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review 2018-06-16 14:49
As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner

Okay, as I explained in an earlier post I've decided to delve into some 'Classics.' At a Writer's Conference in San Diego about two years ago, I had heard a pair of young female agents discussing how they would never have agreed to represent the likes of Hemingway or Fitzgerald. They found their work 'not up to standards.' As I am old enough to be their grandfather I dismissed their ramblings. Later while talking to an older female agent I mentioned this. She told me that's the problem in today's publishing world. Too many young female agent with a narrow point of view.
It nagged at me though as I had not actually read many 'classic' books since my youth. 
So, about a month ago, as previously posted, while I was rearranging book shelves (actual book shelves, not on line ones) I took a hard look at the dozens of 'Classic' novels that I had but never read. The words of my minimalist daughter rang in my ears, "Dad, if you're never going to read these old books get rid of them." So I decided to add a classic book to my current readings. This one, As I Lay Dying , was the first. 
It started out weird. I was told to never imitate people's dialects in writing, yet here Faulkner was doing just that. And, I found it annoying at first, I wanted to quit. But, I ALWAYS finish a book, so I stuck it out. I got more into the characters and toward the end the story blossomed. I give it two stars because it is hard to read but I'm glad to have read it. Is it a Classic? Don't really know, you tell me.

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review 2018-06-11 23:05
As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner

Okay my new thing is not to act out of the moment so I'm going to wait a few days then write a review.  

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review 2018-06-04 23:42
Review of The Dying Animal by Philip Roth
The Dying Animal - Philip Roth

This is my fourth Roth novel and I am not sure how I feel about it.  The narrator/main character is an old professor who basically discusses how his sexual desires have been the central part of his life.  He spend most of the story talking about an affair he had with a 24 year old Cuban student and how he became obsessed with her (which was different than the many other liaisons he had throughout his life).  The writing is well done, but I couldn't help but think that Roth was projecting his own desires through his character.  While I don't think a man's sexual desire should end by the time he is in his 70s, I am not sure the obsession with it is entirely healthy - or at least something I want to think about at this point in my life.

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review 2018-05-29 02:29
Dying Bites by D.D. Barant
Dying Bites (Bloodhound Files, #1) - D.D. Barant

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I liked this book but I didn't love it. I have had a copy of this book for years and finally decided to dust it off and give it a try. There were some things about the book that I really enjoyed and other things that made me question why things happened the way that they did. This was a pretty fast listen for me and I did enjoy the overall story.

I liked the overall premise of the story. Jace is an FBI profiler that is pulled into an alternate reality to help solve a crime. The alternate reality is filled with vampires, shifters, and other interesting beings with humans as a small minority. The paranormal beings in this reality are not prone to mental illness but there is a killer on the loose targeting the paranormal population that happens to be human so Jace has been enlisted to help.

The population of these realities are so different but I was amazed by how much everything looked like our world. Language was mostly the same. Cars developed in the same manner. There were some difference but I really would have thought that there would be a whole lot more since these really were different worlds. According to the story, the worlds became different when guns were invented in our world and not used in theirs. It just seemed strange to me.

I did think that the story was exciting. The murders were quite interesting and I was really interesting in learning who was responsible. There were several surprises along the way that I did not see coming. I liked the characters in the book well enough. Jace was tough and smart but I kept thinking that she adjusted to everything a whole lot faster than could be expected. I really liked Charlie, her golem assistant, and thought that many of the other secondary characters were equally well done.

One of the reasons that I decided to pick up this audiobook was Johanna Parker's narration. I am someone that listens to audiobooks at regular speed and don't like to speed things up. I immediately felt this book was going really fast so I check to see if I had changed a setting on my device since the narrator seemed to be talking really fast. I decreased the speed of the narration and was able to enjoy the story much more from that point forward. I did like the range of voices that she used in this book although I did have a bit of trouble keeping everyone straight for a time.

I would encourage anyone interested in the series to give it a try. I thought that it had a lot of unique points and found it to be rather entertaining. I am not sure if I will continue on with the series at this point but I am glad I gave this one a shot.

Initial Thoughts
I liked this book but I didn't love it. I listen to audiobooks at 1x speed and almost never make any changes. Shortly after starting this book, I had to check to see if I had changed the setting because the narrator was talking so fast. I ended up slowing things down a bit and it worked much better for me after that. I have listened to and enjoyed Johanna Parker quite a bit in the past so that was a bit of a surprise. I did have a bit of trouble keeping track of all of the characters in this book but eventually got things figured out. I thought it was strange that this alternate world that was different in some ways could be so similar in most others. There was quite a bit of excitement and I was really curious about how things would work out. It seemed to me that Jace took the way things ended way too easily which just seemed odd.

Book source: Audible purchase

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text 2018-04-29 21:34
Me & Earl & the Dying Girl Update [For School]
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews

I've already read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, but I decided I'd read it again, before I saw the movie. I'm about halfway through it now, but I have enjoyed it so far. It's, in a way, a more comedic version of The Fault in our Stars, or at the very least, a more realistic version. You figure, you have a teenage boy trying to get through his senior year, and all of a sudden, a girl he barely knows' struggles are are thrown at him by his mother, and he is pressured into getting to know her again. It's not going to be a perfect fantasy. 

 

So far, I can relate to Greg and how he is handling both school and the situation with Rachel. Greg is trying to get through school by staying under-the-radar and being friendly to everyone, while not spending time with them. His only real friend is Earl, as well as the only person he spends any time with at all. Similar to me, I don't really want to get to know anyone except the people I spend my time with, but I want to stay on their good list. I only have a few or so friends I trust and do a lot with. Greg also hasn't spoken to Rachel since he went to Hebrew school, and when he starts hanging out with her again, he doesn't know how to grasp the situation. He gets through it by talking about what's happening seriously occasionally, but also creating jokes and humor out of it, albeit with Rachel's permission. I would do this also, especially if talking about the situation makes the other person uncomfortable. I would want to see them happy. 

 

I think the novel is pretty funny, but Greg is a little scatter-brained some of the time. Because of that, the format of the book is odd, and it may go from the middle of a story to an ending without explanation. Of course, though, this is done on purpose because it is supposed to be a journal or essay of some sort by Greg Gaines. He is also the narrator, so knowing what others are thinking is impossible or unclear at times. 

 

I think that the most important things so far are the themes of self-criticism and struggle. It shows how, even with a mask of comedy and humor, reality lies beneath. It's something you cannot avoid, and, when it comes down to it, you have to talk about it. Greg and Rachel have to do this, and do bring up Rachel's cancer every once in a while, but Greg and her both try to avoid reality. During this entire time, Greg tells himself he isn't supporting Rachel enough, or talks about her problems too much. Rachel, though, doesn't mind, because she's more concerned about her own struggle. 

 

All-in-all, I've enjoyed the book so far, and I hope I will like the rest of it as well. 

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