Category Archives: Frank Herbert

Happy World Book Day! (What’s on your Night Stand?)

Super quick post to wish you all a Happy World Book Day!

So here’s my quick reader’s quiz for you…

  • What YOU are reading today (What’s on your night stand)?
  • Who is  your favorite author?
  • What is your favorite book of all time?
  • What’s your favorite series?
  • What was / is your favorite book as a child?
  • What genre of literature do you gravitate you?
  • Bound / paper or e-book? And why?
  • Where is your favorite place to read?
  • What’s the one thing that keeps you from reading?
  • AND… what / who do you wish some one would write a book about?

Here, in no particular order, are some of the books we’ve looked at over the last 9 months on ritaLOVEStoWRITE…

tolkien books

Tolkien’s perfect trilogy.

2006 edition of Brave New World published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics

2006 edition of Brave New World published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fourth edition of The American Language is still available on

The fourth edition of The American Language is still available on

The Shel Silverstein collection "borrowed" from the shelves of an obliging independent brick and mortar bookstore, Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

The Shel Silverstein collection “borrowed” from the shelves of an obliging independent brick and mortar bookstore, Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

Cover of Wives and Daughters. [ Image courtesy:]

Cover of Wives and Daughters. [ Image courtesy:]

Anne Tyler 3 books

The Anne Tyler trifecta

Milne House at Pooh Corner1000

Classic Winnie the Pooh

Anansi Boys

I’m reading Gaiman’s Neverwhere now, but I blogged about Anansi Boys a little while ago.


Tweedeedle by Johnny Gruelle (of Raggedy Anne fame)

Dune cover art [Image courtesy: Book Wit]

Dune cover art [Image courtesy: Book Wit]

Complete set of the seven books of the Harry P...

Complete set of the seven books of the Harry Potter series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]


Clearly I’ve got a thing for the classics and children literature. [Interesting I have no problem airing my eclectic musical taste for all the blogosphere to see, but when it comes to books I hide my paperbacks in the closest… what’s up with that? The fact is I don’t read ENOUGH, or at least — I don’t read as much as I’d like. Maybe I should take a pledge on this World Book Day to READ MORE! But would that mean I’d have to blog less? Hmmmm.]



James McAvoy 1-1-13 Thought of the Day

“That’s the main thing that attracts me – characters who have big journeys. I like playing those people.”
— James McAvoy

Scottish Actor James McAvoy at Hollywood Life ...

Scottish Actor James McAvoy at Hollywood Life Magazine’s 7th Annual Breakthrough Awards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

James Andrew McAvoy was born on this day in Port Glasgow, Scotland in 1979. He is 33 years old.

The son of a psychiatric nurse and builder McAvoy has a sister and a half-brother. His parents divorced when he was seven and he went to live with his maternal grandparents. McAvoy was raised Catholic and attended St. Thomas Aquinas school in Joranhill, Glasgow. He considered becoming a priest, but followed his acting instincts instead.

His first professional gig came at 15 when he landed a role in the film The Near Room.  He had small roles in movies and guest spots in TV series while in school. He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2000.

McAvoy continued to build his CV with high-profile guest spots on series like HBO’s Band of Brothers (he was Pvt. James Miller on “Replacements”) and BBC’s  Inspector Lynley,   Foyle’s War, and State of Play.

In 2003 the SciFi Channel took on Frank Herbert‘s Dune as a mini series and McAvoy landed the role of Leto Atreides II.

Leto Atreides II

Leto Atreides II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He had the lead role in Rory O’Shea Was Here as a disabled man whose enthusiasm shakes up the world around him.
McAvoy’s dark side came  out for his haunting performance as Joe Macbeth in ShakespeaRE-TOLD’s Macbeth. with the always wonderful Keeley Hawes as Ella (Lady M) and Richard Armitage as Peter Macduff.  [They only RE-TOLD four of the Bard’s plays — all of them interesting and worth a look — but this one is the real gem in the series.]
I’ve got two words to say about his next movie…” Mr. Tumnus. “
He stole The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with his portrayal of the sweet, conflicted fawn who meeting Lucy  Pevensie.
From fantasy to drama biopic McAvoy next played the naive personal physician to Ugandan leader Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Needless to say things go south quickly as the doctor gets in way over his head and Amin shows himself to be a brutal dictator.  (McAvoy won the BAFTA; Scotland in 2007 for his work on the film.)
He played a trio of romantic roles (albeit in very different genres) in Penelope, Starter for 10, and Becoming Jane (as Tom Lefroy to Anne Hathaway’s Jane Austen) in 2006 and 2007.
McAvoy landed the role of Robbie Turner in the movie version of Ian McEwan‘s novel Atonement.  (He won the Empire Award for Best Actor in 2008 for his role in Atonement.)
He shifted gears to play a fish out of water action hero in Wanted opposite Angelina Jolie.  Then went back to historical drama with The Last Station –a movie about Leo Tolstoy’s last days — and The Conspirator — the story of Mary Surratt’s involvement in the Lincoln assassination.
Most recently he’s been seen on the big screen as Professor X in the X-Men prequel — X-Men: First Class, and heard in a duo of voice parts as Gnomeo in Gnomeo & Juliet and Arthur in Arthur Christmas.
According to IMDB he has FIVE movies coming out in 2013:
  • Welcome to the Punch
  • Filth
  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His
  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby; Hers
  • Trance

And, rest assured, there’s another X-Men in the works.

