Book Review: All Quiet on the Western Front

Anybody else have to read this in high school? God, I hated All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Yawn, yawn, so boring. Why do they torture us with this tripe?

Oh, the different 25 years makes.

I just reread All Quiet as I am teaching 20th Century World History this year at the coop and I am assigning it to my kids. It’s always good to pre-watch, pre-read, pre-whatever material before you show it to teenagers. LOL. Especially when you have complete control over what you expose them to. I try not to abuse that privilege.

Anyway, I loved this book this time. Seriously, the interactions between the humans. The book says it’s a war story but really, it’s the story of men and the brotherhood they form when under extreme pressure. The beauty of their relationships in a world that is stripped to the bare bones of life and death. You have only each other. I’m going to cry again just talking about the darn book. LOL

℘℘℘℘℘- Five pages. Incredible classic. If you remember it as a horrible book you were forced to read, give it another chance. It is an epic journey of men.

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Book Review: I’m Traveling Alone

My friend K dropped this book at my house and said, “This is super creepy, I think you’ll like it.” LOL I love my friends.
I’m Traveling Alone by Samuel Bjork is an interesting read and definitely a bit of creepy going on. At least once I thought, no I don’t want to read this in bed, alone, at night, thank you very much.
Basic plot line, detectives track a nasty serial killer. A nasty serial killer who is playing games with them. And eventually targets them.
I liked the characters. I felt there was some interest in the team outside the two main detectives. The plot was, well, typical of detective stories. I did feel like the ending came a bit “poof-magic-all better now.” But at the same time, not everything was tied up. A couple of major plots points just hang in limbo.
My biggest complaint is regarding circular thinking. The author repeats phrases, demonstrating the circles a character, or five, are thinking in. But it’s not similar words on the same vein. It’s the exact same words, exact same sentences, 3 or 4 times on the same page. I eventually started scanning past those portions. I never considered abandoning the book though.
℘℘℘ – 3 pages, reasonably good entertainment. I’d read another book about this detective team if the author published one.

Book Review: Bird By Bird

I don’t remember who told me to read this. If you’re listening, thank you.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont was a delight.  It’s exactly the kind of writing book I love. Anne posits a theory, gives two or three examples backing it up, then makes her point and moves on. LOVE IT!

Fabulous Quotes:

Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong. It is no wonder if we sometimes tend to take ourselves perhaps a bit too seriously.

awareness is learning to keep yourself company. And then learn to be more compassionate company, as if you were somebody you are fond of and wish to encourage.

One line of dialogue that rings true reveals character in a way that pages of description can’t.

Plot grows out of character. If you focus on who the people in your story are, if you sit and write about two people you know and are getting to know better day by day, something is bound to happen.

℘℘℘℘℘ – Five Pages – I read it on the place home from Hawaii and loved every minute, even though the flight was late, the in flight entertainment system wasn’t working so the kiddo was a total pain, and I was still shaking that darn cold. Loved the book, even under those circumstances.

Book Review: Frozen in Time

The kiddo was at fencing camp. I was hiding in the back corner of the local, to the camp, library, working on editing and curic for next year. On one of my trips from the back corner to the bathroom a book caught my eye, Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff. I love me some WWII true story adventure. And this one did not disappoint.

Zuckoff weaves the tale of Greenland in WWII with the modern day hunt to bring home the last 2 unaccounted for Coast Guard service men. Greenland’s use during WWII is one of those little popularly known trivia answers. When you think WWII, you think Europe and Africa and East Asia. Most don’t even think that much, they think Pearl Harbor. LOL

But Greenland played a key roll. All those American planes that went to help in Europe, they had to be flown there by transport crews from America. The Atlantic is a big fat ocean. And we’re talking 1940s technology. They needed a place to pit. Several American bases were built there to aid in the transport. Lots of planes crashed there. Greenland is an inhospitable nightmare of snow, ice, and total white out conditions which come up in a nanosecond.  I did mention 1940s technology right?

