Who knew that Harry Potter would be such a phenomenal thing? This first book of the Harry Potter series had me hooked! Right now, I'm waiting for my rWho knew that Harry Potter would be such a phenomenal thing? This first book of the Harry Potter series had me hooked! Right now, I'm waiting for my reserved copy of the 7th and last book.
I love the first book the best. I think it's because of the initial exposure/introduction to Harry Potter and various characters, such as his foster family, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Hedwig and many others. Of course, who can forget about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named....more
I wanted to love it as my friends raved about it. Alas, I just couldn't. The writing style bored me to death. I guess it just wasn't meeting my expectI wanted to love it as my friends raved about it. Alas, I just couldn't. The writing style bored me to death. I guess it just wasn't meeting my expectations. I had to put it down, for good, halfway....more
*So You Want to be an Interpreter?* is a recommended book for those wanting to be an interpreter or CDI (certifieAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
*So You Want to be an Interpreter?* is a recommended book for those wanting to be an interpreter or CDI (certified Deaf interpreter). (Although, 2nd edition is recommended for RID certification.)
The first half of the book can be boring or redundant for those who are already familiar with cultural and language differences among races, genders, generations and the like. If you know all about L1 and L2, then you'll be reading about them again here.
The other half deals with interpreting for the Deaf. Included are interpreting approaches, the history of RID and AVLIC, codes of ethics and situations.
It would have been a wonderful book except that there are a few problems. First of all, there are some editing problems. By 3rd edition, this should have already been resolved. If not, then obviously the editor isn't doing a good job. Secondly, some information, especially in the second half of the book, are redundant. So redundant that you cannot wait to finish the book. And by hurrying to finish the book, you end up skimming through the last chapters.
This is supposed to be the "bible" of ASL interpreting. Therefore, you shouldn't want to hurry through this book. I believe that the first half could have been condensed or merged with the interpreting issues.
However, this is a resourceful book offering thoughtful suggestions and professional advice for interpreters and students. ...more
I was hesitant about reading Talk Talk. I had read Drop City previously, which I didn't like. However, I was giveAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
I was hesitant about reading Talk Talk. I had read Drop City previously, which I didn't like. However, I was given this book for my birthday. Plus, I had heard about this Deaf character and T.C. Boyle's visit to Gallaudet University.
I have to say that I enjoyed reading Talk Talk. I enjoyed all of it except the ending, which was unexpected. The ending could make readers like or hate this book. I just finished reading it yesterday and I'm still deciding whether I liked it or not. All because of the ending.
Talk Talk centers around Dana and identity theft. Dana Halter is Deaf and teaches at a Deaf residential school in California. She's late for a dental appointment. She speeds on the road with the hope to get to the dentist on time. She gets pulled over for the old song and dance with the cop. However, it turns out differently than she expected because she gets arrested.
In jail, she learns that she is a victim of identity theft. With the help of her boyfriend, Bridger Martin, she sets out to capture the person who stole her identity.
Talk Talk is fast-paced and provides different perspectives from each character in each scenarios, which makes the book interesting. As a Deaf person myself, I found myself laughing and groaning with some of the situations that Dana found herself in. I have to applaud T.C. Boyle as he did a pretty good job with his research in regards to Dana.
Now, about the ending, I'm still debating on that one... ...more
"Last Summer" is one of the best gay novels I've read even though the plots are fairly simple. But, hey, sometimeAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
"Last Summer" is one of the best gay novels I've read even though the plots are fairly simple. But, hey, sometimes simple is best, right?
I enjoyed this book because it is diversed with characters that are gay, lesbian, transgendered and questioning. Josh escapes to P-Town from Boston after learning that his lover, Doug, has cheated on him. Toby escapes P-Town from his conservative and close-minded family after coming out to them. Ty and Reid, a Hollywood star and producer, escapes there as well, away from the public eye, so that they can just be themselves.
