Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Girl on the Train: Paula Hawkins

This was a fascinating story dealing with unreliable characters/narrators. The story is told through the three female characters in the story; The woman who is murdered, Meghan, the new wife of a neighbor to the murdered girl, Anna, and the ex-wife Rachel, who is a drunk. Rachel has lost her job, due to her drinking and thinks she lost her husband because of the drinking as well. She continues to ride the train to town so her roommate won't know she is jobless and hopes to find another job soon. One day on the train she sees an unknown man on a neighbors deck with the wife of the house. She always noted this couple because they looked so happy, so she is distressed when the woman, Meghan, kisses another man. A couple days later she sees on the news that the woman is missing. She becomes entangled with the investigation and the husband of the missing woman when she tells her story of the "other" man. As a reader you believe Rachel murdered Meghan because she looks a lot like her ex-husband's new wife Anna. Rachael has black outs and is worried herself that she may have done something. The book gets messier with every page as each woman's life is told. The woman who seems happiest with her lot in life is the one who know the least amount about her husband. The murderer is not who we believed it to be, but the person who ties all three women together.

The Woman in Cabin 10: Ruth Ware

This was a really interesting book where you are tore between if the character is imagining things or if something terrible has really happened. I loved the juxtaposition of letters in the future saying Lo never gets home and the present day time of her on the ship. The story is about a girl who takes antidepressants and drinks a lot. She is a journalist chosen to go on a private cruise with a wealthy person the magazine is trying to get as a sponsor. a couple days before she is supposed to leave her flat is broken into and her purse is stolen. It seems like an unrelated incident, but someone else on the bot was also robbed and did not attend the trip because their passport was stolen. You are left to wonder if her break in was something more, but it isn't mentioned again. Right before boarding the boat she has an argument with her boyfriend because she is stressed and sleep deprived. The fight just adds to her stress and at first she is unable to sleep on the boat and begins drinking in hopes it will knock her out. She is a bit of an unreliable narrator as she puts her keys in her purse when leaving her room, but pulls them out of her bra when coming back. She spend the first day on the ship drunk and her story about the girl thrown off the ship gets altered, she never mentioned hearing screams until half way through the book. Halfway through the first night she is awakened by the sound of a door opening and a splash. She believes a body was thrown over board and us trying to figure out who the person was and what happened for the rest of the book. Evidently everyone on board is accounted for and the crew thinks she is a crazy woman. However, she keeps getting messages to stop digging. Towards the end of the trip, again in the middle of the night, there is a knock on her door and it is the girl she thought was murdered. The book then takes a very serious turn as she fights to survive.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

In A Handful of Dust: Mindy McGinnis

This was another fabulous book by Mindy McGinnis and the sequel to "Not a Drop to Drink". Lynn Raises Lucy and life is good until Polio suddenly appears in what is now a small community near their pond. Lucy's grandmother finds the source of illness, Lucy's boyfriend is a carrier, but isn't sick. They banish him from the community and Lynn, knowing Lucy has always wanted a normal life, takes off on foot to take Lucy to California. Lynn finds Carter following them and kills him to ensure Lucy won't get sick. The travel across the country nearly kills them both, but they get to Sand City. Lucy loves the town and the purpose, but Lynn is homesick and at the end of the book is leaving by herself to head back to Ohio to her home.

Living with a Seal: Jesse Itzler

This book was amazing. Not only was it funny, but very inspirational. An easy going man invites a Navy Seal he pretty much just saw at the Badwater Race, to come live with him for a month and train with him. The book is hilarious.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Inferno: Dante, translated by John Ciardi