I could tell you the story but then you wouldn’t read the book. LOL. In brief, a transport crashes. A search commences. One of the search planes crashes. Another search plane crashes and another and another. I lost track actually. Some of the men came home, some didn’t.

After a couple of previous attempts to locate one of the crashed rescue planes, in 2012 they try to succeed. Just read the book, it’s worth it. LOL

℘℘℘℘℘ – great writing, compelling tale. You can’t beat what really happened for characters that you can identify with and a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Book Review: Wine. all the time.

Part of me wants to say I don’t know why I picked this book up but really I do. See, I have this friend. She and her hubs are super into wine. She came out this past spring and we  went wine tasting. I had no idea what the hell she was talking about with the wine. No idea. So when I saw Wine. all the time. by Marissa A. Ross, I thought why the heck not.

The book is pretty funny. I mean, yes, Ross goes on and on about how wine is made, and what all the labels mean, and what people mean when they say a wine is full bodied and fruity, and why you should only drink natural wines. But in all that she is damn funny. And all that is actually kind of useful. Apparently Old World wines are ruled by various laws that say certain regions can only grown certain kinds of grapes so instead of telling you a bottle is a Cab, it says the region, expecting you to know what kind of wine comes from that area. No wonder wine is so confusing. I think I’ll just stick to drinking it.

℘℘℘- Three Pages. Useful little book. I’ll be honest, I skipped a lot of it. I don’t really care that much about wine. LOL

 

Book Review: Follow Me Back

I don’t remember why I got this. Someone somewhere mentioned it and I ordered it from the library. It took eons to get a copy, hence not remembering why I asked for it in the first place. LOL

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger was unexpectedly brilliant. I read it in one day. Read a bit in the morning while homeschooling the kiddo because I expected it to be crap and then I could add it to my one page reviews for third quarter and move on. Only, it didn’t quite go that way. I almost missed hot yoga I was so intrigued. Read during lunch. And then I took it to with me to get an oil change.

So why is this book so intriguing?

It is well written. No clunky dialogue. No misspelled words. No people talking that aren’t actually in the car.  No over inflated description. No head jumping. No time line confusion.

The main characters are compelling. I won’t go into details there because it would detract from the story.

The concept is one that plays on my mind frequently. Technology and just who is out there following you. It’s why I use a pseudonym. Why on some level I’m ok without a publishing contract. I’m ok with being indie. The spot light is not a place I want to be. I jokingly said to the hubs, “It’s hot and bright there.” And I like neither of those things.

The ending is where the book falters in my opinion. I think they want it to be a lady or the tiger type ending, where on some level you wonder if maybe she did really do that. For me, it just wasn’t there. I know firmly what happened. I’m being vague here because I don’t want to give it away.

℘℘℘℘℘ – Five Pages. If you like a strong psychological thriller, give this one a whirl.

Book Review: Modern Lovers

I’m not sure why exactly I picked this one up. It was on the Reader’s Pick shelves at the library. The cover is this really appealing green with yellow letters. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. Her name was vaguely familiar. I had read something about her recently or read an interview with her maybe….

Told from multiple points of view, which is super fashionable right now, this book is…trendy. Book clubs, lesbian couples, the straight laced boy corrupted by the wild girl, the husband being duped, the couple that is only happy when things are in crisis. Nothing new or genre breaking. Maybe that’s why even though I laughed in places, I enjoyed reading it, it left no lasting taste in my mouth. I read it slowly over the course of 10 days. And I’m not sure if the kiddo hadn’t gotten sick I would have finished it at all. If I am reading a book slowly it is because nothing in it compels me, speaks to me. It all felt predictable. It was all tied up in a neat little bow at the end.

℘℘℘ – Three Pages. Perhaps I am just not the ideal audience for this book. I neither tired of my marriage nor have I abandoned my dreams.