Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Big Driver: Stephen King

This was a strange book, but strange is a non-typical King way. A female author, Tess, goes to a book signing at a library and works the crowd by rote. The head librarian suggests she take a back road to "save time" heading home. Tess takes the road and comes upon nail studded planks of wood in the middle of the road and is unable to swerve out of the way. After ruining her tires she removes the wood from the road and throws them into the ditch after a catering van nearly hits the wood. Tess realizes she is near an old gas station and her cell phone does not work. A man pulls up in a truck and offers to fix her tire after asking where the wood went. Tess realizes there is more wood in the back of his truck, all will nails. He comes up behinds her and says something crude before knocking her out. She wakes up while she is being raped. He continues raping and beating her until he believes she is dying and then throws her in a drainage pipe. Once he leaves she sees she is laying on other dead women in various states of decay. She gets herself back into the gas station and gets her clothes and shoes on and sets out on the road to the nearest town. Her car is gone. After a few false alarms thinking on coming traffic is him returning, she makes it to a gas station that is still in business and using the cell phone to call a ride. Once home safety she decides not to report the rape, but to anonymously call in the dead bodies. After some sleep she realizes she will never be safe as the man has her purse and knows where she lives. After some research she finds out the man was the librarian's son and Tess believes she was set up to be raped and killed by the mother and son pair. She goes to the librarian's house and confronts her, the woman is shocked to see her alive. There is a struggle and the librarian ends up with Tess's gun and Tess stabs her after debating on if she could take a life. She then goes after the son and kills the brother of her rapist accidentally. However upon inspection of his house she finds her purse, so he was not entirely innocent. She then kills the correct man and heads home.

The Intentional Spinner: Judith MacKenzie McCuin

This was a very thorough and interesting book. It covered different materials yarn has been and is made from, as well as how to spin it, and how to keep pests out of it. The book also offers ways to spin yarn. I especially enjoyed the section with animal fiber and the different animals who are protected in different areas of the world due to over-use of their pelts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sam the Cat Detective: Linda Stewart

This was a cute children's book about a cat who solves some burglaries around town with the help of some other cats. Although highly unlikely that the humans would be robbed a couple weeks after having their apartments painted because they seem to go out of town then, it was still an entertaining read. The cats get around by ridding dumb waiters and even a dog once. They climb the stairs to the pent houses and move in and out through open windows.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Waiting for Godot: Samuel Beckett

This was a play where two men wait day after day for someone names Godot to meet them. The book appears to be like groundhog day, where everyday two friends meet near a tree and everyday the same people pass in and out of their lives each claiming they've never met them before. You could interpret this story in many ways in that the characters are all god or Godot testing the two friends devotion to meeting him.

The Cat Who Smelled A Rat: Lillian Jackson Braun

In this "Cat who Mystery" Koko dotes on three fake apples, a painting of robins and a glove box. Qwill's friend at the book shop dies from ill health and his book store is burned down by arsonists. The local boarded up mines are also victims of arson. A man who just came to town tries selling books at outrageous prices. A young man who was sort of new to the area is pushed down stairs to his death at the curing rink. Qwill puts everything together and realizes the new bookseller is behind all the crime as he and 2 other men are in a Ponzi scheme to get land for condos and businesses.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History By: Bret Witter and Robert M. Edsel

This was an interesting book and I am pleased that it shed light on a part of history many of us were unaware of, but man...it was a long book. There were so many pieces of art being searched by different men in different divisions that I had a hard time keeping everything straight. I enjoyed the story about the French librarian and the afterward claiming Hitler did not want the art to be destroyed. The story along with giving information about these men and their willing-ness to die to preserve art and human accomplishments, makes one appreciate art. I kept stopping and goggling the pieces(maybe that is why the book seemed so long). The story follows the war lives of men chosen to find and preserve all different types of art in the countries being plundered by Germany during WWII. They were to try to keep historical churches from being blown up and plundered, Ancient walls from being knocked down, and paintings and monuments from being destroyed. Meanwhile Hitler is having his men collect famous pieces to put in his museum and in his home. By the time the war was over many pieces were destroyed as the Nazi members burned them as they retreated. Some were found stored in castles in Germany and more was found hidden in mines and caves.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Skeleton Man: Tony Hillerman

