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review 2018-02-19 05:15
The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion

Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill with what seemed at first flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later–the night before New Year's Eve–the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of forty years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LAX, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Center to relieve a massive hematoma. This powerful book is Didion's attempt to make sense of the "weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness . . . about marriage and children and memory . . . about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself."

Goodreads.com

 

 

 

In the year 2003, Joan Didion and husband, novelist John Gregory Dunne, receive word that their daughter, Quintana, has been rushed to the ICU (on Christmas Day, no less). Quitana had been battling a severe case of pneumonia when her condition had suddenly turned septic. Just a few days later, December 30th, Dunne and Didion are settling into their dinner meal when Dunne suffers a massive, fatal coronary right at the dinner table. 

 

By October 2004, Joan Didion decides to start journaling some of her thoughts since experiencing all this pain and loss, this journal being the seed that would eventually become this book, The Year Of Magical Thinking. Here, Didion thinks on moments over the course of her forty year marriage to Dunne. Moments where she now, in retrospect, believes there were warning signs of the grief that was to come. As far back as 1987, she recalls, Dunne had expressed fears of premature death. By 2003, what would end up being the year of his death, Dunne had developed a long history of heart trouble, even having a pacemaker installed. Numerous times that year he had said he felt sure he was dying, but Didion admits she dismissed these moments as him just having momentary bouts of depression. 

 

Like most people trying to cope with the sudden loss of a loved one, Didion struggles to navigate through feelings of guilt, that sense that you could have done something more to save them. She even toys with the idea that she can still reverse the outcome of the events. But hey, don't judge. It's wild what grief can do to an otherwise seemingly sane mind. 

 

Didion also shares her feelings on being a mother having to witness her child suffering in illness and feeling helpless to fix it. While Didion's passages regarding her husband read strangely distanced in tone to me, it was these moments where she talks on Quintana that touched me much more. How awful that must have been for her to witness her daughter pull through brutal pneumonia and septic shock only to improve a bit before suffering a hematoma, pretty much putting the poor girl's health struggle back at square one! 

 

This book didn't land quite as perfectly for me as it did for a lot of other readers. That could be, in part at least, to the fact that I often don't do well with books -- either fiction or non -- that are written in a stream of consciousness style. As I mentioned earlier with some of the passages that speak on Didion's husband, the writing, at times, had a distanced feel to me. I acknowledge that grief can often bring on a certain sense of numbness and detachment from the world, but from time to time, this just read a little too arm's length to me, alternately reminding me of either a police report snapshot of events or perhaps a college paper being written on the theme of melancholy. 

 

But that's not to say I got nothing from this book. There were definitely passages that resonated with me, maybe moreso in that I read this the same year I lost my mother. That said, I am a little confused as to where the "magical thinking" comes in? Well written, no doubt, but it struck me as just a general sort of grief memoir rather than the life-changing work so many have touted it to be. 

 

 

____________

 

EXTRAS:

 

* Author Joan Didion has worked as a writer for both VOGUE and LIFE magazines

 

* There are a few spoilers for other books to be aware of in this book: namely her husband's novels DUTCH SHEA, JR. and NOTHING LOST, but also the play ALCESTIS and the film ROBIN & MARIAN starring Audrey Hepburn and Sean Connery.

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review 2018-02-16 21:49
Not Like Any Wrestling You Know – Wrestle Maniacs Anthology @Adam_G_Howe
Wrestle Maniacs - Duncan P. Bradshaw,Jeff Strand,Werner Leins,Eryk Pruitt,Jason Parent,Gabino Iglesias,Adam Howe,David James Keaton,James R. Newman,Katherine Kurtz

Some of the authors for the Wrestle Maniacs anthology are familiar to me and you may recognize some of them yourself.

 

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

If you are a fan of wrestling or like twisted, convoluted tales that will tax your imagination, Wrestle Maniacs is for you. Some of the stories are sad, some are hilarious, and some are down right frightening. Twisted. Horrific. Every punishment you can imagine in the ring and many you never would have dreamt of, are contained herein.

 

Gabino Iglesias had me gagging and trying not to upchuck as I read his brutal, bloody story, El Neubo Sant’s Last Fight.

 

Adam Howe had me laughing my ass off, as Reggie, a shit magnet, finds himself in some of the most hilariously funny, yet dangerous situations in the book, in Rassle Hassle.

