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A Scanner Darkly

March 15, 2017

by Phillip K. Dick

 

The first cover is an excellent example of the split of personality and character of a man names Robert Arctor. He is an undercover agent, trying to bring down a drug manufacturing operation. The second cover is a perfect example of what a ‘scanner’ suit would look like, in order to conceal the agent’s true identity.

Written in the ’60’s, PKD does an amazing job telling the troubling tale o the future. Set in 1994 (that’s pretty funny right? Or is it? With the heroin problem running rampant in our country, the scene is not difficult to imagine at times.)

Definitely a mature content book, the concepts alone are abstract at times and the events wherein divulge heavily on the dark inner circle of the ’60’s drug culture.

This book was made into a movie, which I saw first before reading the book, and that itself was very artistic and did a very comparable version of the books, leaving out only a few scenes overall.

The book is based on real events that PKD, in his own adventures, witnessed to some extent. In the following years of editing, the story itself emerged ¬†perfectly into a paranoid thriller, where you aren’t sure who is who in reality.

Arctor is a head (hippie term) and also an undercover agent. More and more suspicious things begin to happen to him, a car malfunction that nearly kills him, pushing the paranoia farther as friends and roommates turn on each other. He is trying to buy larger and larger quantities of “substance death” or “D” for short, in order to find out who is behind the manufacturing of this highly addicting drug that basically melts part of the brain, separating the two halves. This causes great mental duress, although not necessarily known to the user.

Arctor, using larger quantities himself, can no longer remember both sides of himself. The twists and turns that follow are engaging and thought provoking.

 

 

The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life

March 15, 2017

By Laurence Shorter

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The word ‘lazy’ conjuring a bad image, at least for me, but this book did a fantastic job of explaining exactly the right way to be ‘lazy’.

It is an easy read, with illustrations on nearly every page so you are not drowned in text.

And that in itself is an example of incorporating proper ‘lazy’ techniques.

It means to not overwork, not overthink. It does not mean do a poor job with substandard results.

Often times, we think about all the things we ‘should’ be, (thinner, smarter, nicer, faster, etc) the things we ‘should’ be doing (start the laundry, read more books, exercise more, etc)

Not that self betterment is something to avoid, but these ‘shoulds’ do not get the attention they truly deserve. We put all these thoughts and feelings into little boxes instead of feeling them naturally. In a synthetic world, it’s difficult to resort back to a natural flow.

 

This book was pretty amazing overall. Highly recommend to everyone. Leading a busy life, down in a rut, whatever your current situation is, this book will relate to you.

 

 

 

The Girl With All the Gifts

February 18, 2017

by M. R. Carey.

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I’ve just learned that it is soon to be released in a movie this month! (Feb. 24th¬†is it’s release date.)

This book, without giving too much away, was pretty good. I found the concept amazing, and the beginning chapters unusual and intriguing. It’s a decently long book, at 460 pages, and took me awhile to read, to no fault of the book however.

The writing is more simplistic when from written from the point of view of the main character, Melanie who is a child, although unusual. Through-out the book we switch to other point of views and various characters which broadens the understanding of the character’s motivations and general world understanding.

Plot wise, I found it a new twist on the typical post-apocalypse story. The characters were solid and some surprising backstories made them feel like friends, confessing a great burden they carry with.

I liked it overall, the middle was a bit slow for me, but I was also reading it before bed so it might be purely my lack of focus.

Without giving too much away from the story, it focuses on a fungal parasite that has infected the majority of the world. The setting is in England, but the small community has not been in touch with the main city in some time, leaving us to wonder if they are dead or the radio signals have gone dark.

As we continue through the story, we find different levels of infection, or different ways the infected respond to the fungus. It reminded me a new spin on zombies, making them victims and attackers in one. They are used as hosts for the fungus as it grows and destroys the bodies of its victims.

The group eventually leaves the base camp and roaming unprotected in the world is hazardous as supplies run low.

By the end of it, I absolutely loved it and cannot wait for the movie’s release.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

January 27, 2017

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I love how she brings a completely new twist on fairy tales (Lunar Series) and branches out into more classic children’s stories and revamps them for an older audience. We still love to read them but the retelling is often overdone. Marissa spins the stories in amazing new ways, adding a new level of technology to the world, placing the characters all over the world.

