Planes, trains and automobiles..no.. Bicycles, Motorcycles and Cars..better… Raleigh, Triumph and 1938 Rolls Royce..even better… The Iconic mixed with dr...morePlanes, trains and automobiles..no.. Bicycles, Motorcycles and Cars..better… Raleigh, Triumph and 1938 Rolls Royce..even better… The Iconic mixed with dread with some good versus evil in the mix plus some creative storytelling crafted by the capable writing skill of Joe Hill. These vehicles of transport are his modus operandi in telling this strange tale involving Christmas with a twist, there is definitely no ‘Here’s Father Christmas!’ but there is certainly ‘Here’s Charlie Manx!’ He writes with interesting characters, it reads visceral and gives you vivid imagery in scenes. If there is one negative it is the length , a little more economising on the last half would have been a more tighter story. I liked the Joe Hill storytelling of Heart-Shaped Box, it had more real horror and a haunting feel. All his novels have great artwork and book titles. The publicity behind this has been top notch great book trailer, the publishers have handled this release successfully and Joe Hill is savvy with social media, he listens and connects with his readers and has a great following.
The Planes went down not in the sea, or the woods, and not somewhere that could easily be located by a rescue team or on a land that they could arrive...moreThe Planes went down not in the sea, or the woods, and not somewhere that could easily be located by a rescue team or on a land that they could arrive safely on. The bleakest of environments the remotest of places, Greenland. Not just one crash, but many, lives lost in the rescue effort. Greenland will host men that represent bravery, determination and great willpower for survival, all in cause for the greater good of their fellow men, while a war raged with men an even greater war took hold, with a lethal and power force that does not discriminate, nature. The rescue of the men in Greenland became a great challenge and proved to be a disastrous and terrible beauty, unforgiving to its denizens with the accumulating snow and snow storms, its unstable shifting icy surface and no exact crash position, time held the most paramount importance, every second counted and was a second closer to a grim end, in freezing conditions people would loose something if not their minds or starvation then possibly limbs.
What happened to the Grumman Duck amphibious plane and the three men it carried?
At the end of this book the author writes, "This book tells two true stories, one from the past and one from the present. The historic story revolves around three American military planes that crashed in Greenland during World War II," and
"I played a role in the Duck Hunt, and I appear in the book, but it isn't about me. It's about ordinary people thrust by fate or duty into extraordinary circumstances, one group in 1942 and another group seventy years later. Separated by time but connected by character, their bravery, endurance, and sacrifices reveal the power of humanity in inhumane conditions. I hope I've done them justice." Well you have Mitchell Zuckoff done a great justice in this wonderful story of truth, you have done research that truly goes beyond the norm for writing non-fiction and will be like ancient carving on a tree, for many a reader etched in the mind. A story, a rescue that would prove to present "a miracle on ice."
"A more immediate worry was the cold. They had no heat, no light, no stove. They had no sleeping bags, no heavy clothing, no Arctic survival gear. A few seconds outside would coat a man's face with frost. In minutes, blood would rush from his extremities to his core. Exposed skin would die. In the sky, the men on a B-17 were warriors. On the ground, they were frozen sardines in a busted-open can."
"The war would wait, but freezing American airmen wouldn't."
"In a world where size generally matters, Greenland's doesn't. The island is globally overlooked despite being enormous: more than sixteen hundred miles from north to south, and eight hundred miles at its widest point. Greenland could swallow Texas and California and still have room for a dessert of New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and all of New England. It's three times the size of France, and it occupies more than twice the area of the planet's second-largest island, New Guinea. Yet Greenland is the world's loneliest place. With fifty-eight thousand residents, it has the lowest population density of any country or dependent territory. Only Antarctica, with no permanent residents, makes Greenland seem crowded. If Manhattan had the same population density as Greenland, its population would be two."
"To fight cabin fever, they played word games. They named all the countries, rivers, capitals, islands, and every other geographical feature they could think of. They told and retold their life stories and talked about whatever came to mind. Still they ran out of things to say, so they spent long periods in silence. The isolation, the wind, the moving glacier beneath their feet, and the relentless cold preyed on their nerves. They seemed to take turns breaking down, wishing their ordeal were over, one way or another. Each time, the other two would comfort the crying man. When the cycle unraveled, all three sank into despair at the same time. They hatched a suicide pact."
