I love good stories.  I love good books. My ideal piece of downtime heaven is curling up with a good book over ice-cold soda or over a glass (or pitcher – hic !) of nice cold, tart margarita. I love them to a fault, a vice really.  This vice has recently forced me to buy an additional bookshelf for housing an accumulated  60 ++ unread volumes. To assuage my guilt over my literary gluttony, I have this blog to share what my impressions are of the various authors and the stories they tell.   I am not a writer but maybe my little reviews could be useful to someone who may be curious or just plain cautious about plunking down good money for fiction.

—October 2, 2008 —-

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9 Responses to “About Me”

  1. focacia Says:

    It’s interesting to read your reviews. And yes, it is a big help for us who are just plain curious about reading fiction

  2. Peter Says:

    Your reviews are really very helpful. They’re not intimidating at all. And, more importantly, they get people to read.

    -Peter (aka kyusireader)

    1. Johanna Says:

      Thanks so much for your really nice comment, Peter. If my reviews can get people to read, then, I would have achieved what I set out to do. I just love sharing my books. 🙂

  3. Patrick Says:

    Hi Johanna! Thanks for adding me up to your blogroll. Did the same over at my blog. 😉

    I think you truly deserve that eclectic taste nomination. I haven’t heard any of the books you recently reviewed here. But then, maybe it’s just me. I’m only just getting back now to my reading hobby after years of “unbookish” ways. 🙂

    1. Johanna Says:

      Goodness, so am I — I mean getting back into voracious reading. Started last year. That’s why I can’t seem to get enough books! Feel like I missed out on a lot and need to catch up!

  4. deslily Says:

    i love the header photo!
    Adding bookshelves is a given! heh
    ..I’ll take that tart margarita (no salt/ on the rocks) thank you!


  5. Hi Jo

    I can’t find an email address for you, so please forgive me intruding on your comment wall. I’d like to invite you to write about your favorite books at http://www.bookdrum.com, where you can add information, images, video, music and links to illustrate and explore the books.

    Right now, we’re running a $3,000 Tournament and we’ll be offering contract work to the best entries.

    Best wishes

    Hector Macdonald
    Editor, Book Drum

  6. Philip Yaffe Says:

    Dear Colleague,

    Below you will find a news release announcing publication of my new book which I believe contributes something new and useful to the theory and practice of written and oral communication. The title is The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional.

    If you would like a copy of the book for review, please let me know and I will have one sent to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you may wish to read three articles based on the book to rapidly get a flavor of what it is all about (attached). If you are disinclined to open attachments from an unknown sender, I have also included the URLs where you can find the articles on the Internet. They are:
    1. How an ugly duckling became a swan (http://www.abcarticledirectory.com/Article/How-an-Ugly-Duckling-Became-a-Swan/335921)
    2. The mathematics of persuasive communication (http://searchwarp.com/swa238696.htm)
    3. Yaffe’s Law vs. Murphy’s Law: A new look at an old problem (http://searchwarp.com/swa287844.htm)

    Yours sincerely,

    Philip Yaffe
    Editor-in-chief, UCLA Daily Bruin (Los Angeles)
    Wall Street Journal (Los Angeles)
    International marketing communication executive (Brussels, Belgium)
    phil.yaffe@yahoo.com,phil.yaffe@gmail.com

    ‘The Gettysburg Approach’ bridges the gap between effective writing and effective public speaking

    Have you ever noticed that books about effective writing talk only about effective writing and books about effective public speaking talk only about public speaking, and never the twain meet?

    “This is a mistake,” says Philip Yaffe, former writer with The Wall Street Journal and long-time international marketing communication executive. “If you write well you will probably speak well; if you write poorly you will probably speak poorly. Writing and speaking are intimately related and should be considered together, rather than as distinct disciplines”

    To demonstrate the point, Mr. Yaffe’s recently published book, The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional, addresses the challenge head on.

    Inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, the book examines the handful of underlying principles and practices that make this miniature masterpiece (only 272 words) perhaps the greatest single piece of prose and oratory in history.

    “The principles of effective writing and speaking are few and easy to understand,” he asserts. “Unfortunately, in most books on the subject, they are buried under an avalanche of verbiage about technique.” The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional clearly separates principle from practice. The “theoretical” section of the book is very short, supplemented by a series of appendices of illuminating examples and exercises.

    As the author points out, “Almost everyone agrees that a well-written text must be clear and concise. However, hardly anyone can tell you what these criteria mean in any practical, applicable way.”

    For example, if you try to define “clarity”, you will probably do something like this:

    Question: What makes this text clear?
    Answer: It is easy to understand.
    Question: What makes it easy to understand?
    Answer: It is simple.
    Question: What do you mean by simple?
    Answer: It is clear.

    You in fact end up going around in a circle. The text is clear because it is easy to understand . . . because it is simple . . . because it is clear.

    “All of these words are synonyms. While synonyms may have nuances, they do not have content, so you are still left to your own subjective appreciation. However, what you think is clear may not be clear to someone else,” Mr. Yaffe explains.

    The book describes quasi-objective tests for clarity and conciseness. “If your text fails these tests, then it needs to be revised. If it passes them, then—and only then—should you concentrate on the mechanics of language (style, grammar, syntax, etc.) in order to make your already good text even better.”

    The Gettysburg Approach also defines and describes a test for “density”. This seldom-discussed third pillar of effective writing concerns ordering information for best effect.

    Mr. Yaffe then shows that the basic principles of effective writing and effective speaking are essentially the same, but with some subtle and important differences in application. “The speaker can use eye contact, intonation, body language and other techniques not available to the writer to convey his message. However, as with printed words, if spoken words are not clear, concise and dense, the speech is destined to fail. Stage presence is the frosting on the cake; it must never be mistaken for the cake itself.”

    Returning to his underlying inspiration, in an appendix Mr. Yaffe compares Abraham Lincoln to William Shakespeare. “It is remarkable that The Gettysburg Address, a work of non-fiction, and the Marc Anthony soliloquy on the assassination of Julius Caesar, a work of pure fiction, technically have so much in common. This is further proof that the guiding principles of effective writing and effective speaking don’t just overlap—they are virtually identical.

    “Treating writing and speaking as distinct disciplines not only makes them more difficult to learn. It virtually ensures that neither one will ever be properly mastered.”

    The Gettysburg Approach is rich in feisty and original insights and observations. Although deeply didactic, it is anything but dull. As one reviewer enthused, “This book is really fun to read.”


  7. HI Johanna! We’re happy to let you know that we’ve listed Jo’s Bookshelf in the list of Pinoy book blogs at Read Philippines. com. We’d love to have you join our fast-growing communtiy of Pinoy readers!

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