This was a really good book! A woman, Joanna Craig, is given some hope that her father's remains will be found after the airplane crash in the Grand Canyon in 1956. Her parents weren't married yet, but her father was working for a jeweler and along with a suitcase of jewels (handcuffed to his wrist) he had a diamond for their engagement ring. After the crash, Joanna's wealthy paternal side disclaims the idea that Joanna is their rightful heir and without any DNA proving otherwise, leaves their fortune to an organization. Joanna hears about a boy who gets arrested fro trying to pawn an expensive diamond and the story is that a man living in a cave traded him his shovel for it. He evidently had a collection of diamonds. With the help of the local community a Navajo woman speaks to another native of the area and finds the cave with the mystery man "the skeleton man" deceased. A bounty hunter grabs the diamond and Joanna finds her father's arm, still attached to the case. A storm comes up suddenly and the bounty hunter drowns and the diamonds are lost. Joanna's DNA matches that of the arm and she gets her inheritance.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Cat Who Went into The Closet: Lillian Jackson Braun

This was another cute story where Qwill is investigating the murder of a town woman, Euphonia Gage who was believed to have committed suicide where she was living in Florida. Qwill was renting out her house and Koko keeps bringing things from the closet that have to do with feet. Qwill is then out with the cats and Koko acts funny so Qwill follows a path in the woods and finds the body of Gil Inchpot, a farmer. With the help of a lady living in the retirement center with Euphonia, Qwill discovers a scam taking money from the elderly and determine Euphonia was murdered. Euphonia had a daughter with another man while her husband was in prison and paid a family to adopt her. She was then being blackmailed after her daughter died by her daughter's husband to keep the family secret. The retirement community didn't want to lose Euphonia's money to blackmail and had him killed as well (the potato farmer).

Martin Misunderstood: Karin Slaughter

This was a powerful short story about a "less than average" white guy. His life has been filled with disappointments after his father committed suicide. The kids that bullied him in school grew up to work with him and continue the mean pranks. Martin lives with his mother and one night after coming come from work (after cleaning up a prank his boss played on him) he takes his mom to pick up pruning shears she left when she got kicked out of the garden club. While waiting for her in the car, he sees an advertisement for a massage. He feels he deserves a massage after the brutal day he had and drops his mom off at home and goes back. The massage ends up being a hand job. The whole story centers around trying to figure out what Martin was doing that night because around the time he was getting the "massage" his boss was run over three times with his car. Martin is too humiliated to use the massage place as an alibi. The police detective, Albada, doesn't believe Martin murdered his boss and begins to get a crush on him. Once Martin is released from jail by Albada he is told he was fired from his job and he needed to pack up his stuff. Once he gets to work he finds his assistant, Unique Jones, stealing his stuff and office supplies. She asks him about the murder of their boss and for once she shows him respect. Caught up in the feeling of being respected, he implies he murdered her, which turns Unique on and she basically rapes him. Later that evening she is found murdered in the women's bathroom, of course Martin is the suspect. Once Martin is in prison facing a life sentence for murder, we learn Martin has put together the actual story. His mother murdered the women because they picked on Martin and she wanted revenge for him since he wouldn't take it himself. She has become famous doing interviews and writing books since her son is a "murderer" and she tells Martin he shouldn't be so gloomy because his life has improved as well. He realizes she is right because he has fallen in love with the detective, Albada.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Blond Hair, Blue Eyes A Short Story: Karin Slaughter

This was the prelude to "All The Pretty Girls" Julia's side of the story. This story shows Julia in a different light as it is told from her point of view. (The other story was told from her sister's view and there was a lot of speculation on what happened.) Julia's story starts on the day she went missing. She widens the reader's view on the killer as Julia notices a homeless woman has gone missing and is said to have been last seen entering a van. The idea is planted that there were more girls murdered than accounted for. Julia is portrayed as a woman who is deeply devoted to helping others and improving the world. She is a Virgin and has a boyfriend who she realistically frets over, scared that the relationship means more to her. She goes out drinking with friends that night and takes a drink from an older Man. Later as she walks home she realizes there must have been something in the drink and tries to make it to her parent's who are at a party nearby. A man pulls up in a van and though she doesn't know him, she knows she has seen him a lot lately wherever she has been. He then punches her in the face and the story ends.

The Cat Who Wasn't There: Lillian Jackson Braun

In this Book Qwill goes with Polly and a group of locals to Scotland. Polly and the tour guide room together and Qwill's old love interest, Melinda Goodwinter is along and keeps propositing him. Melinda's father passed away and to the town's surprise, was in debt. Melinda wants to marry Qwill to have children and for his finances. The tour guide suddenly dies and Melinda claims it was her heart. The next day the bus driver, who was supposed to be a friend of the tour guide's also disappears with some of the luggage with a fortune in jewelry. Once back in the states Koko helps Qwill piece together the drama. Melinda and her brother had been living off their father for years and his death left them penniless. Melinda tried poisoning Polly with pills that looked like her vitamin C, only Polly's roommate took them. Melinda commits suicide at the end by driving her car into a wall. She left Qwill a note, but before he could read it, Koko chewed it up.