This story has a captivating and engrossing will also elements of the haunting and scary on beauty that would have you either reconsider facial surger...moreThis story has a captivating and engrossing will also elements of the haunting and scary on beauty that would have you either reconsider facial surgery, for cosmetic reasons, or run to the phone to book an op. I love thew way the author has sculptured this main character a lover of beauty and an artist who loves to recreate the face. The story reels you in with the first person narrative of the voice of the character, he hypnotically takes you under his wing in a Humbert, from Lolita, like style. This was well researched a story of fiction, filled with references and musings on pre-Columbian art and culture, that could not be far from the truth, the real world we live today. Death becomes her fans would love this and The Fly come to think of it when considering the goings wrong side of cosmetic surgery featured within this tale. A real good story that leaves you with plenty of food for thought and chills in your spine.
Before you run to the knife think twice after reading Beauty by Brian D’Amato
“It’s just too disturbing for people. I mean, people can deal with knowing that you’ve had a lift, or whatever, but if they find out that your whole face isn’t really alive at all, it’s just plastic, they’re liable to get grossed out. 1 get grossed out by it myself sometimes.” They looked at me. “I mean, when I see the people I’ve done, sometimes it just flashes into my head that they aren’t really alive, and I get all weirded out by it.”
“But this was going to be one of the strangest faces ever. It really was abstract. All the time I’d put in as an abstract artist was paying off in this figurative project. I was working on such a basic level, with the basic sign of human existence. What was it about eyes, nose, and mouth that was so important? Eyes, nose, and mouth are some sort of basic metaphor for the structure of the universe—or did I say this before?
I felt I was going to be the last artist to relive that experience that Balzac was talking about, the experience of creating ideal facial beauty, in a meaningful way. I was going to be Leo, Mike, and Raph for the last time. I was the first to do what they did, in a twentieth-century way. A twenty-first-century way. Suddenly there was a reason for all the beauty lore I had internalized for so long and had then realised had no place in the art of the present. I’d made it a place.”
“A mole. Of course. What would Marilyn or Madonna or Cindy Crawford be without their moles? Nothing, I thought. Or a lot less. It’s interesting that moles are called “beauty marks.” What was it about them that made them so alluring? Are they like a sign that you can approach the goddess?
I spent a long time composing its position, but I finally decided the black spot would go nearly a centimeter above the left corner of her lip. A hair off to the left. The abstract element would round out her effect. It would make her unique and human and sexy and somehow pathetic. Because a mole is an intimation of death.”
“Socrates says: Beauty is certainly a soft, smooth, slippery thing, and therefore of a nature which easily slips in and permeates our souls.
I read a lot of Baudelaire. He had a darker take on the issue. He was good on the cruelty of beauty: I am beautiful mortals, as a dream in stone, My breasts kill each man in his turn, and they Were made to inspire in every poet his own Great love, as silent and eternal as clay. Because, to fascinate my love-slaves, I Have mirrors which make every object bright: My eyes, my giant eyes’ eternal light!
The eyes thing again. Eyes really were the seat of beauty. Like the Elizabeth Taylor thing. Eyes, large eyes, doe-like eyes, eyes are so weird, they don’t look like anything else to do with bodies or fleshiness or anything, they’re round and abstract, and they come in strange colours, white and black and green. What was so magical about large eyes? Maybe ever are just magical in general and bigger eyes are more magical. Of course, bigger eyes make you look younger. But they’re also the windows of the soul, you know, so when you have big eyes, you’re intimate with everyone, because they can see into your soul, I’d been reading too much.”
“I was elated, like I was on Xtasy. Imagine having the power to give people a second chance. To give them almost eternal youth. I could turn straw into gold. Something out of nothing. I could give beauty, fame, money, power—it was incredible. It was as though I were Ponce de Leon and I had discovered the Fountain of Youth. I was a God. And I was immortal, I was a shape-changer. A werewolf, a vampire, a skin-switcher. I could be anything I wanted to be, anyone at all.”
“Minaz is my design. She’ll be the first in a race of cyborgs, half-human, half-technology Uber-beings. The new order of man. The dawn of a new age.”
Rory Carroll takes you inside the walls of Miraflores palace and shows us how Hugo Chavez rose to power. He tells and shows his skill in politics and...more Rory Carroll takes you inside the walls of Miraflores palace and shows us how Hugo Chavez rose to power. He tells and shows his skill in politics and his failure in having a peaceful Venezuela. He takes you back to his dreams and a pledge under a particular acacia tree in 1982, where once in 1830 Bolivar made an oath to free and empower his people, and onto the military conspiracy and coup to take leadership.
