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review 2018-07-18 02:58
So much hidden meaning
The Intuitionist - Colson Whitehead

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead is included in the list of 100 titles chosen by American citizens for The Great American Read hosted by PBS. (More info on the books on the list and how you can vote for America's favorite novel can be found here.) In an effort to read more diversely (and to have the ability to recommend books for the adults in my branch) I started with this book as I had never heard of it despite it being listed as a 'classic'. The story follows Lila Mae Watson who is the first female person of color to be an Elevator Inspector. In the world created by Whitehead elevators are the height (ha!) of technology and the majority of the population see them as somewhat mystical and beyond the realm of ordinary comprehension. (There are even guilds which seek to elevate the status of Elevator Inspectors in society to those in political office.) Even more confusing to discern are the two distinct sects of theory as to the maintenance and future of these machines. One school of thought is firmly rooted in the reality of the technology while the other views them as metaphysical creations that can be 'sensed'. Lila Mae belongs to the second school of thought which further compounds the problems that she faces among her coworkers and the public that she encounters on her daily rotations. This sci-fi novel is rooted in the reality of race. What drives the story are the veiled discussions of race but it is told through the lens of technology innovations. It is ultimately a story of hope for a better world where we are 'elevated' from the weaknesses and barbarisms of our current reality. Whitehead challenges our perceptions of our accepted reality as he argues that established views are not solely based on what we see with our eyes. This is a book with a seemingly simple premise about elevator manufacture and maintenance in a world so very similar (and familiar) to our own but instead what we get is a complex discussion of race and how we can (hopefully) rise above. 9/10

 

What's Up Next: The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease

 

What I'm Currently Reading: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2018-07-16 03:43
at 100 pages, hmmmm
The Witches of Eastwick - John Updike

I thought I'd try something by Mr. Updike that wasn't Rabbit Angstrom-y.

 

This is the single worst writing from women's point of view that I've ever encountered. These women are the least believable I've ever encountered, and I've read some really bad books. I understand these witches are fantasy, but I can't believe witches would be so ridiculous. Nor can I imagine grown women who complain about getting their periods for a full five (5) days! Or women who think the way these "women" do about their bodies. Men, apparently, believe women are nothing but our bodies and our relationships to men. He gives them interesting professions, then he reduces them to insipid caricatures. 

 

Dear Male Writers - Woman Have Breasts and Vaginas. I'm going to write a book where the man's balls are all I talk about if I run into this again. Shockingly, our bodies and fear of aging are not the only thing we ever think about.

 

Argh. I'm very tempted to stop reading this. It's making me irritable. 

 

However, now the man has entered the picture, so I may try to continue, since I'm almost a third of a way through. But not tonight. I need some female comedy -- on to Netflix!

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review 2018-06-23 22:49
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

A tidbit I learned whilst reading was that much like the narrator, John Wheelwright, John Irving's mother never revealed the identity of his father to him. Apparently this book contains a lot of Irving's biography (well mixed with fiction) which may interest someone, but not really me.

 

The thought experiment: what would it take to make me a Christian? is interesting. And it plays out here in the form of one Owen Meany -- annoying prophetic child who knows, without any doubt, that he's an instrument of God. People who have zero doubt are often very irritating, as Owen can be. Owen hasn't arrived at his doubtless state without interrogating his faith or life, though. He's not full of faith because he refuses to see reality, in fact it's almost the opposite. He seems to have questioned and still believes his fate and purpose. I grew up in the Catholic church and never met a person like this until I was already quite the doubting Thomas. However, I can attest to how discombobulating strong faith can be in the face of endless questioning, and this is what Irving sets up so beautifully, comically and tragically for John and Owen.

 

Along the way we witness a friendship between two boys and young men that is so charming and graceful and appealing that it's hard not to be moved. The comic scenes are pure gold. (I both read and listened to the Christmas pageant scene many times. I bookmarked my audio copy there, and it made me laugh so hard tears rolled down my face, even when I already knew what was going to be said. It's a perfect scene.)

 

This novel is dense, full of little details, flies off on what seem like tangents, and more than once I wondered if there was an editor. Then in one fell swoop every single detail that seemed extraneous, silly or irritating falls into place. Details become symbols. Tangents find their meaning. The topsy-turvy struggle between faith and doubt gets an answer -- at least for John. But Owen's "gift" of faith to John is not without cost. John Wheelwright is bitter and confused and doesn't seem to know his own place in the world, though he's clear on Owen's. So even with an easy answer on the question of God, this novel shows how painful a life of faith can still be.