This was my first time reading this and it wasn't what I was expecting...very difficult to get through. It seems like something from a dream or Stephen King. Dante, who faints an awful lot, finds himself lost one day and encounters strange beasts. Dante then meets the spirit? of Virgil who says he will climb this hill past the beasts with him, but first they have to go through hell and purgatory before they can get to heaven. Once in hell they are helped by a woman, a lost love of Dante's? Hell is filled with people who didn't necessarily do right or wrong, they just didn't make decisions based on if it were good or bad. They get on a boat to cross the river and are told only damned souls can enter- there is a crash and Dante loses consciousness. When he wakes he is on the other side of the rive after having been carried by Virgil. They enter the second level of hell where Minos, a serpent,? decides the fate of those who enter by wrapping his tail around the person. The people in the second level of hell are lustful. However many times he wraps his tail around the person determines which circle of hell the person must spend eternity. When Dante walks up from fainting this time he finds himself in the 3rd circle of hell, which seems like a port a potty. Cerberus resides over this hell for the gluttonous. The forth circle is ruled by the demon Plutus and is filled with hoarders and squanderers. The fifth circle of hell was for the wrathful and sullen with the boatman Phlegyas ferrying souls over the river Styx. The 6th circle of hell is for those who lived life with pleasure believing the soul died with the body. The 7th circle was for the Violent and the 8th was for the fraudulent, those who were hypocrites and flatterers. The 9th was for those who betrayed others. Each hell has different layers or pouches and Dante wanders among them because he evidently had quite the imagination and ran out of hells to put all these creatures into. Eventually Dante meets up with Satan who has three heads and in each mouth are the greatest betrayers of all time; Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. Virgil Tells Dante it is time to leave and they use Satan as a ladder to crawl down into their world to make their exit.

No Life but This:Anna Sheehan

This was wildly different than anything I have ever read. It is part fairytale (Snow White) part teen romance novel, and a sci-fi novel. Otto is a genetically created species of part alien from Europa and part human. He cannot speak, but can communicate by senses, using touch so others can visualize his statements. He falls in love with Rose (Snow White) whose parents owned Unicorp, the lab responsible for creating Otto and his siblings. Like his siblings, Otto starts to get sick. The scientists think taking him back to his home planet might cure him. Otto and his brother Quinn, as well as Snow White go to the planet and Otto is cured. He becomes a spokesperson for saving the planet that is being over colonized. Rose can't live on the planet, as Otto can't live on Earth. She goes back to Earth and they live apart.

Not a Drop to Drink: Mindy McGinnis

This book did not end at all like I was hoping. It was very good though. Lynn, a teenager, lives with her mom in her mother's childhood home by the pond. The books starts with the line that she shot a man that day protecting the pond. We realize that this is not the world we know. This dystopia was caused by a disease epidemic and most survivors have moved to the towns. Water is regulated and expensive. Lynn and her mother spend every waking moment surviving; purifying water, gathering foo and wood. After the monotony of shooting people off their land who head for the pond, some huge wolves come. They end up attacking her mother and Lynn trying to help accidently shoots her mom instead of the wolves and they kill her. She lives with her grief and loneliness until the neighbor who they only ever see from a distance, comes over and talks about the people living by the creek. Lynn goes over to investigate and finds a little girl and a boy about her age. The boy tells her she must take the little girl as she is dying because he doesn't know how to take care of her. The little girl's mom is having a baby and grieving for her husband who was killed when they were forced out of the city. Lynn learns to love with the little girl and falls in love with the boy. They become a sort of family until one day the grandmother shows up with some rebels and is "exchanged" for the daughter who lost the baby. The woman shoots herself and Lynn and the group retaliate. The boy is killed and Lynn raises the girl as her own mourning for those she loved and lost.

The Boys of the Dark: Robin Gaby Fisher

This book is about the White house detention home in Marianna Florida and the quest to improve conditions or shut it down. Two men find each other without realizing they were both at the school and work with Politicians and authors to expose the school for the violence and rape that occurred there for a century. The story also goes into detail about how living at the house affected their personal relationships and their eventual families and children. The side stories made it hard to determine what the focus of the story was as there were so many characters playing a role in the story. I understand they wanted to give everyone credit for the book being possible, but about half way I lost interest as the book didn't really move forward, but outward expanding in several directions. By the end the story came back to the house and how one of the abusers, Troy Tidwell was still alive. It is disturbing that he didn't feel regret for anything he did.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils and The Further Adventures of Nils Holgersson: Selma Lagerlof

This was a children's fantasy/ morale collection of stories. I have evidently lost my child like wonder because I was thinking "Really?" a lot. A little boy, Nils, is mean to animals and is taught a lesson when he spies an elf and tries to harm it he becomes elf size himself. The Animals think it is funny that now they can get revenge on the little boy who terrorized them. The boy climbs on a goose's back and it takes flight with wild geese when the little goose decides to join them. The wild geese pick on the tame goose because he can't keep up. HELLO, he has a child riding on his back! The story continues as they travel the country and Nils realizes he likes the animals and learns the importance of kindness. Eventually he comes home with the goose and his parents are overjoyed to have the goose and his new family which they are going to butcher. Nils becomes himself again once he defends the goose and saves his life, therefore learning a lesson on love.