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Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Spree Killers" Nigel Cawthorne

"Spree Killers" - Nigel Cawthorne
 
I found this book while roaming around Barnes and Noble's bargain books and just had to pick this up. I know what you're thinking.. what kind of a person gets excited about reading a book about spree killers unless they need to be put away in the Anchorage Psychiatric Institute... but I'm weird like that. I've always had a fascination with crime, horror and suspense books, movies, and tv shows. I don't really know why, but it's always been there.
 
Anyway... this book is jammed packed with a bunch of stories about spree killers. Spree killers are people who just snap. They randomly decide to go on a killing spree. This book discusses some of the famous spree killers that have happened in everyone's history, not just in the United States. It discusses people like George Hennard in Killen Texas, Genghis Khan the Mongol ruler, and Charles Starkweather of Nebraska (who's story was told in the cult movie Badlands in 1973).
 
This book doesn't read like legal proceedings, or a text book. It starts out telling one story, as if you were talking to the author face to face. As one story concludes, the next story is tied into the previous one, by means of a similar spree killing. The retellings are grouped into chapters by the different types of killings.
 
Even thought this book is pretty morbid, and most people don't want to know about more killing in the world, it's pretty informative. Spree killings are not something of the most recent times, it's been around for generations and generations. The thing that has changed is the availability of information. Now, we get play-by-plays of any sort of crime that happens. This makes it seem like we're living in a more dangerous time. This book, in a weird way, reminds me that we are not the first generation to suffer through pain and loss, and we won't be the last ones. This book grounds the paranoia of living in 2013 by showing that people who lived through the times in the book are still here and have survived the same things.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

"The Elephant's Bathtub" - Frances Carpenter

"The Elephant's Bathtub" - Frances Carpenter

"The Elephant's Bathtub" is a collection of stories from East. They are similar to fairy tales and folk stories that teach morals. I was walking with my son through the children's section at the library (more like trying to keep up with him) and we finally stopped by the fair tale section. I wanted him to get something other than a cook book for once, so I told him to hold on and pick one out. He grabbed one and started off again towards the cds. I quickly scanned the shelves and grabbed one that looked interesting so I could read it to him. Since this book had the word "elephant" in the title it won out. So far I haven't read it to Atticus but have been consumed in it on my own time schedule. 

So far I have only read four stories. "The Elephant's Bathtub" originated from Burma and is a story about two merchants that lived on a river. It's kind of a story where the grass is greener on the other side of the fence story. It's pretty amusing and shows you a little bit into the culture surrounding royalty and the status of elephants. 

"The Fish with Bent Noses" is a story originating from Cambodia. The story has a moral about stealing and the consequences of what happens when you do so. It also has a cute little love story mixed into it between a princess and a suitor. 

"The Shah Weaves a Rug" comes to us from Persia. This story is about a great king who cares enough about his kingdom to see the world through one of his people that lives on the streets. In doing so, he's captured by a mysterious magic man and comes up with a most clever way to save not only himself but the people in his kingdom as well. 

"The Princess in the Camphor Tree" is originated in Malaya. This folk story has a little more complicated meaning to it. It's about sons who go into the woods as gathers and the youngest meets a princess of a different species. You could call her a tree spirit or something similar. He marries her, but the ending is not so happy because of one bad choice he was forced to make. 

There are a total of 24 short stories in this book, and so far they are quite enjoyable. It is an easy read (obviously being from the children's section) but I am learning about the culture through the way these stories are told. To me, this is one of the more interesting sets of tales I've read because they are pretty different than the typical tales I heard growing up as an American child. I also have a soft spot for learning about cultures, so this fulfills that as well. :) I'll continue to read this book, and highly suggest it to anyone, not just people with children. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Haunted America" - Armchair Reader

"Haunted America" - Armchair Reader

My new read is an easy, short stories read. After tackling a history-bound book, my brain needs a little break. What better way to do that then to read some "true" ghost stories from our homeland? Ok, so maybe I'm alone in the fact that ghost and murder stories give me a relaxing break, but it's all good. :)

"Haunted America" is composed of numerous short stories collected around America involving ghosts, haunted locations, and paranormal sightings. I'm not very far into the book yet, but so far I've read some interesting things. There is an introduction by paranormal experts explaining what ghosts really are. I've also read about angry spirits residing in an old slave house in Illinois. I've taken a short trip on a boat by reading about the spirits seen on the "Queen Mary" (which I didn't realize that it was once used as a war vessel, not always an ocean liner. The short story I read last night was about the bar "Bobby Mackey's", located in Kentucky. 