Meanwhile, Jackie, a native of P-Town, is thinking about having a baby after her lover has left her. However, she just needs to decide whom to ask for the "donation". Emmeline dreams of being a full woman, yet cannot afford that final surgery and adjusts to dealing with her ailing mother, whom she hasn't seen nor spoken in years.
Little by little, over the summer, each of these characters cross paths as they deal with their own and each other's issues. Love. Lust. Infidelity. Betrayal. Coming out. Acceptance. Blackmail. Family. Friendship. They're all in the book.
Like I said, it's a good book which you'll enjoy. I enjoyed it so much that I'm already reading another book of his. ...more
I bought this book because it's a mystery. Of course, I was thinking mystery like Jessica Fletcher or Michael NavAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
I bought this book because it's a mystery. Of course, I was thinking mystery like Jessica Fletcher or Michael Nava's Henry Rios. It was nothing like that. Of course, I do realize that one doesn't need to be a P.I. or an investigative lawyer to solve mysteries. That's what made this book enjoyable.
Derek flew in from San Francisco to Charlotte, NC, for Aunt Walterine's funeral. It's been 8 years since he's been in Charlotte. He was banished from his well-to-do family, after he came out, by his mother, whom he coined Gladys the [...].
Well, grief wasn't the only thing in store for Derek's return. He ran into his cousin, Mark, whom he had his first experience. Mark claimed to be a family man but can't keep his hands off of Derek. Derek bumped into Daniel, whom he went out for a drink and had a small conversation. It turned out that Daniel was a reporter and he published the information from Derek. The information is hurting his Uncle Vernon's campaign for a political office. To some family members, Derek couldn't have come at such a wrong time.
Meanwhile, Derek has uncovered a secret when he came across Aunt Walterine's diaries. A former gardner of the family was lynched. Derek is determined to find out who was involved and why. In his investigation, Derek doesn't just uncover a secret but secrets. Just how many secrets are in the family's closet, that's for you to read and find out.
Greg Lilly certainly made the characters as Southern and lively as they can be. It sure made me miss North Carolina as my partner is from there.
I couldn't not put down this book to read another day. I read about halfway. I put it down to watch a TV show before retiring for the night. Not even 10 minutes passed by that I turned off the TV and resumed reading. Yeah, I went to bed late but it was worth it....more
I realized after reading Augusten Burrough's "Magical Thinking" and Ford's "The Little Book of Neuroses" and the like that I'm not really a fan of collections of witty/humorous essays and personal stories. I guess because I expect all the essays to crack me up. So far, I've yet to read a book that has made me laugh from front to back (...yet).
"Neuroses" was an entertaining read. Some were hilarious, some serious and some thought-provoking. I found myself laughing at some parts. I also found myself nodding in agreement as if Ford read my mind, such as gays in monogamous relationships.
It's worth a read and perhaps you'll laugh more than I did. ...more
Hard basically revolves around Moe, who is not skinny but not on the heavy side. Just a husky bear. Plus, he's alAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
Hard basically revolves around Moe, who is not skinny but not on the heavy side. Just a husky bear. Plus, he's also the world's best (at least, in NYC)...uh, how do I say this without offending Amazon.com...oral servicer.
Anyways, Moe is one of those guys who feels that it is his right to have sex anywhere and anytime he feels like it. (Think of Brian from Queer As Folks.) However, his rights are being trampled by Frank DeSoto, a gay reporter who has survived the 80's nightmare, where many of his friends and his lover have died from AIDS. Frank berates the gay community for being lax on HIV/AIDS activism.
Meanwhile, Moe's ex, Gene, moves to NYC from Washington for a travel agency. Gene is HIV-positive. He meets a younger guy, Dustin, who is insanely jealous of Gene & Moe's close friendship. However, when Gene finds out that his viral load is undetectable, he goes sexually wild on Dustin, who seems to be pliant.
Moe's best friend and fellow gradute classmate, Aaron, is also dating. His new love is a young Asian photographer, Kevin. However, Aaron soon discovers that Kevin is a hustler. Will this relationship work out?
