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Showing posts from April, 2016

All the Light We Cannot See, the Pleasure of Audiobooks

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Only recently did I listen to my first book after years of reading. I was fortunate to get a good start. My first novel was The Girl on the Train , a superbly written psychological thriller, by author Paula Hawkins . What made the experience immensely pleasurable was the incredible audio rendition performed by three professional British actresses. I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anything as beautiful before, music included. After sampling a couple more excellent works of fiction, however, I’ve learned the golden rule of audiobooks selection. The vocal rendition is as important as the written word. From then on, I specifically search for and acquire audiobooks that are as highly regarded for their voice narration as they are for their literary quality. I'm currently listening to " All the Light We Cannot See ", written by Anthony Doerr , and narrated by Zach Appelman . It’s a WWII historical fiction novel and certainly one of the very best I've heard/read

'neath the Albert Pike Library

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We stand in front of an almost unseeable door, cleverly concealed behind moth-eaten tomes on the last row of bookshelves in the Humanities section. The professor leads the way down a flight of stairs to the mechanical room. Our boots clunk against the gangway as we scurry toward the steam boilers. Under the last one’s chimney, he opens a hatch in the floor. I squeeze through first sliding down a tubular chute. He dispatches the backpack then closes the hatch behind him and jumps. Save for one monolithic door, we find ourselves in the middle of a stark anteroom. Above us, the Pike Library is deep asleep at this hour of the night. I unpack the gear and arrange it on the floor. The professor takes the can of WD-40 and douses the door’s rusty hinges. While I light the torches, he produces a brass key from the folds of his academic robe. He fearlessly looks me in the eye, yet with a hint of concern he asks. “Are you sure you want to do this?” I nod, affirming the inevitable. “Let’s

10th Anniversary

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Although I’ve been posting short stories sporadically here on my blog, I haven’t “technically” blogged anything since January of 2015. There are several reasons (excuses is a more appropriate word) why I’ve been away, but it all boils down to one important thing, my own state of mind. The shifting trends in social media that eventually led to the current supremacy of Facebook didn’t help much either. Like almost everybody else, I took the easy way out, the fast-food approach to gulping down information and throwing in my own mediocre input into one massive river of nonsense. During my first five years of blogging, I was able to fulfill, partially at least, some of my self-imposed moral responsibilities. I did that by carefully navigating around political taboos and never trespassing red lines least I end up incarcerated or worse. I openly criticized social traditions and religious canons, sitting comfortably in the shade of a (seemingly) secular umbrella provided by the powers th

Sayonara

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Overnight the gale quit. The breakers retreated from the battered beaches and joined the dying whitecaps offshore. At dawn the swollen sea was still brooding over its latest outbreak, taking deep, heavy breaths to calm down. It wasn’t the first time the sea got this angry, nor would it be the last. Fish emerge from the depths to feed nearer to the surface after the storm. I, too, am jittery and need to take to the sea. I cast off Sayonara, my 18-foot boat, and ease her out of the cove. Once clear of the shallows, I open the throttle three notches short of full and head to the farthest fishing ground known to me or to any of the islanders. Tiller loosely held in the crook of my arm, I light up a roll of tobacco and savor the smoke and salt as they course through my airways in a hedonic twirl. Halfway there, the archipelago disappears below the horizon. The boat has no instruments since I seldom take her this far out of sight of land. I glance at my watch then at the sun and adju