I find this book a good night-time read. The stories are approximately five pages long, give or take a few pages. The short stories are written in a more fact-based manner, but throw in little sentences of humor to keep the story going. They are not out to scare you, but to make you interested and think, kind of like Ripley's Believe It or Not episodes. So, if you're looking for an entertaining ghost story without the "scare me silly" feeling, then this would be a great book for you. For a second recommendation, if you cannot stay awake for more than five pages after your head hits the pillow, this is an especially good read. :) 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"Flapper" - Joshua Zeitz

"Flapper" - Joshua Zeitz

This book was a bit of a random card in my selection of books. I was wondering around the lousacc library with my four year old son, looking for a book to read on my plane ride to Juneau. In order to get him to behave I told him he could help me choose a book. At first he was steering me towards the romance novels... thankfully I diverted him to another section. I figured I'd pick out two books and let him choose which one he likes better. Yeah.. that worked like a brick floating. Instead, he walked up to a shelf, pulled out a novel, and said "HERE MOMMY! I FOUND ONE!" My first reaction was to put it back, but then I realized something. If I want to write a book blog about "random" books I read, then what better way to be random than to let my four year old loose in the library to choose what book I read. So, I read it, am almost done with it, and it was actually a great read. Go Atticus!

"Flapper" is all about the Jazz Age. It displays what the "modern woman" was back then. The scandalous dresses that showed women's knees, the drinking, the smoking, and the "necking" that went on. (Yes, this book actually uses the term "necking" quite often. I got a kick out of that!) At first I thought it was going to be a dull documentary book, but I actually found it quite interesting. I must say I did learn a lot about the Jazz Age that I didn't previously know.

In the book there are some prominent women of the Jazz Age discussed. There was Zelda Sayre, whom became F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife and that his characters in his book were based upon. In the book it says that this couple was said to "be" the Jazz Age. There was also CoCo Chanel. I never realized that the brand "Chanel" dated this far back, but it was interesting to read about it's beginnings and how much of a hard-ass boss she could be. There is also Louis Long, who wrote in the New Yorker under a different name about the life of a "modern woman", or a flapper, was like in New York. As part of her job, she went to clubs/bars and drank with the finest. She smoked when the men smoked. She partied all night with every type of person. She would even come to work smashed at 3 in the morning and sleep in her knickers until someone discovered her!

There are many different women and figures in this book that I can't even begin to touch on all of them. I had fun getting lost these different women's lives. It was interesting trying to image what it'd be like to live in the Jazz Age compared to what life is like now. For my recommendation, if you are interested in history, spunky women, and amusing drinking stories then this is a pretty good book to get a bit of it all. I'd say go to your local library and pick it up!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Red Rain" - R.L. Stine

I'm still working my way through "Red Rain" but thoroughly enjoying it. The plot line is predictable, but there are little confusing parts thrown in there to keep you on your feet. It was awkward at first to hear R.L. Stine use cuss words. It reminded me of a preteen using cuss words. You understand what the word means, but it sounds misplaced coming from their mouth, and like less of an impact that it typically would be. I got used to it after awhile though.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Red Rain" - R.L. Stine

"Red Rain" - R.L. Stine

If anyone knew me as a child, they would know how much of an R.L. Stine fan I was. It would be a rare sight not to see my nose stuck into one of his books. He was basically my hero. I swear that I must have had near 400 of his books. (Ok, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but as a military child packing up my R.L. Stine books to move took almost two hours by themselves!) My Mom would take me to garage sales to find the missing books in my Goosebumps collection. I had everything by him: Goosebumps, Fear Street, "Choose Your Own Adventure", etc. I was enamored by R.L. Stine until he wrote his first "young adult" book, "The Sitter". "The Sitter" was such a jump from what I was used to R.L. Stine writing that it put me in shock and stopped my fascination with his books. (That and I was in high school and had already read all the "teen" books he wrote.) With that introduction, once I saw he produced an adult book, I put my issues with "The Sitter" aside and had to read this book to give R.L. Stine a second chance in my life. 

