Wednesday, May 30, 2012

World War Z An Oral History of the Zombie War Written by: Max Brooks

I must recommend this book to everyone! However, I highly recommend NOT reading this book while being behind a glass door/window on a first floor building, or worse being in a cement bathroom at the beach with nothing but a pair of flip flops on your feet and this book in your hand. I have read World War Z three times now, and listened to the audio book four. The book is a work of fiction, or is it? For those of you who watch the news and saw what happened in Miami this past Memorial weekend, well again reading this book may not have been the brightest idea. The book itself is so awesome! Max brooks writes this story in an Q and A kind of way. He puts himself into the book as an reporter interviewing numerous of survivors. He introduces us to characters from all regions of the world and from all classes, and then in the end we realize though the people are different the stories are basically the same. We read about America, Russia, Japan, China, Cuba, Africa, Pakistan, Canada, etc... from the children to the most seasoned War Veteran we hear stories even about our canine companions. The book starts with you already knowing World War Z is over for the most part, and then takes you from patient Zero all the way to the end coming full circle. With all the hype in Zombies these days this is a must read. It is scary how close Max Brooks writing reflects on present day events, and how easily a lot of those events could lead to this. (So long of course there is never a patient Zero) I admit Zombies scare the hell out of me, I do not like them at ALL. At least with a vampire your likely to just die same with werewolves, witches, fei, ghosts, etc... these all can think, relate, have wants desires, rest.... Only the zombie with its only want/need to feed truly terrifies me, especially since the classic zombie just bites you or scratches and you and "It's all over man! It's all over." Plus with how fast it spreads it reminds me of Ebola and at least then you just die, (quite horrifically the stuff of true nightmares) you do not come back as a corpse who in turn will devour everyone you ever loved if given the option to. Just yuck. So, I do not like Zombies. Still, it's like people who are afraid of heights who go sky diving, you are fascinated by the things that scare you. And Max Brooks definitely knows how to scare a person. This book reads fast, each short story could be its own book. Each characters is given a very distinct voice. If you listen to the audio version it is sheer genius! Though, it is abridged so reading the book will allow you see more than what you heard. Also, I love how all of these stories in some way will relate to past stories in the book until they loop together it really is quite exciting. So, World War Z a great read, and who knows if there ever is a Zombie crisis doesn't hurt to know what you might be up against eh?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Crossing The Borders of Time A True Story Of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed. Written by: Leslie Maitland

"Our Sole enemy is time! Whatever the length of our separation, our love will survive it, because it depends on us alone. I give you my vow that whatever the time we must wait, you will be my wife. Never forget, never doubt.... You see, ma cherie, fate has sent us a test so that our love will achieve its full greatness. You are everything for me, and I do not want to speak here of all my pain in letting you leave, going so far from me, but know that if I had to lose you, nothing good would come of my life. You are my goal..."

                    " They had never seen each other again. And my mother had never forgotten. "
Well readers from all over the world. I feel like this book has touched my heart in such a way it has scared it forever with its tragic beauty. Most children now of days especially in the United States learn of that crime against all that makes us human the Holocaust. We learn of peoples stories visit graves, visit memorials, and even at certain memorials are given little booklets with victims photos and a small biography in it. The story that Leslie Maitland tells is so detailed so gripping I found myself slipping into her families story and found myself wishing I could become untangled from the tale. I kept reaching out to my own husband to anchor myself to the land of now. Even as I write this my eyes fill with tears and my heart swells. This story I heard about on NPR on the Diane Rehm show Maitland was promoting her book which is mostly the story of her mother and her love of a young man called Roland in the book. I was so caught up with the tale she was telling us about I knew I had to read this story even if just to know do they meet again after having been separated by the war!  This story goes back generations previous to Leslie's own mother the heroine of the tale Janine, but it is not only her mothers story though her mothers tale of love inspired Leslie this story goes back generations and branches out to so many people over so many continents. I expected the story to be one of love, trial, and happily ever after, but...well this was real life and during such a horrendous time it could not be so simple. In fact it seems like fate, family, and the world were against Roland's and Janine's love. It seemed as if the world could not let something so pure exist when there was so much upheaval and chaos in the world around them, as if their love was a fitting sacrifice rather than have their lives taken, it would be their love.