Despite Moe's frequent adventures, he meets Max, whom he falls head over toe. However, Moe is disappointed that Max, a survivor of the 80's nightmare, is working with Frank DeSoto. Max and Frank are both working on a play that deals with the younger generation of gays being ignorant and careless in the age of HIV/AIDS.
If you're familiar with Larry Kramer's work, then you'll probably get flashbacks from "Faggots" while reading Hard.
Like the saying, all good things must come to an end. Just who or what comes to an end?
Great book that had me laughing out loud in some parts....more
This is my third or fourth Henry Rios book. So far, I enjoy reading them.
Henry Rios is a gay Hispanic lawyer who is a recovering alcoholic. Not too long after burying his lover, Josh, from AIDS, Henry finds himself as a suspect of a murder. The victim was a hustler that Henry spent the night and had a brief spat before they went their own ways. A few hours later, the hustler is found dead.
Henry is cleared as a suspect after 2 more gay men are found murdered. Of course, Henry cannot ignore a pattern he detects among the murders. His investigation leads him to some interesting characters. A possibly corrupt homicide detective and a band of vigilantes. An overzealous magazine reporter. A movie studio head honcho and his assistant. Closeted men. A runaway brother of a murdered victim. A lesbian assistant of the hate crime task force.
Henry is so confident that certain people are responsible for these murders. However, he is reminded by the police and colleagues that there is not enough evidence to arrest them. Those who are behind these murders seem to be one step ahead of Henry.
It can be a frustrating book for some readers as it seems that Henry will never get justice. Fortunately, miracles do happen. When compelling evidence starts to appear, the case becomes so large that it's equivalent to the O.J. Simpson's case. ...more
Ever since *A is for Alibi*, I've been hooked to the Kinsey Millhone series. Therefore, Sue Grafton became one ofAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
Ever since *A is for Alibi*, I've been hooked to the Kinsey Millhone series. Therefore, Sue Grafton became one of my favorite authors. Throughout the series, some were great and some were not so great. Nonetheless, I was extremely excited to get the paperback edition of *S is for Silence*. I read this book every opportunity I could take advantage of.
It's 1987. Kinsey has been hired by Daisy Sullivan to find out whatever happened to her mother, Violet, who disappeared on 4th of July 1953.
4th of July 1953, Violet is getting herself ready for the festive night. In walks Liza Mellincamp, who has been hired to babysit Violet's 7 year old daughter, Daisy. Liza is in awe of Violet. Violet is ready and takes off with her new Pomeranian puppy, Baby, in her brand-new Bel Aire. She was never seen after this day.
34 years later, Daisy wants closure. She wants to know why if her mother left on her own volition. Kinsey returns to the little town where Violet lived before she disappeared. Just about 90% of the people who were there in '53 are still living there. Piece of cake, eh? Not quite so. However, Kinsey has been able to piece together the last days of Violet before she disappeared.
It was no secret that Violet was a flirt. Married men didn't stop her. It was also not a secret that she won a $50,000 lawsuit settlement. She wasn't afraid to brag about it.
The question is did she disappear on her own or was she killed? If she took off on her own, why? Was there a serious lover? If she was murdered, there are no shortage of suspects. Was it her abusive, now recovering alcoholic, husband? Was it the young salesman who sold her that car and was later fired? Was it one of the married men that she had an affair with and abruptly stopped the liasion? Was it one of the women, disgusted by Violet's absence of moral standards?
The book "toggles" between Kinsey's present time (1987), in one chapter, and the characters in 1953. *S* was an interesting change of routine. In the other series, she usually includes Henry, her landlord, Rosie, owner of a restaurant, and some lover. In *S*, they're barely mentioned. So, it was nice to see Kinsey interact more with her client and the people she interviewed.
Overall, a good book that I couldn't put down. Now, I'm just sad because I gotta wait forever before T comes out. Sue, hurry!...more
As an ASL instructor, I found myself not really liking this ASL book. I'm constantly comparing it to Vista/SigninAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
As an ASL instructor, I found myself not really liking this ASL book. I'm constantly comparing it to Vista/Signing Naturally, not that it's a perfect book either.