I just finished the prologue and the first chapter. So far, so good. The style is familiar, like a long lost friend. That was very comforting to read. I missed his style of writing. The only major thing I have noticed that separates "Red Rain" from his younger targeted books is that the language and word usage is more mature. I can honestly say that I am glad to have an R.L. Stine book back in my hands and cannot wait to finish this book. :) I might have to dig out my old Goosebumps books from my parents garage and have a mini flashback fest. :) 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Stonewall" - David Carter

"Stonewall" - David Carter

"Stonewall" is an in-depth look at the riots that triggered the gay revolution. Located in Greenwich Village, New York in 1969, these riots are the beginning of a new point of view towards gay, lesbian, and transgender people. Before these riots, people had no problem beating, publicly mocking, or even murdering people with different sexual preferences and attractions than the "normal" preferences and attractions. 

So far still in the first chapter learning the background of the gay community in Greenwich location. The book opens with an introduction about Tony Lauria, a son of the mafia community. Much to his father's dislike, he decides to open a gay bar with one of the unused properties owned by the mob his father runs. This bar, later, would be the location of the Stonewall riots. 

This book is a very informative book, not an interactive book like many of the other books I've written on this blog. I figured since we just passed Gay Pride Week in Anchorage, I would pick up a book and learn a little bit of the history of that particular way of life. Despite the first chapter being written similarly to a textbook format, I am quite drawn into the explanations of how people were treated in Greenwich Village, despite it being one of the top gay communities of it's time (and ironically enough any sort of gay or lesbian interaction was banned and punishable in Greenwich Village at that time). The way the book describes it, because the majority of the gay bars were owned by the Mob, the people who frequented those bars felt a certain sort of security and safety.. somewhat. 

"Radioactive Communist Zombies" Part 2

I've finished up "Radioactive Communist Zombies" by S. Evan Townsend and I must say it managed to change my mind. In the beginning of the book I was quite disappointed. The book seemed to bounce all over the place and couldn't decide if it was going to be a fantasy book, a war book, a romance book, or a diary-type book. It seemed to keep switching, and the transitions were not good.

About halfway through the book got much better. The author got his transitions down, and was actually throwing in catching moments to keep you hooked. It got to the point where I was reading two hours straight, and dreading to put down the book. The different types of books that were showing eventually got their act together and came to be a pretty interesting combination.

I was still confused about where the title came from. Throughout most of the book there is no reference to Radioactivity or zombies. The book does have a lot of talk about communism right off the bat though. Around 3/4th of the way through the book it finally mentions something about a radioactive bomb. Finally, on page 195 of 223 it says "radioactive communist zombies".

My overall opinion of this book is that it's a good book, but not on my favorite list. It took almost half of the book for it to come together and make sense. Similarly, it took over half the book for it to manage to capture me. Since I am doing a comparison with the same book that was tweaked and published under another name, I'll let you know how that one comes out. :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Radioactive Communist Zombies" - S. Evan Townsend

"Radioactive Communist Zombies" - S. Evan Townsend

I have yet another unique opportunity for this blog. My coworker, Bonnie, has loaned me another interesting book, "Radioactive Communist Zombies" written by her cousin. While we were talking at work, she mentioned that this book is one that he published by himself. She also said that it was later picked up by a publisher, altered a bit, and renamed "Agent of Artifice". This immediately interested me and I knew I had to read both and see the difference between the two, and which book I like better. I can already tell you I like the title "Radioactive Communist Zombies" better than "Agent of Artifice" because it's so random, but we'll see if the book lives up to it's title. 

I've already started to read "Radio Active Communist Zombies" and will admit that it's a tad confusing at times. The man character is Michael Vaughan. He works as a Non-Official Cover for the CIA, and is an adapt. It took me awhile to figure out what an adapt is, and to be honest I'm not entirely sure I fully understand it yet. From what I gathered, an adapt is someone with special powers. Using their powers, they can change languages, persuade people, make people afraid of things they aren't, etc. They look just like humans, and it is very difficult to figure out if a person is an adapt or not. 

Anyway, back on topic. Michael is sent to Cuba to assassinate Castro. So far during his trip in Cuba, he's met a beautiful woman, Liesl. She is also an adapt and ends up in a deadly car crash with Michael, killing two other adapts. The violence against the adapts are increasing, and Michael is well known to the men hunting adapts. 