This book is non-fiction it is so true and has so many facts and historical data as well as maps, pictures, and copies of official documents I poured over the text. I am also again ashamed for how humanity behaves first to start something as insane as the Holocaust and second to profit from such evil deeds and then to not instantly realize action, compassion, help must be given. I learned some things they do not teach in school. Perhaps since I was not always American I wish our teachers had told us the follies of our country during this time, or perhaps I just think the truth needs to be taught so newer generations never forget and never repeat what their previous generations did. For example the book states this fact. Lake Geneva is the setting. "May of the thirty-two participating countries offered sympathy. Very few offered asylum. Although a quarter of Germany's six hundred thousand Jews had fled its orders since 1933, France had accepted only 1 percent of them. With Austrian Jews now swelling the ties of refugees, the British not only tightened restriction for England but also refused to accept Jews into Palestine. Americans viewed Jews negatively and believed them to be a threat to the nation. Those who sought  curb immigration argued to President Franklin Roosevelt that the Depression still demanded putting domestic needs first. As a result, between 1933 and America's entry into World War II eight years later, only about one hundred thousand Jews were admitted." I was just ashamed and sickened I know I wasn't there, but in school we are taught how great America was how compassionate how we fought back evil and said no more! Yet, we are guilty of crimes against humanity no? Even today American's claim certain races, minorities, people of faith, people lacking faith, sexual preference, people not Native to America are a threat to the American's way of life. I just do not understand how we can witness time and time again such crimes and still pose such arguments in the present day of life.

But I go off topic. I found much desire in Leslie's writing it was clearly full of love and traveled through time so dynamically. The way a family is affected and how it evolves and how though her relations suffered they were some of the few who would be deemed lucky compared to their peers and those who sympathized for them. I loved this book I will read it again someday I will read it to future generations in hopes to prevent hate. I know I say this a lot readers, but I just do not understand hatred. I have a love that is great and I hope to hold onto it forever like Janine does, because at the end of the day my love makes me human. If you can handle needing three box of tissues and do not mind a hard read, a hard read due to the topic of Jewish persecution during World War II, and you have a thirst for knowledge this book is for you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Deadlocked A Sookie Stackhouse Novel written by: Charlaine Harris

Well hello everyone, hope you're all just peachy keen. I'm in such a lovely mood having just read the latest Sookie book written by the ever so pleasant Charlaine Harris. Oh Sookie, Sookie, Sookie. Vampries, Werewolves, Fairies, oh my! (I am sure I've used that line before...) This story was just wow... I mean it's the next to the last book, so quite a few stories were kind of tied up, but again the questions! Some lines were tied and there's a big question that has yet to be closed, a question that those of us who really, really want to know, just who the heck is Sookie going to end up with? Will love really truly be possible for Sookie? The happily ever after for our dear heroine? The author also shows us how a little love token be huge amount of trouble and how secrets even generations old can bite you in the behind. Charline's writing is so fresh so clean and crisp it's about, well, people. Sure most of them are supes, but its as if this is normal life. I can just picture the world in which her characters live it's sunny, hot, quaint and even dirty, but her characters are proud and even the supernatural characters seem so normal. Yes, Sookie is kidnapped again, and yes she gets roughed up again, and yes there is tension, but she's trying to get her life together. Whenever I read a Sookie book I find myself wishing I lived in a society full of manners and hospitality where I had time to go into my kitchen and whip up sweet tea and big home cooked meals while enjoying the outside sun. Sure I can do these occasionally, but for Sookie it is just her way of life. Her life is so complex, but somehow she stays a ray of sunshine and oh so proper, granted she's killed quite a few people. Self Defense! But, she still tries to be a good person who follows her faith. There are so many characters but it seems like the plot for a lot of people is concluding and all of them are moving on. The world of Bon Temps is changing evolving, and I'm tickled pink to figure out just where the BonTemps cast is going to end up. It just seems like I'm watching real folk living their "normal" lives, and though there's so much more at the end of the day its just people living. My only complaint is the characters would pop up and vanish and it was hard to have any real hearty conversations or in depth personal time. Seems like a certain tall Viking Vamp should have gotten more screen time too, but perhaps that will be salvaged in the next book. A big like Charlaine subtly mentions equal rights and touches upon some dicey topics, but does not become overt or loud in her writing just a little dash here and there to think about what she said. So, I enjoyed the book. Huzzah!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Side Jobs Stories From The Dresden Files. Written by Jim Butcher

Hello all, well turns out I dl the wrong book for my e-reader. I found the right one though and now I have all of these stories, so to continue reviewing the short stories in Side Jobs written by Jim Butcher.
The 2nd story in this book is uber short just a glimpse into Harry's life and what him and Bob talk about, nothing major, but amusing.

The 3rd Story, deals with the Alpha's for those of you who read this story and table top game the Alpha's and Harry's relationship is always amusing. It was a sad but cute story and gives you more a look into the Alphas and how they are growing up.

The 4th Story dealt with a certain brothers birthday, a mall, and Larpers. I just laughed myself silly when they were "out of character" brings me back to my days of larpning. (Not that I don't anymore) I wish we had a mall to play in that big! The ending of the story was so touching, and the story itself was pretty cool, and you're really beginning to see just how not normal Harry's life is when he's not highlighted in a Novel. Then again, he is a Wizard, Chicago's only Wizard in the phone book.

5th Story Heorot: Brings a little light onto the Guard Character and some very fun Norse Mythology for those of you familiar with such stories. Also, beer amazingly sounding beer...

