts even had a "Librarian" position.

Clearly you can learn something new every day,


Friday, May 9, 2008

Minnesota's Book Store

In my world view the more book stores we have the better but when it comes to "Minnesota's Book Store" (MBS) I draw the line! Interested readers can see MBS's book inventory at this website:

MBS is a "service" provided by the State of Minnesota's Department of Administration to sell books to the public which include titles such as the ever popular, ""OSHA 1926 Construction Industry Regulations " (not on the Oprah Book Club list that I have seen!) and "Birds of Minnesota - Field Guide" (actually a good book I purchased years ago but from the private sector not a government book store like MBS).

I just do not see a need for the State of Minnesota to have a "book store" especially since many of the titles I see listed on their website our widely available in the private sector book stores.

Historically governments have burned more books than they have sold to the public so let's get them out of the book business completely.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Children's Books

Booktrust, a charity organization based in the United Kingdom, recently completed a public opinion poll to determine the "best children's books of all time." And the winners were ---------

1.) "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" (LWW) by C.S. Lewis

2.) "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (VHC) by Eric Carle

What struck me when I read these polling results is that indeed I have read both of these books but that I had read the LWW as a child and VHC as an adult when I read it to our daughter. While these two books are very different in terms of complexity they are indeed both great reads for children of all ages. The other observation that I would offer is that the author of LWW -- C.S. Lewis -- was a Christian writer which I find most interesting given the very secondary role religion plays in British society today. To have 4,000 parents in this Booktrust survey cite LWW as "the best" is a substantial result from a cultural standpoint.

Read to your children or the government will do it for you,


Monday, April 28, 2008


One positive aspect of my business travel is that I get to visit numerous cities. This week I find myself in Anchorage, Alaska in a hotel room with a view of the mountains and bay - truly a beautiful setting complete with snow (April 28) so Spring has not arrived yet.

While scanning the brochures at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce office I noticed a brochure advertising this conference:

Alaska Writers Guild
"Speculative Fiction Writers Conference
Anchorage, Alaska
October 1 to 5, 2008
Coast International Inn

Personally I don't know if I have EVER read a "speculative fiction" book but perhaps some science fiction books from my teenage years would qualify. I did not recognize even one name on the conference speakers list in the brochure which is a reminder that we can always read more than we do today!!

One item in the brochure that I thought was interesting was that "Manuscript Reviews" were being offered for $50.00 -- which is probably a useful tool for potential writers. Of course I would be paranoid that someone would still my book idea so clearly some legal safeguard would be needed.

Since Alaska is the "land of the midnight sun" just imagine how many books you can get read if you lived here permanently!!

Head north and read,