What books are you reading ?

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Post by Doka » 07-14-2013 12:21 PM

Yes
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Post by Diogenes » 07-28-2013 01:48 PM

Just started reading Jumius and Albert's Adventures In The Confederacy.

This tale follows two reporters from the NY Tribune and their time spent reporting on the Civil War.

VO it occurred to me you may enjoy this one.

It's very interesting in how they covered the various battles, their time captured, etc. These boys traveled by horse and train to get to their destinations - very fascinating.



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"Saul's Book" by Paul T. Rogers

Post by Kaztronic » 08-02-2013 03:20 PM

Sinbad is haunting me, and I can't shake him.

Have you ever read one of those books which managed to haunt you for days afterwards? It just sticks with you and refuses to let go? I just finished reading a book like that, the kind of book I would include in a ten books on a deserted island list were I ever faced with such a scenario. I can't shake the narrator of this book, he's been on my mind for a week now. As I began to reach the final chapter of this book, I felt a sense of impending loss. Incredible, I haven't felt that way about a book in a good long while.

It's called "Saul's Book" by Paul T. Rogers.

The flap of the book describes it's story this way:

__________________________________________________
"This first novel is a brilliant and passionate love story of New York street life, an eccentric love story from the underground, told through the voice of a young hustler.

The scene is the petty-criminal world of 42nd Street. The hero is Sinbad, a young Puerto Rican who preys on the needs of lonely men, tries to handle a drug habit, and battles with himself and others for scraps of dignity. Sinbad's journey toward depravity and certain early death is arrested by Saul, intellectual ex-con, vicious and loving by turns, who becomes Sinbad's mentor, savior, and - ultimately - his betrayer.

Saul's Book is a novel of extraordinary, strident power: Sinbad's autobiography, dedicated to Saul and inspired by his death. It is a measure of Paul Roger's talent that he has effectively counterpointed Sinbad's reflective eloquence (developed in the loneliness of a prison cell) with the guttural passion of his life on the street, a wholly believable insider's view of a life most readers will never know."
__________________________________________________

In writing about the book, and why I think it is so good, I should start off by acknowledging that I have a very strong sense of nostalgia for the New York City of my youth, which would have been the late 80's through the late 90's.

I know full well that it was a filthy city, with trash all over the streets. It was dangerous, run-down, sleazy, and much more a lawless environment. The poor, seemed to be poor in a way that most people deemed poor today could not imagine. In other words, a different time and place. Despite knowing and acknowledging this, I cannot help but romanticize the past, and yes, I do miss the city as it was then.

Mixed in with the trash, the danger, and the decay of that older city was an incredible sense of freedom, risk, adventure, and excitement. You could do just about anything, you could see just about anything, buy it, participate in it. That's a powerful narcotic - just the idea of it.

This book both underscores that sense of a wild place where anything goes, as well as the horror that comes along with living in it. It reminded me a bit of Dante's Inferno, there are different levels of hell. By romanticizing it, you can lose track of the different levels of hell that people inhabit while ensconced in the blinking glow of the neon lights of Times Square. To an observer, with a warm home to go back to, or in a contemporary case and were time travel possible, a safe city to return to - this book serves as a reminder, and a glimpse in to a world that is almost unimaginable.

When I think back on that time, I realize that in my case, I was merely an observer. I'm lucky for it, for to have been truly enveloped by the world of Sinbad would not have been a good thing. I dipped my toes in to the cesspool if you will (more on that in a subsequent post where I intend to go "searching for Sinbad" if you will), but always had a warm bed to run home to (and yes, on several occasions I was running out of necessity). I never had to worry about three meals the next day, or getting a fix at a meth clinic. I never had to worry about turning a few tricks to set up money for food, booze, or a hit the next day. That was the world of Sinbad.

