My favorite quotes: "He warned Mother not to flout God's Will by expecting too much for us. "Sending a girl to college is like puring water your shoesMy favorite quotes: "He warned Mother not to flout God's Will by expecting too much for us. "Sending a girl to college is like puring water your shoes," he still loves to say, as often as possible. "It's hard to say which is worse, seeing it run out and waste the water, or seeing it hold in and wreck the shoes." p.56.
*** "The dreaded Verse is our household punishment. Other lucky children might merely be thrashed for their sins, but we Price girls are castigated with the Holy Bible. The Reverend will level his gaze and declare, "You have The Verse." then slowly, as we squirm on his hook, he writes on a piece of paper, for example: Jeremiah 48:18. Then say ye good-bye to sunshine or the Hardy Boys for an afternoon as ye, poor sinner, must labor with a pencil in your good left hand to copy out Jeremiah 48:18, "Come down from your throne of glory and sit in the mire, O daughter that dwells in Dibon," and additionally, the ninety-nine verse that follow it. One hundred full verses exactly copied out in longhand, because it is the final one that reveals your crime. In the case of Jeremiah 48:18, the end is Jeremiah 50:31, "Lo! I am against you, O Insolence! saith the oracle of the Lord, the God of hosts; For your day has come, your time of reckoning." Only upon reaching that one-hundredth verse do you finally understand you are being punished for the sin of insolence. Although you might well have predicted it. p.59
*** Bongo Bango Bingo. That is the story of Congo they are telling now in America: a tale of cannibals. I know about this kind of story - the lonely look down upon the hungry; the hungry look down upon the starving. The guilty blame the damaged. Those of doubtful righteousness speak of cannibals, the unquestionably vile, the sinners and the damned. It makes everyone feel much better. p.174
*** A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world. - But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after - oh, that's love by a different name. She is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after she's gone to sleep. If you put her down in the crib, she might wake up changed and fly away. So instead you rock by the window, drinking the light from her skin, breathing her exhaled dreams. Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on her cheeks. She's the one you can't put down. p.381-382. ...more
**spoiler alert** Favorite Quotes: "You can spot the vinyl addicts because after a while they get fed up with the rack they are flicking through, marc**spoiler alert** Favorite Quotes: "You can spot the vinyl addicts because after a while they get fed up with the rack they are flicking through, march over to a completely different section of the shop, pull a sleeve out from the middle somewhere, and come over to the counter; this is because they have been making a list of possible purchases in their head ("If I don't find anything in the next five minutes, that blues compilation I saw half an hour ago will have to do"), and suddenly sicken themselves with the amount of time they have wasted looking for something they don't really want. I know that feeling well (these are my people, and I understand them better than I understand anybody in the world): it is a prickly, clammy panicky sensation, and you go out of the shop reeling. You walk much more quic,ly afterward, trying to recapture the part o the day that has escaped, and quite often you have the urge to read the international section of a newspaper, or go to see a Peter Greeaway film, to consume something solid and meaty which will lie on top of teh cotton-candy worthlessness clogging up your head." p.96
*** "Everything that's ever gone wrong for me could have been rescued by the wave of a bank manager's wand, or by a girlfriend's sudden change of mind, or by some quality - determination, self-awareness, resilience - that I might have found within myself, if I'd looked hard enough. I don't want to cope with the sort of unhappiness Laura's feeling, not ever. If people have to die, I don't want them dying near me. My mum and dad won't die near me, I've made bloody sure of that. When they go, I'll hardly feel a thing." p.232...more
Quick summary: imagine X-men meets Lord of the Flies meets Dawson's Creek and you'll have a good idea of what this book is about. I would go so far asQuick summary: imagine X-men meets Lord of the Flies meets Dawson's Creek and you'll have a good idea of what this book is about. I would go so far as to say the series has potential, but it is by no means a foregone conclusion given the tenuous beginning of a storyline in this first book. Given the length of the book, however, one must wonder if the author was going for "Harry Potter for Teens" or if he just enjoys his own prose. This one eked a third star out of me only because I enjoy science fiction so much. ...more
Oh the fun you can have with time travel. I would say this was a slightly above average sci-fi exploration of the space-time continuum, although I thoOh the fun you can have with time travel. I would say this was a slightly above average sci-fi exploration of the space-time continuum, although I thought it borrowed a little too heavily from H.G. Wells' classic. The periodic regression of civilization and the eventual extinction of life on Earth just didn't strike me as that creative. I would have also like to see more on the inherent paradoxes of time travel instead of the clumsy interpersonal relationships he spends so much time on. I don't read enough modern sci-fi to know where this one ranks relative to others, but I'll make a wild stab at the future myself and predict that people will be reading Wells' "The Time Machine" long after Haldeman goes out of print. If you liked this one, however, I would recommend Robert Sawyer's "Flashforward" for another cool take on seeing into the future. ...more
