Bjorn has started a new office job. He is having a hard time “fitting in”. One day, on the way to the lavatory, he discovers a room, which he slips inBjorn has started a new office job. He is having a hard time “fitting in”. One day, on the way to the lavatory, he discovers a room, which he slips into. It is a small, unoccupied office and Bjorn, finds this area a “comfort zone”, a place to unwind and recharge. Things become surreal, when his co-workers, find Bjorn standing in the hallway in a dream state. There is no “unoccupied office”, just a blank wall. Where does Bjorn go? Is he delusional or is this a bizarre workplace hoax? This is a nifty little Swedish, “Twilight Zone” episode. Spare and creepy. It is a short novel but it would have worked better, as an expanded short story. Definitely, not for everyone but if it sounds good, give it a try....more
“Wealthier countries have the luxury of entertaining fears the rest of the world cannot afford.”
It took motherhood, for Eula Biss, to begin to questi“Wealthier countries have the luxury of entertaining fears the rest of the world cannot afford.”
It took motherhood, for Eula Biss, to begin to question and explore innoculation, watching her son go through various childhood illnesses and allergic reactions. She expands her research to the history of immunization and addresses the many controversies, that have sprang up in our internet age. She also examines the myths and metaphors surrounding vaccines, using Bram Stoker's Dracula, as an allegory on these hot-button issues. Biss is a solid journalist and her prose is smart and deft. I think anyone who has interest or questions, about this subject, should pick up this timely and intriguing read....more
Wally Tennelle is an LA homicide-detective. He lives in Watts with his family, much to the chagrin of his friends and co“Just another black man down.”
Wally Tennelle is an LA homicide-detective. He lives in Watts with his family, much to the chagrin of his friends and co-workers. Watts can be a dangerous place. One summer day, his teenage son is shot and killed. This murder becomes the center-piece of this story but it's scope is much wider. Who is relentlessly killing the black men, in this country? Black men make up about 6% of the U.S. population but make up 40% of the homicides. That is staggering. The author is an LA Times reporter and she does an excellent job here, following the case, of the murdered Tennelle son, through painstaking investigation, led by Detective John Skaggs, a dedicated and passionate officer. This is both a police procedural and a social commentary and should be required reading. I live in the suburbs of Chicago. We see constant newspaper accounts of black on black homicides. This book has given me a better understanding of what is occurring and it is completely unsettling. This is nonfiction at it's finest....more
Eddie, is a teenager, fleeing the state, in a borrowed car. He has recently lost both hands and is driving with painful stumps. How he ended up in thiEddie, is a teenager, fleeing the state, in a borrowed car. He has recently lost both hands and is driving with painful stumps. How he ended up in this predicament and where he is headed, is slowly revealed.
His mother, Darlene is a crack addict and has been hired to work in the fields, for a shady company called Delicious Foods. She, basically becomes a prisoner here, with many other addicts, doing hard labor and being paid, with crack cocaine. She yearns to escape.
The third, POV character, is Scotty, a funny and inventive twist, since Scotty is the voice of Crack Cocaine, narrating the story over Darlene's shoulder, observing her surroundings with humor, insight and plenty of street cred.
Obviously, this debut novel is not for everyone but it is a smart and well-written. Most of it is pretty grim, but Scotty shines a little light now and then, making the going a bit more tolerable, plus there is just enough social commentary to chew on. If you are you in the mood for something, bold and off the wall, give this one a try....more
In August, 2010, the San Jose mine, in Chile, collapsed, trapping thirty-three miners. They were entombed, seven hundred meters, under slabs of rubbleIn August, 2010, the San Jose mine, in Chile, collapsed, trapping thirty-three miners. They were entombed, seven hundred meters, under slabs of rubble, for sixty-nine days. Hector Tobar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, was tasked, by the surviving miners, to tell their story. I would like to report, that they made the right choice, because Tobar captures, the saga, with a deft and emotional narrative. He follows the difficulties, of surviving underground, dealing with hunger and isolation. He also details, the miraculous rescue attempt by the brave, savvy team on the surface, drilling through hundreds of meters of relentless rock, to reach these desperate men. Fans of narrative nonfiction, should find a lot to savor here. It also worked very well on audiobook....more
Instinctively, I must have known, there was a pretty damn good reason, I was avoiding this book. I read Child 44, five long years ago. I absolutely loInstinctively, I must have known, there was a pretty damn good reason, I was avoiding this book. I read Child 44, five long years ago. I absolutely loved that debut. This one...well, it begins okay, as we revisit former MGB officer, Leo Demidov, the hero of Child 44. It is 1956. Stalin is dead and Khrushchev is on the rise. He pledges reform but the horrific ghosts of the past, refuse to relent. Leo is drawn into hellish retribution, involving an uprising, putting his family in grave peril. The story, begins to bog down in grim tediousness, about halfway through and never recovers, like those avenging ghosts I recently mentioned. My last crime novel, The Marco Effect was also bloated and repetitive, but at least it had humor and engaging characters. I will not be reading the third book, which is sad, because I was crazy about his recent stand-alone, The Farm....more
“We carry the lives we’ve imagined as we carry the lives we have, and sometimes a reckoning comes of all of the lives we have lost.”
Helen Macdonald, “We carry the lives we’ve imagined as we carry the lives we have, and sometimes a reckoning comes of all of the lives we have lost.”
Helen Macdonald, a naturalist and falconer, suddenly loses her father and it catapults her into an abyss of grief and despair. She then makes a radical decision to obtain a goshawk, a notoriously difficult and prickly bird of prey. This challenge, will absorb her time and focus and it begins to pull her out of her despondent state. This wonderful, beautifully written book contains many things: it is a memoir, a nature book, a short biography on T.H. White, who wrote The Goshawk, one of Macdonald's favorite reads and it is a look at the complexities of bereavement.
“Here’s a word. Bereavement. Or, Bereaved. Bereft. It’s from the Old English bereafian, meaning ‘to deprive of, take away, seize, rob’. Robbed. Seized. It happens to everyone. But you feel it alone. Shocking loss isn’t to be shared, no matter how hard you try.”
I listened to this on audio and it is narrated by the author and she does a stellar job, capturing the different emotions with perfect aplomb. ...more
“Everyone's been looking for a pirate ship. But this isn't about finding a ship. It is about finding a man.”
The search for The Golden Fleece. Finding“Everyone's been looking for a pirate ship. But this isn't about finding a ship. It is about finding a man.”
The search for The Golden Fleece. Finding a sunken pirate ship is a very rare occurrence and has only happened once before. Veteran treasure hunters, John Chatterton and John Mattera are sent on a mission, to the Dominican Republic, to do just that. Armed with high-tech tracking equipment and years of experience, they begin to hunt. They did not expect it to be easy and it quickly became worse than they could imagine. The team decides to focus on the man, who led the pirate ship, digging into thousands of hidden documents, to find a clue.
Joseph Bannister was a British sea captain, in the late 17th century. He went rogue and turned pirate. He became one of the most dangerous buccaneers in the Caribbean. His ship was The Golden Fleece and it was reportedly sunk, in shallow water, by the British Navy.
This is an exciting account of a true-life treasure hunt. It is filled with adventure and suspense and plenty of historical lore, plus Chatterton and Mattera are fascinating figures. Tough, scrappy and complicated.
I adore narrative nonfiction and this is a perfect example. This was also a riveting audiobook....more