Based upon my own experiences, what I saw, heard, and felt. I'd say that Paul Roger's knew exactly what he was writing about. He didn't dip his toe in, he waded in to the cesspool, he knew the people, he knew the places. That's only speculation - but it's based upon the raw truth which bleeds from the pages of his book. His descriptions of the daily lives of the characters in his book meet or exceed those of John Rechy in "City Of Night" (the time periods are slightly different, but both books have the unmistakable ring of truth and first-hand knowledge of their subject matter), and mirror those of the Robert McNamara study written about in "The Times Square Hustler". His descriptions of the world they live in likewise match up with the non-fiction accounts detailed in Samuel Delany's "Times Square Red, Times Square Blue", as well as the very unusual book "Cruising The Deuce" by Allen Windsor (a book which almost feels like a guide book to the long shuttered porno theatres of Times Square back in the 70's - 90's).

Saul's Book is told through the words of Sinbad as he reflects upon his life after the death of Saul, his lover, mentor, Father-figure, Brother, tormentor. We meet him in what I would guess were his mid to late 30's. Even at that young age, it is clear that he is spent..... stuck..... mired in the daily grind of life. The world to him is a cruel joke, and he is left now with nothing other than serving out his sentence in this world.

Sinbad takes us through his childhood in the big city - a dysfunctional and disengaged family, and a world of temptation. This part may be hard to relate to for those who grew up in the suburbs, but it very true for those who grew up as city kids. You didn't take your bike and go ride through the neighborhood - once you were old enough, you jumped on the subway and the city was your oyster. This type of exploration was often solitary, and much like a choose your own adventure book. Sinbad is clearly an intelligent, and very thoughtful kid. A free spirit, and overall, a good person in the sense that his heart is not filled with malice, envy, and the need for social gratification that drives the lives of so many people in this world.

It is the combination of his free spirit, his disengaged Mother, his natural beauty and the environment of 1970's NYC that finds Sinbad in the Ramble of Central Park, crossing paths with a Chicken Hawk. Sinbad discovers he can make money and be pleasured at the same time. Not so bad at first, he becomes a hustler, working the park and 42nd Street. The Port Authority Bus Terminal, the peep-show stores, the theatres. As time goes on, he is terribly abused, becomes a junkie living on the streets, and barters away his beauty with men he sometimes finds repulsive. His tricks become a necessity, at times necessary just to have a place to sleep. He turns to petty crime, and the all too obvious downward spiral seems on it's way to being that of any other street hustler - until he meets Saul.

Saul is a difficult character to contemplate. He reminds me very much of the character played by Brian Cox in the movie L.I.E.

L.I.E. is a terrific movie, and a very challenging one. The main character, whose name I think is John is a pedophile. The movie is very difficult to deal with because the pedophile in it is cast as a likeable character, and a sympathetic one. It puts the audience in a very difficult spot.

Saul also likes them young, he is also likeable and at times sympathetic. He genuinely cares about Sinbad, tries to educate him, cares for him, rescues him constantly, and quite literally saves his life. A pedophile, a drunk, at times violent, Saul dominates Sinbad using his intellect and language as a hammer which ensures Sinbad is never his equal. Looking at this paragraph, I would say that Saul is an easy character to dismiss, and to despise out of hand. But the book itself will not permit that, a challenge of sorts. Only if you read it will you know what I mean. You cannot dismiss Saul so easily, especially given Sinbad's devotion to him.

The bulk of the book takes us through their daily lives over the years until we find Sinbad bitter, out of prison, in his 20's and beginning to age out of being a viable hustler. In the pages of Saul's Book you find yourself completely, and convincingly enmeshed in their world, which given the changes to our country since is almost like an anthropological study. The other characters populating the pages of this book feel as ghosts - you can just tell they were real. The book works it's way through the years, picking up the pace as it moves towards what may be an expected cataclysm. Along the way I found myself wanting to yell out to the characters not to make certain decisions - the connection with them is that strong. But those decisions they make are representative of their lives and times. We apply our own life experiences to their decision making. In many ways we are patrons of a peep show as we glimpse through a window in to their lives.

Saul's Book is exceptionally well written. It's intelligent, emotional, and unflinching. It's subject matter is tough to say the least. This is not the type of book which might find itself on the NY Times Best Seller list. It is however the type of book which might find it's way to the front table of a good bookstore. Having earned it's way based upon it's literary merit as opposed to the lowest common denominator of focus group tested best-sellers.