First of all, it is difficult to learn 3-D signs from a book. However, you can get an accompanying DVD/VHS. However, it is not much help. The signs/models in the video are too fast for beginners to learn and pick up. This is the biggest complaint from my students.
Another thing, there isn't much cultural tidbits for beginning students. There are more grammar tidbits. Therefore, you'll get the feeling that the linguistic aspect of this book is more important than anything else. Sure, we all want you to sign correctly. However, I want my students to have equal knowledge of the Deaf culture/community.
There are about 3 exercises in each unit. There's barely any activities included to make learning fun. This book focuses on rote learning rather than meaningful learning. For me, rote learning isn't quite effective for students to learn signs.
If your teacher/class require this book, I suggest you bombard your teacher with questions about signs, grammar and culture....more
*The Autobiography of Santa Claus* was a good read with some interesting "explanations" of how Santa came to be aAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
*The Autobiography of Santa Claus* was a good read with some interesting "explanations" of how Santa came to be as well as some Christmas traditions. There are numerous references to Christ, which emphasizes the true meaning of Christmas. Attached to the autobiography are "revised" historical tidbits.
The story immediately opens with Nicholas, about 300 years after Christ, coming from a wealthy family but soon becomes an orphan. Due to his generous nature and powers of observation, Nicholas begins his local gift-giving in secret. Within a short amount of time, his gift-giving expands beyond his hometown. Within centuries, it becomes global.
His initial gift-giving has given him immortality, which is passed on to others who have joined Santa. Those who have joined him are his wife, Layla, Attila the Hun, Arthur (whom we have designated as King), Leonardo da Vinci, Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther, Amelia Earhart and a few others. Some of these people interesting to see how they have joined Santa's team. Other people were a little difficult to swallow to see that they have joined with Santa, such as Attila.
Throughout the autobiography, explanations are given on how some Christmas traditions have started. Traditions included stocking hanging, chimneys, *Silent Night*, *'Twas the Night Before Christmas*, *A Christmas Carol*, the flying reindeer and the sleigh, Santa as the big jolly man, the North Pole, and many more.
The story pretty much covered everything, except one thing. I wished that Jeff Guinn included the origin of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer. I believe that would have a wonderful conclusion of Santa's autobiography.
Overall, it was a good read, perfect for the Christmas season....more
I really don't know what to make of *Growing Up Latino*. I mean, I did enjoy the book. I laughed, nodded and groaAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
I really don't know what to make of *Growing Up Latino*. I mean, I did enjoy the book. I laughed, nodded and groaned with memories of my Hispanic background as I read the stories. However, I was surprised at excerpted stories in this book by other well known Hispanic authors.
Oscar "Zeta" Acosta's "The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo" and Jose Antonio Villarreal's "Pocho" are a couple of examples where an excerpt of their stories are in this book. So, it made me wonder just how many other works in this book were also excerpts.
To me, there were lots of other wonderful stories by well known authors, such as Sandra Cisneros, Richard Rodriguez, Gloria Anzaldua, Rudolfo A. Anaya and many more. Each of them were unique with the topics they've chosen as well as their writing styles.
There were many topics covered in the stories. However, just about almost everyone had a similar experience. Topics covered death, education, religion, Spanish, English, gringos, food, social norms and many more. Experiences were similar when it came to social norms, teachers, Catholic schools, pronunciation of names and the like. I could relate to some of them, which made some stories more cherished than others. There were a couple of stories that I just could not "get it".
Nonetheless, it was a good read. I just wished that there were no excerpted stories. Excerpted stories feel abrupted and it's mainly because you're only read a sample. Regardless, I will recommend my friends to read this book, along with an explanation. ...more
*The Penis Book* is an interesting "gag gift" of a book that you can give to friends or keep for yourself. In itAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
*The Penis Book* is an interesting "gag gift" of a book that you can give to friends or keep for yourself. In it are interesting facts and tidbits about the penis. This book is designed for anyone (men, gay, straight, women) to read.
