Blackout With A Book Out

Hello, readers.

Today is Thursday. Day two of an island wide blackout. There was a fire at one of the power stations and they shut the entire grid down. That happened yesterday, around 2pm. While some towns have gotten their power turned back on, most of us are still without electricity. So, what can we do? Read. That’s what.

I hadn’t read a book since the end of summer. So, you can imagine how excited I am to finally have an excuse to drop everything and read. I decided to pick up Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. And man am I glad I did! The book is nothing like what I expected. Somehow I thought it would be all parody and social commentary, and there’s some of that, but mostly it’s just gore and oozing all over self-assembled furniture.horrorstor_final_300dpi

The book follows Amy, an employee at Orsk – a furniture store much like Ikea. She’s 24, broke, and probably about to be fired. Except she’s not. Instead, her boss asks her and another employee to pull a graveyard shift so they can monitor the store and figure out who’s been defiling the furniture and breaking all the merchandise on display. What starts as an easy way to make money, turns into a giant shit show. There are ghosts, people get tortured, they nearly drown.

Suddenly you realized that the bright lights and the pre-designed shopping experience have turned into a darkness that’s crawling with bodies intent on murdering you. Holy. Shit. You guys. It’s unexpectedly horrible, unexpectedly engaging. My only disappointment has been having finished it. It leaves you wanting so much more. The book got a lot of buzz when it first came out and I can really see why.

On a day where the heat and humidity have made everything sticky. Where it seems like the entire island is on pause. Where there really is very little to do but read and drink (that comes later). I’m thrilled to have picked up a book that effectively made me forget my surroundings. It’s still early though, so now the question remains. What will I read next?

Until next time, readers.

Short Little Nothings

Hello, readers!

This week has flown by in a burst of unexpected activity. Or rather, the activity was expected, what wasn’t expected was everything else. I didn’t expect loving my classmates, making a new friend, suddenly finding myself a volunteer, feeling completely at home in grad school. I didn’t expect there were people I’d miss so quickly. Mostly I miss my wife.

Grad school has truly felt like starting a new chapter. My hectic schedule means there’s quite a bit I’m giving up in order to pursue this degree. And the weird thing is, I don’t feel all that busy. At the end of the day, when I look back exhausted, I realize everything I’ve been doing. For the most part though, I feel kinda breezy. It’s an odd feeling to have, I realize. I don’t hate it though.

I’m in the process of settling in so I can get back to reading for fun. I refuse to turn into one of those people who stops reading for pleasure. (Although, I’m aware that’s what might end up happening, so bear with me). Once I figure my schedule out, I’ll start posting about bookish things and loving you all literary like. All seduction and poetry. Actually, a short poetry anthology might be good. What do you guys think?

I’m getting back to the books. It’s a short, not about anything exactly post, I know. I just felt like writing something for you guys. #KeepingTheHabit

Until next time, readers!

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Erika Swyler’s The Book of Speculation

Hello, readers!

Today is the first day of the rest of your lives. BOOM. What a way to greet the day, huh? With clichés and loud noises! A Monday has never been greeted quite so energetically. And that is probably a lie, but who are they to define the limits of our enthusiasm, right?! Right. The truth is this particular Monday will be a bit of a battle for me. So, if for any reason you’re going into battle too, just know I’m with you. We’ll do battle together and watch the world burn.

Speaking of metaphorical battles, The Book of Speculation took a whole bunch of ammo to get me to pick it up. I don’t know what happened between being excited about buying it and now, but I couldn’t even understand why it was there in the first place. And let me tell you, that was a mistake. Once I picked it up and got over the unfamiliar pace of the book (after reading familiar authors for so long), I really enjoyed it.

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The book introduces us to Simon, a librarian with dead parents and a wild child sister. One day he receives a book in the mail from a stranger and nothing is ever quite the same. Particularly after realizing the women in his family, mermaids by trade, drown young on the same day. He’s got 10 days to save his sister before the same fate that befell his mother, and countless other women before them, finds her.

I love books about the circus, about carnivals. I always feel they have a strange sort of magic woven into their pages. Maybe it’s the fact that so many things are spinning, the dim lighting and the smell of cotton candy. The promise of strange and fantastic things. Whatever it is I’m always drawn to them, it’s probably what drew me to this book if I’m honest. All these women working as mermaids, generation after generation of girls who drowned for a living, drowning seemingly without cause. The tarot cards that bind the narrative together, I can almost picture the colors and see the worn edges.