I can honestly say that Saul's Book is one of the best I've ever read. I have several books on my to read list right now, and am trying to begin another one - but I must admit the temptation is incredibly strong right now to read Saul's Book again. To further get to know Sinbad. He strikes me as a character you cannot help but care about - you will ache for him. I expect that I will think about him and contemplate him for a long time.

Below is what the NY Times had to say about "Saul's Book" upon it's release in 1983:

__________________________________________________
With the publication of "Saul's Book," a first novel of considerable power about criminal life around and about 42d Street, we return to square one, Times Square, the cornerstone of John Rechy's "City of Night." In this world each day is as dark as midnight, according to Paul T. Rogers's narrator, a Puerto Rican hustler named Sinbad the Sailor.

Having acquired an education in prison that enables him to compose this story of his life, Sinbad (whose original sin was to have been born male, poor, beautiful and Puerto Rican within walking distance of Central Park) makes it clear that New York City is hell. Abandoned by his street-walker mother to his grandmother's care, seduced by a young male while still pre-pubescent, raped and tortured by a pair of homosexual sadists, addicted to heroin, pills and booze, working the stalls in the mens' rooms at Port Authority, peep show booths and the parks - Sinbad understands that the city is a world completely owned by others through which he is only passing at a rate all too terrifyingly slow.

"In the beginning," he says in the opening of his narrative which he tells in a convincing mixture of high falutin references picked up in his prison reading and the chatter and cadences of the street, "I suppose there was a God, but he must be too bored now to care about anyone or anything." The theology of the hustler, as Sinbad espouses it, reflects a life nearly as bleak as that of a concentration camp without belief in Jehovah or History. "There's nothing out there but the dark and cold," this young battlescarred hero says one winter night while on his habitual quest for a place to sleep, "and the stars and after the stars there's nothing again. There's nothing up there and nothing down here."

Nothing except thousands of men who use him sexually year after year, which for Sinbad is both a living and a dying. Only one person, the Fagin-like Saul, Sinbad's overweight, witt, white lover, is interested in anything beyond his attractive body. Saul becomes both Sinbad's lover and brother, father and son. And when he draws Sinbad's son Salvador (the product of a short-lived marriage about which, in the book's only noticeable flaw, we hear far too little) into the seductive power of his love, Saul assumes an almost God-like power.

"Saul's Book" then is a kind of anti-Bible of the city, a guide to the horrors of underground life in which, as Sinbad describes it near the end of the novel, "I gotta rip everything out of me-weakness, pity, sentiment-so that there's nothing left for somebody else to come along and rip out." This book offers scenes of degradation so devastating that to read them makes you tremble. To have written them must have been excruciating, and to have lived them nearly unspeakable. And yet Sinbad the Sailor, thanks to the sympathetic imagination of Paul T. Rogers, speaks to us all.

NY Times
__________________________________________________

One last note about the author. I was surprised to discover that "Saul's Book" was the only novel written by this author. Especially given that as a first novel it was honored with the very first "Editors' Book Award".

Sadly, his own story ended tragically, and makes me wonder anew at just how far he waded in to the cesspool written of in the pages of his remarkable book.

From the NY Times in 1985:

_________________________________________________
A drifter and the victim's adopted son pleaded guilty yesterday to the murder last year of Paul T. Rogers, a writer who won the 1982 Editors' Book Award for his first novel, about the life of a male prostitute on Times Square.

The two defendants, Chris Rogers, 20 years old, and Nicholas Ondrizek, 27, admitted killing the writer in September 1984 in the apartment where all three men were living at 86-05 60th Road in Rego Park, Queens.

The police said Mr. Rogers, 48 years old, was beaten to death with a wooden plank and his body was later burned in the building's incinerator.

Appearing before Justice Philip J. Chetta in State Supreme Court in Queens, the two defendants also pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and robbery.

Mr. Rogers's novel, ''Saul's Book,'' which was rejected by 10 publishers, was first brought out by Pushcart Press in hard cover in the fall of 1982. The novel appeared in a Penguin Books paperback edition in May 1984.