The author writes on the successes and the failures, he covers in great detail from solider to president, the power journey till this day where he is now ailing in health due to cancer. A story of power and revolution. I never knew much of Chavez until reading this. The facts speak for themselves anyone who promises to lead and aid people must have some responsible peace but with the high murder rate, kidnappings and drug trafficking something is not right and this author shows you what he did well and what he failed at. Love Chavez or hate him, this is a brilliant portrait layered out in words.
It was interesting to learn of Gabriel Garcia Marquez interviewing Hugo Chavez a great writer who seems to be around many a powerful man including Fidel Castro. I am now inspired to read soon The Autumn of Patriarch by him a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while
"What Chavez said mattered. He was a master of language and communication. He toyed with words, revived old ones, coined new ones, made them sing and sting. Words can provoke reactions and create their own reality. In Venezuela words spawned hatred and polarisation. Chavez's spurned allies found their voice and hurled back their own insults."
"On 17 December 1982, the anniversary of Bolivar's death in 1830, Chavez was the chosen orator for a barracks ceremony. He told the assembled soldiers to picture the liberator in the sky, watchful, frowning, because what he had left undone remained undone. Afterwards Chavez, Baduel and two other captains, Jesus Urdaneta Hernandez and Felipe Acosta Carles, jogged six miles to the Saman del Guere, an acacia tree under whose shade Bolivar used to rest. It was a humid, sticky day and the friends arrived drenched in sweat, Chavez last. There they plucked leaves, a military ritual, and Chavez improvised another speech, this time paraphrasing Bolivar's famous 1805 oath: I swear to the God of my fathers, I swear on my homeland, I swear on my honour, that I will not let my soul feel repose, nor my arm rest until my eyes have seen broken the chains that oppress us and our people by the order of the powerful. The others echoed his words, and a conspiracy was born."
"Colombian cocaine had long trickled through Venezuela en route to Europe and the US. Under the comandante it became a stream, then a river. It was not his intention, but it flowed from his decisions."
"The revolution inherited grave social problems and made them worse. In 1998, the year before Chavez took office, there were 4,500 murders, a grim per capita rate on par with much of Latin America. A decade later it had tripled to more 17,000 per year, making Venezuela , more dangerous than Iraq, and Caracas one of the deadliest cities on earth. Eight times more murderous, it was calculated, than Bogota, Colombia's capital. With less than one percent of cases ever solved it was, all things considered, a good place to commit murder. Kidnappings, previously a rarity, became an industry with an estimated 7,000 abductions per year. To allay their terror the rich and middle class invested in bodyguards and armoured cars, or emigrated, but most of the killing and dying was done by gangs - in slums fighting for drugs, turf, women and prestige."
I liked the concept and the tale had me hooked but there was a sense of disappointment by the end and thats when a hook can sometimes let the story do...moreI liked the concept and the tale had me hooked but there was a sense of disappointment by the end and thats when a hook can sometimes let the story down. I the title explains the tale and the rest fell into place predictably, without great sentences and paragraphs to fall back on i had to give it three.(less)
The characters and setting win in this novel. The sparse post-apocalyptic setting is described with sentences written in short sparse prose. I liked t...moreThe characters and setting win in this novel. The sparse post-apocalyptic setting is described with sentences written in short sparse prose. I liked the characters used and the way he wrote this, a good flowing on the road to somewhere story.
A southern story that holds true to the ways lives were led. Ways family moved, interacted and their beliefs. The story read as if the people, place a...moreA southern story that holds true to the ways lives were led. Ways family moved, interacted and their beliefs. The story read as if the people, place and events had come from writers such as Faulkner and Joe Lansdale, to name a few.
The child narrative was captivating, the blessed mute child, the family struggle to break from dark past. The closed church with papers blocking view from passing eye. A Gothic story that's tragic that touches strings of the heart and puts a spotlight on extremities.
This story has a community that have their daily dosage of God talk delivered by a Pastor who has ways that tend to tip to a more extreme practice as the eyes of a young boy in this story testifies. This boy, who has a brother that has been mute since birth, he can't make out all this emotion in belief in this Godly world these adults talked about, his world was still innocent and a learning curve. He can't quite figure out evil at his age but what he sees speaks waves, echoes of fear and sorrow. He can't understand why the secrecy, when he finds out what occurs behind closed doors he fears of being found out and feels sorrow for what could happen to his mute brother in the hands of the evil that men do. Many a wolf adorn a sheep's clothing and in this story you feel an evil lurks in peoples ignorance, blinded by desire and wanting a greater good man falls and fools. Man is no prophet or God and but you see in the world man is playing being actors prophesies when there is no need and playing the prophet, messenger and dictator when there is no need.