It is a YA book, but I’ve enjoyed all of her books nonetheless. I would classify it as dramatic romance with baking references. There isn’t much blood or ‘gore’, only a few fight scenes with Carroll’s legendary Jabberwocky. Honestly, the only thing that really bothered me about the book was the romance aspect of it. It seems all YA books for girls focus on finding a boy, falling in love, etc. Instead of the act of doing something, adventurous. However, this still had plenty of action. I just wish that was the forefront instead of the subplot.

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Heartless it is the prequel to Alice in Wonderland story wise.

As a Young Adult book it focuses on the young Red queen, before she was a queen. I loved how the story started, it was a perfect Wonderland spin off.

Catherine, our soon-to-be villain, paints the perfect picture of bad things happening in perfect sequence to completely alter someone’s life.

She is sole heir to her parent’s land and title. Her mother, closer to the queen we know in Alice in Wonderland, constantly criticizes her fashion and food choices. As well as her friends and suitors, really, her entire life and how she lives it.

Catherine is dedicated to her baking, also disapproved by her mother, but she thrives and practices her skill despite all her parent’s protests.

The king seeks her affection, despite her dreaming of a true love, with lemon trees growing from her dreams. Her friend, Mary Ann, is a servant of the household. (sound like a familiar name?) And a secret plot sprouts up from Chess, possibly involving Catherine. The Hatter before he goes mad and curious riddles makes for the most delightful tea party.

If you like Alice in Wonderland, you may love this book. Overall, I enjoyed this despite the small hangup I had early on.

 

Alli

Lily and the Octopus

January 12, 2017

by Steven Rowley

At first instinct, I want to show everyone this book and semi-force them to read it. It was amazing. I cried when I finished it, remembering my own dog’s health decline before we had to put him down. Truly an emotional flashback. It put into words the feelings I had no idea how to express, and reading it, even so many years after he is gone, made me feel more at peace with the entire situation.

As far as the book itself goes, it is very strange. At first I thought it was slightly absurdist, but the story of the octopus goes from being a silly absurd thing to a tragic enemy to the furry love of your life. It is a heartbreaking journey that makes you laugh, cry and everything in between.

I recommend this to everyone and anyone who has ever had a dog, it was amazingly beautiful and tragic. Metaphorically it’s a brilliant story about love and fighting until the death. A very real look at a not-so-talked-about subject, dog cancer. Like all cancer, it is terrible and painful and it will make you furious and depressed all in one. But this is a story about more than that, it is about a new beginning journey in the end of loss.

I had to have another book on hand to read to even out the sad parts. The end was a bit confusing for me as well, again it seems to be absurd so really I’m not even sure what happened in reality or what was metaphorical. They take a trip, a vacation of sorts, and an epic battle between the octopus and Lily, it’s a heart-warming tale of true strength.

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In the Shadow of the Gods (1)

January 12, 2017
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by Rachel Dunn

Fantasy genre.

Normally I don’t pick up fantasy novels, I’m an impatient reader and I find the world building in general too slow.

This book, however, grabbed my attention and kept me turning the pages until the end! The characters are easy to tell apart and the different stories slowly lead together so delicately in place you don’t realize until they meet!

There is some violence within, but it is written so wonderfully I cannot imagine it any other way. It illustrates the violence of the world, not so different than actual history portrays.

The introduction to it was captivating, the history and religious practices sucked me in, but my favorite characters are the two street kids. Each of the vastly different characters make you see the world from their view, all the while they fight each other.

All in all, a great book! Published 2016, it’s on our new shelf!

sg

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

January 11, 2017

written by Mona Awad

I read this book over a three day weekend, and it was pretty entertaining from the start. Some of it a bit jaw dropping and speckled with dark humor, it was an overall great read.

It follows the story of a young girl to full womanhood and her battle with self acceptance and outward portrayal. I liked the few other perspective chapters sprinkled in for an outward perspective to keep you guessing as whether her weight is any issue anymore, despite her slaving away at the gym or practically starving with salads and portioned fish weighed to the ounce.

It does slightly portray her in a weaker light with her self esteem problems, creating less than ideal situations for herself that some may consider focusing a bad light on the typical “fat girl” stereotypes. But in general, I believe a lot of women can relate on some level or another by her experiences.

In short, the main character’s battle is a bit depressing and dark, but the story was filled with humor and overall I enjoyed it!!

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