"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Book Giveaway for Author Jo Carson on Goodreads.com

Update: 9/26/11

Jo Carson passed away a few days ago. As the below post indicates, I encountered her writing through NPR's host and writer Peter Sagal. His remembrance of Ms. Carson is available here:

For Jo

The below giveaway has ended. I will be mailing copies to the winners this weekend. Thank you to the over 700 people who entered for a chance to win.

I am sponsoring a book giveaway on Goodreads.com to support author Jo Carson's personal fight against cancer.

Jo Carson, as a writing talent and person coping with cancer, was brought to my attention by Peter Sagal, host of NPR's hit show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! They are friends, and she was a mentor to Peter back in the day. He shared Ms. Carson's story with readers on his blog and asked us to consider making a donation to a support fund.

As an extension of my blogging activities, I've set up a giveaway so a couple of readers will have a chance to try out Jo Carson's work. You can follow the link below to enter the giveaway. Please note, this requires signing up to have a free account on Goodreads.com. This is a fun social networking sight dedicated to books. So I encourage you to sign up anyway.
I also invite you to read my review of this excellent book at Goodreads.com: Teller Tales by Joe Carson

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Teller Tales: Histories (Paperback) by Jo Carson

Teller Tales

by Jo Carson

Giveaway ends October 14, 2010.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fosgitt's 'Little Green Men' is Wacky Space-age Fun

Little Green MenLittle Green Men by Jay P. Fosgitt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My only gripe with this delightful comic adventure is its indistinctive title: Little Green Men. Used so often in pop culture as to be belabored, “little green men” doesn't strike me in the way great titles do. This is a minor concern though, because it is a wonderful read. I give Little Green Men a very enthusiastic four stars and highly recommend it.

This is emerging talent Jay Fosgitt's second full-length offering. It is actually a compilation of several mini-adventures originally published online through Ape Entertainment. I also recommend Fosgitt's first outing: Dead Duck. Little Green Men is a different story with different characters. It is also lighter fare and offers a faster paced and generally livelier plotline (pun intended).

Working with characters created by Brent Erwin and David Hedgecock, Mr. Fosgitt takes this alien trio on an adventure titled “Go Big or Go Home.” This grand tour of Earth's exotic culture as scene from an alien perspective is at once a charming tale, a goofy excursion, and a witty lampoon of pop culture. One of the biggest strengths of Little Green Men is how distinct the three little aliens are from each other. Each serves as a hilarious foil for the other two. They are also joined by a fourth colorful character, their rather sassy spaceship.

My favorite outing involves the aliens happening upon a Renaissance Festival and mistakenly assuming they've gone back in time. Not only is the ensuing battle hilarious, it's exciting, swashbuckling action on a par with established superhero comics. If you are a comic book fan, you should definitely give Jay Fosgitt's work a try. Regardless, Little Green Men is a story anyone can enjoy. I say get Little Green Men...before they get us.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Naked Angel and Little Green Men Cause Thoughts of Dead Duck in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Every blogger hopes for the supreme blogging miracle. I mean of course when a chosen topic simultaneously offers both a catchy title and key words guaranteed to boost the blog's search ranking. This is such a blog post. Now here is the bonus. I get to plug new works by two artists I personally know and admire.

Naked Angel Coming Soon

A couple of years back I acted in a play called Blue Surge at the Blackbird Theatre in Ann Arbor. This gave me the opportunity to work with a fine young actress named Cameron Watkins. Since then, Cameron has scored a big role in the feature film Naked Angel. (For my part, I followed up our joint Blackbird debut by purchasing three DVD box sets of Dr. Who.)