The book lets you see Simon’s present, but it also lets you travel through his family’s past. You get to see where everything began, just as it seems like everything is going to end, and they converge beautifully in a show of understanding. By the time it’s all said and done, you can see the delicately woven threads that make up the narrative shining up at you from the pages. Glistening like the water that ties all these characters together. It was unexpected, but thoroughly welcome.

Maybe this Monday, this battle, will be like almost drowning. Not being able to breathe and then, just when you feel like you might give in, you’ll find new courage and, most importantly, a new breath. We’ll see.

Until next time, readers!

Christopher Moore’s Secondhand Souls

Hello, dear readers!

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be back writing for you! It makes me happy to know you’re all out there, one of those it’s a small world we’re not alone kind of things. It’s a nice feeling, is all I’m saying. =D

23460830This week of return continues with Secondhand Souls, the sequel to A Dirty Job, which I posted about earlier this week. I don’t know what I was expecting when I started to read Secondhand Souls. It’s one of those books I bought without even thinking about it, because as I’ve said I love Christopher Moore and I think he’s brilliant and so on and so forth. So, to finally read it was a bit strange in a way. In true Moore fashion, the shit that was weird got even weirder. But lets face it, who doesn’t like getting weird?

This time around Charlie Asher, Sophie, and the entire cast of the first book are battling something else entirely. He claims to be a new, more elegant kind of Death, come to balance the world from the chaos left over from the first shit storm they all started. Except, he’s not who he claims to be and, actually, he needs to be stopped. Sophie loses her powers, Minty Fresh discovers a few things about himself, Lily finally realizes she’s special. There are ghosts and people jumping off bridges. The harpies are back, fucking shit up as per usual. Oh, and there’s a banshee!

I think my biggest issue with the book was that it was kind of anti-climatic. There’s this whole build up, I’m getting ready, everyone in the book is getting ready, and then womp womp. It was a little bit disappointing. And I don’t know if that’s because the book itself is disappointing or because I’ve come to expect so much from Mr. Moore that I’ve got too many expectation and am putting unnecessary pressures on him to perform. It might be a little bit of both, to be honest.

In any case, the book was entertaining read. Definitely worth it if you’ve read A Dirty Job. It was interesting to see how he solved the whole Charlie being dead and trapped in a small animal with an unnecessarily large dick situation. It was also nice to see how everyone was dealing with the fallout from the first book, especially Inspector Alphonse Rivera who really came into his own in this book. And, you know, they live kind of happily which is always nice.

Hope you’re happy today, readers. Until next time!

Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job

Middle of the week. Belly button day. Look at it, your belly button. Congratulate it. Today is his day. Her day? Its day at any rate. Belly button day. What a grand celebration we’ll have.

There are few authors I love as enthusiastically as Christopher Moore. Few authors I love with as much brio and gusto. Pizzaz, even. His matter of fact approach to incredibly fantastic things like giant lizards, robot whales, and Jesus never fail to make me happy. He’s also one of the few authors whose work I’ve read almost entirely. I’m missing about one or two, but that’s it. I love this guy, seriously.

33456A Dirty Job was actually my introduction to Christopher Moore. I remember reading it the first time and feeling like I’d discovered pure magic. The book is about Charlie Asher, who loses his wife during the birth of his daughter Sophie and becomes a merchant of death in one fell swoop. A bunch of stuff happens. There’s a tall black guy in a mint colored suit. And a goth girl. And his lesbian sister. And his daughter who could possibly be Death. With a capital D.

I read it years ago and never looked back, as my relationship with this wildly clever man developed. I’ve always meant to read it again, but I hadn’t until now. Mostly because I wanted to read the sequel, Secondhand Souls (which I’ll be talking about tomorrow), and figured a refresher might not be a bad idea. And, let me tell you, it was every bit as amusing and well written as I remembered. I’d forgotten a lot of it, but that only makes it better believe it or not. It’s a weird hybrid experience, where you get the excitement of a new book and the pleasure of reuniting with characters you’re already acquainted with. I love being surprised and finding unexpected things when I read, but that feeling of returning is sweet in its own way.

One of my favorite things about this book is the concept it has of souls. Essentially, not everyone has a soul. When people with souls die, their soul moves into an object they hold dear, which in turn is picked up by a Death Merchant like Charlie. Once the object falls into the right hands, the soul is absorbed into that person. Can you imagine not having a soul? We’re so used to the concept of having one, that the thought of not having one seems completely alien.