I'm only on chapter four of thirteen, but it's interesting enough to keep my attention. There are some slow points, but right as I'm considering to put the book down for the night something interesting pops up. So far this book seems like a crime novel, mixed in with a bit of wizard/witches type magic. You're on the run with Michael, and get to see what it feels like to be hunting men and being hunted by man. 

So far I would say this is a good read. It's still early to tell what type of person I'd recommend it to, but it's still a good read. :) 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Moms Who Drink and Swear" - Nicole Knepper, Part 2

As I am finishing up "Moms Who Drink and Swear", I am just loving it more and more. It has been such a joy, such a retreat to read that I don't want it to end!

 I think by far my favorite parts of the books are the little shorts, "Conversations with Crotchfruit". These are hilarious conversations that Nicole Knepper has had with her children, written down for our amusement. These are short conversations that every mother has had. To give you a better idea, I'll put one of my own "Conversations with Crotchfruit".

Tickling Gone Wrong

Me - Hey Atticus, better watch out! (I tickle the back of his leg with my feet as we're laying on the couch)

Atticus - HAHA! Do it again Mom!

Me - Do what again?

Atticus - Stick your foot in my butt!

Me - WHAT?

Atticus - Stick your foot in my butt again!

Me - Atticus, don't say that again, that's not very nice.

Atticus - But you did! You stuck your foot in my butt and it made me laugh.

Me - ....Just don't say it again.....

Those are they type of amusing conversations she has with her children. If you only read one thing out of the book, choose the "Conversations with Crotchfruit". You won't regret it!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Moms who Drink and Swear" - Nicole Knepper

"Moms Who Drink and Swear" - Nicole Knepper
Whilst roaming the aisles of Barnes and Noble, in a desperate search for parenting books to help me raise a pretty "unique" son, I came across this book. With a title like this, I couldn't wait to see what it was about! Was it a book that bashed mothers who were not all perfect, smiling, and gracious mothers, or would it embrace the true side of motherhood - the side that occasionally wanted to lock themselves in a closet to get a second to breath? Since my son has officially been kicked out of daycare, I deemed this a good book to read while drinking a glass of wine and sitting in a hot bath.  I  read the introduction and chapter 1, and I'm already bursting at the seams!
First off, I need to put a disclosure out there for people who read my blog and actually venture out to read the books I suggest. As the title says, there is swearing in this book! I'm not talking like the occasional "shit". There are a few "F-bombs" within the introduction/first chapter. This book is basically the raw emotion that many women feel, nothing in this book is sugar coated. It is the side of motherhood that people don't talk about to anyone but their best girl friends.
This book is by far the most hilarious book I've ever read. I took a look into her blog as well, and it is just as amusing to read as the book is. I recently e-mailed Nicole Knepper to ask permission to post a link to her blog on here, and actually got a response! She said that I could post it, and that she might have to check out my blog to see which books I'm suggesting to people. (How exciting is that!!) So, if you would like to check out Nicole Knepper's blog, it can be viewed at this link: http://www.chicagonow.com/moms-who-drink-and-swear/.

For now, I will continue to laugh my way through this book while relating to many of the situations. I will let you know what my final conclusion about this book at the end. My suggestion for this book is this; If you are a mother and have ever thought that a basic household should come equipped with duck tape, a tranquilizer gun, or a "kid-friendly" dog run, then this is the book for you!



Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Raising a Son, 3rd Edition" - Don Elium & Jeanne Elium

"Raising a Son, 3rd Edition" - Don Elium & Jeanne Elium
My son, Atticus, has been having issues at daycare, somewhere along the lines of fighting and alpha male characteristics. So, as a tired single mom, I stumbled to Barnes and Noble to see if I could find any books to help a single mom deal with an aggressive son. Low and behold, I stumbled across this book. The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that the little boy's hand is down the back of his swim shorts. Yup, this looked like a book that might help me understand my own little boy and what goes on in that head of his.
 
I am on Chapter four out of thirteen, and the title is cleverly titled "How to Successfully Grow a Boy: The Cultural Force". I think I'm going to like this chapter. Anyway, this book has had some interesting points of view, some I agree with, some I don't. There are parts in the first four chapters that talk about how women in the workforce may have altered how boys and men react to their instinctual roles. I can understand the point of view, and some of it seems legitimate, but some of the statements are a little more than I agree with.
 
