NewBeing a list of books recently received at our offices. Most were published within the last twelve months, although works of previous years are included if they are of special merit, interest, design, or amusement.
Books are graded as to quality of writing and elegance of thought. We also give stars for good or bad design.
Readers should note that not all of the books we receive are reviewed: some are simply too dated, too bathetic, or too contentious for us to deal with.
A listing here does not preclude a review in a subsequent issue of RALPH.
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and Edward O. Wilson
(Harvard)Would you believe a ten pound book on ants for $85. From our count, it works out to be $.00025 per ant illustrated [see above for a free sample]. The writing's a bit technical for our taste, just holding the book will give you a hernia, but the photographs and drawings are dandy. Note especially the "army" ants forming an ant bridge over a log, and the "honeypot" ants of the SW United States hanging on for dear life from the ceiling. "Repletes" they're called, and their little bellies are just crammed with sweetness and light.++ ###
(Columbia)Another one of those dratted books on "cultural history," filled with those wordy philosophers, including the improbable Foucault, and the even more improbable Gertrude Himmelfarb. Be prepared for a plethora of ill-defined words like "postmodernity," "epistemological" and "methodological."+ Ø
How to Make
Money in Stocks:
A Winning System in
Good Times or Bad
William J. O'Neil
(McGraw-Hill)O'Neil made $200,000 in the stock market thirty-five years ago, and isn't going to let us forget it. Fortunately (for him) he got out and started a newspaper --- Investors Daily --- which has made him even more noisy. Obviously there's more to be made feeding information to people than in gambling your ass on the market every day. How to Make Money is packed with all those doubtful homilies in bold type, viz: "Anyone can do anything in America by working at it. If you at times get discouraged go back and put in some detailed 'extra effort' and don't give up." Tell that to your Mexican nanny, or some poor bastard working for $4 (after taxes) at the 7-11 or McDonalds.+ Ø
Recovering from Rheumatoid Arthritis
through Alternative Medicine
Barbara J. Nies
(Synchrony)As much as we feel for the author and her miserable hurting --- it doesn't make for very lively reading, especially in the diary form, as in, "Drizzle dampened most of yesterday as I went to the bank and the supermarket..." Everybody has some pain, and no one yet (outside of John Callahan) has made it worth spending an hour or two going into detail (you're better off sitting in on a conversation at the shuffleboard court at your local Sun City). Nies lists thirty or so books that she thinks may be helpful for those with RA and other aches.+ ##
Roger Malcolm Mitchell
(Roger Malcolm Mitchell Advertising)Mitchell doesn't like the U S Government's Big Debt --- and wants you to STOP and THINK about it.Ø Ø
To Getting and
Stephen B. Mettee, Editor
(Quill Driver)Here you have forty-eight editors and agents and authors writing a how-to-do-it on writing and getting published. What they don't tell you here is what a crap-shoot it is. Book publishing companies loathe new writers --- especially those who send in manuscripts willy-nilly. Agents hate writers, too --- they're too busy having power lunches, scouting out foreign rights, movie rights, or another dreadful Stephen King-style writer --- and have no time whatsoever to mess around with the little guy. Dan Poynter tells you to publish it yourself, but that's a heartbreak too. "Mail order is not only the simplest way to distribute books, it is an ideal way to build a second income or a new life," he says. Right: a whole new life, as your spouse heads out the door, sick of the 2,400 unsold books in the closet, under the bed, stacked in the shower, jamming the garage door.
Our advice: stay away from Writers Conference. Do what the masters say. Go off by yourself, write every day, until you are sick of it. Write and write and write until you are nauseous but good. Show your writings to three or four honest friends. If they go gaga, then start on the slow, painful road of trying to get it sold. And prepare for the worst: American publishing is designed to keep those of honest talents from the door.+ Ø
Tips and Terms
From the Experts
David L. Scott
(Houghton-Mifflin)Well, they don't have our favorite phrase --- "falling out of bed" --- which is what happens when the whole thing comes apart, like it did 1968 - 1974, or in 1987. Nor is there a listing for "to lose your ass," or "Oh, Christ!" A "customer's man" --- our favorite term for a broker --- is defined as "See Registered Representative," which we would never do. "Dogs and cats" (a wonderful name for the stocks now so in favor) is missing, but "Chapter 11" is there ("A bankruptcy option in which a trustee is appointed to reorganize the bankrupt firm") along with "Chapter 7" ("A bankruptcy option in which a bankrupt firm is liquidated after the courts have determined that reorganization is not worthwhile.") The "tips" might be good for someone just out of long-johns, but are mostly pretty dumb, viz., "Should you fight the tape or go with the flow?" Adam Smith once said that "history is not kind enough to repeat itself," and that goes in spades for those trying to play the stockmarket.+ Ø