It’s an elegant concept I think. Just imagine it though, kind of having to earn your soul, having to become worthy of it. Like they’re waiting for us somewhere, hoping for the day we’re less shitty and they can finally come home. Nice, right?

Until next time, readers!

The Hollows series Part III

Hello, readers!

I’m excited to be back so I’ve decided to post every day this week. Why not? Let’s get crazy up in here! And crazy is an apt word because I’ll be starting grad school in a little over two weeks. Let me tell you, crazy. CRAZY.

Over the past two months I’ve been rereading and posting about Kim Harrison’s the Hollows series, you can read parts one and two of that. I’m pleased to tell you guys I’ve finally finished the series! I’m actually really excited about it, in the last four books a whole bunch of unexpected stuff happened. Seriously, a whole bunch of what the hell is happening stuff went down. It was cool though, weird, but cool.

When I finally got to the end it felt infinitely satisfying. Sometimes you reach the end of something you’ve been keeping up with for a while, whether it’s a book series, tv show, graphic novel series, and you feel empty. Like there were things missing and more could’ve done and this can’t possibly be the end, can it?  And then, the worst bit off all is the fact that you have to leave with that longing for things to be fixed or added or sometimes simply explained.

This experience wasn’t like that, I can honestly say I’m fully satisfied with how things went down. There’s nothing I’d change or add to it. And that’s all you want from a series, really. I feel like it ended when it needed to and it took care of everything. For me this end has been so long in the making, just because it’s taken me an insanely to read them. So, it’s gratifying to reach the end with no regrets, no laments, just pure satisfaction.

Rachel was such a cool character to get to know, mostly because I understood her mess and her general fuck it attitude. It was never a burden to stay with her, to read about all the shit that went down in her life. I cried for her losses and felt happy when things worked out for her. I worried about her partners and felt angry when people were shitty. And let me tell you, people were super shitty. So, I’m ecstatic to find that in the end things worked out for her.

I closed the book. The thirteenth book in what had been a long, but exciting journey. I closed it, took a breath, and was happy that somewhere in a fictional world, Rachel was happy too.

Until next time, readers!

Destination: Florida

Hello, readers!

Lets all take a deep breath and smell that fresh Monday smell. It’s a combination of fresh cut grass, dew, and soul decay. A tantalizing bouquet, no?

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We’ve made it to Florida, you guys! I’ve actually been to Florida a few times, haven’t been there in years though. I think the last time I was there we spent New Year’s Eve at Epcot and that was awesome! I highly recommend it, if you get the chance. Each pavilion had a party with different music, the fireworks went on forever. Good times. Although, you have to get there really early and dress yourself in the color of so much fucking patience. Buddha level peace, my friends. But it was worth it in the end.

anansi_boysI ended up reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman for Florida. And, although a lot of the action takes place in England and the Caribbean, there’s a back and forth happening with Florida. Anansi Boys is the story of Charlie who after attending his father’s funeral finds out he has a brother he didn’t know about. Oh and also that his dad was a god and his brother got all the powers. With his brother in his life, Charlie’s life gets turned upside down, sideways, inside out, thrown into another dimension. Shit gets real, you guys.

I’ve always loved Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane, get on it!), his writing is always simple, but incredibly engaging and entirely his own. There’s no way to mistake him for someone else and that’s awesome to me. He has a way of taking seemingly random, ordinary things and imbuing them with importance and meaning. Anansi Boys had that in the form of a lime. Charlie is visiting Saint Andrews, looking for a very old lady to help with all the problems he’d gotten himself into. Along the way he acquired a lime, and after this interaction….

“Do you have any luggage?”

“No,” said Fat Charlie, apologetically.

“Nothing?”

“Nothing. Just this lime.”

He filled out several forms, and she gave him a key and directions to his room.

Fat Charlie was in the bath when a knock came on the door. He wrapped a towel around his midriff. It was the bellman. “You left your lime in reception,” he said, and handed it to Fat Charlie.

“Thanks,” said Fat Charlie. He went back to his bath. Afterward, he went to bed, and dreamed uncomfortable dreams.”

Charlie became known as the guy with the lime. And that lime later became a fake engagement ring, chapters later. I think it takes a lot of elegance to turn something as innocuous and turn it into an engagement ring, in a way that you would’ve been surprised if the lime hadn’t been used as one.

The rest of the book is like that, full of graceful writing and funny situations. It’s witty, charming, and as imaginative as only Neil Gaiman can be. It’s got gods, cops, ghosts, and, of course, a lime. Definitely worth a read if you’re into awesome things.

Until next time, readers!