Naked Angel stars James Duval, who cult film fans will recognize from Donnie Darko. All remaining film fans will likely remember him as the oldest son of Randy Quaid's quirky character in Independence Day. Here is Naked Angel's premise as listed on the film's IMDB entry:
A man who wants to let go of life [Duval] falls in love with an angel who longs to be human [Watkins] and is inspired to live again.
Here is where I try to score a future hug by saying that the lovely Cameron didn't even have to act in the film because she is already an angel. Ticket information for the sneak preview--with director and cast members in attendance--can be found at Michigan Theatre's website. And now, I invite you to watch the trailer for Naked Angel:

Little Green Men For Sale

Little Green Men

In the realm of comic books and graphic novels, Ann Arbor-based artist Jay Fosgitt has just published his second work, Little Green Men. My pre-ordered copy arrived earlier today at a nearby Borders in Ann Arbor (where I had it sent to score free shipping). So I haven't read Little Green Men yet. Still, I'm betting it totally frickin' debunks astrophysicist Stephen Hawking's claim that humans don't have what it takes to face aliens. Already available is Jay's first graphic novel, Dead Duck. The following is an excerpt from my unabashedly biased rave:

Dead DuckDead Duck by Jay P. Fosgitt
What is Dead Duck? In a nut shell, or egg shell rather, it’s a small water fowl that is…well…not living. Raised and employed by Death itself, Dead Duck collects deceased souls and delivers them to the afterlife. ....

Creator Fosgitt taps into our popular culture with a hilarious offering of subtle references, goofy tributes, and witty satire. It all kept me chuckling to the last page. A major part of the fun is the richly detailed artwork. It spurns decorum, all the while rewarding the reader’s intelligence with something more than mindless bathroom humor. (I’m not saying that bathroom humor is absent, just that it isn’t relied on). Much of the funniest content shows up in the background, so it’s a good idea not to digest Dead Duck too quickly. ...

I, Childe Jake, have not received gifts in exchange for the above promotional blogging...which is not to say I wouldn't have accepted gifts, even moderately priced ones, y'know, for my trouble. After all, I sacrificed an evening of Dr. Who reruns to write this blog.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Childe Jake Talks up Childe Harold, but First...

Tomorrow, September 8th, is International Literacy Day. I confess this is a day I’ve never paid special attention to. My excuse is that I cherish literacy every day. The blunt truth is that, like so many other "increasing awareness" days, I just haven’t made any time for it before. But let's avoid feeling guilty. If you pay taxes as a U.S. citizen, read books to children, or pay back student loans, you are already playing a key role in increasing literacy. Pat yourself on the back. The question is, are you willing to do something extra? Below are two simple things I’ve done in the past year that felt great.

My first suggestion is make a donation to your local public library. Don’t just donate old books for the used book sale--the literary equivalent of donating unwanted canned vegetables to a food drive. Actually make a monetary donation to your library. My other suggestion is even simpler. Make a special trip to a store that sells print material and buy some. Don't just read for free online and assume that advertising dollars will keep quality publications accessible to all. Actually go to a physical book store and buy a book, magazine, or newspaper. By purchasing print material in person, you help sustain the marketplace that supplies literature to people who do not have Internet access at home.

One of the blessings I’ve enjoyed thanks to literacy is developing this blog. I am working on a post to explain why I chose the blog name Childe Jake’s Pilgrimage. Since it is not ready yet, I am posting my short review of Lord Byron’s masterful poem: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. This is one of my favorite literary works, and certainly my favorite poem by Lord Byron. Below are some reasons why.

Childe Harold's PilgrimageChilde Harold's Pilgrimage by George Gordon Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my favorite work by Lord Byron. Hands down. No contest. I revisit it often to read favorite sections.

Via the character of Childe Harold, and later simply as himself, Byron explores the world. He visits places like Spain, Turkey, and of course, Greece. He also muses on great historical figures like Napoleon. Think of this as the ultimate road trip epic, set via 19th Century Romanticism. Do you like movies like Easy Rider? This work is in the same vein.

The language is more accessible than Shakespeare. Still, I recommend picking up a well-footnoted edition, and keeping a dictionary handy. Often, Byron uses words differently than we do today. So it is worth referencing archaic definitions that add fascinating layers to the text.

Wish you could meet Byron and interact with him in person? Read this pilgrimage poem.

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