The land shall always abide but many shall fall will false notions and convictions instead of embracing the beauty and the visible miracles of God around. The characters in this story choose to take matters in their hands and the end result can only be tragic and how you will feel for one young soul in this story and how you will warm to this great story full of many great things.
The authors way of telling this story has you thoroughly immersed and captivated you feel and connect for the vulnerable and wonder at the ignorance, the secrets people allow to have covered until its too late. The price weighs so heavy on the victim and the heart weeps so endlessly with those they leave behind.
"That kind of belief has been up here a long time before I arrived on this earth, and it's my guess it'll be around for a long time after I'm gone. But I've seen his work firsthand, and I still can't put my finger on what it is and why it affects folks like it does. Ten years ago i saw a man set his own barn on fire while his family just stood out in the yard and watched it go, just because he thought it was the right thing to do."
"I suddenly understood the kind of mind that could convince Gillum to set his barn on fire, and I suddenly understood why a group of folks would hide behind newspaper-covered windows while they worshiped, and I finally realized what was in those little crates they carried in and out of that church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. But other than suspicion, what did I have? What could I do? Arrest a man for exercising his religious freedom?"
That child was touched, and I just don’t know what else you could call it. He never cried once as a baby, and by the time he was three years old those two kids knew he wasn’t ever going to speak. He’d hum sometimes or maybe even grunt when he wanted something, but that was about it. He was quiet, all right, but you couldn’t say he wasn’t peaceful. He could spend all day sitting still on the porch steps with just his eyes creeping around the yard to take measure of the things resting just out of line with your won gaze: the tree line, the ridge, an earthworm inching itself along through the dirt. I used to sit with him when he was just little bitty thing, and sometimes I got to believing that I could feel his eyes on me. When I did, I’d whip my head around right quick to try and catch him staring, but I never could. I’d find him instead just siting there with his eyes locked on a black spread of birds moving in silhouette against a bright sky or else watching the edge of the breeze rustle the dried leaves on the oaks crowding the ridge behind their little house.”
"It's a good thing to see that people can heal after they've been broken, that they can change and become something different from what they were before."
Ghostman has many things working well in the story but lacked a few important elements. There was a need to have the character developed more, I felt...moreGhostman has many things working well in the story but lacked a few important elements. There was a need to have the character developed more, I felt not caring for the unfolding events due to a few factors. One being the shift of past and present, it hard to write with, many instructors on writing have said to tread carefully when moving through past and present in the same story. A heist story can be a clear winner and getaway or a possible ambush, in this story i felt there was a trying to fit too many make it work elements but miss one main element. At first the title Ghostman had many stereotypes, pre-reading this, running through my head, the usually kind you would expect with this title and it successfully didn't sway me away from this. There was good parts and I read it to the end, but it did not have enough to be a winner.(less)
This is a work of non-fiction that covers man quest into the unknown, his exploring and discovering of a great beast. A white man had not traveled as...moreThis is a work of non-fiction that covers man quest into the unknown, his exploring and discovering of a great beast. A white man had not traveled as far as our explorer in here across dangerous territory tribal controlled regions in remote areas of Gabon. The public, the critics at first did not believe in his discoveries but time would tell and all would eventually talk of his expeditions and cash in on the discoveries. The black and white movie King Kong has many of the explorers footsteps used in done ways. I did feel that I was amidst the King Kong movie, especially the recent remake, minus the great fiction figure of King Kong himself in here you are in company of a great mammal a Gorilla. A Gorilla that was hardly known of to the masses of the metropolis of U.S and U.K. There was quite a hard time had by the explorer during a passage of a smallpox outbreak, the villagers and his expedition crew were all struck with this ugly head of outbreak of disease and he was the sole guilty party in bringing this danger to the people. In some ways ironically they were in search of a beast but they presented themselves as white beasts to the locals, in bringing death by disease to their community.
I found the book interesting and educating, the amusement at the masses unknown of gorillas memorable. The killing and bringing home Specimens of Gorilla tragic and in history a great achievement and triumph was undertaken in the action of it outlawed. A memorable research in the journey to the heart of the Gorilla and the people around it.
“Of all the stories Wilson told, however, none fascinated the boy more than the story of the njena. The creature was shrouded in obscurity, spoken of by the locals as if it were a mythical monster, not a real animal. The njena was a mystery just waiting to be solved.”
