Tag Archive | books

Working on the shelfie game

Every box of books in the house or garage is now nearly unpacked.  (Fiona wants to do the kid books personally) I feel like we are missing a few boxes so they may be at our friend’s barn that we have not emptied yet (but will soon!).  This isn’t all the books in the house, there are some upstairs too, this is just the majority.

I’ve missed my books….

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Lilly and the Octopus

I’ve had a good amount of time recently to read books, and, listen to books.  I usually have one of each going all the time.  Chores are more fun and phone games less frivolous if I’m also listening to a book.  Kid TV and line waiting is less brain numbing if you can read a book.

Late last week I was feeling a little blue so when I was hunting up a new book I used the filter ‘humorous’ and Lilly and the Octopus popped up with a mini description that said ‘Hilarious; it will be the next book you have to recommend”.  Not too long ago I read a set of mysteries where a pet sitter was the protagonist and they were indeed funny so I took the computers advice.

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Spoiler and Warning!!!

This book is NOT humorous.  It is about a dog with a brain tumor.  This isn’t much of a spoiler because you learn about it in the first chapter!!!  This poor little dachshund and the even more sad owner have a final month or so and in the end, the description of the agony of choosing to end things was sweet and perfectly descriptive.

This book is very well written.  It paints a picture.  It is the fight of a fiercely lonely and loving owner.  There are a few ‘funny’ parts, basically, the way the author writes how the dog talks made me smile, but, the story is not one that will cheer you up.  In fact, it will make you relive any pet loss you ever had.

I feel like I am writing this review as a rebuttal to all the people who have labeled this ‘humorous’ but if you go in knowing the subject it is a beautifully written book.

ps. ironically it is exactly a year since we put Mr Pink to sleep

Book Report; The Art of Detection

The Art of Detection

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I’ve been reading so many books over the past few months.  Reading and listening technically.  This one was a listener and it got me through many many miles on the elliptical and also is semi-responsible for my house not being a wreck because I listen while I clean.

This is a crossover book and for that I love it, but, I’m not sure it would be the same if you have not read the Mary Russel books.  The fantastic easter egg of a story in the middle made my week.  It can definitely stand alone but I wonder what I’m missing for not reading that series from the start because there are callbacks to things that I am sure are in other books.

It is a murder mystery – technically two – and it is well written in my opinion but I like the author’s slower and detailed style.  She tends to write the background as a character in the story with tons of attention to what else is happening in the world.  This one has an obvious (but not smack in the face too badly) theme of gay rights and contrasts them from a few different views; modern day, and, 1930-40, the United States and England.   I am glad to live now where there may not be absolute equality but at least there isn’t a death penalty.

I will probably go read the rest of this series, there are more miles to run and clothing to fold.

 

No Obligation but if you would like to…

Donate to my kids read-a-thon!

This is a program that I actually believe in enough to post.  The school retains 80% of donations and the kids get decent prizes.  (So many fundraisers keep up to 50%, those I don’t really bother with)

School is also getting behind this one because it is actually educational, unlike selling wrapping paper etc where you have to squint and say “they learn about money and change…maybe?”.  Every couple days they have an extra fun thing for reading during the read-a-thon.

Zoe                   Niamh                      Fiona

The last day is Thursday so if you feel like donating to a good cause; ie – the PTO that funds the extras that make school fun, consider clicking and donating for one of the kids (or all three!)

I have no idea if putting this out to you all will work at all, but, you can’t say yes if I never ask!

All the light we cannot see

I heard about this book ages ago, so long I don’t remember who said it but they raved and so I went to my book app and reserved it.  That was in JUNE.  I think I was number 85 and the library had 3 copies.  I promptly forgot about it and like a Christmas gift my turn came up while we were in Hawaii.  I powered through the book I was in the middle of (the newest in the scifi Laundry Files series that had way too many shades of Pearl Harbor, or maybe that’s more about where I was) and downloaded.

I’m going to call this my official first book of 2017 because while I started just before new year, the majority was in the past 2 weeks.  On top of that, this is the type of book that colors the world around you.  I can’t look at a snack without thinking of all the times the characters had nearly nothing.  I can tell this will be one of those books I remember at odd times in conjunction with odd things because of what I was doing or where I was when reading.  Do you get the feeling that it was a powerful book?

