Entry for January 20, 2006

The above illustration is from Corey Anderson’s blog  , which has lots of other funny stuff.  It’s in honor of the fact that I’m starting this entry with a Quote of the Day from the handsome of face and deed George Clooney in his Golden Globe speech :

I wanna thank Jack Abramoff. You know… just because. … Who would name their kid Jack when ‘Off’ is at the end of your last name?

I needed to lighten things up, after listening to the NPR tapes of the Sago mine disaster all afternoon.

By the way, just heard from my friend Alice that our reading group has adopted my suggestion of Marc Estrin‘s first novel,  Insect Dreams which Unbridled reissued in November 2005, after it was dropped by Penguin because it had dropped its literary press Blue Hen in 2002, only two years after it was formed according to a chart by Brandeis sociology prof Laura Miller.  Fred Ramey, Estrin’s editor at Blue Hen is one of the founders of Unbridled.

When the novel first came out, it received a rave review in  the Christian Science Monitor and I certainly enjoyed the reading at the  Virginia Festival of the Book .  After getting my review copy from Unbridled, I’ll have to concede that the review in the Washington Post by Alex Abramovich (who mispelled Marc’s name as Mark) had a point when he  compared Estrin to Jostein Gaarder, the Norwegian author of Sophie’s World  who

 stretched a thin fictional skin over the history of philosophyLike Gaarder, Estrin is more interested in ideas than character, and, like Sophie’s World, Insect Dreams is full of expository, and sometimes elementary, passages that have little to do with the action at hand.

Jack Coulehan, M.D., M.P.H. , Professor of Preventive Medicine and Director of the Institute for Medicine in Contemporary Society at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine (part of the State University of New York ) has an “annotation” at NYU’s Literature Arts and Medicine Database which cross references it to other books by key words like Acculturation, Anatomy, Body Self-Image, Communication, Disability, Empathy, Freedom, Human Worth, Individuality, Science, Science Fiction, Society, Suffering, Suicide, and Technology.  Having met Estrin at  the 2005 Book Expo America, I’d bet he’d get a hoot from this.

Curiously, since title’s cannot be copyrighted, you will find the story “Insect Dreams” in the anthology Trampoline , at the Small Bear Press site, which also publishes the zine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet (LCRW) .

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