Matheson’s approach to the end of humanity is undeniably intriguing, although the story is ironically weakened by the appearance of his somewhat unoriMatheson’s approach to the end of humanity is undeniably intriguing, although the story is ironically weakened by the appearance of his somewhat unoriginal “vampire” villains. I would have preferred a creature that didn’t adhere so closely to the historical vampire archetype. His intrapsychic discourse is classic, however, as one never tires of watching the inevitable descent into madness that follows the human transition from normal society into eternal solitary confinement. By far the best part of the book was the ending, which is unusual for most books, but especially for a genre that typically peaks once you find out the explanation for the apocalypse. The gutsy ending was really what the story deserved; compare that to the Hollywood ending of the recent movie adaptation and you can see why books will always be the superior medium of storytelling....more
Kind of an odd coincidence that I read this book literally right after I finished Pilgrim's Progress since they are written in such similar styles. IKind of an odd coincidence that I read this book literally right after I finished Pilgrim's Progress since they are written in such similar styles. I think that is a good thing because it prompts some important comparisons. Besides the obvious length and ease of language differences, I would say that the essence or purpose of both books are completely at odds. While both books are clearly meant to enlighten, The Pilgrim's Progress seeks to inform and engage readers of a very specific worldview. There are no alternative interpretations or any kind of demand to utilize the lessons from the book in any domain other than one's faith (and the one true faith at that).
William's book, on the other hand, is a self-proclaimed "Rubik's cube" of literature. His entire purpose seems to be to develop a symbolic puzzle that can be used by any person from any background to further his or her own worldview. His "commentary" at the end of the book makes this goal perfectly clear. The story really is cleverly developed, entertaining, thought provoking, and I believe Williams was successful in his stated goal, but I still didn't care for the book. For me, in trying to reach everyone, you end up reaching no one. I think this book represents relativism at its best. Lots of sound life principles (which can have practical benefits), but no real Truth (with a capital T) behind them. Although the book is thought provoking, if I want to think about ultimate meaning and the nature of life I'd much prefer to read books like Scott Adam's "God's Debris" or Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael", which at least proclaim some kind of truth (even if I disagree with it) rather than being everything to everyone. ...more
What an interesting book. You start out thinking it is just another sci-fi post-apocalyptic what-if story, but then nothing happens. No details aboutWhat an interesting book. You start out thinking it is just another sci-fi post-apocalyptic what-if story, but then nothing happens. No details about the follies of man that lead to the disaster, no high-octane human adventure, and certainly no anti-hero (or hero for that matter). Just dark, mysterious descriptions of endless ash blanketing everything and a father and son trying to survive just one more day. In a nutshell, I would call it shades of Grapes of Wrath with a dark, sci-fi twist. If you liked this book, I would recommend taking a look at Nevil Shute's "On the Beach". Not as dark or chilling, but makes you wonder how you would spend the last months of human civilization. ...more
Humorous journal-like book detailing the life of computer geeks working for Microsoft in the early 90's. The wri**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
Humorous journal-like book detailing the life of computer geeks working for Microsoft in the early 90's. The writer of the journal is Dan and his friends are Karla (girlfriend), Michael (head of new company), Bug (newly gay), Todd (bodybuilder), Dusty (Todd's girlfriend), Susan (boy crazy), Abe (oldest one, already a millionaire), Dan's mother and father, Ethan (in charge of raising money for company), and a few others that aren't in the whole book. It begins with all of them working at Microsoft and describes the culture that exists there. They frequently refer to Bill Gates throughout the book as the ultimate geek computer genius. Michael is the genius program designer that leaves Microsoft to start his own company. He later invites all of his friends to come join him designing a program called "Oops". The rest of the book is about their general social dynamic in this start-up company. The whole book is basically a good description of geek culture and their attempt to do more than just write computer code and be by themselves for their whole life. It constantly uses funny examples of how geeks spend their time and gets into deep philosophical questions usually centered around technology and computers. In the end the company begins to become successful and they all learn to appreciate and value their group friendship above all else....more
Novel about a young girl who is murdered and then goes to heaven and narrates how all the people in her life react to her**spoiler alert** My summary:
Novel about a young girl who is murdered and then goes to heaven and narrates how all the people in her life react to her death. Susie begins the story with her everyday life at school, describes her family (mother=Abigail, father=Jack, sister=Lindsey, brother=Buckley), and then her death. She continues semi-chronologically with what happened in the following weeks, months, and years after her death. She follows her family, her first love (Ray), a girl she "touched" on her way to heaven (Ruth), and her killer (Mr. Harvey).