“Audubon himself shot most of the birds he drew-a necessary compromise that inspired generations to refine their own appreciations of nature and, in some cases, to work to protect such species from endangerment. In twentieth century, that compromise became unnecessary. Hunting lost whatever scientific, academic, and artistic authority it once claimed. But in the mid-nineteenth century, naturalists felt little moral pressure pushing them away from hunting. If anything, they were pushed toward it by scientists and academic institutions with a wolfish demand for specimens.”
“While he waited in Olenda, the pox continued to tear through the community.”Not a day passed without its victims,” he later wrote, “each fresh death being announced by the firing of guns, a sound which each time pierced through me with a pang of sorrow. From morning to night, in my solitude, I could hear the cries of wailing, and the mournful songs which were raised by the relatives round the corpses of the dead.”
Grabs you by the jugular into one helluva wild ride and wont let go till its final page. Delivering words in sentences with precision and control that set the scene, sometimes in rapid fire motion. Darker than dark, a world unto its own with characters and happenings that rise up from the pages and will fester in your mind with vivid and powerful images of a feast of grit, blood and sweat.
Frank Bill has won with the great characters and visceral storytelling that he has forged in this story Donnybrook.
There is one tough man, Jarhead, who wants to do good for his family he's fighting a dark fate that has passed and trying to change the tide of his future in earning a sum of dollars in a fight show unlike any other. This show down out in the middle of a heavily guarded fortress makes the fight in Fight Club seem like a kindergarten brawl due to the ungodly rules and players.
There are badder guys than the Jarhead who have no rules and partake in all bad things under the sun just waiting to be taken out by many a enemy.
Angus is one, a force to be reckoned with and then there an Asian guy Fu who is lethally trained in all the arts of taking an opponent out for the count.
The author has laced all the characters and occurrences with spot on sparse, showing sentences, dialogue and a great usage of similes.
A new fresh talent that leaves a trademark style in a literary form equivalent to way Tarantino leaves a trademark style in the film form with characters and scenes.
“The man held scars. One side of his complexion had been hazed by flame. His hair raked back into a ponytail that twisted down his spine. Dye-engraved names were about his flesh like a newspaper headings. He was a fighter, or had been a fighter. He was a man who’d tried to salvage what he could from life. He was hard and merciless. Then his image faded. Purcell lay in his hammock of wove rope. He’d a cigarette dangling in his right hand. Trees above offering shade. “Ballard of the Crimson Kings,” a tune by Ray Wylie Hubbard, rustled in the warm breeze from a CD player on Purcell’s screened-in porch. Guitar strings and banjo were being picked. Images of Jarhead ran like adrenaline in his veins. Then came the face of another man who went by Knox, Miles Knox. He and the boy Jarhead could’ve been twins except for age. Purcell hadn’t realized until now how much they favoured each other. He didn’t know the man on a personal note. Bur he’d crossed paths with him at social gatherings where ooze and talk were being passed.”
“Twenty fighter entered a fence-wire ring. Fought till one man was left standing. Hordes of onlookers-men and women who used drugs and booze, wagered and grilled food-watched the fighting. Two fights Friday. Four Saturday. The six winners fought Sunday for one hundred grand.
The two jobs Jarhead worked, towing for a junkyard during the day, then flipping burgers and waffles two or three nights a week, hardly provided enough cash to feed and clothe his two smiling-eyed progeny. Boys created with the comeliest female in the Kentucky hills, Tammy Charles.
In between his jobs he jogged through the Kentucky mining hills that gave his stepfather black lung and his mother gun-powder suicide. He pounded the homemade heavy bag that hung from a tree in front of his trailer till his hands burned red. Training for his next bare-knuckle payday out in an abandoned barn or tavern parking lot. Farmers. Miners. Loggers. Drunks. Wagering on another man’s will.
Donnybrook would be Jarhead’s escape from the poverty that had whittled his family down to names in the town obituaries. He just needed the thousand-dollar fighter’s fee to enter.”
“He had on each inner forearm a tattoo that signified his tutelage in a faraway school. A monkey branded his right. A snake branded his left. Mr Zhong, he knew, had the same tattoos under his sleeves.”
“Raw light from the ceiling caught his face, highlighted the putty-like scars from years of offensive training as a boy. The knuckles of each hand were flat as the wood and bamboo he’d conditioned them against years ago. His forearms and shins were the same. Years of bones being pounded. Nerve endings numbed. Conditioned into steel.”
“When I was a young girl growing up in a sleepy Appalachian paper mill town, I had a lot of dreams for a girl with limited opportunity. Probably the biggest of all my dreams was just to get away from where I was.”
