East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Leave a comment

Learn about the films you like, and those are film noir

Today I was talking to a friend about learning the basics of film language in order to write reviews that do not suck. She’s a very serious, thorough person, and so she was looking for a basic primer on film language.
This made me think about a long time ago, the late ’80s, when I started reading books about movies, and those books were about film noir.

Continue reading


I want my money back

Today I did something I rarely do – I asked for a refund on my last purchase on Amazon, a 7 bucks ebook I bought because I am interested in the topic but also because I am doing some research for my next writing project (contract signed – I am waiting for the advance … my bank is also waiting for the advance … and my insurance company … and my electricity provider).

So, considering this will be a fun project that could lead to more books being written in the series, I decided to check out what I could find on the main topics, to supplement my own collection.
And I immediately stumbled on this new (2018) Italian-language biography of one of the key historical characters – that happens to be Italian himself. I have a couple of bios already, but this one is really recent, and so I bought the ebook.

Continue reading


A day off

And so yesterday I took the day off. It was, after all, my birthday, and so I spent the day reading a book, listening to some music, and watching a few episodes of a TV series (god bless streaming services and my high-speed satellite connection). I also had a nice serving of tiramisù (a simple dessert that apparently is very popular outside of Italy).

And because this is that kind of blog, here’s the recipe, taken from Wikibooks – and also a controversial, egg-less alternative, courtesy of the BBC. My goodness, to reach the tender age of 52 and find out that tiramisù can be “controversial”…!

As for my other birthday activities…

Continue reading

Leave a comment

The 2018 Christmas Book Haul, a gallery

Is there anything better than receiving a few Amazon Gift Credits for Christmas? Well, yes, there’s the fact that a few publishers are doing a massive holiday sale on their ebooks. And so one can indulge in that most decadent of pleasures–browse the Amazon shelves and just throw stuff in the shopping basket, without a care in the world.
Add the books that friends and family give you for Christmas, and you end up with a HUGE book haul.

So, why not put up a gallery?

Continue reading


A Halloween reading list

Halloween, Halloween… it’s weird when you find yourself doing more posts about Halloween than you will ever do about, say, Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
It’s like Halloween has become the Web’s main festivity.
A festival of ghosts, spooks and dead people.
Seems fitting.

So, why not suggest a reading list for Halloween?
And considering we are cheapskates, why not a list of free ebooks?

Let’s see… Continue reading

Leave a comment

Re-Discovering Authors

And talking about my exciting life as a writer…
I was talking yesterday with my friend Alex, and we were discussing how there are great authors, very prolific and very active, that we love, but tend to forget.
I guess it happens to you, too,sometimes – you spot a new book by a certain writer,and all of a sudden you recall his other books, the ones you devoured, and liked a lot, and even re-read, and…

How the hell I forgot about this guy?!

And you feel guilty, go on a new buying/reading spree, and then the cycle begins again.
Happens to me every time. I have a long list of authors I am treating like this, but as I can’t remember their names right now, I won’t list them here.
But to give you an example – Gordon Dickson used to work like that for me.
Loved his books. Often forgot to check out for new stuff from him, then “discovered” him again. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Banned Books Week: The Opus Dei Rating System

The most fascinating bit of the list of Opus Dei-rated books that Vault linked yesterday in the comments to a previous post is, to me, the rating system.
That goes as follows…

Screenshot from 2018-09-25 10-39-45

And of course when you find such a list, the first thing is, you go and check if your favorite books are in there… Continue reading