She describes what heaven is like and how it is different for every person. She gets to have anything she wants, but cannot interact with her loved ones on earth. She describes how each family member deals with their loss in different ways: her mother growing emotionally distant from her father, her father pursuing her killer after the police cannot solve the case, and her sister trying to escape being thought of as the "dead girl's sister". Her father figures out that Mr. Harvey was the killer, but has no proof so at one point Lindsey breaks into his house and steals evidence. Immediately afterward Mr. Harvey leaves town and becomes a transient, always returning to areas where he had killed people. Her mother becomes so distant from the father she begins to have an affair with the detective assigned to Susie's case. Soon after the affair her mother leaves and moves to California. Susie continues to follow her family and friends over time and eight years pass since her death. Her siblings grow up and her sister gets engaged to her boyfriend from grade school. Her friend, Ray, goes to med school and keeps in contact with Ruth, who spends her time "feeling" what happened to past murder victims around New York.
At one point when Ray and Ruth are together near the place where Susie's body was dumped and Mr. Harvey drives by at the same time, Ruth passes out and Susie takes over her body. Once she is in Ray's body she lets him know it is her and they sleep together. Shortly afterward she returns to heaven and finally begins to feel closure towards her family and friends. She continues to watch them in the future, but it able to enjoy heaven without needing to watch her family move on without her. Overall, the book seeks to show the grief process from multiple angles and the nuances of adolescence in the face of tragedy....more
Michael Chabon (author of Wonder Boys) writes a story about Josef Kavalier and Sammy Clayman during the 1940's. They are**spoiler alert** My summary:
Michael Chabon (author of Wonder Boys) writes a story about Josef Kavalier and Sammy Clayman during the 1940's. They are cousins who meet each other after Josef manages to get smuggled out of Prague by his old magic teacher. He is unable to leave the country legitimately because he is Jewish so he is smuggled out hidden inside a box with a Jewish artifact. He leaves his family behind and spends the rest of the book trying to get them over to America with him. He immediately becomes friends with his cousin, Sammy Clayman (who later renames himself Sammy Clay) and they decide to start a comic book together. They approach Sammy's boss, Anapol, who runs a novelty company. He agrees to give them a try and their comic book, The Escapist, takes off. They invent a hero who can escape from anything, frees the oppressed people of the world, and fights Nazis. Joe draws the pictures for the comic and Sammy writes the stories. They begin making quite a bit of money (despite getting ripped off by their employers) and Joe continues to try and get his family out of Europe. They meet lots of interesting society and art types because of their success. Joe starts to pick fights with Germans or anything that reminds him of Germany because he feels so guilty about his family still being trapped. He even breaks into the Aryan American League's office and trashes it, making an enemy of the one member who lived there. Joe eventually starts dating Rosa and becomes very close to her. Rosa's father helps him organize a ship that transports children out of Europe in order to save his little brother. Sammy throws himself into his work and never seems to date women. After the WWII starts, he volunteers to help watch the sky of New York for enemy bombers and has his first kiss with another man. The man, Tracy Bacon, was the voice for the Escapist character on its new radio program. Sammy falls in love with him but then recoils when he is nearly exposed as being a homosexual. He breaks contact with Tracy and never pursues a meaningful romantic relationship for the rest of his life. During this time Joe begins to perform as a magician again. Immediately before his first escape attempt in a long time, he finds out that his brother was killed when his ship was sunk in the Atlantic. He nearly kills himself after finding out, but then enlists in the army where he is sent to the South Pole to monitor for Nazis. After he leaves Rosa tells Sammy that she is pregnant and he marries her and helps her raise Joe's child. Joe is nearly killed in Antarctica when a gas leak kills his whole unit except for one other guy. He and the other man decide to attack the one German scientist who shares the continent with them. They crash a plane near where he is and Joe unintentionally kills him and walks a long ways to the nearest U.S. station. After returning from the war Joe runs away and won't face Rosa and Sammy. After about 8 years he finally returns and secretly meets his son, Thomas. Thomas writes a letter to a newspaper that says the Escapist will jump from the top of the Empire state building the next day. In order to make what his son wrote true, Joe dons the outfit and ties rubber bands to his feet and jumps of the building. The bands break, but he lives and is reunited with his son and Rosa. He moves in with Sammy and Rosa and realizes that they have made a life together. Sammy, however, is anxious to go to L.A. and get into the movies and writing so he sneaks out and leaves his best friend with Rosa and the son he raised. ...more