This is the opening testament of the author who set on a road to do that very same thing for a group of unfortunate girls that reside in conditions more darker and truer than fiction, this dilemma is a common and increasing reality of our modern age.
She goes on to write in her introduction.
“My own life journey, from a poorly educated girl in a small mountain town to a Harvard educated writer, teacher, and social advocate is one message of hope. But then so are the stories of seven determined girls who were every bit as gifted and promising as I once was. Each different, but all steadfast in their desire for a better life than the one they had inherited. These daughters and granddaughters of southern Appalachian workers have grit and resolve, but they need much more if they are to succeed in our new unforgiving economy. The stories that follow provide a chronicle of one teacher’s odyssey in poor America, and of the pitfalls and possibilities that arose along a road carved out of simple materials: literature, reading and stories of childhood dreams.”
I fitting account of the tragedy and triumph that resides in these pages touching and awe inspiring. A teacher, a heroine, equipped with a pencil, a sword of victory. With hope and belief in oneself on a journey, a road on out to a greater good, the pen could be mightier against the sword/destroyers of dreams. A true story to read, that may inspire many. We need more teachers like this to instil a love for the written word, I know from first hand experience, I left school at 16 born of immigrant parents with an illiterate mother, how it sadness me to see how my mother lost out in life without being able to read words and sentences, to joy at beautiful prose, to be enlightened and aware of many things in our glorious world of written words.
Every Monday after school during the regular school year, and every day during summer school this teacher met with her students to read and talk about books and to write stories of their own. Literature proved to me a more powerful teaching tool than anything that this teacher could use. What she learned was that they wanted to read of horrors and the supernatural as she explains here.
“The parts of the story jammed against one another: a young girl, Stephen King, horror. This want what I had in mind when I had created my literature class for girls.”
She goes on to tell what she had learned of this..
“In their improbable way, I was learning, that horror stories offered hope. Hapless heroines could outwit sinister spirits and crazies. Even stories of Rose Madder could find the inner strength to defeat the horrifying monster that Norman had become. Spirits such as Blair’s Ghost Rose could speak out in angry voices, letting others know how trapped and alone they felt. I too was trying to create hope around the only form of transcendence I knew: an education rich in literature and reading.”
And also in this paragraph.
“The young girls in my reading class were not alone. Horror fiction had become rampant in popular culture, so much so that parents and teachers had begun to voice concern about images of maiming and psychopathic mayhem flooding the popular book and movie market. These movies- Final Destination, The House of 1,000 corpses, Slash, 13 Ghosts-were geared to a ravenous audience of horror fans, many of them still in their teens. Such trends had led to a flurry of writing about the subject by literary and film critics, cultural scholars, and even psychoanalysts. One explanation offered for the feeling that my girls experienced when reading scary books is the notion of a psychic safety valve. Fans of horror and ghost stories can experience a thrilling read, and yet know that in the end they will be safe. This can be cathartic-like screaming bloody murder on a roller coaster ride, then walking off with tears of laughter streaming down your face. But this wasn’t the only explanation for the strange appeal of horror. Every reader of fiction searches for the threads that can connect her life to the landscape she inherits. And these threads of connections need not be real-or not something you can see or touch in the everyday world. Fiction’s special appeal is that it can take us out of this world and help us connect with what can only be seen through the imagination’s inner eye. Part of the beauty of ghost stories was that they were not real. Crazy, weird, and Elizabeth’s favourite word, boring-this is how my students felt about reading a realistic novel. Elizabeth wasn’t yet ready for novel about a girl who was “just like her.” Could I bring myself to enjoy the kind of book that she loved?”
An awe inspiring story on a woman and seven girls battle against the odds. These girls she taught had come from poor families, broken, and problem riddled. Some girls had parents in jail or dead, addicted to drugs, alcohol or who were violent abusers. They, under this mentoring, had hope instilled but ultimately their surroundings, their home lives still had a tragic and out of their hands part in their fates. Think in a more pleasant tone of the great Matilda, from that Roald Dahl story, and how she was helped by her kind and committed teacher against a bad teacher and bad parenting. A great teacher does wonders, a soul that one would look back on with pleasant memories and happiness on how they did it right! A change needs to come about, to save our youth, we all need to act and help in the greater cause and message that lies in this unmissable read for 2013.
‘ “What is it about Stephen King’s books that you really enjoy?” I asked. “The parts when scary things happen,” said Blair. “And I like to read long books.” Rose Madder was 420 pages long.
