Friday, January 31, 2014

Get 15% off my books through Sunday January 2nd at Barnes and Noble Online

A Superbowl Sunday for books! Get 15% off my books through Sunday January 2nd at Barnes and Noble online. (Andrew Barger books at Just use coupon code: 5B63U2CQNTQ61

List of Stories in Mesaerion: The Best Science Fiction Stories 1800-1849

So what are these classic and early short science fiction stories uncovered from old magazines and journals of the first half of the 19th century? Check out this list of forgotten classics. Yes, with some work you can probably find most of them online, is that really worth your time? You will also not get the author photos, story backgrounds and annotations (Book only) of these great science fiction stories found in Mesaerion: The Best Science Fiction Stories 1800-1849.

  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar – Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Aerial Burglar – Percival Leigh
  • A Visit to the Lunar Sphere – Captain Frederick Marryat
  • Glimpses of Other Worlds – Thomas Charles Morgan
  • Hilda Silfverling, A Fantasy – Lydia Maria Child
  • Rappaccini’s Daughter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Rival Mechanicians – Lydia Maria Child
  • A Descent Into the Maelstrom – Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Artist of the Beautiful – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Iron Shroud – William Mudford

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Great Remake of The Figurehead by The Cure

Once in a while a band remakes a song by another band that is actually better than the original. The crackling, gritty, shattered Superstar by Sonic Youth comes to mind. Who doesn't like a gunshot at the end of a tune?

Rarely has a remake of a song by The Cure surpassed the original. I have my suspicions that it is because Robert Smith's melancholy voice is like no other and pairs with his band's melancholy music like a cabernet does a filet. That's why I was shocked to find a stunning rendition of The Figurehead by Astral Grey that is better than the original from the Pornography album. You can buy the song on Amazon here. I was unable to find it on iTunes.

I'm off to lose myself "in Chinese art and American girls . . ." as you take in the video.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe

Happy 205th birthday to Edgar Allan Poe!

“Literature is the most noble of professions. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For my own part, there is no seducing me from the path. I shall be a litterateur, at least, all my life; nor would I abandon the hopes which still lead me on for all the gold in California.”

FEBRUARY 14, 1849”

Friday, January 17, 2014

Score 15% Off My Books at Barnes & Noble Thru Monday 1/20

The only thing better than my books is getting 15% off their price at Barnes & Noble through 1/20/2014. Andrew Barger Books at Barnes & Noble. Just enter this code at checkout: S3AV1DGGGQJUF

Friday, January 10, 2014

Review of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

I give this non-fiction book about the brilliant author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the early day of the hippies, four stars and here's why:

In most areas of my life I am organized. That is not the case when it comes to my reading pattern. It is rather chaotic. I'm not one of those people who sit down at the beginning of the year, line up the books I am going to read in a corner of the bookshelf, and start reading them in order. I usually have a general idea of the book I want to read next and despite my best laid plans, if I like the book in hand it inevitably leads me on to some other book I am unfamiliar with as I follow the trail through the literary forest until I step off a cliff or the trail comes to a dead end and I have to follow the bookmarks that I dropped along the way to lead me back out of the forest. And The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is no exception.

What made me follow the trail of this nonfiction book with the bombastic title when I rarely read nonfiction? One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--one of my favorite books of the twentieth century--is to blame. So it was a bird that I followed into the forest. I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 2013 after seeing the movie of the same name a decade earlier. You can read my review here ( ). When I finished I wanted to learn more about the high-artist (no pun intended) named Ken Kesey------

------the straight-laced Stanford student who showed up one day at a government funded LSD experiment to earn $25 and ended up promoting the drug like no other in the fledgling days of the hippies. Ken Kesey decides to paint a school bus in Day-Glo colors and drive it across country with his merry band of pranksters. That's where Tom Wolfe  comes in. The (pre-novelist) journalist followed those merry band of pranksters on their trip and recorded their adventures in in the 1968 book: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Why the crazy title? Well you will have to read the book. But what is not to like about the title?

And speaking of crazy, the slapdash way Tom Wolfe writes in the book gives one the early impression that he is trying to capture the frenetic, drug fueled pace of the pranksters, which he verifies with an author's note at the end. He does a fine job of it, too. At times, however, he sacrifices clarity to accomplish this. New people pop in and out of scenes, never to be heard from again. There is often little setup to events that happen in the book. Poooooooof! Zaaaaamoooooo! Kablaaaaam! People come and go. Drug busts. Misery. Ecstasy. All on the same page. The bus rolls on in a Day-Glo sheen. The drugs flow. Tie-dye is invented and the hippie generation is ushered in thanks to Ken Kesey and his merry band of pranksters.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is a pure rush of literary adrenaline by a journalist in full command of the English language and every crazy symbol found on the ASCII keyboard as if there is no shortage of how many colons can be strung together even though we know that the colon is an endangered species in the English language. Why? Because Tom  Wolfe used most of them in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

The book is recommended as it is part of America's culture in the sixties and so is the movie Ken Kesey and the pranksters filmed of the bus tour--The Magic Trip. I am watching it now. But what I am enjoying most are Ken Kesey's interesting comments about the making of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, not the least of which is that he wrote the first pages high on peyote. And we all know how Edgar Allan Poe and other early literary pioneers have been portrayed for taking hallucinogenics. Let's hope the general perception turns out better for Ken Kesey as time passes.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Shifters: The Best Werewolf Short Stories 1800-1849 is a Gothic Readers Choice Award Winner

By Gothic Readers Book Club on January 2, 2014
Although lycanthropy and shapeshifting legends have existed for countless centuries, werewolves are not considered a staple of the Gothic literary tradition. Editor Andrew Barger gives us evidence to the contrary with his collection of the best of the wolf stories from the early modern period. Many of these stories have not been republished in over 150 years. There are more than just ghosts and vampires lurking in the 1800s!

If You Like: Edgar Allan Poe, Honor de Balzac, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Prosper Mrime, James Hogg.