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review 2019-01-04 17:15
COYOTE SONGS by Gabino Iglesias
Coyote Songs - Gabino Iglesias

 

COYOTE SONGS. What can I say? It was brilliant, so let's start with that.

 

I can't even hope to write a review as insightful and well written as my friend's, Michael Patrick Hicks', here: Mike's review.

 

 All I can hope to do is try to impart to you the way this book make me feel. There is a small group of characters living near the U.S./Mexican border and we are privy to their lives-with all the sorrows and joys therein. Unfortunately, there are very few joys. There is little to look forward to other than more poverty, misery, and crime. I quote from the book:

 

"He opened his eyes to a present that mocked his every wish and shattered any vision that dared go past it." 

 

When every hope you have is dashed, when every small good thing in your life is met with ten big, bad things, what point is there? When you have no hope for your children or yourself, again, what's the point?

 

Here is where I was going to make a brief political statement, but I just deleted it. If you don't already feel compassion or empathy for those innocents caught up in this immigration debacle, then there's nothing I can say to make you feel for them. But Gabino Iglesias has said the words that made me feel even more for them than I already did.

 

They are powerful words. They are words that needed to be said. They're not all flowers and sunshine, they are violent and dark and represent some of the worst things about humanity. You should read those words. They are called COYOTE SONGS.

 

My highest recommendation, period.

 

You can and SHOULD get your copy here: COYOTE SONGS

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text 2018-12-26 07:20
24 Tasks of the Festive Season: Day 15 / Task 1 - St. Nicolas / Sinterklaas
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling,Stephen Fry
True Grit - Donna Tartt,Charles Portis
Jurassic Park - Micheal Crichton

Task 4: List your 3 favorite books involving children being rescued from serious peril.

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Uhm, Ginny (and a whole lot of other children in the rest of the series, I guess).

 

True Grit: Mattie Ross is 14, she is fierce and she wants to revenge the death of her father. But that doesn´t mean that she doesn´t need to be rescued in a specific situation, which I´m not going to spoil. Btw, if you never have heard of this book, it is fantastic!

 

Jurassic Park: Yes, the (annoying) Hammond grandchildren. The whole book is about them being rescued.

 

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review 2018-12-14 18:30
WINTER'S BONE by Daniel Woodrell, narrated by Emma Galvin
Winter's Bone: A Novel (Audio) - Daniel Woodrell,Emma Galvin

I'm not feeling like a full review today so I'll limit this to only a few comments.

 

*The Ozarks in which this book takes place seem to have nothing in common with the OZARK Netflix show.

 

*I have no doubt in my mind that life in some areas of the Ozarks is as brutal as it's depicted in this book. Poverty, drug use, tight family units, and long-held multi-generational grudges are just part of the miserable lives examined here.

 

*I couldn't help but feel for 16 year old Ree who just wanted to join the army and get the hell out of there. Due to her mother's mental illness and her two young siblings, her hands were tied. It's hard to escape family.

 

*I thought this book was savage with sharp, vivid prose-sometimes so sharp it stabbed me right in the heart.

 

*I enjoyed WINTER'S BONE, as much as one can enjoy a story this violent and merciless. I look forward to sampling more of Daniel Woodrell's work in the future.

 

*Recommended for those with the wherewithal to stomach the brutalities of this rural, mountain life. You have been warned!

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review 2018-10-27 18:25
Since I'm not reading for spirituality's sake
The Divine Comedy - Eugenio Montale,Sandro Botticelli,Peter Armour,Dante Alighieri,Allen Mandelbaum

Done! *cheers* (and an abrupt end it was)

 

I confess I started to loose my enthusiasm by Purgatory, and Paradiso veritably dragged for me.

 

Inferno is indeed the most interesting, likely because it concentrates more on describing the poetic (and in many cases gruesome) justice inflicted there.

 

Purgatory gets a bit wishy washy because we are even more deluged with contemporary examples, which was exhausting from a "pausing to research WTF" whenever I needed context to understand the grade, and felt like self indulgent page bloating when I didn't. And then we get to Eden, pretty cavalcade of symbolism lead by the still much discussed mystery that is Matilda, and meet Beatriz. Ahhhh, the lady herself, that symbolizes theology. Maybe it is no wonder I found her supercilious and overly jealous.

 

I have to praise Dante's balls: first he aligns himself equal among Homer, Ovid and Virgil in that Limbo chat, and here he places his lady love highly enthroned in the Empireum, representing the Dogma by which he knows God.

 

If I could leave Paradiso just taking away that love has been his salvation and his way to heaven, we'd be good. But no, he had to insist on hammering until rigid conformity to scripture was reached. Thorough what felt like endless proselytizing (hey, I know it is my fault, because what was I expecting, right?) and pointing fingers of doom everywhere (the amount of eggs thrown the church's way! And his political enemies... you bet this got him the exile prophesied to him here).

 

Also, even considering some pretty descriptions, the spheres felt lame and boring reward (and here I'm reminded of Huxley calling happiness undramatic and boring, and Le Guin criticizing those that think "Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting"). Where is the imaginative poetic justice of the first third? Methinks Dante got too tangled in the discussion of virtues and splitting hairs on their display levels. So yeah, I get the whole "watching god and feeling his light is rapture beyond comprehension", I'm still contending that the theological got in the way of the literary, and there goes one star. Sue me.

 

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review 2018-10-10 00:45
Downer
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories - Stephen King

My PC heat-quited on me while writing my review, so take two.

 

This was a bit of a let down.

 

First of all, it's such a depressing collection. I looked forward to the horror bits because they were at least lively (and even those were a lot more scarce than usual).

 

Second, because I had already read some of the longer stories, and none was that worthy of a second pass. Well, maybe Morality, but hell.

 

If I had to list the ones I really liked, I'd go with Drunken Fireworks, because while predictable, it made me laugh and I needed it; Mr Yummy, because it touched an odd bittersweet chord; Green God of Agony was very neat; and Under the Weather because it was so gruesome to see it coming, even if it was another depressing one.

 

No, seriously, this is not a happy collection. Or even an exiting one. Pick another.

 

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