Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Total Recovery: Gary Kaplan

This book was very insightful on full body health, where symptoms could be pointing at something deeper and treatable. I am finding myself in this situation where you feel your doctor has given up and you are trying everything and anything to feel better. This book gave me some different things to try.

Coma: Robin Cook

It was odd that his book was written by a man, it seemed very early 80's woman finding her voice in writing-ish. A med student starts her rotation at a hospital and questions why so many people using operating room 8 go into comas. She finds out the hospital director is using the black market to sell body parts to those whose tissues match people looking for them and willing to pay.

Friday, November 24, 2017

My Best Friends Exorcism: Grady Hendrix

After reading "Paperbacks From Hell" I thought this was going to be a non-stop hilarious book. It had it's moments, but read like a normal teen novel, with a bizarre twist. At a slumber party one of 4 friends disappears into the woods and when found hours later she is acting odd. The book continues with the rotten things she does as she is possessed by a demon. Her one friend is able to save her and they remain friends and occasionally question what keeps them together.

Rywka's Diary: Rywka Lipszyc

Like the Diary of Anne Frank, this was wrought with grief. After reading Rywka's diary you assume she died in a concentration camp as there are no prefaces hinting at any sort of reconciliation between the writer and her diary. At the end of the book they have an insert believing that Rywka did survive the war as there was another diary found 5 months after the concentration camp was liberated, but from there she seems to disappear again. I found myself really wanting to believe she found some sort of happiness after the war and was a survivor.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Bastard on the Couch: Daniel Jones

This actually wasn't what I was expecting. It was the companion novel to "The Bitch in the Kitchen" and a collection of stories of men talking abut life. A few of them talk about trying to find balance at home now that women are in the workforce and exhausted when they come home ad would like help raising the kids and doing chores. Some live non-traditional lives where the wife works and the man stays home with the children. Some stories talk about their relationship with their Children and views on life. the stories were written from vastly different people and they were all very interesting and enjoyable. None were "wife bashing" and gave insight on how the men view the feminist movement differently.

Hope was Here: Joan Bauer

This was a cute teen fiction about Hope Yancey and how she deals with a life of disappointment. Her mom left her with her aunt to raise and they move from city to city working in restaurants. They end up in a small town in Minnesota where her Aunt falls in love with the owner, who has leukemia and runs for governor. The book talks about waitressing and the politicking and campaigning to get him in office. The book ends with Hope finding a dad in the restaurant owner and he succumbs to the disease.

The Bird's Nest: Shirley Jackson

The protagonist, Elizabeth Richmond is introduced as a very plane woman who has more and more time she can't account for or remember as the book progresses. She is soon diagnosed with multiple personality disorder as 4 distinct personalities emerge. we find out her mother had had a personality illness and Aunt Morgan, who has raised her since her mother's death, is about at wits end dealing with the "four" women. Elizabeth's personalities seem to have "spilt" from the death of her mother, which is seems like she had a part in when Elizabeth shook her mother. her mother was seeing "Robin" who didn't want a child and Lizzie can't remember if her mother ever defended her. Aunt Morgan and Dr Wright get Lizzie to understand that her mother is dead, because one of the personalities, Betsy, believes she is still alive and Beth, thinks her mother just died 3 weeks ago. Once the girls come to the realization their mother is dead, they all merge back into the one personality, or so we believe.

Monday, November 13, 2017

As I Knew Him My Dad, Rod Serling: Anne Serling

This was a very heartfelt, heartwarming story. Instead of it reading like novel, it felt like sitting with a friend reminiscing while going through her father's things. I applaud Anne for telling about her grief after her father's death as that is something people try to hide and don't understand well. This was very well written and anyone can relate to the feelings and memories evoked when reminiscing about a parent.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Schindler's List: Thomas Keneally

Oskar Schindler was a member of the Nazi party and obtained an enamelware factory during WWII where he saved over 1000 Jewish citizens from deportation and concentration camps by hiring him in his factory that rarely had anything to contribute to the war machine. By the end of the war he had spent all his money on bribes to keep his workers safe. Before joining the Nazi party and after the war he was bankrupt and unable to hold a job. It sounded like he got assistance from Jewish relief organizations for the rest of his life. It seems surprising he was able to hold it together during the war to save so many people. Very sad story, but time and time again he seemed to be at the right place at the right time to rescue his workers.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Crystal Cave: Mary Stewart

This story is about the childhood of Merlin. His mother, a princess falls in love with a prince from an enemy territory. She refuses to tell anyone who his father is and refuses to marry. Eventually she enters the convent and Merlin tries to run away, but is kidnapped by his father, which seems like fate. Once his maternal grandfather's kingdom is captured he goes to see his mother who gets sick and dies before she is reunited with Merlin's father. Merlin's father also dies and his uncle uses him to impregnate the queen before the book ends. A lot more happens obviously, but it is a long book.

