Waking God is fiction with a mission. Doe and Harris run down the field and tackle the big questions in Waking God/Book One/The Journey Begins. HereinWaking God is fiction with a mission. Doe and Harris run down the field and tackle the big questions in Waking God/Book One/The Journey Begins. Herein the world's biggest culprits become the heroes as they battle not only the religious institutions, with their dogma and hellfire, but the very angels and gods themselves. Truth is a slippery slide, but the novel's protagonist, theologian Dr. Andrew, is determined to get it, as his internal battles manifest in an all too real life war of cosmic proportions. It's refreshing to read a book that is about something. Whether one agrees with the assertions the authors put forth through this medium of fiction or not, the discussion is on the table. They've not pulled any punches. An entertaining and provoking book on many levels....more
I finished this back in June, but am just now getting to a review. I know that John Steinbeck books don't need reviews to make people aware of them o I finished this back in June, but am just now getting to a review. I know that John Steinbeck books don't need reviews to make people aware of them or him, but still, there are those people who are only aware of Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. The Winter of Our Discontent, just an everyday kind of story, is perhaps, line by line one of the most fascinating books ever. Pure genius, almost every word. Just like Kurt Vonnegut said in reference to a piece by Abraham Lincoln, "And I thought I was a writer". And to top it off, it's an easy read (outside of the fact that there's a bit of maritime terminology that slows one down for a few moments from time to time). But the only real slow down is as you go, "Wow" repeatedly. Don't get me wrong. Steinbeck is not my favorite author. His ultimate outlook is so bleak as to be deadly. His novels almost always leave me depressed in the end. He has nothing to cling to, it seems, other that beauty, which he seems to revel in showing how it is fleeting. But his writing is to emulate. And that's all most of us could ever do. Genius - well, you gotta have it or you don't. I hate the star system. But since it exists - no choice - 5....more
The Fifth Seal is a book I ran across where it was being used a prop in the furniture store where I work. I was attracted to it from the first pages,The Fifth Seal is a book I ran across where it was being used a prop in the furniture store where I work. I was attracted to it from the first pages, because the author was Russian and the period was shortly after Dostoevsky's rise to international fame, and when the Communist Party had just risen into its day politically and Hitler had come to power in Germany. Much of the novel is concerned with an entourage of Russians in the service of the Socialist Party. As the story opens they are traveling by train to Germany with Kangarov, the new Russian ambassador to that country. Among the entourage is Wislicenus, the aging spy, Tamarin, the aging General, and Nadia, the pretty young secretary of the ambassador. All these elderly characters are smitten with Nadia on level or another. After a certain amount of time in Germany, the same characters turn up in various places on the European continent, coming and going out of each others lives. A good portion of their time is spent in France, which allows for another group of characters to emerge, namely the aging Vermadois, a famous French writer, Alvera, Vermandois' secretary, a young anarchist who commits a senseless murder while also committing a lot of senseless commentary on Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, Cerisier, the aging attorney who becomes Alvera's defense attorney, and the aging Countess de Bellancombre and her aging husband. I have to say that Aldanov's writing, including characterization and dialogue are superb, equal really to any of the masters. His observance of human characteristics, thought processes, and foibles is uncanny. But therein lies the problem. This is book of 482 pages of intelligent low key satire. No heroes or heroines. Written with the style and sophistication of a great classic novel, but with the apparent intention of a crass expose' of humanity, like a sophisticated and very low profile marathon of Seinfeld episodes. An interesting, entertaining diversion, by a great writer, but not a great novel. It's too busy poking fun at great novels and novelists along with everyone else. ...more
Jen Knox’s memoir of her youth and coming of age is a fine study of a restless young lady scrambling to find her way in an urban culture that is at a Jen Knox’s memoir of her youth and coming of age is a fine study of a restless young lady scrambling to find her way in an urban culture that is at a loss to find its way. Like a virtual world in a place where all the characters are displaced and the object of the game is unknown, the story of Jen’s world opens up to us, consistent in its honesty – sometimes brutal in the telling. How is she able to tell these stories, these anecdotes about her family, her friends so openly? That was my thought process as I read. As she struggles to come to terms with herself, will she not further alienate others by this process of tell all? It seems not. Amazing what a clearing of the air can accomplish, especially when the one doing the clearing takes the greatest share of responsibility for her own self-destructive behavior. Musical Chairs is entertaining, no doubt and that’s an accomplishment in itself for a young author and a first book. But there’s more. There are lessons in facing one’s fears and in telling one’s story straight up without resorting to glitz and glamour. However, I think the strong suit of the book, the most obvious strength of the writer in this gritty self-portrait, is the portrayal of determination, the will to improve her lot. So, best wishes to you Jen. May you continue to use your pen, your computer, your voice and your wits to tell your stories. Because I don’t think they will be your stories alone. ...more
Monica M. Brinkman’s novel, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, describes a series of personal battles with morality. Small-town Missouri villains, and moreMonica M. Brinkman’s novel, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, describes a series of personal battles with morality. Small-town Missouri villains, and more kindhearted victims alike, find themselves witness to strange happenings. With a well justified jab at the modern day moneylenders and other parasites of society, the author addresses the problems and concerns of every day people. Supernatural forces come into play and set things right in this condensed, up close and personal, play of the law of karma. Readers will appreciate the spirit of the tale as they identify with the characters and root for justice to prevail. One of the encouraging aspects of the novel is a notable lack of religious proselytizing. Even the story’s protagonists are not privy to any intellectual knowledge of the benevolent forces that come into their world; they simply attune themselves to the help that is offered. Perhaps that’s good advice for us all.
Vic Fortezza’s Close to the Edge is painfully close to reality. In a preface called About the Book, thClose to the Edge is Painfully Close to Reality
Vic Fortezza’s Close to the Edge is painfully close to reality. In a preface called About the Book, the novel is compared to “Crime and Punishment with sexuality at its core”. It’s a pretty good comparison. Fortezza is a reader of the classics. It shows in his work. The only thing is, it’s easier to read about the mental wranglings of Raskolnikov—the cushion of time—the view through the window of a culture separate. The romance is gone in Close to the Edge. It has gone over the edge. These characters, though mostly incapable of elucidating it, feel the loss of that romance to their core. They crave it desperately with all their dulled modern human being.
Because I also crave that romance, I found the book hard edged at times and rather bleak. Even the most sensitive of the characters are quite rough around the edges. I have a home recording studio, so I'm going to use a recording analogy. Vic’s telling of this story is flat, not in the sense of uninteresting flat, but in the sense that proper recording equipment (speakers, microphones, etc.) is flat—it doesn’t color or alter the sound. What you put into it is what comes out of it. Here also the author lets his characters be who and what they are. And I have to say that he is brilliant at recording the trains of thought of these hapless individuals.
As always, I hate the stars, but since I’ve got em, I’m giving Close to the Edge five of em. ...more