The parts that really interested me so far was the topic of high testosterone men and boys. These are the boys that are driven to be successful by their testosterone, while at the same time they are drawn to high-risk activities such as sky diving, riding motorcycles fast, and high-contact sports like boxing. In little boys, it is displayed in the ways of pretending to be Super Man and diving off of the roof, fighting with other little boys, and trying to jump off ramps with their bikes. If you know me personally, you can see why this interested me. That is Atticus in a nut shell. :P
 
All-in-all, this is a pretty interesting book for a mom of a son to read. It gets to seem a little like a text book and a self-help book wrapped in one at times, but other times the stories the two authors tell are great. It'll take me a while to get through this book, but I get the feeling it's going to be worth my time. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Captain Cooked" - S.P. Grogan

"Captain Cooked" - S.P. Grogan
My coworker loaned me this book after she realized she had two copies. It's one of her favorite books, so she recommended I read it for my blog. The tagline on the cover says "Hawaiian mystery of romance, revenge... and recipes!", and I was interested. I've never read a Hawaiian novel, so this is a first for me. :)
 
I am not very far into the book yet. I'm only on chapter 7 out of 51, but it's already got a good setting for drama, and a little bit of mystery/action in it. The main character, Madison Merlot Dayne is in Hawaii videotaping her father, Jeffery Dayne, for an episode of his food tv show. The first chapter does a great job of setting up Madison's character. She starts off people watching in the airport while waiting for Michael, the hotel greeter, to help with her video equipment. She is thinking about the "beautiful" people she sees when Michael walks up. Instead of the typical greeting of "hello", she is kissed on both cheeks from Michael. At first her mind lingers on romance and instantly hops to conclusions about a possible romantic affair in Hawaii. Then Michael says that the kisses are from her father, and the readers are introduced into her personal drama involving a lack of romance.
 
So far in the book, Madison seems a little bit whiny, but I get the feeling that her character is going to be doing some personal building throughout the book. I can see her getting into a crazy adventure, and winding up in love with a Hawaiian native. I don't know what will happen yet, but that is the feeling I get.
 
There is a bit of a political side to this book. In the first few chapters it talks about a political strike in Hawaii. There is one group that wants Hawaii to go back to having a King and Queen. There is another group wants Hawaii to be part of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The last group are essentially there to fight for Hawaii rights because they "need" to have something to fight for.
 
It's still pretty early in the book to decide if I like it or not. It's got some certain potential, but the writing style is not quite developed in the first few chapters. It seems simple, with a lack of clear direction at this point. I'm hoping that it picks up though, because I certainly see the potential of where it can go. :)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Yukon Murders" - Don G. Porter - Part 2

I finished "Yukon Murders" by Don G. Porter today on my lunch break. I was so surprised who the murder was! Since I promised never to give away the endings, I won't say who it is, but I will say that I couldn't have planned a more surprising and fitting ending.

My overall opinion on "Yukon Murders" is that it a wonderful, captivating book. It is a good blend of Alaska culture, with enough action to keep non-Alaskan readers enticed. The book has so many interesting sides of Native Alaskan living that you find yourself wondering if you could live in the conditions that they consider "normal". When reading from Alex Price's point of view, they started to seem livable and normal to me. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially to people who live in Alaska and are familiar with the different cities/towns/villages that call this great state "home".

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"The Woman in Black" - Susan Hill

"The Woman in Black"
I borrowed this book from a friend of mine after we watched the movie featuring Daniel Radcliffe. I must say that this is one of the instances where reading the book first might have been a good idea. The movie really doesn't follow the book... at all. :/
 
Aside from not following the book, I was not really impressed with this book. I am about a chapter away from being finished with it, and I have yet to really get into the book. The pace is slow, and the build up takes forever. You have to get about two-thirds into the book before the Woman in Black is even mentioned. The first two-thirds of the book tries to build up to this suspense, and then the only horror action that happens is the sound of a rocking chair in a nursery. I'm sorry, but that's way too much build up for too little excitement.
 
