Archive for the ‘fiction novel’ Category

Walk Two Moons

14 May, 2017

finished up the family book club book, Sharon Creech’s “Walk Two Moons”

I had to pause reading it, because I didn’t feel like crying at a restaurant, just saying.

There was a sentence that I liked, I shared with MrG and he liked it too: “We walked through the tiny living room into the miniature kitchen and upstairs into my father’s pint-sized bedroom and on into my pocket-sized bedroom and into the wee bathroom.”

A good book.

The Death Defying Pepper Roux

17 March, 2017

Well, that was a comedic yarn. Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Death Defying Pepper Roux.



6 March, 2017

just finished Malka Older’s Infomocracy

I might have enjoyed it more before the recent election.



The Star of Kazan

15 February, 2017

Finished Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson. A fairy tale set in early 20th Century Vienna.

There was a section, where Annika cooks the Christmas carp…and I want to eat it. Great descriptions of cooking.

Also, a good description of music in a scene.


Bog Child – Siobhan Dowd

6 February, 2017

Just finished Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd.

Good story, I enjoyed it. I recommend.


(For realism: there was a scene, where academics started loudly arguing amongst themselves, that I have actually witnessed in real life.)


The Vanishing of Katharina Linden

2 January, 2017

just finished “The Vanishing of Katharina Linden” by Helen Grant

It’s funny, there were plenty of German words in there, which, I’m happy to say didn’t bother me at all. And a few English words, that I pro’lly should’ve taken note of to add to my vocabulary.

It was well crafted, though not sure if it was my cup of tea.


How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

5 March, 2016

Julia Alvarez, “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents”

Great chapters, interesting characters, I loved feeling like I was learning about life as a kid in the Caribbean…followed by life as a kid as an immigrant.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

9 January, 2015

BitterKat suggested I read Josh Malerman’s “Bird Box”.

Evidently I liked it, because I finished it two nights of reading. It’s told in present tense, a monster story, to keep safe you have to keep your eyes closed.

“How many times did she question her duty as a mother as she trained the children into listening machines?”

Usually I avoid horror, because it’s either scary or silly. The first night, I was OK, fun read, not scared. Wait. All the curtains are closed in the living room. That’s why I’m safe. But the kitchen has no curtains!!! That did freak me out a bit at 1am. Tonight, while reading, MsSqueaky came to me, “papa, I’m afraid of the dark.”

game of Thrones book 4

19 September, 2013

I’ve said that reading a chapter of George RR Martin is like having a scoop of ice cream.

Well, reading book 4 was like having my parents take me to ice cream, then telling me that they had given my dog away, and were going to send me away to live with mean aunt Burtha in Mongolia.

I don’t have the time or energy to invest into something that is sad, and is fantasy. If I want long and depressing, I’ll read about the Aztec and Incas. If I want political intrigue, I’ll read about the rise of Islam, or Byzantium. Or if i do want depressing escapism’ Shakespeare, the play is over in four hours and he’s a better writer.

Don’t tell me it’s realistic…there are dragons and magics. It’s fantasy, read as escapism.

Sure, I get that you want to keep your readers on their toes. But at this point, it’s no surprise, they are dead, or soon will be dead. The new characters, I don’t care about. They’re boring, and will probably be dead soon anyway.

The Sum Of All Fears

28 July, 2013

Whew…finally finished Tom Clancey’s the Sum Of All Fears.

I’ve been been comparing Clancey with George RR Martin, and I think Martin is a better writer. They both basically write the same story of kingdoms, politics, plans, disasters…. For me, Martin is an easier read, it might be his TV training, he keeps the chapters tight, focused on one person, and ends it with you wanting more about that character. Clancey has few main characters, but will pop in and out of minor characters viewpoint to give the details of the falling dominoes for his story. So for me it’s harder to keep track of who is doing what…for instance, do I really need to pay attention to that lumber-jack, or the rich Japanese businessman, will they have a role later, or is it the tree that is important?

Also, Martin’s characters are more believable. They have more personality. clancey’s characters are flat, the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, the weak are weak, and the strong are strong. And everyone stays within their type cast character.

That said, Clancey scares the shit out of me. Every thing that happened, was realistic. In the book, by chance of good guys making the right decision, disaster was averted.

It frightens me to think that corruption operates at high levels in liberal democracies. I’m sure it’s there.

It frightens me to think of how easy it is for a terrorist to strike America. Just think of OKC Federal Building, 9/11, or recent Boston Bombing.

“27,000 nuclear weapons. One is missing.” Yup, great tag line. But think about it, are we safer today than we were eighteen years ago when Clancey wrote this? Doubt it. I have grave concerns about the competence of nuclear-armed Pakistan (“oh, Bin Laden was here? Our bad.”) I am afraid of the motivations of the North Korean dictator. Iran is bothersome and worrying, but I trust the rational self interest of their leaders, most of the time…but, if they and Israel don’t trust each other…and a few thing go wrong, if there are mistakes made, if there are communications missed, if fear and mistrust are the guiding principles of a tense moment. How would quickly could that escalate?

I’ve heard Clancey is an expert of background technical informant, and does his homework on the capabilities of weapon systems. Some folks don’t like this part of Clancey, the dwelling on mechanical details, I just skim it.

Remember recently when the The American Embassy in Libya was attacked? I have friends who proclaimed, “that is an act of war!” I responded to them with, “remember when the USA destroyed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade? (1999) what did the Chinese do?” I’m proud of my brother, when I told him of these exchanges, he replied with, “boy, it sure is fun to move those plastic pieces around the map, isn’t it?” I’m glad that sometimes in international incidents that cooler heads can prevail. That sometimes tragic mistakes happen, and we don’t let it rush us into further catastrophe.

But it could. And that’s what was frightening about Clancey. Each small individually believable scenario added together built up into a perfect storm of the end of the world.