This story of one precocious young girl, her Stephen King book, and a hopelessly idealistic teacher helps to shed light on a big dilemma. How can education open doors for girls such as Blair, the daughter of poor whites, and a girl with dreams as big as any girl in America? Her small but important life story is part of a larger American narrative. She is the young heir to a labour history, a slice of our national life that is disappearing. The courageous southern migrants who fled Appalachian poverty had come to Midwest cities in search of manufacturing jobs and a better future for their children. Now young Blair had inherited a forgotten landscape, tormented by job loss and a growing street-drug problem. Dropout rates were high too, reflecting an intergenerational history-the earlier workers of Blair’s neighbourhood could find jobs without high school diploma-but also a sense of detachment from school. What Blair most needed was a first-rate education that would allow her to create a new kind of future, leading her away from the streets and their torments and toward he life her Grandma Lilly envisioned for her. But when I set out to become an educational agent for hope and change for Blair, I discovered that the single thing that could have made the biggest difference in her life-public education-was itself part of the problem. In spite of the intentions of individuals at Blair’s school, who were as hardworking as they were big-hearted, she was caught up in the same two-tiered system of schooling I had lived through. Its like John Dawson, an Appalachian migrant who moved to inner-city Chicago in the 1950s, remarked: “A poor kid don’t get the same teachin’ that a rich kid gets.” '
A story set in bygone days of a English village, the characters in this story go through hard times some involving that of arson and death. The story i...moreA story set in bygone days of a English village, the characters in this story go through hard times some involving that of arson and death. The story is told with some great prose with metaphors and careful sentencing. I felt a great sense of place and time in this story which is slow paced and successfully kept me reading on . A memorable story to be consumed in a few readings.
"As I've said, we are not a hurtful people. We are, though, fearful, proud and dutiful. We do what must be done."
"But, as I've said, these fields are far from anywhere, two days by post horse, three days by chariot, before you find a market square; we have no magistrate or constable; and Master Kent, our landowner, is just. And he is timid when it comes to laws and punishments."
"..they took the castling lane beside the manor house and strode with devilry in their steps-the kind that can flourish only on a day when there's no other work to do-toward the one remaining twist of smoke."
"Secrets are like pregnancies hereabouts. You can hide them for a while but then they will start screaming."
"I am holding my breath, not to he discovered. How silent it has become, beyond the pelting rain. I fear there's no one living anywhere. The night is ponderous. No owl or fox is keen to interrupt the darkness. It seems that even the trees have stopped their stretching and their creaking, their making wishes in the wind, to hold their breaths and stare like me toward the pillory."
"A mighty storm of reckoning was on its way, if there was any justice in the world. The air was cracking with the retribution and damnations that, in my hearts of hearts, I knew that some of us deserved. I prayed that this was just a dream and that soon the couldn't-care-less clamour of the sunrise birds would rouse me to another day, a better day, a bloodless one, one in which, despite my hand, I'd do my common duty and drag up a log or stone to make that short man tall. I prayed that time would turn back on its heels and surprise us with a sudden billowing of breath beneath the baling cloth."
Magical storytelling within these pages, humanity in its many shades played out in a great tale with wonderful memorable characters pitted against adv...moreMagical storytelling within these pages, humanity in its many shades played out in a great tale with wonderful memorable characters pitted against adversity with bravery, patience and resilience.
Very stark true and brutal realities dealt with in this story of one girl. The author done well in painting her canvas and successfully left me with two vivid opposite images, one peace and spirit and another of cold brutality, scenes from these pages may linger with you and you may be moved and thought provoked. When you sleep you may dream of the young girl trapped in a web of brutal bullying, exploitation, and suicide and then you may turn in your sleep having a strange nightmare of Extra Terrestrial like frail woman walking around naked, which all come from scenes of the young souls life in this tale.
The author has the spotlight on very serious and plaguing issues in society such as suicide, bullying, and our universe with humor in the young girls narrative. This is told in first person narrative and has a great connection with the reader right from the get go your are called to account and become immersed and embedded in the story. A mediation work in some ways, on time and memory, a glorious splendor on courage and the beauty of humanity against the darkness of the heart.
A read that will be hitting a lot of best of 2013 lists! Original and an important work of literary fiction that is long overdue and needed in today’s tidal wave and onslaught of adversities that humanity faces. Storytelling with slices of darkness and light, yin and yang, a sheer work of brilliance.