Although I was not particularly impressed or interested in this book, it does not mean that someone else would. This is a good "beginner book" for people who do not typically read horror and suspense, but wants a little introduction to those two types of books. For someone like me, who's spent most their life reading horror and suspense, this was just too slow and dry for me. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Yukon Murders" - Don G. Porter

"Yukon Murders" - Don G. Porter
The author of this book, Don G. Porter, is actually a cousin of a coworker that I work with. This book is published by a small publishing company, M&B (McRoy & Blackburn). From what my coworker said, he sells his books out of his truck at craft fairs and the Alaska State Fair. From reading this book, I can faithfully say I wish he sold his books through a larger venue because I would love to purchase another one from him!
 
My coworker suggested I read this book because one of the buildings the Section I work for has done work on the building in the past. So, after hearing that, I couldn't wait to read it! It certainly is a good read for anyone, not just Alaskans.
 
"Yukon Murders" is based in Western Alaska, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The main character, Alex Price, is a bush pilot. (For my non-Alaskan followers, a bush pilot is someone who flies small puddle-jumper plains to remote locations in Alaska. Sometimes they bring supplies for the village people, sometimes they do others jobs.) Alex Price works closely with the police on occasion, and this time it's involved him transporting murder victims in body bags. For the small villages, death is common, but murder is not. The book opens with a murder committed in a small general store, buy a nameless visitor, who sets the mood for the rest of the tragedy that happens throughout the book.
 
I am currently on chapter 10 out of 24. I've been reading it on my lunch break and I'm always sad when I have to put it down. The book is written in a very free feeling way. I feel like I'm listening to Alex Price telling me stories of his past. To me, it almost feels like I'm listening to an old friend recapping his life. With this style, I feel relaxed reading this book, and excited when they mention a location I've been to. :)
 
My overall reflection on what I've read so far is that this is a very well written book, and I cannot wait to finish it. I have not read many books written by small publishing companies that I have liked, but Don G. Porter has a knack for it. I am very thankful that my coworker introduced me to his book, and has given me the joy of letting be borrow one of the signed copies to read.
 
**If you are interested in learning more about Don G. Porter, here is the link to his website. http://www.dongporter.com/


Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Pirate Latitudes" - Michael Crichton

"Pirate Latitudes" - Michael Crichton
 
To give an introduction into my personal interests, I LOVE pirates. I love reading about them, watching movies about them, costumes, pictures, everything! I've even got a tattoo design for a half sleeve involving a ghost pirate ship in a crazy ocean. So, when I saw this book, I had to read it. If it says "pirate" in the title, it's a guarantee I'll pick it up and give it a try.
 
I am currently on chapter 6, and, unfortunately, I am not impressed with this book. I have no idea what is going on. There is a ton of monologue, none of which has remotely touched on anything pirate based. The first 6 chapters has pretty much been Governor Almont complaining about his new secretary not being at port yet. He discusses how he does not like to go to hangings, despite it being in his job description. There is also mention of the plaque in London, and how he needs female servants to serve in his house. That's it.... that is the first 6 chapters.
 
This book is extremely slow going. There has been no action yet, no conflict, no romance, and no pirates. I'm pretty disappointed, especially because a lot of my male friends talk highly about Michael Crichton books. I was expecting action, adventure, and pirates. Instead I've got a whiny Governor, and a secretary with a anxious wife.
 
So far, I'm not sure I would recommend this book to a lot of people I know. If you like monologue books, or if you're looking for something that will take forever to read, and you can stomach slow going dialogue, then sure, pick up this book. Otherwise, I would say try a different Michael Crichton book and hope it's better. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"The Bell Jar" - Sylvia Plath

"The Bell Jar" - Sylvia Plath
 
"The Bell Jar" is about Esther, a simple girl in the 1970's who won a fashion magazine contest and was sent to a whole other world, New York. She stays in a women's only hotel with 12 other girls that won contests, including her roommate Doreen. The prize of the contest is that they all get jobs in New York for a month, expenses paid and free stuff galore. This was a chance of a lifetime, a chance to meet people in the field that they wanted to write about. Esther would soon find out that life in New York is nothing like she'd ever experienced before.
 
I am currently on chapter 4, out of 20, and I am pleasantly surprised by the tone of this book. When I first picked it up, I thought that the writing style would be a little less captive, a little slower paced. Instead, "The Bell Jar" is written from a first-person point of view. You are not given the name of the main character until the 3rd chapter. It is written to resemble a young woman, of around age 20, and does a fantastic job. Myself, being 25, can see myself saying and thinking some of the very same things that the girls in this book are saying and thinking.
 