In the book, you'll read about if size matters or not. You'll read how straight and gay men treat their penises. You'll learn international words for the penis. You'll learn to vary your metaphors for "spanking the monkey".
There are quirky stuff in there as well. Such as what goes on in the "penis head" toy manufacturing company. You'll read what men think they'll be or do if they didn't have a penis. You'll also read what women would do if they had a penis. You'll read quotes about bulges and self-sucking and odd news.
There are also some little known facts and historical tidbits. A mechanism device was created during one of the World Wars to curb wet dreams. You'll read up on the different names for body piercings in the groin area, such as the Prince Albert. You'll learn of a festival celebration of the penis in Asia.
There are plenty of pictures in this little book. However, none of them are pornographic. There are pictures of penis candies, metal penises, cartoon penises, penis-shaped toys, tattooed penises, painted penises and many others. You'll get to analyzed paintings of penises. It's like a world of penises in this book!
Weird quotes and poems are also provided. You'll laugh, groan and maybe nod in agreement. You'll share with your friends or partner. You'll roll your eyes. You might learn a thing or two.
My favorite parts are the different names of the penis around the world and the different metaphors for "rounding up tadpoles". Some of them would just make you laugh.
There's just so many stuff in this little book, which will surprise you. So, get this book and embrace the knowledge of the penis. ...more
Patricia Cornwell remains to be one of my favorite authors. However, lately, I have not been impressed with the KAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
Patricia Cornwell remains to be one of my favorite authors. However, lately, I have not been impressed with the Kay Scarpetta series. I wasn't thrilled about this whole "werewolf" serial killer storyline. Despite the bad reviews in Amazon.com on Predator, I was thrilled to learned that there would be no mentions of the werewolf.
I thought Predator was a fresh change. However, it is not without faults. First of all, Pete Marino...ugh! He needs to go. I've never liked him. He's just rude and brash. I hope that Cornwell will kill him off without any chance of resurrecting him like she did with Benton. Lucy is also getting to be a PITA. She's a good character but she's withdrawing to the point where nothing is shared about her. And that is getting boring. She's been like that the past 3 or 4 books.
The story starts out interesting. However, in the last 1/4 of the book, the story starts to become a bit complicated where I had to go back and re-read a couple of chapters twice.
Here's what's going on:
Kay, Lucy and Pete are in Florida, working for the National Forensic Academy. The NFA was founded by Lucy. They currently have an intern, Joe Amos, that no one can tolerate, especially Scarpetta. However, unline Marino, she remains professional.
Benton Wesley is up in Massachusetts, studying and testing the brain patterns of violent perpetrators. (He avoids the term "serial killer".) One of his patients is Basil Jenrette.
There's a series of murders in southern Florida that seem to echo Basil's previous murders. Therefore, all the characters are working together on these cases. Meanwhile, Lucy is contemplating her one-night stand with Stevie. Plus, she has a health issue to worry about. Marino chews out just about everyone, especially with a local police detective, Reba. Benton and Kay are on the rocks about their relationship.
Bottom line, this isn't one of the impressive works by Cornwell. So, yeah, I was disappointed, especially how the story ended. ...more
*CSI: Cold Burn* was an easy reading that didn't dwell too much on forensic jargon and processes. There were procAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
*CSI: Cold Burn* was an easy reading that didn't dwell too much on forensic jargon and processes. There were processes but they were simplified so that readers can still feel connected to the stories.
Gil and Sara have flown to New York for a forensic conference. However, just as soon as they landed, a blizzard is just now starting. They make it to the hotel. Restless, Sara and Gil take a short walk around the hotel. However, their stroll is interrupted when they discovered a murdered and burnt body.
With the conference cancelled, due to the non-stop blizzard, Sara and Gil preserve evidence surrounding the burnt body with haste. They also have to improvise to make their own homemade forensic lab.
