Making good Mondays is like making coffee -

The week is before us - like the coffee pot - waiting to brew. Making it good is a matter of choice, luck, creativity, patience and acceptance of the outcome.

Currently at Making Good Mondays

Active elements on this page: Occasionally I will publish a new blog post, but I write mostly at other sites.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

On writing about books and authors --

Writing about books is not the primary focus of my blogging.  For that I recommended, in a post in October of 2009, a literary blogger who maintains the Maud Newton: Blog.  Here is one of her posts about a reading of one of her essays in a published collection titled Love Is a Four Letter Word.  Newton is a great writer and a reviewer of books of all kinds.

Since I learned to read I have consumed and cherished good books.  As a reader I joined the popular website, GoodReads.  Over the years I have written a few reviews myself, nothing to compare, of course.  And I have written about authors as well, not formal reviews, but with a focus of what they had written that interested me.  As a blogger, my posts are generally about national politics and world affairs.  In that vein the first such piece, written on July 19, 2005 was about the bookThe World Is Flat, by Thomas Friedman.  Luckily ". . . cliff notes" was in the post title.  It landed my post in position #10 of 104,000 in the Google search.  I was surprised and pleased by the popularity of my post, and have been writing about good books ever since.

My first formal book review was written on November 9, 2007.  I was offered a review copy by the publisher of Stone Cold, written by David Baldacci.  (Here is Amazon's current info about the book).  I have no idea how they found me, except that I have long blogged about the Middle East, national security and national intelligence subjects.  Stone Cold is a novel touching on those themes.  Being an anxious-to-please first time reviewer, my review was timely to the date of publication and, for a few days it remained in the top 20 of a Google search.  It has since disappeared from the first few pages in a current search.

What seems to make terrorists tick has always been an area of fascination for me.  After having watched a great C-SPAN feature on the subject I wrote a whole series of posts.  I concluding it March 18, 2008, with a post on Leaderless Jihad.  Forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman was the author of the book about Middle Eastern terrorists on which he presented so brilliantly on TV.   (This is the current info from Amazon about the book). Today my post remains at #17 of 5300 in a Google search.

Nonfiction is the literary form I prefer, and I remain fascinated by political biography and autobiography.  One of my (s)heroes is the first female Secretary of State, Madelaine Albright.  She served under President Bill Clinton, another of my heroes. Her memoir is entitled Madam Secretary, and I wrote at length about her fine book in a post on January 8, 2009. (Here is Amazon's info about the book).  Today, I often refer to her memoir when I want to find out about the background of the Camp David peace negotiations that happened just before President George W. Bush's inauguration.  I started blogging in March of 2005 in an oppositional reaction to the aggressive invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration.

The author of my most recent book review written on August 31, 2010, also had a negative reaction to the war in Iraq.  Barefoot In Baghdad, was written by Minal Omar, an American Muslim woman born in Saudi Arabia who came to the U.S. at the age of 6 months. Here is more about the book, a memoir  that tells of her living and working in Iraq on behalf of women during the early years of the war. It is now #56 of 103,000 in Google search.  I highly recommend this book, by the way.  Omar has returned to the United States.  We are on the way out of Iraq and the Middle East peace process is still stalled.  According to the well-respected Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erakat, Camp David still has a bearing.  However, Erakat recently stated that President Obama's midterm election losses will not affect  the current peace process.
Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...Image via Wikipedia

My review was another case of being sent a review copy by a publisher, who somehow found out my areas of interest and my contact information.  I seem to be on a number of types of Email lists.  I get news releases from publicists who want my readers to know about expert speakers who are out and about. I still get a significant number of offers of books to be mailed to me for review.  I do not accept any books about which I am uninterested.   And I must confess that I do not always get reviews written about the books I receive.  Some I cannot finish out of boredom, some I find to be pretty inadequate and not worth the effort to write even a negative review.  It has been an interesting side benefit of blogging and one with which I always try to operate in good faith, even if imperfectly.

[11/7/10: Post date]

My Other Blogs: Check out my Amplify blog for synopses of current news stories. My creative website is Making Good Mondays. Follow me at Twitter. And Carol Gee - Online Universe is the home page for all my websites.

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References on Spirituality -- Favorites from my old collection

  • "A Return To Love: Reflections On the Principles Of a Course In Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. Harper Collins, 1992
  • "A World Waiting To Be Born: Civility Rediscovered" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Chicken Soup For the Unsinkable Soul" by Canfield, Hansen and McNamara. Health Communications, 1999
  • "Compassion in Action: Setting Out On the Path of Service" by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush. Bell Tower Pub., 1992
  • "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. MIF Books, 1978
  • "Finding Values That Work: The Search For Fulfillment" by Brian O'Connell. Walker & Co., 1978
  • "Fire in the Soul" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1993
  • "Further Along the Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Guilt Is the Teacher, Love Is the Lesson" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1990
  • "Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways To Regain Peace and Nourish the Soul" by Elaine St. James. Hyperion, 1995
  • "Insearch:Psychology and Religion" by James Hillman. Spring Pub. 1994
  • "Man's Search For Himself" by Rollo May. Signet Books, 1953
  • "Mythologies" by William Butler Yeats. Macmillan, 1959
  • "Myths, Dreams and Religion" by Joseph Campbell. Spring Pub. 1988
  • "Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit" by John and Muriel James. Penguin Books, 1991
  • "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Bantam Books , 1991
  • "The Heroine's Journey" by Mureen Murdock. Random House, 1990
  • "The Hope For Healing Human Evil" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1983
  • "The House of Belonging" poems by David Whyte. Many Rivers Press, 2004
  • "The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth" by M.Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1978
  • "The Soul's Code: In Search Of Character and Calling" by James Hillman. Random House, 1996
  • "The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought" by Jaroslav Pelikan. Little, Brown & Co., 1990
  • "Unconditional Life" by Deepak Chopra. Bantam Books, 1992
  • "Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Hyperion, 1994
  • "Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Doubleday Dell Pub. Group, 1974

About Me

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A retired counselor, I am equal parts Techie and Artist. I am a Democrat who came to the Southwest to attend college. I married, had kids and have lived here all my adult life.