So far the book is highly based around fashion, formality, and finishing school types of events. Those things are not particularly entertaining things for me to read about, but I am still enjoying the book for what it's worth. There are some unexpected moments, usually revolving around Esther's interactions with Doreen, that keep the book entertaining. It's an interesting diary-like book, and a fairly easy read. The chapters are short, and the language is plain. I'm reading it as a wind-down book before bed. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

"Shadow Divers" - Part 2

I am finishing up reading "Shadow Divers" by Robert Kurson and I am still as enticed and amazed by it in the same way I was when I started. The duo is deep in their investigation to find more information about the shipwreck they found. The search even takes one person to Washington D.C. and then to Germany to talk to an old Nazi soldier for his personal account.
With as much excitement I can express towards a book, I highly recommend this book to anyone. It's got a combination of emotions tied to it, as well as some unexpected friendships, to keep the reader captivated.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Shadow Divers" - Robert Kurson

"Shadow Divers" - Robert Kurson
This book was brought to my attention by a coworker. He was so excited when he was telling me about this book that I had to check it out from the local library. I am currently on the 5th chapter (mind you the chapters are pretty long) and I am LOVING IT!
 
This book is based around deep sea divers that dive not for the sport of it, but to test themselves. They wanted to push themselves farther than they'd ever gone, and deeper into the ocean waters than any other divers have gone. They wanted to experience a world unlike anything they had seen before. In doing so, the divers have seen their fair share of shipwreck sights. Instead of gathering as much loot as they can, like other divers, the two divers in this book instead try to imagine what the ship was like when it was running, and what the crew members daily lives would have been like. They look at these wrecks and see them as adventures, not pay days. In one particular ship wreck they find more than an adventure, they discover unknown history.
 
This book is written with an alluring amount of detail. The way that the author describes the diving process makes me feel like I am the diver myself. This book makes me want to dive to the very bottoms of the oceans and experience the shipwrecks for myself... and that in itself is a pretty amazing thing to do. (Yes, I am one of those people that cannot dive into a pool without pinching my nose shut.) I am in awe of the emotions that the author was able to put not only in the characters, but the surrounding environments that the characters are in.
 
If you are looking for a captivating adventure, one you cannot set down, then this is the book for you. There is heart racing excitement, treasure, death, and passion in these pages, so make sure you have a cuddly blanket, and a bottle of water. As soon as you start reading, you are not going anywhere until you finish! Enjoy!
 


Sunday, January 13, 2013

"The Secret History" - Part 2

I am half way through "The Secret History" and have decided not to finish this book. I have had a hard time keeping up with the plot line. The story has too many "filler" words. Everything is described in detail, making it hard for me to concentrate on what is happening in the story and the importance of certain events. I have not been able to relate to any of the characters on a personal level, and have not been able to imagine a visual to what is going on in the book.
Overall, I would give it a five out of ten. It has the makings for a good plot, but I just couldn't stay focused with the over use of detail in every little event. My personal opinion is that it's a great book if you are one for constant use of detail. For me, I think mass use of details are good every once and awhile, but an entire book with major use of detail is a little too much for me.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"The Secret History" - Donna Tartt

"The Secret History" - Donna Tartt
 
"The Secret History" is about a group of college-aged kids studying Greek at Hampden College. There is murder written in the story, but I have not arrived at that chapter yet. The main character, Richard Papen, wants to join this special Greek class, but is denied when he speaks to the professor about the class. He soon find outs from ramblings on campus that the Greek teacher does not have very respectable ways for choosing his five students. He also finds out that the five students in the Greek class do not interact with the rest of the campus like the other students do. They are, in a sense, in their own world. By the chance interaction in the library with a few of the Greek students, Richard is accepted to attend the Greek class. He is excited, but is curious to learn more about this "Greek Society" on campus.
I have only finished the first chapter of this book, and am not greatly enjoying it yet. There are some slow, explanatory parts in the first chapter. I found it hard to maintain my focus while reading, and caught myself skipping ahead to other paragraphs. With that said, I have only read the first chapter and will maintain my open mind through out the rest of this book. I have read my fair share of books that started out so slow but ended up being great ("Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" started out so boring that I had to put it down and didn't pick it up for almost a year! Once I did pick it back up I was addicted to it.). So, on to more reading and I will let you know if the book picks up or not.