 

Please read this book if you haven't. I'll evangelize for John Irving's story of friendship, home and faith. Hang in through the unholy capitalization and irritation, your belief in the story will be rewarded.

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review 2016-02-01 04:28
WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A PROSTITUTE BY: MELISA SAMIA COLLINS
when i grow up I want to be a Prostitute 2nd edition: Stories of Broken Promises and Shattered Dreams - Angie Alaya,MeLisa Samia Collins

 

  Okay, so if you're anything like me, you read that title and went "What the hell?!". No BS, when I first saw it, before I read the blurb, I totally thought it was going to be some sort of erotica book lol. That is no where close to what this book really is. While their is some graphic, and honestly, hard to stomach subject matter in this book, I think it was BRILLIANT. I really respect Collins as a person, and a writer too, for telling this story.

 

 

As hard as it is to think about subjects like child abuse, rape, drug addiction, etc. these are things that NEED to be acknowledged. These are things that affect people. REAL PEOPLE. Maybe even someone YOU know, will meet one day, or maybe even you. I read this statistic not terribly long ago, I can't remember when exactly, or where, but I will never forget what it said...in college 1 in every 3 women are victims of sexual assault. 1 in 3!!! This was devastating to me, as a woman, a mother of a daughter, and a human being. And as soul crushing as hearing these things, or reading about the atrocities that happened in this story are, maybe this acknowledgement, this dialog, this story, just maybe it will help someone. It may not save anyone from having something awful happen to them, but at the very least it gives you a closer look at some of the warning signs to look for.

 

 

This was a story about 3 young girls that were assaulted early in their life, and the impacts that it had into their adult years. Three very different girls, with very different situations, and outcomes. Things get pretty real right away, there is no easing you into this tale, which I think was very well done. I was sympathetic to each of the girls right away, It worked well in forming that bond with the characters and had me desperately needing to know what happened with them next. At first I was kind of wondering why the Author decided to tell three different stories, but there was a very good reason for her doing so, and I was honestly surprised with how they seamlessly entertwined after awhile.The POV switches were PERFECTION. I just feel the need to glorify that tidbit after having struggled so much with that in some of my other recent reads.

 

This story is pretty fast paced, and 100% engaging. Once I was into it, I had a hard time putting it down! I also thought this author took a lot of care with this subject material, she didn't shy away from harsh truths, but she also didn't make it so graphic that it was a struggle to get through. It was just a fine balancing act that she nailed from start to finish. I am so surprised that this book does not have more reviews. It kind of hurts my heart a little. But considering the title had me initially shying away from it, I could see why it might not grab more people that way. I'm so glad I looked inside for more, because this was a GREAT book. I get that this story might not be for everyone, it's not all sunshine and puppy dogs, but it was brilliantly done and I'm thoroughly impressed by it. When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Prostitute gets a high recommendation from me.

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2015-10-05 16:07
Reading progress update: I've read 30%.
Seaside - Hannah K Shuping,Dawn Devore;Amber Cross;Sara Scott;Kathi Peters;Riley Wylde;Missy Allen;Mary Ann James;June Stevens;Darlene Daniels

This is a wonderful book for reading outloud. I am really enjoying that I get to impersonate fishermen, some bully type children, sea creatures, an old lighthouse keeper, and a protective parent while I read this. The is a pelican who reminds me of Skuttle from The Little Mermaid. We have mystery, conflict, bullying, family legacy, and so much more. 

 

So far, we have a boy who almost drowned while trying to complete a swim to Dead Bone Island so he can become one of Blackbeard's Boys. He barily makes it. He is rescued by the lighthouse keeper and learns something very interesting about his father. We also have a little octopus who has been separated from his mother after a fisherman nets her and drags her away. He has teamed up with th pelican. They are on a rescue mission and have just located his mother's where abouts.

 

A fisherman's song from the book: 

 

"Oh how how I've dreamed of this day

When everyone will finally say

There he goes, the greatest fisherman of all!

 

Sharks, they've nothing but teeth

A dozen, I've caught in my sleep

They run and hide every time I set sail for the sea!

 

Whales I'll leave to Ahab,

That hunt is so boring and drab,

They're slow, it's really no challenge for me.

 

Some fishy the pound...

Casting their nets all around...

But not me, I'll hunt the worst of the sea!

 

Oh what a day it will be...

NOW everyone will be talking about me...

Bonicelli, the greatest fisherman of all!"

 

Warning:

 

If your child is sensitive to sad seen where parents are separated from their chilren, the scene where Walter loses his mom is really sad.

 

 

Walter, the little octopus, and Pucello, the pelican.

 

 

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