Thought of the Day 10.8.12 Frank Herbert

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
–Frank Herbert

[Image courtesy: Otras musicas]



Frank Herbert was born on this day in Tacoma, Washington, USA in 1920. Today is the 92nd anniversary of his birth.

Frank’s mother came from a large Irish Catholic family (10 girls; 3 boys) (his invention of the Ben Gesserit for the Dune universe was likely an off shoot of the deep influence this gaggle of Aunts had on young Herbert’s life.) Frank’s father was a bus driver,  security guard, salesman, motorcycle patrolman and farmer. The family did a lot of traveling around before they settled on the farm.

Young Frank knew what he wanted be early in life.

On the morning of his eighth birthday Frank Junior famously announced to his family: “I wanna be a author.” (sic.) That day he wrote his first short story, which he called “Adventures in Darkest Africa.”  [Frank Herbert: The Works]

He was an explorer who thought nothing of paddling solo around Puget Sound to the San Juan Islands and back (200 miles) when he was ten or swimming across the Tacoma Narrows. He was also a great reader. “By the age of 12 he had, incredibly, already read the complete works of Shakespeare and discovered Ezra Pound.” [Frank Herbert: The Works]

Both Herbert’s parents were alcoholics and their drinking worsened as Frank entered his teen years. His sister, Patricia, was born when Frank was 13  and he took on parenting duties. By 1935 his parents were on the verge of a divorce. During high school he worked at his writing. He wrote short stories — he even wrote  novel, a boilerplate western, that he published under a pen name. He got a part-time job at the Tacoma Ledger. But by November of 1938 the situation at home had become too much. He left home with his baby sister and went to live with an aunt and uncle in Salem, Oregon. He graduated from North Salem High School and became a newspaper journalist. After a stint as a Photographer in the US Navy during WWII (he received a medical discharge because of a cranial blood clot he  developed after a fall)  he returned to Oregon and worked as a copy editor for the Oregon Journal in Portland. He worked for a number of west coast newspapers in a variety of cities for next two decades.

Besides his work in journalism: he lectured at University of Washington; he was a social and ecological consultant in Vietnam and Pakistan; and he wrote, directed and produced the documentary “The Tillers” based on the work of Roy Posterman.

[Image courtesy: Poor William’s Almanack]


Success on the fiction front was more difficult to come by. He had short stories published — his first was “The Survival of the Cunning,” a war story published in Esquire magazine.  In 1952 Herbert published his first science fiction story, “Looking For Something,” in Startling Stories. It is about a stage hypnotist who discovers that the entire world is under alien hypnosis. Other short stories followed, but no publishers seemed interested when Herbert showed them Dune.

The Dragon in the Sea
The Dragon in the Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In 1956  Herbert’s first novel, The Dragon in the Sea was published. It had been serialized in Astounding Magazine as”Under Pressure“.

 “he used the environment of a 21st-century submarine as a way to explore sanity and madness. The book predicted worldwide conflicts over oil consumption and production. It was a critical success, but it was not a major commercial one.”  []

While working on an article about sand dunes for the US Department of Agriculture in Florence, Oregon he got the idea of a sand dune so big that it could swallow up whole cities. In 1965, Dune was finished, a labor of love more than six years in the making. It was serialized in the magazine Analog then largely revised and expanded into book form. It was rejected 20 times before little Chilton Books — an auto repair manual publisher —  took a chance on it.

Dune cover art [Image courtesy: Book Wit]


Dune won the very first Nebula Award and was the co-winner of the Hugo Award. Published in 1965 it sets the scene for the Dune Series that follows — a series that is often considered the Lord of the Rings of Science Fiction. “Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family–and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.” [ review]

Dune was the first ecological science fiction novel, containing a multitude of big, inter-relating themes and multiple character viewpoints, a method which ran through all Herbert’s mature work. ” []

Dune Messiah hit stores in 1969.   Children of Dune (1976)  was the first hardcover science fiction book to reach best-seller status. It was nominated for a Hugo Award.   And the spice kept flowing… God Emperor of Dune,  came out in 1981, followed by Heretics of Dune in 1984 and Chapterhouse: Dune in 1985.

Frank Herbert died of pancreatic cancer in 1986. But the Dune series lives on…Using Frank Herbert’s notes his son  Brian Herbert has co-authored additional Dune sequels with Kevin J. Anderson.

Frank Herbert Books
Frank Herbert Books (Photo credit: cobalt123)


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