Friday, July 29, 2016

I hold my breath
and wait for you
to make it through
the rest of Youth.

You are so perfect
just right now:
No major fouls,
fumbles, or rejects.

A few yellow cards
squared your shoulders,
made you older,
kept you on your guard,

but nothing to get
you kicked out
or down for the count,
nothing to regret.

You are up by eight,
but my eyes are locked
on the ticking clock
willing it to a faster rate--

before it's too late
and the other squad
can ride roughshod,
pull up and compensate.

Let the streamers unstring,
let the game end
with you ahead,
when the buzzer rings.

Let the other guys
knock down the chairs,
sit dazed and stare,
throw themselves and cry,

while you are covered
in Gatorade,
and accolades,
and ride upon my shoulders.

Race Against the Clock

I hold my breath
and wait for you
to make it through
the rest of Youth.

You are so perfect
just right now:
No major fouls,
fumbles, or rejects.

A few yellow cards
squared your shoulders,
made you older,
kept you on your guard,

but nothing to get
you kicked out
or down for the count,
nothing to regret.

You are up by eight,
but my eyes are locked
on the ticking clock
willing it to a faster rate--

before it's too late
and the other squad
can ride roughshod,
pull up and compensate.

Let the streamers unstring,
let the game end
with you ahead,
when the buzzer rings.

Let the other guys
knock down the chairs,
sit dazed and stare,
throw themselves and cry,

while you are covered
in Gatorade,
and accolades,
and ride upon my shoulders.

Cress

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)Cress by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I so enjoyed Scarlet that this one was a little bit of a let down. Meyer spends a good deal of time recapping in this one, and there is starting to be quite the laundry list of characters, so some get the shaft (Scarlet and Wolf). But we get introduced to Cress, who is not a she-girl like her predecessors. She screams and fantasizes and is a hopeless romantic. She is gifted at hacking and doesn't whine, so I didn't mind having a more girly-girl heoine. She sort of rounds out the girls. Thorne plays a bigger role in this one as well, and he quite the loveable cad. We get some good revelations that move the plot, and it is poised for the ultimate finale. Good set-up book.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Night Guest

The Night GuestThe Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First of all, this is a beautiful book. The art is intriguing and the eyes glow in gold foil. I like when authors/ publishers make their physical books compelling...in a world of kindle and nook you can't hope for book sales with a picture of a shoe on the cover anymore. Second, the writing is magical, lyrical, figurative. Ruth and Frida are remarkable characters. The plot is not shocking; the reader can tell almost instantly what Frida is up to when she shows up. Instead, you want to stop the long slow inevitable end from coming. My criticism is that it needs to be tighter; while it is only 240 pages now, it may have been best as a long short story.

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Horrorstor

HorrorstörHorrorstör by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

By far the best horror/comedy/commentary on society I have ever read! We were/are faithful shoppes at IKEA and so I loved its skewering! Yes, there are a few cringe inducing scenes, it is a horror book after all, but on the whole, so fun and so well done! Loved it!

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The Last Policeman

The Last Policeman (The Last Policeman, #1)The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hank Palace is one of the last policemen since there is literally a black cloud on the horizon: Earth will be obliterated by an asteroid in 6 months. People are reacting to this news by quitting jobs, fulfilling their bucket list, or giving in to depression and killing themselves. But Palace refuses to do anything other than his best as a detective and the latest suicide doesn't hang right with him. It's a great detective read, and I loved Palace. I will definitely keep tabs on him, at least until he's toast.

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Us Conductors

Us ConductorsUs Conductors by Sean Michaels
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought Lev Termin was fascinating. The things he invents seem like science fiction....(where is a terpistone now?). It also seemed incredible that he was responsible for so many different ideas ( motion detectors, metal detectors, wireless bugs). His life was so very interesting too...rich and famous at one point to a prisoner in a gulag the next. A note at the end reminds us it is a fictional account; fiction is necessary, perhaps, to fill in questions that time has erased (why did he suddenly leave America? How involved was he in spying?, etc.) But then Michaels admits to some of the fiction he added, like that Termin knew Kung fu, for example, and I can't help but wonder why he did that. Termin was already remarkable, why add complete fabrication? It throws other facts not found in Wikipedia in doubt (did he improve efficiency at the gulag?, etc.) and short of reading an actual biography, which I'm not inclined to do, I won't know (urgh!). Also, the love story between Termin and Clara seemed more one sided than a truly inspirational love story would be. But, Termin is incredibly fascinating and Michaels writes in sparse, factual prose that lets the first man shine forth.

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In memory everything seems to happen to music. —TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Glass Menagerie

It was not that I was careless in my calculations; it was that I was seeking the wrong sum.

You can become a dead man before you know what you are.

At night the barracks filled up with groans, as though the sleeping zeks’ souls were being sucked from their jaws.

For the Glory

For the Glory: Eric Liddell's Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern MartyrFor the Glory: Eric Liddell's Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr by Duncan Hamilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An inspiration all the way through. From Olympian to missionary, to father and husband, friend and mentor, in the face of fame or surrounded by squalor in a interment camp, Liddell was an example of living a life of integrity, of living his beliefs and inspiring others. Great read!

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Liddell told one congregation that “the greatest danger was victory,” which he further defined as “bringing a man up to a level above the strength of his character

 “If, in the quiet of your heart, you feel something should be done, stop and consider whether it is in line with the character and teaching of Jesus. If so, obey that impulse to do it, and in doing so you will find it was God guiding you.”

 “Why should I stoop to be less than a gentleman because others do?"

 “Anyone who, neglecting that fixed hour of prayer, [will] say he can pray at all times but will probably end in praying at no time.”

 Early in 1944 he began urging the internees to pray specifically for the men in uniform—the camp guards. Liddell told his congregation and also his Sunday school classes: “I’ve begun to pray for the guards and it’s changed my whole attitude toward them. When we hate them we are self-centered.”

The Apple Orchard

The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista Chronicles, #1)The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a novel that couldn't make up ots mind: it was a romance, a mystery, a bit of historical fiction, and a recipe book. The best thing about it were the recipes which sounded lovely. The romance was so over the top: the guy was good looking, smart, had abs for days, a vintner and accountant, saved lost dogs and lost souls, a pilot, was a great dad, and of course, could crack safes. Sounds like a typical guy. Whateves. But at least the romance was PG. the mystery had no suspense...you could write the conclusion yourself. The historical part was interesting, but scanty. I won't be returning to Bella Vista.

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Purity

PurityPurity by Jonathan Franzen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I should have known better, having read Freedom, that Franzen would write a book on purity without a single redeeming character. This book is fraught with narcissistic and sociopathic characters with Oedipal and Elektra complexes so that nobody can have anything other than dysfunctional relationships. Each chapter delves into a different character, and inches the plot along, so that it reads almost like a series of interconnected short stories. So you get a break from one unlikeable character to meet a new one. Perhaps the best(?) character is Andreas Wolf, who starts out horrible, is transformed by love, kills to save her, and then slowly evolves into a purely evil character as a result. When Franzen writes about Wolf there is an energy and vitality that makes him more real than the other characters, even as he becomes a caricature of himself in the end. There are a lot of relevant issues brought up...privacy, information vs. entertainment, feminism, student debt, but any point Franzen is trying to make becomes subsumed by the tediousness of the relentlessly awful relationships.

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Pip nodded, but she was thinking about how terrible the world was, what an eternal struggle for power. Secrets were power. Money was power. Being needed was power. Power, power, power: how could the world be organized around the struggle for a thing so lonely and oppressive in the having of it?