|Nomadic SA Chick||
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Page Count: 490
Fiction Genre: Mystery, Classic
Dares Read: May 10-17, 2015
'In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop... There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white'
The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.
Matthew Sweet's introduction explores the phenomenon of Victorian 'sensation' fiction, and discusses Wilkie Collins's biographical and societal influences. Included in this edition are appendices on theatrical adaptations of the novel and its serialisation history.
I know I'm in the minority here, but this book was a difficult read. I struggled to find any enjoyability in it whatsoever. It is a true Victorian novel. It's dry and just keeps going on and on and on. I wasn't sure it would ever end. It was such a struggle to keep reading at times that at times I nearly DNFed this one. I'm glad I worked my way through it and finished it, but there is no way I could ever pick it up again, nor could I recommend it to anyone else.
2 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Page Count: 614
Fiction Genre: War, Historical
Dates Read: May 11-16, 2015
This is the story of Skip Sands—spy-in-training, engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong—and the disasters that befall him thanks to his famous uncle, a war hero known in intelligence circles simply as the Colonel. This is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war in which the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, and its gritty, sympathetic portraits of men and women desperate for an end to their loneliness, whether in sex or death or by the grace of God, this is a story like nothing in our literature.Tree of Smoke is Denis Johnson’s first full-length novel in nine years, and his most gripping, beautiful, and powerful work to date.
I enjoyed this one. It was a bit slow in places, but the story was engaging and it was interesting to read a story that takes places during the Vietnam War. While I will not say this is one of the best books I've ever read, it certainly was worth the read.
4 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Page Count: 296
Fiction Genre: Horror, Fantasy, YA, Humor, Supernatural, Urban
Dates Read: May 12-15, 2015
Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe. A gap in which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out...
Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?
I found this a bit disappointing. I was such a fan of Connolly's The Book of Lost Things that I was hoping this one would be just as good. Maybe it's because this was a YA reader, and is written like it is for a middle school student. It's a good story for a younger age, but I felt pretty bored with it. I am wanting to read Connolly's books, but I will not be finishing out the Samuel Johnson series.
2 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
Page Count: 192
Fiction Genre: Book Club, Contemporary
Dates Read: May 10-11, 2015
An old man lies dying. Propped up in his living room and surrounded by his children and grandchildren, George Washington Crosby drifts in and out of consciousness, back to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in Maine. As the clock repairer’s time winds down, his memories intertwine with those of his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler and his grandfather, a Methodist preacher beset by madness.
I chose Tinkers by Paul Harding for this week because the synopsis sounded interesting. "At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, illness, faith, and the fierce beauty of nature." - GoodReads
When I finished this book I was left feeling ... well, I don't know exactly what I felt, but it was not the satisfaction I normally feel when finishing a book. The book was at times confusing as the stories between George and his father melded together. It was a very different book than I would normally read, and for that I am thankful I delved into this, but I am not sure I could ever recommend it to anyone.
1 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: Penguin Books
Page Count: 273
Fiction Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Gothic
Dates Read: May 8-9, 2015
At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I was expecting a story similar to The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which the narrative just drug on and on and on. This was quite different. The book was engaging beginning to end. I was most surprised by the monster. The depiction of him that we typically see in movies, TV, and other stories show him as a monster. In the book it is the opposite of that. From start to end I sympathized with the monster and the simple things in life that he wanted. It was remarkable to be on the journey with Frankenstein as he treks across the world in search of revenge. This easily was added to my all-time favorite bookshelf.
I give this a 5 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Count: 592
Nonfiction Genre: Biography, Memoir, Social Issues, Culture, Politics, Native American, Historic
Dates Read: April 18-May 7, 2015
Russell Means is the most controversial Indian leader of our time. Where White Men Fear to Tread is the well-detailed, first-hand story of his life so far, in which he has done everything possible to dramatize and justify the Native American aim of self-determination, such as storming Mount Rushmore, seizing Plymouth Rock, running for President in 1988, and--most notoriously--leading a 71-day takeover of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973. This visionary autobiography by one of our most magnetic personalities will fascinate, educate, and inspire. As Dee Brown has written, "A reading of Means's story is essential for any clear understanding of American Indians during the last half of the twentieth century."
No book has angered me as much as Where White Men Fear to Tread. While I understand the frustration the Means must have felt, especially when looking at the horrid way his ancestors have been treated by the US Government, and the persistent racism that was still visible in the 1980s, but I do not see how he could use this to justify his atrocious behaviors.
Means was an egomaniac and hypocrite who believed in equality for Native Americans. He wanted people to join his movements, and be apart of them. However, he harbored a lot of anger towards white people who supported and helped him. He wanted to end discrimination of native people, and hated when people used racial slurs towards him or other natives, yet freely used racial slurs against everyone else when he felt they were not supporting him or his organizations enough. He also demanded support from other Native American organizations, yet would not support all of them in return. The best evidence of this is when he was approached to help support a movement to bring attention to domestic violence on the reservations. Means, an admitted wife beater, refused to support them.
The point in the book where I realized that there was absolutely no redeeming quality in Means, is when he was on trial in Minnesota for leading the Wounded Knee takeover. As he and several of his fiends were preparing to go hear his verdict, they decided to sneak guns into the courtroom and shoot the judge, prosecutors, and jurors, if he received a guilty verdict.
In the book, Means says he is tired of being arrested. Tired of spending his time in courts and defending himself. Yet he constantly and continued to act in ways that brought him this negative attention. He had no qualms in beating officers, shooting them, setting government buildings on fire, and participating in drunken barroom brawls. He continued to state it was because the police officers were discrimination against him. While I believe that this is partially true, Means was also a thug who put himself in situations that required his encounters with the law.
Means as a human being is not a very likable guy either. He's an alcoholic, who abuses his wives (he had multiple marriages) and abandons his families (when the children are very young), is barely involved in his children's lives after he leaves their mothers, and a racist with violent tendencies, as well as a drug and alcohol problem (that he admits to). Means solution to bring equality and end racism/discrimination for Native Americans is to meet hate with hate, hostility with hostility, and violence with violence, all the while expecting the world to change and bend to his whims. He speaks of wanting peace for himself and his fellow natives, yet he will not do anything to encourage and develop the peace he desires.
I give this a 0 out of 5 stars.