Meanwhile, back in Las Vegas, a woman has been found, dead, at a park near Lake Mead. Catherine and the gang have found the crime scene to be odd. Apparently, the woman had been frozen and then wetted down before being dumped. The forensic team discovered that this particular woman had been missing for a year.
Both were good stories. I think I liked the one with Gil and Sara. With the help of a Canadian forensic specialist, it felt like they were playing Clue. You know, so-and-so killed and burned this guy with this weapon in this room. Of course, everyone had a different theory.
Like I said, *CSI:Cold Burn* was an easy and enjoyable read. ...more
*The Zookeeper* was a good read, being light on plots.
Sam Metcalfe is a zookeeper at the National Zoo in DC. He is mainly responsible for black howler monkeys. Sam has some great ideas for projects and renovations for the Zoo. However, his proposals are constantly being shelved or rejected. He's also a "keeper" of other people's lives:
Jack - He's an older guy at the Zoo, who trained Sam when he first came on. He's responsible for the big cats. His wife has been dealing with cancer. Jack deals with it by drinking. At times, he comes to work ineberated.
Laurel - She is Sam's childhood best friend. She's the chef and owner of Terra, a trendy restaurant in Dupont Circle. She has been pressured by her sisters to take care of their mother in Pennsylvania. Their mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Jamie - He is Sam's nephew. Sam is a father figure for Jamie. Jamie pretty much has a good relationship with his mother. However, problems arise every now and then. Jamie has expressed going to a particular high school but his mother is set on another school.
After a blind date, Sam has struck gold with Dean. Dean is a closeted meteorologist for the local news channel. Dean is like the perfect gay man...having a wonderful job, toned body, fantastic place and an impressive circle of friends.
Sam is in love with Dean. Dean seems to reciprocate the feeling. However, things start to change especially when Dean aims for an anchorman position in New York City.
From this moment, Sam realizes that he's losing control as a "keeper". The worst is his own life. He starts to question decisions that he has made. But before he can straighten out his life, he feels that he needs to make sure the the people in his lives are alright.
Overall, it was a good read with simple plots. This is something that you could read over the weekend. It's simply boy-meets-boy-and-boy-wonders-if-this-is-the-happy-life-and-if-he-is-content-with-it....more
*A Mind of Its Own* started off fantastic, opening with how witches were burned for having contact with the "deviAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
*A Mind of Its Own* started off fantastic, opening with how witches were burned for having contact with the "devil's rod". However, the book's ending wasn't quite as great, concluding with impotence and Viagra.
Friedman presented how the penis was viewed, throughout history, through various lens: historical, social, religious, psychological, medical and feminist. My only problem with this book was that the last half was mostly medical (Freud, psychology, psychoanalysis, penile reconstruction, testicular transplants, impotence, etc.). So, the end became a little dry.
There were a lot of information and tidbits that I didn't know about the penis. I'm sure that we're familiar about the Greek and Roman's view on and culture around the penis. However, there are so much more to know about these people. The pagan and the religious views were interesting as well. It was amazing to see that the early Christians had numerous dialogues on the penis, especially the semen.
I was very interested in reading about the history of the correlation between penis size and race. This wasn't about how a race or an ethnic group have been stereotyped on their penis size. It was more about the white view of the black penis and how they responded to it.
The feminist view on the penis was enlightening. I've always wanted to know exactly how it started and it pretty much made sense. However, it was interesting to see how the penis have divided women among themselves, despite them being avowed feminists.
I think there are so much more that Friedman could have covered in the cultural history of the penis. I wish that Friedman had included the pop cultural view of the penis. I can only think of one example that Friedman did. He mentioned Robert Mapplethorne's (sp?) (who was gay) controversial photo of a semi-erect black penis. Speaking of gay, I'm surprised that Friedman didn't bring up the homosexual view of the penis.
Nonetheless, you're going to read about so many people who have made a contribution or an impact on the penis. Such people are Da Vinci, Thomas Clarence, Freud and so many more. If you've always been curious how the penis have been viewed throughout history, then this book is for you....more