Monthly Archives: August 2006

Go Fug Yourself

I cannot resist. My friend Robyn Williams sent me the link for this horribly –in a guilty pleasure way– catty blog, Go Fug Yourself, and I have to share it.

Heather and Jessica are Hollywood Stars Watchers. They don’t, however, do so with rose-coloured glasses. What they do is deconstruct the amazingly, astonishingly bad taste of those glittering Stars, young and old, with a vitriolic, sardonic voice that just breaks me up. The word for that bad taste? Fugly.

They give us normal folks a mean pleasure of seeing the perfect and beautiful less than. As Robyn says: meeeooooowwwww.

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Floccinaucinihilipilification

This strange, almost unreadable word is not as long as pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (which is the longest word in the dictionary), but it comes as a close second. I’ve been given it by Anu Garg, who is the provider of A Word A Day, an email service anyone can subscribe to, still free of charge after many, many years. Anu is a lover of words, and wants to share that love. At this time, there are over 600,000 subscribers to her daily word send off. The words range from the simple to the obscure, and usually have a weekly theme.

Floccinaucinihilipilification, by the way, means “estimating something as worthless”. There is irony, here.

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Currently Reading…

sparrowThe Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell

This is not a new novel, but one that my new-found friend, Verna Wilder, recommended. A new author for me, and discovery is always exciting, even when it disappoints. In this case, it didn’t.

It is 2059, and an astronomer picks up what is unconditionally music from SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) radio transmissions. While governments try to decide what to do about the signals, the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits, decides to fund a mission to the planet from which the music (almost divine in sound) originates. For the greater Glory of God. The instigator of the mission, a Jesuit priest named Emilio Sandoz, is the best linguist on Earth and unsure about the strenght of his beliefs.

What follows is an incredibly powerful story about first contact and the search for a confirmation of the existence of God. Reminiscent in its elegance and subtlety of prose of Eco’s The Name of the Rose, Russell’s Sparrow takes us into a journey of discovery in which the dangers and rigours of first contact begin to erode the faith of those who should believe in God without question, the four Jesuits on the mission. The increasing emotional and physical isolation of the group on a strange world parallels the protagonist’s alienation and sense of betrayal from his God. Her are people, facing one horror after another, and trying to understand, in human terms, the “why” of God. In the end, however, the reader is left with deciding on his own the validity of God’s existence, and maybe to accept the futility of assigning human comprehension and compassion to something unfathomable.

Sparrow is not a religious or a Christian novel. It is a novel about the physical, emotional and spiritual arrogance and frailty of humanity, and its struggle to reach for the divine, regardless of faith, or lack of it. Sparrow is a sensitive, forceful, fascinating page-turner that remains with the reader for days afterward.

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eMarketing Tools for Writers

For those e-writers, self-published or not, and in fact for any writer who wants to get into marketing their books online, Biff Mitchell’s eMarketing Tools for Writers is a must. Here’s the back blurb:

eMarketing Tools for Writers, 2nd Edition gets you right into promoting your books using free to inexpensive online tools. In easy-to-understand language, you’ll learn how to use state-of-the-art Internet technologies such as RSS news feeds, podcasts, Internet radio, and blogs. You’ll learn how to use forums, ezines and free media release services to market your books. Every tool is defined briefly and its book-marketing uses explained. Links to valuable resources allow you to explore each tool further. You don’t have to be an Internet wizard to use this book. Everything is kept simple and practical so that you can start immediately to market your books right out of your home.

Biff Mitchell is a fiction writer with several novels behind him, both self- and indie publisher published. He also gives writing workshops in his town of Fredericton, in New Brunswick.

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