**spoiler alert** Ninth book in the wheel of time series, it begins with the Aes Sedai in the white tower forcing one of the Black Ajah to renounce th**spoiler alert** Ninth book in the wheel of time series, it begins with the Aes Sedai in the white tower forcing one of the Black Ajah to renounce their oaths and pledge to follow them instead. They also discover the rebel Aes Sedai sent to the tower to convince others to join the rebels. Faile and Morgase are still held captive by Sevanna, although Perrin finds out and begins searching for them. Elayne begins to lay claim to the Lion throne and has to work on getting enough support from the rival houses and the people of Camelyn. Dark friends attempt to kill her, but she is saved by another darkfriend who is then assigned to be captain of her guards. She finds out that an army from the Borderlands is near Camelyn so she goes to them and asks them to come through Camelyn so her people will flock to her for protection. Mat, Thom, and Juilin are stuck in Ebou Dar because the Seanchan control the city. Egwene brings her army to Tar Valon to begin the siege against it. Mat is still recovering from his broken leg, etc., but begins to form a plan for escape. He is asked to take some Aes Sedai with him so they won't be caught by the Seanchan. On the night of the escape they are seen by the Daugher of the Nine Moons who Mat was fortold he would marry. He takes her with him and takes the Aes Sedai and some of the Seanchan who know the secret that leash-holders can channel. Meanwhile, Rand jumps around all over the place so he can lead the Asha'man who tried to kill him into a trap. He gets them to come to Far Madding where no one can channel. While there he kills one of them and Padan Fain kills another (and tries to kill Rand). Before he goes to Far Madding, however, he goes to Camelyn to see Elayne, Aviendhra, and Min. They all bond him at once and then he sleeps with Elayne (because she's the only one he hadn't slept with yet) and she gets pregnant. Then he takes Nynaeve and Lan to Far Madding where they meet up with Cadsuane and other Aes Sedai. After the run in with Padain Fain, Rand and Lan must be rescued from jail. They leave Far Madding and go to Shadar Logath where Rand wants to use the two most powerful san'angreal to cleanse the male side of the source from the Dark One's taint. He operates the male statue and Nynaeve operates the other. While they are working on cleansing the source, all of the forsaken attack them in order to stop what they're doing. Cadsuane, the powerful Seanchan a'dam who was freed, some Aes Sedai, and some loyal Asha'man all work to protect Rand and Nynaeve from the Forsaken. The reincarnation of Lanfear and another couple of forsaken are killed and Rand successfully cleanses the male source....more
Tenth book in the wheel of time series (and last published at this date), it begins with Mat continuing to travel away f**spoiler alert** My summary:
Tenth book in the wheel of time series (and last published at this date), it begins with Mat continuing to travel away from Ebou Dar with Luca's traveling show. He continues to get closer to Tuon (the daughter of the nine moons) who he knows he will marry. The keep hiding from the Seanchan and head towards Lugard. Renna, one of the Seanchan with them who trains 'adam tries to escape and Mat must have her killed. Dobraine, the lord Rand put in charge of Cairhen is almost murdered, although an Aes Sedai manages to heal him. Rand continues to recuperate after cleansing the male half of the source from the Dark One's taint, and Cadsuane begins to take on her role as his advisor. He meets with Logain and Bashere about the dangers from the Forsaken, the Seanchan, and from Mazraim Taim and the Black Tower. He decides the only way he can manage his other enemies is to make a truce with the Seanchan so he doesn't have to fight them at the same time as the others. Logain tells him about bonding Aes Sedai and Rand tells him to stop doing it. Elayne continues struggling to take over Camelyn and the Lion Throne. She finds out she is going to have twins. She gains the support of a few more houses so she has one rival still for the throne. The Sea Folk have to leave to choose a new mistress of the ships so they make a deal with Elayne about leaving some of them in Camelyn to weave gateways so Camelyn can still get food even though it's under siege. Elayne agrees to send Aes Sedai with them for continued lessons for the Sea Folk who can channel. Perrin keeps searching for Faile. He finds the Aiel camp and figures out that Sevanna has him vastly outnumbered. Faile continues to try and escape from the inside. Perrin visits a town haunted by spirits in order to buy grain for his people. Masema keeps killing some of his men and doing things to keep them from going towards Rand. Egwene is camped outside of Tar Valon with her army, but they can't stop trade coming into the city from the river so they are not sieging Tar Valon very well. A couple of Aes Sedai are killed by saidin so they know a man channeling is behind it. Egwene continues to struggle with the sitters of the hall, but they finally agree that they must make a deal with the Black Tower in order to deal with all of the men channeling. They are still deciding who to send for the embassy when Egwene goes to Tar Valon to turn the chain blocking the river into cuendillar when she is captured by Aes Sedai from Tar Valon. Before this, in the tower, Alviarhin is no longer able to control Elaida because she loses her blackmail leverage. Elaida threatens to prove she is Black Ajah so she calls Mesaana and asks what to do. Mesaana is about to punish her when the tall Mydraal appears and punishes Mesaana and tells Alviarhin to continue her work inside the tower. The search for Black Ajah continues in the tower by the Aes Sedai forcing everyone to use the oath rod to make sure they are not Black. Rand is still unable to hold saidin without getting sick and dizzy, despite having cleaned the source. ...more