 

Gory, gross, disgusting and some seemingly normal stories, along with some horror, scifi, mystery, thrills and chills. Off the wall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Wrestle Maniacs by Adam Howe & Company.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars

 

GOODREADS BLURB

 

A dozen dark fiction masters bring their twisted vision to the world of professional wrestling. Twelve original stories of crime, horror, humor, and taboo. Ohhh, yeahhh! This ain’t no kayfabe, baby. This is hard-hitting wrestling fiction that grips like a Camel Clutch, and pins the reader to the page for the count of one, two…THREE!

 

Includes a confrontational foreword by ring legend ‘Pulverizing’ Pat McCrunch (as told to Jeff Strand)… An all-new story starring Nick ‘The Widowmaker’ Bullman from James Newman’s wrestling noir, “Ugly as Sin”… And ex-boxer turned strip club bouncer Reggie Levine (“Tijuana Donkey Showdown,” “Damn Dirty Apes”) returns for another action-packed misadventure.

 

Original fiction by:
Jeff Strand
Tom Leins
James Newman
Eryk Pruitt
Adam Howe
Ed Kurtz
Hector Acosta
Joseph Hirsch
Duncan P. Bradshaw
David James Keaton
Gabino Iglesias
Patrick Lacey
and Jason Parent

Wooooo!!!

 

MY ADAM HOWE REVIEWS

 

 

MY JASON PARENT REVIEWS

 

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/not-like-wrestling-know-wrestle-maniacs-anthology-adam_g_howe
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review 2018-02-16 19:46
Douglas F. Warrick: Plow the Bones
Plow the Bones - Douglas F. Warrick

The "F" in Douglas F. Warrick tells you a lot about how this book is going to read. It was clearly written by someone who goes by Douglas, not Doug, and who would correct you if your forgot to include their middle initial in their name.

 

The prose is arch, affected, and in love with itself. It's impossible to separate reading these stories from feeling like Warwick is reading over one's shoulder with you, excited for you to get to his favourite turns of phrase. I knew I wasn't going to finish this book when I came across this particularly precious paragraph in "Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist":

A confession. This story began with a lie. This story wanted very much to end here. And so it spun a fabrication within its very second sentence. But this is not the end of this story, as ashamed as it may be to admit it. This is the rest of this story, told into the void as all stories are. Until their end. Whether they like it or not.

Godawful. I get that this is a young author, and I hope his style improves in his future work. I liked some of the ideas, especially in "Zen and the Art of Gordon Dratch's Damnation" (OMG that title though). I would bet that as he matures, Warrick will gain some confidence and step away from the wrought prose and let his stories stand on their ideas. I hope.

 

To quote from an Amazon reviewer named August, "The writing is very good. But I personally hated it." Not recommended.

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review 2018-02-16 19:23
Weird, very weird
Disasters in the First World: Stories - ... Disasters in the First World: Stories - June Elizabeth Tilton, Clare Marie Tully, Mary Alice Waldron, Elvi Bertha Wasenius, Abigail Harriet McSweeney, Doris Esther Sheehan, Anna Winifred Simon, Olivia Mae Stead, Pauline Margolis, Elizabeth Bushen May Margaret Elizabeth McNamara

That was the oddest bunch of stories I have ever read. I was always trying to search for meaning or symbolism, figuring there had to be some there, but couldn't come up with much. I was always thinking that the author is trying to say something, but what it is (to me) is a mystery. There was never any closure either-- it was like I was left hanging every time. There were strange conversations as well-- I kept wondering if perhaps the book was written while the author was under the influence of hallucinogens part of the time... like I would think "ok-- maybe this will make sense-- we are starting to get somewhere" then-- nope, cause a crazy conversation started, and whatever progress I thought had been made was gone. Maybe I would have understood it if I had been under some influence...LOL

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review 2018-02-15 17:46
Perhaps one day in the future...
Haunted Nights - Lisa Morton,Ellen Datlow

I have learned a few things about myself as a reader over the course of last year. Anthologies, for me, are either a complete hit or a definite miss...and usually it's the latter. I got to page 129 of this book before I decided to give it a pass. I read the first 7 short stories and it wasn't the writing that was putting me off (that was quite good) it was more that I just wasn't in the mood to continue. This may have been due in part because I had inundated myself with way too many supernatural books (it was Halloween time if you recall) and the short story collection Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods blew me away SO hard. The common thread running through the stories in Haunted Nights was that they were all set on Halloween night which was a really cool idea.

 

I want to give a shout out to the story "The Seven Year Itch" because that one was SUPER creepy and was my favorite of the few that I read. I'll most likely check out some of the writers from this anthology in the future. :-)

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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