Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Captains Courageous: Rudyard Kipling

This was a boys adventure book that takes place in the late 1800's. 15 year old Harvey is on a boat that sinks, but is miraculously saved by "We're Here", a fishing boat. Harvey is the son of an American tycoon and is a spoiled brat when he is first picked up. The crew is kind to him and teaches Harvey to become a fisherman. Harvey starts to enjoy the adventure and the work, which he has never had to do before, and matures. Eventually they come back ashore and he contacts his parents. When they come to pick Harvey up his mother is dismayed on what happened to him, living with barbarians, but the father was pleased with the change in his son. One of the sailors predicts that the captain's son Dan, who befriended Harvey, will one day call Harvey "master". Harvey's father, as a gesture of gratitude gives the captain's son a position on one of his boats, which Harvey will eventually own. I didn't know what this message meant since the boys were described as being as easy with each other as brothers...so it wasn't really a "rich people will own you", but more of a " schooling will make you come out ahead" idea.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Death in the Family: James Agee

I listened to this book on audiobook and had trouble keeping the story in a linear order. At times there were sections that took me a while to recognize as flashbacks. They seemed added as an afterthought in order to establish the prejudice of society, though I didn't understand how it aided in the story. The novel is about a family being awoken in the middle of the night because the father's dad was supposedly on his death bed. We later learn the brother that called was drunk and the father's situation was not as serious as the brother- Ralph- made it out to be. The man- Jay- leaves to be by his father's side, but is then in a car crash and instantly killed on the way back home. There was a lot of emphasis on the fact that Jay died instantly and couldn't have felt any pain. The story moves forward by the different character's thoughts and constantly switches narrators. The story was told almost entirely in the wife's family's voice. The entire book takes place in under a week. It is interesting that the characters of Rufus (Jay's son) and Ralph (Jay's brother) are sort of clumped together as the same sort of people. They are insecure and crave attention. Jay seems disappointed in his brother and one wonders what he would have made of his son had he lived to see him grow up. The majority of the book compares the way people deal with the death of a loved one. Some turn to religion, some rely on facts, and the children can't comprehend the idea of death. I am not sure what the author's message about religion actually is. It seems to be poked fun at a few times and the "Father" is characterized as an insensitive righteous brute who doesn't understand children. He is compared with a family friend who laughs when Rufus hears "grandma phone" instead of "gramophone" and takes the time to explain to the children. The children seem to understand the only thing that makes the priest respected is because of his preaching- people fear God's wrath, and since he is godly, fear him. The children's thoughts are that the priest is deceiving their mother. They are upset that the priest thinks he can sit in their father's chair like he is an equal, even the family friend made sure he doesn't sit in the chair. The ending of the story seemed spiritual, but not religious. Rufus's uncle Andrew told him what happened at the cemetery after the children left. A butterfly landed on the casket and was godlier than the priest who refused to do the entire service because Jay wasn't baptized. This was one of those stories that would be fun to analyze.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chasing Harry Winston: Lauren Weisberger

I usually don't pick up books like these because they seem so pointless, but it was in a box of books given to me. After the initial couple chapters I started to like the writing. I did enjoy the writer's wording, she is good at creating a picture “...She said with enough cheer to fell a sequoia" I didn't relate to the characters, they were all obsessed with finding a husband or having sex. It was about 3 girls in New York and their quest to change something about their relationship by the end of the year. I learned a Harry Winston is a jewelry company and not a man they were chasing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Notorious Nineteen: Janet Evanovich

Stephanie is asked to provide security assistance for Ranger, in the guise of a date. He is attending a wedding for an old military buddy who has been getting death threats. There is also a storyline about a man Stephanie is chasing that has a Tikki man, which Stephanie confiscates and it "talks to them". I am not sure what the point of this Tikki man was, but he took up a big portion of the story. Stephanie ends up being the bridesmaid in the wedding which has a "little house on the prairie" theme, including a big pink dress. Stephanie teams up with Randy Briggs (the little guy) again and they search for hospital patients that keep going missing (victims of underground organ sales). A crazy ex-military friend ends up being the person leaving death threats for Ranger and the groom. He corners Stephanie and ends up burning her hair before he is killed. So then she goes to the wedding with singed hair. These books seem to go back and forth from one being ridiculous and the next being enjoyable. This was a ridiculous one...

Explosive Eighteen: Janet Evanovich

This was another nutty book, but I enjoyed it. Lula inadvertently drinks a "love potion" meant for Stephanie and falls for a loser. Both girls struggle to apprehend anyone and Stephanie alludes to a honeymoon in Hawaii with Ranger, which happened before the story started. I was glad to see the story change up a little bit on how it was constructed; it wasn't as predictable as the bulk of the series. There were still a few men chasing Stephanie and Lula's character was presented as a hypochondriac (it was actually put into words). In Hawaii Stephanie had been accidently given a photo of a man who the FBI assumed was someone they should be looking for. She threw it away not realizing it was important and people started coming out of the woodwork to find it. She find out toward the end of the story that the photo wasn't important, but it was a type of cypher one could use to steal a car. The book ends with Morelli drinking another love potion made for Stephanie.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Agent 6: Tom Rob Smith

This is the 3rd book in the series. I am amazed how different all three stories are, they have very diverse moods and voices. As in all of them, this one had a general feeling of impending doom and was rich in history. Raisa is invited to the United States to promote a "peace tour" during the cold war. She takes the two girls with her and the youngest, Elena, is naively involved in a Soviet Murder plot. The plans go very wrong and Raisa is shot. The rest of the story goes through what Leo makes of the rest of his life. He starts out with an obsession to find out what happened in New York. The story follows him in an opium haze in Afghanistan during the occupation, to defecting to the United States. Agent 6 is very moving and hard to put down, though I was waiting for the character in the beginning to be reintroduced (unless I missed that part). He had a coworker whose love interest Leo was responsible for questioning, which lead to her death. I thought for sure there would be a revenge twist somewhere in the murder plot. At the end it is certain Leo will be killed as a traitor when he is brought back to the Soviet Union.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Wrong Goodbye: Chris F. Holm

As much as I really liked the first book in this series, I didn't really enjoy this one. It seemed like the story would never end, like there were a minimum number of pages the author had to reach. Several sections seemed to be crying out "I am clever" or were painfully detailed. There were a lot of areas where the story went off in tangents that didn't move the story forward. In this book Sam goes to collect a soul and finds it has already been collected, and is now MIA. He brings another soul back to life to find the rogue collector and encounters Demons and other creatures before finding a "skimming" house (where they are getting a "high" off soul experiences). There is a battle between good and evil. Sam gets out alive and finds out the real mastermind of his plan wasn't his friend Danny, who he suspected, but Ana, who was also a friend at one time.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Smokin' Seventeen: Janet Evanovich

This Book was another where Stephanie and Ranger hook up and Morelli supposedly broke off the relationship...AGAIN. How many times are we going to hit on the same ideas? Stephanie lost a few more cars and borrowed Rangers, Morelli's grandmother puts a curse on her and Lula is called fat a few times. Stephanie’s mom pushes her to date a man who did jail time for fraud and who cooks when he’s stressed. In the end he was after Stephanie just because he was trying to get back at Morelli for taking his girlfriend in high school. Bodies mysteriously start showing up on the site of the burnt down bail bonds office with notes “to Stephanie”. I thought this book was interesting in that you figure out who the killer is right away, yet the book still goes on and on and you wonder when they are ever going to get to it. The murderers were conveniently all "tied" up at the end.