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Books - long time no post about them!

It has been quite awhile since I've written about the books I checked out. I'll do a quick synopsis of a couple of the ones I read recently & the last lot I mentioned checking out before the post-hiatus, then will mention the ones I have now :)

The ones I last mentioned in this post:

Bound, by Sarah Bryant -- Urban paranormal style story set in isolated Scotland. I won't give things away but it takes an interesting twist. I liked this one. I bought the 2nd of these at a library used book sale, but haven't read it yet.

Reverand America by Kris Ksknussemm -- about an albino preacher who eventually finds himself running away from his past with a teen prostitute who is pregnant. The back of the book says it "sits between Flannery O'Connor & Carl Hiaasen....mixes the old with the new. A kicking and spitting true-to-life tale that is Saknussemm's most heart-rending to date". I think this one was ok. I don't remember a lot about it but think it was interesting.

One Man's Bible by Gao Xingjian -- About a man who talks to his German Jewish lover about his life under Mao Zhedong and the Chinese Cultural Revolution from 1966-76. "What emerges is a brutally frank portrait of someone intent on challenging conventional notions of history, philosophy and ethics. By no means a victim, he stands in judgement of only himself." I didn't get very far into this one before abandoning it. It kept jumping around between past & present & I had a hard time keeping the characters straight. I think the fact I don't know a lot about China's cultural revolution probably didn't help because I didn't understand some of the nuances.

Krampus by Gerald Brom -- looks like an urban paranormal/semi-horror story about how Krampus, the Yule Lord, was imprisoned by Santa Claus & his magic stolen away. Krampus wants his revenge & wants Yule back. I really liked this one! It was interesting, a good take on old tales and it didn't completely set the characters as completely good or completely bad. I'd recommend it</a>

California Bones by Greg van Eekhout -- Getting late & I can't really find a way to summarise this easily. I didn't get to read this, the others slowed me down & it was due before I could start it, and when I tried to extend the due date there was a hold on it. Maybe another time

Grave Silence by Rose Beecham -- Lesbian mystery series written by an NZ artist (who now lives in the US with her partner). Pulled this off the library's LGBTI books list. A bit concerned about the fact that the back mentions that Rose Beecham is the mystery pen-name of the best selling lesbian romance writer Jennifer Fulton. I am hoping this isn't a bodice-ripper kind of story! Another one I ran out of time to read and had to turn into the library, maybe another time. </a>

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I just took a bunch back & had others I checked out, thought I'd throw a couple of the more memorable ones in here:

The days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin -- this is one of his Tales of the City books. I watched some on PBS ages ago & liked them, have read a couple in the series. Basically set in San Francisco, about mostly GLBTIQ characters & their daily lives. I recommend the series.

Who do, voodoo? & Bruja brouhaha both by Rochelle Staab -- 2 interesting books, they are easy reads, kind of paranormal mysteries. I liked them, sometimes it is nice to have a quick & easy read.

The patron saint of lost dogs & Dog gone, back soon both by Nick Trout -- 2 good books, fairly easy reads & not a ton of depth but nice reads. They are stories of a vet pathologist who moves back home to take over his dad's failing vet practice after his death. They do kind of go in the sequence, but I read Dog Gone first & I didn't feel like I'd missed too much.

Beneath the darkening sky by Majok Tulba --This was a difficult book to read. It is a novel, but based on true stories that were told to him. The author was 9 years old when the rebels came to his Sudanese village. Any boys larger than the AK47s the rebels carried were taken away to be trained. He escaped because he was an inch too short, but he wrote the story from the perspective of a boy if he had been tall enough. It is a tough read because even though this is a story, you know this kind of thing is happening around the world to child soldiers. I wanted to read it for that perspective & to get me out of my comfort zone. He fortunately glosses over some of the worse of the violence, but there is still some in the story.

There are the ones I have out right now:

Silent we stood by Henry Chappell - About a a small group of abolitionists working secretly in Dallas. "With war looming lives hanging in the balance, ideals must be weighed against friendship and love, and brutal decisions yield secrets that must be taken to the grave".

The kill order by James Dashner - This is the prequel to The Maze (which we watched, a good movie & a really good book). It's basically young adult but not geared too young.

When everything changes, change everything : in a time of turmoil, a pathway to peace by Neale Donald Walsch-- A bit different to what I usually read, I usually read novels and not too many "how tos" or anything but I felt this one speak to me when I saw it so am going to give it a try. It is about change, about life, that kind of thing. "....does 'change' have to equal 'crisis'? No."

In celebration of simplicity : the joy of living lightly by Penelope Wilcock I picked this up after I saw it & opened it up. I thought it was about de-cluttering and stuff but it isn't, it is more like a daily meditation. It is very religious & Christian-focused, but not exclusive-Christian. I have read a few pages of it & want to get back to it as it was pretty interesting & thought-provoking.

Here are the things I picked up today:

Dirt by David Vann -- About a 22-year old guy who lives with his dependent mom in a secluded old house doesn't know who is Dad is, his abusive grandfather is dead & his grandmother has been sent to a nursing home as she's loosing her memory. He is a New Ager who thinks he is an old soul and yearns for transformation but can't prevent the manic binges. The family takes a trip to an old cabin, he is caught in a compromising position & learns how far he will go to get the transcendence he wants. "An exhilarating portrayal of a legacy of violence and madness".

The bees by Laline Paull -- "...A sensual, visceral mini-epic about timeless rituals and modern environmental disaster"...."creates a luminous world both alien & uncannily familiar. Thrilling and imaginative, The Bees is the story of a heroine who, in the face of an increasingly desperate struggle, changes her destiny & her world". It looks like it is written from the point of view of a bee who learns certain secrets & makes a decision to go against certain set rules.

Dark heir by Faith Hunter -- one of her Jane Yellowrock series. I like this series & her writing style, even if it seems the heroine often has an easy out at times.


Mortuary confidential : undertakers spill the dirt by Kenneth McKenzie and Todd Harra and
Mortician diaries : the dead-honest truth from a life spent with death by June Knights Nadle
These 2 are ones C picked up but look interesting so I'll read them too, I like some of these kinds of "behind the scenes" books.

Chavs : the demonization of the working class by Owen Jones -- Another one I wouldn't normally pick up but looked interesting. It is about the negative stereotyping & hatred of the British working class. The author "...explores how the working class has gone from 'salt of the earth' to 'scum of the earth'. Moving through Westminster's lobbies and working-class communities from Dagenham to Dewsbury Moor, Jones lays bare the ignorance and prejudice at the heart of the chav caricature , and reveals a far more complex reality: the increasing poverty and desperatino of peple left abandoned by the aspirational, society-fragmenting policies of both the Tories and New Labour." I think it will be an interesting read and will apply to the demonisation of the lower working classes in the US & New Zealand as well as Britain.

A mixed bag of books to read. I'll try to remember to post what I think about them.

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