Dracula in Love: Karen Essex

This was the story of Dracula told from Mina Murray's point of view and more of a romance novel than gothic- think Twilight series, yes Dracula still flies?! but Dracula can turn himself into a wolf, so you get the whole package here :P. It is rather interesting to see how the author expands on the daily life during the time period and how she develops the characters and I found myself unable to put the book down because I wanted to see how she brought the characters from Dracula all together to carry out that book. I like how Braum Stoker is in this novel looking for stories of monsters. This novel looks into the entire life of Mina and how Bram got the fodder for his book. The book also leaves in open for a sequel once Jonathon dies and she can be with Dracula.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Flowers in the Attic: V.C Andrews

This was laborious to get through. A family with 4 children lose their father and instead of finding work, the mother goes back to her parent's house hoping to inherit their fortune. The mom was disinherited because she married her uncle. This book insists this is a heroic thing as they followed love...even within the family. The mom never tells her father that she has 4 children, so she locks them upstairs. She goes out with friends and lives her life trying to get into her father's favor and into his will because he is sick. The children are boring and annoying and I kept waiting for something to happen to redeem the story, like they find the game Jumanji in the attic or something...but alas, it was just a lot of wasted time finishing the book. Eventually the 2 oldest; Chris and Cathy, fall in love and have sex, which again the book makes seem totally natural and not disgusting. The two little twins health declines through the novel and the boy, Cory dies of "pneumonia" which is really arsenic poisoning. The mother tries to kill all four children because her father's will gave the fortune to her only if she didn't have any children from her incestuous marriage, or with her new husband. The three remaining children escape and evidently become a family and raise the remaining baby. So many things were wrong with this book- train wreck!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Someone in the House: Barbara Michaels

This was a feminist work which I found sort of frustrating on the feminist plot. A woman and her boyfriend fight about chores and duties around the house and then he gets an opportunity to travel abroad for work. Anne decides to spend the summer in a friend's (Kevin) parents mansion to finish the book they are writing on together. At first Anne is mad at everyone and everything; she wants everyone to applaud her on how independent she is, but then complains when Kevin doesn't pick her up at the airport. Kevin's aunt comes to live with them and the two women are meant to be foils. Aunt Bea does all the cooking, Anne occasionally helps, but she comes across as she expects to be waited on and someone has to do the daily bring duties, but she is above them. Something or someone starts visiting Kevin at night and Bea assumes it is Anne. They hear and see a shadowy figure leave his room after midnight and call in a priest and a neighbor Bea has started to fancy. They look into the history of the house, but can't seem to find anything demonic. Kevin and Anne start a romance as Bea and Harry get comfortable in theirs. It seems like Anne realizes she has become happy and doesn't need to be abrasive to everyone and that is when she realizes something isn't right and the house wants to make them all happy. She leaves taking Kevin's car saying that she wants to know she is making the choice to be with Kevin, and it's not the house manipulating her.

The Good Daughter: Karin Slaughter

Another suspenseful novel by Slaughter. Two teenage girls talk about their house being burned down by some unhappy client(s) of their father's, who is an attorney. Their mother has been coughing up blood lately and lectures the eldest daughter, Sam, that she needs to take more responsibility of watching over Charlie. Suddenly 2 men enter their house and change their lives forever. Zachariah Culpepper, a client of their father's, shoots the mother to death and they march the girls to a field where they have dug a grave intended for their father. Zack had already nearly blinded Sam and she urges Charlie to run. Sam is then shot in the head and buried alive and Charlie runs to the neighbor's and there is question on what actually happens to her before she gets to safety. The girls end up deciding it is too painful to see one another and go 28 yrs without contact. Sam lives daily with intense pain, but walks, which the Doctors didn't think was possible. Each girl deals with their grief differently based on their internal or external abuse. Charlie reaches out to Sam after a school shooting, she happened to be in the school during. After their father dies they realize how much he loved them and their mother and they become close again; the story of what really happened that night is told.