NY Times Crime Blotter
__________________________________________________

"Saul's Book is available as a used book at Amazon:

Amazon.com
Last edited by Kaztronic on 08-02-2013 07:58 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by turtle101 » 09-01-2013 11:50 AM

Doka wrote: Inferno by Dan Brown


I did not like the book. I just about drowned in it. Literally!


http://www.amazon.com/Inferno-Dan-Brown/dp/0385537859


I agree.....terrible, terrible. I think I was on chapter 5 when the small voice inside my brain said...."throw it away before you go insane..."
Due to current economic conditions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.

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Post by kbot » 09-02-2013 07:12 AM

Been reading Robert Strassman's The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories. Sure, it may seem old and dry, but the author did a great job in supplying a ton of additional material and maps and I find that in reading history, it helps to explain some of the crap we're seeing today. I've also started his earlier The Landmark Thucydides - A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War.


After John B Well's show the other night, I'm thinking about getting a copy of Kevin Ryan's Another Nineteen: Investigating Legitimate 9/11 Suspects

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Post by Doka » 09-02-2013 08:18 AM

Kbot said
After John B Well's show the other night, I'm thinking about getting a copy of Kevin Ryan's Another Nineteen: Investigating Legitimate 9/11 Suspects


I am sending for it today. Sounds like an excellent book. :)

http://www.amazon.com/Another-Nineteen- ... r+nineteen
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Post by Starburst » 09-11-2013 04:10 PM

I've recently read this new book and also posted about it in another thread here on the forum. It’s awesome, astounding, and revolutionary! I have not read anything like this before. Check it out and maybe join my conversation in the other thread.

The book is called, ""in search of the holy language" by author anita meyer.

showthread.php?s=&threadid=47793

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Post by turtle101 » 09-11-2013 04:39 PM

"Night Film" by Jake Weber was a great listen. Having to do with witch craft and spell's and creepy crawling thing.....is it real or all just planted in your mind.:devil2: :devil: :rotate:
Due to current economic conditions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.

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Post by turtle101 » 09-11-2013 04:41 PM

by the way where is the mind?
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Post by voguy » 09-11-2013 06:31 PM

It Happened In Michigan - Colleen Burcar (1st edition)

True tales from the Great Lakes State's past, from the Pageant of the Sault, to a World Series that healed Wounds.
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Post by kbot » 09-12-2013 11:17 AM

Started reading another old book I found on Google - The Veil of Isis, or, The Mysteries of The Druids by W Winwood Reade. Originally written in 1861, it starts out with a early history of primitive cultures and religions, then moves quickly to the conquest of ancient Britain, and then the development of their pre-Christian religion.

I started reading this because it was mentioned in this years "Witches Almanac" in an article on wands and which woods were prefered for this purpose. I'm only on the early charpters, so this information will probably show-up later on.....

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Post by Doka » 09-12-2013 12:33 PM

Kbot, Please let me know which wood is the best, I could use a magic wand about now!!!:facepalm:
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Post by kbot » 10-22-2013 01:21 PM

Just received in the mail Jesse Ventura's book They Killed Our President, and Roger Stone's The Man Who Killed Kennedy The Case Against LBJ .

Both look like good reads. Just wrapping up Jim Maars Crossfire, so hopefully these will continue along the same lines.

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Post by kbot » 10-22-2013 01:23 PM

Doka wrote: Kbot, Please let me know which wood is the best, I could use a magic wand about now!!!:facepalm:


Holly, ash, birch, willow, oak........ they're all good. :)

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Post by Diogenes » 12-03-2013 04:26 PM

kbot wrote: Just received in the mail Jesse Ventura's book They Killed Our President, and Roger Stone's The Man Who Killed Kennedy The Case Against LBJ .

Both look like good reads. Just wrapping up Jim Maars Crossfire, so hopefully these will continue along the same lines.


Just finished Double Down by Halperin and now reading The Man Who Killed Kennedy.

Do you remember the LBJ quote which references his comments about the Civil Rights movements, his true feelings and his comments about ensuring votes for the Dem party for about 200 years? I thought that was a real eye opener.
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