The writing style is like a fine meal.  The words are carefully chosen and put together in such a way to evoke a feeling.  There is the simplicity of Hemingway and the convergence of all the adjectives of Robert Jordan and this book is riding somewhere in the middle.  I especially like that the two main characters are both children and the story is told through the eyes of kids that grow up in WWII.  One is pulled into the Nazi war machine, the other a blind French girl who finds herself in the resistance.  Nazi and Resistance are both in the story, but, they are side details and only if you actually already know about them do the little bits draw together.  They are kids, regardless of where they are, and the world around them is ‘normal’ like a frog slowly being boiled.

The author also pulls in a few other classic books that parallel the story.  I’m sure it was done on purpose, there is just too many coincidences for it to be accidental.  Hitler v Darwin.  The journey to the center of the earth v trapped in their respective situations.  Captain Nemo being crazy but then again not wanting him to fail and in the end never quite knowing what happens…

Overall the story that knits the lives together is interesting and enough of a link that it is realistic and magical and not prosaic.  I love the ending, both for what actually happened and the fact that it is written like a dream as both characters are so starving and going slightly crazy from life.   I also appreciate that the author ends with a more adult view of what happens when everyone grows up.  There is a shift in tone as we see former children as full adults post-war, but, there is still point of view differences in each based on where they came from and their journey there.  I’m glad that it was not like Journey to the center of the Earth where you just don’t know, I really really like knowing.

It is almost hard to pick up the next book because that will truly finish this one, but, the story is complete and I’m moving on to The Moor, another one I was waiting on, and completely different in every way.  Totally intelligent and adult writing in the Shurlock Homes Genre.

On Vampires

 

For something that ‘does not exist’ there seem to be a lot of conscious on what they are, do, look like, etc.  If someone deviates from the vampire stereotype, like making them sparkle, they catch no end of hell because apparently, you can’t make up new facets to a fictional character.

Where does this collective agreement on vampire life come from?

I read a lot.  I don’t ever change my side widget over there but I’m long past the Outlander series that didn’t actually have any vampires but did have a zombie adventure in one novella.  I read the entire Dresden series, including short stories, and his vampires all conform, he does, however, break out different types of vampires and have ‘reds’ ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’. The Reds are the common ones, Blacks are more evil versions but with all the sunlight and blood issues.  Whites are energy drinkers – that was a new one for me but…

635520038055890005-day-shift-cover-artCharlaine Harris, who is most famous for the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire novels that True Blood is (loosely) based on also has a few other series that I love all the more.  Recently she published a new series, Midnight Texas, that is in the same Vampires are ‘out of the coffin’ world but includes a vampire that can eat energy.  So unless Mr Butcher and Ms Harris conspired there is yet another vampire class being acknowledged with distinct characteristics.

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I also read the Laundry Files, a series by Charles Stross.  It is a good series and I like the premise of an underground organization fighting extra-worldly things that are a threat to us.  In a middle book of the series Vampires come in and he does not change the general stereotype of pros (strong, mind control) and cons (sunlight), but, he offers a more scientific explanation for the condition.  Harris and most others allude to a virus that causes vampirism but Stross takes it a step further and I like his explanation overall.  Pushing the envelope just a bit but keeping pretty close to what we all define as a vampire.

In the carpool drive, I decided we need some entertainment so I checked out an audio book series A-Z mysteries.  I highly recommend this for the lower elementary group, the stories are short and well written.  We have 15min in the car so each story lasts a little over a week.  This week’s story is what put me on this thought; there is a vampire in town and the 3 protagonists know all about vampires including that they dislike garlic.  Is this how the stereotype is passed to each generation?  Children’s authors conforming to, and passing on, the myth of vampire.  I actually don’t know how this one ends yet, I’m sure he isn’t really a vampire, but still my kids are getting indoctrinated.

So what is the deal?  How did such a hard and fast set of ideas happen with allegedly no basis in reality?  Or are there vampires and I’ve just never run up on one?   Just so many books and movies and common culture that can’t be denied.  But hey, passing it on to the next generation all the same.