Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Favorite Books. Part 2

The Boy Detective Fails. Joe Meno

"Dear Reader,
  The story thus far, as you may have forgotten: Even as a young boy, Billy Argo showed an uncanny talent for solving puzzles of almost every configuration, arrangement, and design.
  That is all."

Billy Argo, his sister Caroline, and best friend fenton become Gothom City, New Jersey's best crime solving team, after Billy receives a Junior detective kit for his birthday. The three best friends solve all manner of crime, most of them in record time.
  Soon after leaving for collage, Caroline commits suicide. Billy unable to cope with the loss of his sister is committed to a mental hospital. After a decade spent in the hospital, Billy is released. Now if he can only solve the one case he has never solved.
  On his journey Billy encounters many strange characters and people from his past that are only too happy to see his failure.

Some of my favorite lines:
"Do you see my bunny's head over there? the girl shouts?

"So, are you going to find its head or not?" the girl asks.
"No. it doesn't look like it"
"No?" the girl asks.
"No, I don't think it's very likely."
"You're not a very good detective are you?"
"No I am afraid I am not."

"Why is a mystery so terrifying to us as adults? Is it because our worlds have become worlds of routine and safety and order the older we've grown? Is it because we have learned the answer to everything and that answer is that there is never a secret passageway, a hidden treasure, or a note written in code to save us from our darkest moments? Why are we struggling so hard against believing there is a world we don't know? Is it more frightening to accept our lives as they are than it is to entertain a fantasy of hope?"

"Part of being an adult is dealing with the terror of being an adult and not knowing what might happen next."

Whenever I find myself in a reading slump, I pull out this book. The story itself is great, but its in the way that it is told that makes this book so special. Billy Argo is a sympathetic character that you can't help but root for.If you ever wondered what could of happened after encyclopedia Brown grew up, then this is the book for you.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My favorite books. Part 1

Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk

When I started batting around the idea of coming back to write a new blog post,(really dropped the ball on wanting to blog a lot) my initial idea was that I wanted to do a top 10 favorite books of all time. So I started by going through my Goodreads account and looking over the books I gave 5 stars. I wrote these all down and then added books that I had not added yet. The list was much bigger than I anticipated, over 50 books. I then put a star next to the ones that I know I really loved. Still over 20 books.
 Now for some reason I really love lists. I always have. I search the internet for the top 10 movies, television shows, cars, etc. What I didn't realize was just how hard it is to come up with a top 10. It felt like picking out a favorite child. This was just not going to happen. So as a compromise I am just going to do a series on my favorite books.
 The only rule I put on myself was that I would have to re-read the book so I could comment on it fresh. And I might just find out I do not feel the same about it as I once did.
 So here we go! I hope you enjoy.

Opening line. "Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die."

Fight club is the first novel by author Chuck Palahniuk. Fight club tells the story of our unnamed narrator who is working in a corporate job with an insurance company. The only thing he has in is life is his job and the unending pursuit to own the best clothes, home, car, etc. Yet he feels empty, no direction in his life. Then his world is turned upside down with a chance encounter with Tyler Durden.
 Tyler represents everything that is missing in our narrators life. together they start a series of underground fight clubs. A place where men can shed the 9 to 5 lifestyle and go primitive. Tyler hates all things related to consumerism and the pursuit of material things. He is about living in the moment, and changing the world. And it might not be in a good way.

I have always loved this book. Fight club is a book for the generation of adults who grew up in the late 80's early 90's. It was in this time of history where young men found themselves with nothing to fight for. their grandparents fought in wars that meant something to the world. Now everything was about how much money you made and how nice your things were. Many were working jobs that were unfulfilling, careers that their parents wanted more than they did.

"The feeling you get is that you're one of those space monkeys. you do the little job you're trained to do. Pull a lever. Push a button. You don't understand any of it, and then you just die"

Many from this generation also came from divorced families with fathers not in the picture.

"Me, I knew my dad for about six years, but i don't remember anything. My dad, he starts a new family in a new town, about every six years. This isn't so much like a family as its like he sets up a franchise. What you see in fight club is a generation of men raised by women."

"My father never went to college so it was really important I go to college. After college, I called him long distance and said, now what? My dad didn't know. When I got a job and turned twenty-five, long distance, I said, now what? My dad didn't know, so he said, get married. I'm a thirty-year-old boy, and I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer I need."

The creation of fight club allowed a generation of men to see what they were capable of, to get away from this bubble wrapped world.

"If you've never been in a fight, you wonder. About getting hurt, about what you're capable of doing against another man."

It gave them the inner strength to change their lives. To stop living for others and start doing what they want.

"It's only after you've lost everything. That you are free to do anything."

"Geting fired, is the best thing that could happen to any of us. That way, we'd quit treading water and do something with our lives."

Tyler comes off as a savior for this group of men, yet he does have other motives. Motives that could change the world for ever. The book takes a hard turn near the end, giving us one of the great litterary twists there is.

I think we all have that one book that we read at the perfect time in our lives. One that makes a huge impression on us. For me it's Fight Club.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fiction: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is the book that has busted my blahs.  It's been a while since I have grown so very personally attached to a character and I am attached to Ursula, the main character of Kate Atkinson's newest novel.  I am attached, hook, line and sinker, to the whole delicious idea of this story.  This book does much more than extrapolate  how an individual life would be different if that ONE thing were to change.  No, Life After Life explores the multitude of ways in which one moment, (and therefore, each moment) can be far-reaching beyond what one can imagine.  And once I understood how the plot was shaking out, I liked playing out each little thread and rooting for Ursula each time, right to the very end. 

For more detail, consider the summary below from the MORE online library catalog:  "What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she?"--Provided by publisher

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Reading Blahs....

I haven't been reading much.  It's not for lack of material,  as there are always a couple of books lounging by my nightstand. But mostly, the books I've brought home have been of the "read-a-couple-chapters-and-then-return" variety.
I started reading A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and I'm about half way through, and it's okay, but, again, I could walk away... sigh.
Here's my short summary so far:
Vignettes into the lives of aging, disgruntled, unhappy humans, from teens to elderly, with their choices framed largely by their regrets at not being enough of whichever particular thing they were chasing after.
Perhaps I need to return to some classics, or perhaps reread an old favorite.  I'll keep you posted.

Summer Reading Program

Book Club