6th Story Day Off: Jim Butcher is just being purely mean now when it comes to Harry, this is more a comedy and brings quite a few aspects of Harry's life right into his little apartment. Poor Harry he just wanted to have a nice day off...and maybe he'll get a boring day someday? Then again it would not be his life otherwise.

7th Story Backup: Is told from the voice Thomas and brings to light a certain war going on in which Harry and we the readers knew absolutely NOTHING about, so it was really cool to get a peak behind Thomas's life and to know some secrets Harry doesn't know, seeing as the books are told from his point of view so we only know what he generally know. Huzzah knowing a secret!

8th Story The Warrior: My my, he does work in mysterious ways doesn't he? The ending of this story just makes you tear up a little and laugh quite a lot as Jim Butcher just cannot let Harry take in a moment without making some wise guy remark or action.

The 9th Story Last Call: MCAnally's Pub, I so wish I could have a brew from this place, the way Jim Butcher constantly mentions how great this beer is in his novels, just makes you sigh, thinking, I wish I could have some. Another interesting story, and it again peeks behind the curtain of Harry's life, poor guy can never ever get a break.

I haven't read Turn Coat yet, so I'll have to leave my review here for now. I must say the introductions Mr. Butcher puts before each story and why he writes what he writes is hilarious and oh so enjoyable. The author seems like any regular guy (who is a fantasy/horror etc..nerd) that you would have over to your house to enjoy some good old fashion table top. I hope to read Turn coat soon so I can finish this book, but seeing as these are stand alone stories I figured I would share this with you now.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Restoration of Faith the first of the Dresden Files stories, chronologically. Written by Jim Butcher

I needed some light here we go. Expect a few of these over the next few days. Since these technically weren't novels I decided to use this as the photo for these reviews.

Well, Mr. Jim Butcher was once a young writer, and before this short story even begins he gives us a brief history lesson concerning his writing. He states it is a novice effort, and possibly his third or fourth short story he'd ever written, if you include projects from grade schoool. He admits it wasn't up to par for professional publication, and I can definetely see that in this story, it is a short story, and I had a few minutes to kill, so I thought, why not read some of these by him? It was interesting to see where the Harry Dresden character came from and how he evolved, and how his voice would gain its strength. The story itself is brief and has that very familiar sarcastic whit Mr. Butcher is so excellent at writing, and yet that darkness that grime he also puts into his stories is here as well. If you are into seeing just where one of your favorite fictional characters began I reccomend finding this short story and having a nice chuckle and pondering just where the series would have went had Mr. Butcher kept on the path he originally was on.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Cellist of Sarajevo Written by: Steven Galloway

Sarajevo...I never heard of that name until my Mother in law sent me a book, I read the inside where the author states "this is above all else is a work of fiction." So, I took this book as a work of fiction. Turns out I was wrong, and the author meant his story was the fictional part, but the war in Sarajevo was actually very real. I have read as of late so many books on wars and yet all of these wars are so different, but so many of the people and their causes are so frightfully similar even if their stories are wholly unique. This book, though short, packed a punch. The story evoked emotion and I did find myself demonizing the "bad guys on the hill" But, then I took a step back I really read the book and realized what I already knew. Hatred will get you nowhere it will cause you to morph into something you never would have wanted to. It will cause you to lose bits of yourself and your humanity. I never learned about Sarajevo, but after a friend mentioned to me that this war was real I researched and learned just how real it really was. The author is so right in so many of his statements and how he tells the story of this war, and he does it in so few words and chapters. I was inspired and filled with so many emotions and hope that one day these wars these killings may stop. Just look around the world and you see ideals, ideas that crush one another that oppress so many who wanted nothing more than to live, but I will borrow an idea and line from a recent book War and Peace. "Why is it the army and their commanders can control the fate of so many." This book was very good and flowed so fast I loved how it was told by the voices of only four people. The Cellist drew all of the characters together, and gave them what they needed humanity a reminder of what once was and might be again even if they didn't know it nor did the Cellist. Now to borrow a line from The Cellist of Sarajevo. I will abridge it so it won't spoil too much. "They know they won't ever be able to forget what has happened here. If the war ends, if life goes back to some semblance of how it once was, and they survive, they won't be able to explain how any of it was possible. An explanation implies a logic, but there's no logic to Sarajevo now. They still can't believe it happened. They hope they will never be able to." Again, just look around why should a person's beliefs their ideas lead to killing? I will never accept how people can take an idea a belief and turn it into a weapon, I see and understand this, but when does the idea of freedom to escape oppression lead to turning you yourself into an oppressor a murderer? Demonizing your opponent may help, but in the end we are all human, we breath, we bleed, and we die. We are mortal, but we have humanity. So why does our species insist on finding reasons to kill one another? I highly recommend reading this book, I was spotty in my details simply because I think you the reader should discover this story on your own.