“Print is predictable and impersonal, conveying information in a mechanical transaction with the reader’s eye. Handwriting, by contrast, resists the eye, reveals its meaning slowly, and is as intimate as skin.”
“When old Jiko talks about the past, her eyes get all inward-turning, like she’s staring at something buried deep inside her body in the marrow of her bones. Her eyes are milky and blue because of her cataracts, and when she turns them inward, its like she’s moving into another world thats frozen deep inside ice, Jiko calls her cataracts Kuuge which means “flowers of emptiness.” I think thats beautiful.”
“Sometimes when grown-ups are talking to you, and you stare back at them, they start to like they’re inside one of those old-fashioned TV sets, the kind with the thick dark glass, and you can see their mouths moving, only the exact words get drowned out into a lot of staticky white noise so you can barely understand them, which didn’t matter because I wasn’t listening anyway. Mom was talking on and on like a breakfast TV show host, and Muji was burping and trilling like a drunken sparrow, and Jiko was pretending to sleep, Dad was exhaling clouds of cigarette smoke into my clean underpants that were still hanging on the laundry line because in all the excitement Id forgotten to take them down,but none of this mattered because I was deep inside my mind, which is where I go when things get too intense.”
‘ ‘Tomorrow I will die in battle,’ said Captain Crow. Montaigne wrote that death itself is nothing. It is only the fear of death that makes death seem important. Am I afraid? Certainly, and yet… “Que sais-je?” Montaigne asked. The answer is nothing. In reality, I know nothing. And yet, at night I lie on my bed, counting my beads, one for every thing on earth I love, on and on, in a circle without end.”
“Making the decision to end my life really helped me lighten up, and suddenly all the stuff my old Jiko had told me about the time being really kicked into focus. There’s nothing like realising that you don’t have much time left to stimulate your appreciation for the moments of your life. I mean it sounds corny, but I started to really experience stuff for the first time, like the beauty of the plum and cherry blossoms along the avenues in Ueno Park, when the trees are in bloom. I spent whole days there, wandering up and down these long, soft tunnels of pink clouds and gazing overhead at the fluffy blossoms, all puffy and pink with little sparkles of sunlight and blue sky glinting between the bright green leaves. Time disappeared and it was like being born into the world all over again. Everything was perfect. When a breeze blew, petals rained down on my upturned face, and I stopped and gasped, stunned by the beauty and sadness.”
I would never had thought that reading letters could prove to be so interesting till now. This novel concerns the meeting and befriending of two perso...moreI would never had thought that reading letters could prove to be so interesting till now. This novel concerns the meeting and befriending of two person both artists and have a keen belief in God. There to and fro in letter replies from their beginning stages till there final letter paints a picture of love for each other, faith and writing. He's a poet soon to publish and she's a visceral writer from Iowa's workshop soon to possibly publish her first book. As their worlds meet one sways more towards more than normal reflections on the others being. There discussions on all things great and small godly and ungodly provided a great passage of reading for me and I am sure many may like this passage of time, transpiring of souls, these artists that both have an art form to pursue, can they handle a great long lasting relationship that will not interlope their craft and path.
"Bernard- I want to thank you for getting me out of the nunnery and possible getting me out of this other house of horrors. And: thank you for your book. It's handsome. But please do not mistake me for someone who has direct communication with God. Also, I'm a fiction writer. My judgements are he judgements of a mortal, and they are hobbled by my earthbound obstinate insistence on the concrete. You Know what I've told you before. You and i are so very different. I am one word at a time, one foot in front of the other, slowly, always testing how sure my footing is before proceeding to the next sentence, with ruminative breaks for buttered toast and coffee. Your poems make the old feeling of cowdom come over me: stalled in a vast unconquerable field, alone, ruminating. While you're Christopher Wren. You've made me commit the grave sin of hyperbole in trying to convince you of my esteem- Christopher Wren! Dear God. So be flattered. Yours, Frances."
"Michael is probably a much better Christian than me- if i were as godly, i would not have decided to celebrate my last week of summer by swimming naked at night, but have you ever seen the moon waxing crescent, hanging low and white in the sky, and heard the breeze blow through the bushes and trees? You feel as ripening and shining as the night you are in, and it's excruciating to stand there enduring nature- God's instantiation, God's invitation-as a spectator when you plunge yourself in the middle of it. That felt sinful,to not plunge myself in the middle of it."
"But his mind and his heart seem free of cruelty-as he talked, i saw them as two gears connected by the same belt, a belt running at top speed, frequently hiccuping and flapping at the speed and the strain before correcting itself and grinding on. That is Bernard."