About

A Celebration of Reading

This is the latest incarnation of A Celebration of Reading. The website has been online at various locations around the network since 1997 and recently moved from the Apple servers to join up with the weblog called Rocking on the Cat’s Tail and become what you see on these pages.

ACOR is dedicated to books, reading, and critical thinking.

On this site you will find a listing of the books I have pooled for reading during the month as well as the titles of the books I am actively pursuing. If you want to know more about what I have readily available for reading selections you can browse my bookshelves as I often do while searching for a specific title or perhaps just seeing what I might pull out for addition to my monthly pool.

Although it never seems correct or up-to-date I have included a copy of the inventory of books I have read since I started reading on my own with some seriousness back in the 1950’s.

I try to make comments on the books I have read recently and have included the comments from each year going back to 1997 when I started this website. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without ranking the best books I have read so I include both some general rating lists and list specific to each year since 1997. Additionally, there at times when I need to pontificate or otherwise make an extended comment about a recent reading selection and I will use the weblog to capture my ever expanding words.

If you run into me on any of the online reading groups you may have had a taste of Parker’s Rules. For those that haven’t had the experience and for those that just can’t seem to remember the rules and myths of literature, I have included them on this site and will include some personal comments on reading, literature and critical thinking as the muse grabs me (can you ever fill a web log?).

So I hope you pick up some suggestions from this site that will have you racing over to the nearest library or bookstore for a must-read book.

You can navigate through all the pages of this site by selecting from the pull-down menus. One advantage to using what is essentially a web log to host ACOR is that there is a greater chance of intercommunication since comments are solicited on just about every page. So take advantage and add a comment if you are so inclined or drop me an email.

About Me

Name: Michael Parker
Location: Hilton Head, South Carolina
Interests: Reading, Writing, Thinking
Status: Retired Boulevardièr, Professional Curmudgeon

When you retire, there is a tendency to have all those little things that have defined you for years and years fade away, overcome by an increase in doctor’s appointments, tedious pill sorting, and hours spent on the living room floor crying, “Help! I fell and I can’t get up!”

No, really. I had a stroke about ten years ago and I can’t get up off the floor without the assistance of a table or couch. I get around okay with a sturdy cane but curbs are still my nemesis. Unfortunately, not having good balance or endurance, I tend to sit at my desk most of the day or reading on the porch if the weather is nice. I live alone now but even with my disabilities, I can do my own laundry, make my own meals, and take the puppies out for a walk several times a day (if I don’t go too far). I have a woman who comes in every-other week to scrub, dust, vacuum, and do all those things that make my little house sparkle.

I escaped two evil things when we left New Jersey:  snow and stairs. Now I can be a full-time curmudgeon.  I sit out on the veranda and read all year round: the herons stalk the edges of the lagoon; the alligators drift across the water; I have my feet up reading French poetry; and at least one of the dogs is curled up in the chair beside me dreaming of rabbits and armadillos.

My daughter lives only a few hours away. She teaches English and Film at the University level and she keeps me up-to-date on the new theories of philosophy, psychology and literature. She’s also a great cook and all the ladies in my cul-de-sac look forward to her coming around the holidays and cooking us all a fabulous meal, inevitably leaving new recipes for the ladies to try themselves.

[Continued]

12 responses

  1. Hi
    May I hope that you can review an award-winning historical novel? I published a Korean War novel The Dance of the Spirits on Amazon. The book won the 2014 eLit Awards sponsored by Jenkins Group. The book tells a story of a forbidden love in a forgotten war and received positive reviews from Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco Reviews, Midwest Book Review, and some Amazon readers.
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/098969092X/?tag=bdsitelogin-20
    ISBN 9780989690928
    Best wishes to you and yours
    Catherine Aerie

    Like

    • I have been doing this book thing for many years and have always avoided doing personal book reviews. If I did start the practice, I would be soon inundated with requests and experience tells me to draw the line right at the beginning. Each week I probably receive four or five explicit or stealth requests to consider an author’s latest work but I will only read and possibly comment on any book when I make the selection myself based on my interests and my desires. And even then it is totally subjective and blatantly non-commercial.

      Your book has been recognized and I’m sure there are or will be many reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. Of course you want more recognition and more sales, who wouldn’t; but if you want my lousy advice, get cracking on that second novel and let the free market (such as it is) worry about the first one. Let me know how it’s going. Good luck!

      Like

    • One day long long ago in San Diego I spent the day bobbing around outside the surf at Ocean Beach, the ocean was a lake, the jellyfish were ravenous, and my buddy and I sat on our surfboards for hours chatting about the usual things that interest a seventeen year old boy: Paradise Lost, girls, cars, girls, onion rings, girls, Maynard G. Krebs, Thalia Menninger, girls, … (okay, I lied about the Milton).

      When we finally paddled in and walked up the sand to our friends hiding under a large umbrella on sandy blankets, I discovered that my blond hair blue eyed complexion reacted poorly to the hot sun. My friends called me a lobster … is that the same thing?

      Glad you enjoy my slightly schizoid site.

      Like

      • Well, yes – it’s almost the same thing!

        I liked this small story. The point of it is – don’t talk about the girls while on the ocean at noon.

        Like

  2. Michael,

    I really enjoy your writings. I am a non professional Curmudgeon who also falls down a lot and need the same assistance you use in getting up. I didn’t have a stroke, but suffering from the problems of old age.

    I plan to keep reading your writings.

    Don Cooks

    Like

    • My Dad, who grew up in the desert, loved to vacation in Northern California … because it was so green. I remember the gold rush area from the 1950s and even a visit to Auburn about 20 years ago told me it was all changing and so much of the historical legacy was going to ruin or becoming a gift shop for Chinese chachkies. Still there are good memories: I believe Nevada City was hilly and the front steps to most of the homes were a serious climb; was it the Blue Bell Café in Placerville where I ordered Hangtown Fry more than once?

      Like

  3. Excuse me sir,
    I should like to kindly point out that you do not yet seem to have read the best known title by my favorite author, George Gissing. It has been approximately 14 years since you and I first began to discuss books and I want you to know that this new ACOR is fabulous! The first will always be my favorite, but this is FABULOUS.

    Will write more in an email.

    Love ya,
    Pam

    Like

    • How many distinct versions of ACOR have there been? It started as HTML coded in a word processing program, went to Claris, Adobe, iWeb, and now WordPress (with several dedicated or shareware programs in between). Just so no one commits ritual seppuku, the Gissing title in question is New Grub Street. The story is that I have actually read it but since it was at a time that was very emotionally distracting, I planned to read it again and give it more attention.

      Like

  4. Michael

    I’m looking forward to reading your posts – i recently met you on Beverly Penn’s wordpress.

    David in Maine USA

    Like

  5. Dear Mr, Parker,

    Back in December, a Yahoo group you manage suggested the book “Kafka on the Shore” as book club suggestion. I have been unable to log in to my Yahoo account, but I did purchase the book and just finished reading it. I wanted to thank you for introducing me to this author, because “Kafka on the Shore” was absolutely brilliant. The minute I finished it, I wanted to begin reading it again. I won’t pretend to understand all the themes and metaphors, but I took great pleasure in simply appreciating the language and the visual picture he painted with that language. I haven’t read a book that beautiful in a very long time, and I am very excited about reading more from this author.

    Thank you again for guiding me to this author. I plan to explore your blog thoroughly over the coming months, and finding even more great books to read.

    With much appreciation,
    Amanda Niehaus

    Like

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