Friday, September 22, 2017

The Road Through Wonderland

This was definitely an unsettling, upsetting, and heartbreaking memoir. Dawn Schiller had a rough childhood to say the least. With a deadbeat dad, and lots of crime and drugs she had to grow up very quickly. When she finds herself in California at 15 she meets the enigmatic Porn King, John Holmes (aka Johnny Wadd). He quickly seduces her even though he is already in his mid thirties and she isn't even close to legal. Their relationship quickly escalates and he moves her in to his wife's house to live with them. Things start to spiral out of control quickly though when they start heavily using crack. Not content to just snort it they start freebasing it as well. John's porn career is over and he finds himself heavily in debt as his drug usage mounts. He starts beating Dawn and forces her into prostitution to get more money for drugs. Things take a dark turn when Dawn realizes that he has somehow been involved in a murder in Wonderland. All the reader wants is for Dawn to leave John. He is LITERALLY THE WORST! But that is abuse for you, not only is it physical but mental too. Dark and unreal, the movie version stars Val Kilmer and Kate Bosworth.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Bad Beginning

I'm probably the last person in the world to have started this series. And I've never seen the movie or the Netflix original series. I am seriously late to the game. But! Better late than never! I decided to try out the audiobook because it's narrated by Tim Curry and that is a total no brainer. He has the voice of a god. A terrifying god, but that is what makes him so perfect to take on this darkly funny series. The Bad Beginning introduces to three poor orphans who have just lost their parents in a horrible fire. As if that isn't bad enough the will states they must live with whatever relative is closest and that turns out to be the horrible Count Olaf who has some nasty tricks up his sleeve. The will the orphan's parent's left states that the large inheritance can't be used until the oldest daughter turns of age. But that does nothing to stop dastardly Count Olaf. Witty and dark, this is a fun children's series that I definitely plan on reading more of!

Elizabeth I

I haven't read historical fiction in a minute and I will admit that I was first daunted by the size of this book. However I was quickly captivated and this book was all I could think about. I had to know more! I vaguely remember learning about Queen Elizabeth I in history class, but what did I really know about her, so much was a mystery about her private life.

This 600+ page novel doesn't start during her childhood or even during her early reign. It starts when the Queen is in her mid-fifties and follows her through the end of her rule. It was utterly FASCINATING! The plot is told through the Queen's perspective and through her cousin, Lettice. Together they know an impressive cast of characters; Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Grace O'Malley and more. I learned so much and was kept utterly charmed. I couldn't believe how wonderfully this was written and how much research the author put in to flesh out the queen's life. I can't wait to read more by this author.

Friday, September 15, 2017

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

I definitely appreciated this much more on the second go around. Admittedly it's not my favorite Vonnegut novel, but I still think it's pretty solid... in an off the wall kind of fucked up way. This black comedy satire novel, pokes fun at everything: the wealthy, how Americans view poverty, science fiction, family trees, foundations, and more. Eliot Rosewater is the head of the insanely rich Rosewater Foundation and since he's been head he's been mostly drunk and not altogether sane. He'll write out grants for morphine, poetry, whatever anyone in his crazy community asks for. Shit hits the fan when it turns out that there is another Rosewater relation who might be more legally sane and responsible to take over the foundation since Eliot has no children. It's zany, over the top, and filled with the Vonnegut charm.

The Great Passage

Miura, Shion. The Great Passage. 6 CDs. unabridged. Brilliance Audio. 2017. ISBN 9781536631852. $14.99.

"A dictionary is a ship that crosses the sea of words." In this charming Japanese translation (translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter), an unforgettable cast of characters; eat, breathe, and live words. Their pursuit of the perfect dictionary, The Great Passage, is a long arduous journey but no one seems to mind. While working together they discover, love, friendship, passion, and a sense of purpose. Over the years their passion for lexicography never dims, if anything it only grows stronger as they share their passion with new recruits and employees in the dictionary editorial department. Narrator, Brian Nishi does a wonderful job bringing authenticity and feeling to the forefront, never stumbling over Japanese phrasing and words. His warmth greatly adds to the feeling and charm of the story. A quick, intriguing, and unique story certain to attract readers. Perfect for fans of "A Man Called Ove," literary translations, and heartwarming tales. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Atomic Blonde

The only thing I had to go off of was the previews for the action packed movie adaptation, other than that I had no idea what this book was actually about. The movie looks like Charlize Theron just kicking a lot of ass, but the book there isn't so much of that. It's about spies in Germany during the Cold War before the wall fell. When shit hits the fan and a very sensitive document goes missing M16 sends a tried and true officer (Lorraine) to recover the item and sort out the mess. She quickly realizes that not everything is as it seems and that some agents may have gone native, playing more than one side. She uses her skills to get to the bottom of the rabbit trail, but where will it lead her... A spy thriller as a graphic novel, I'm sure the movie adaptation, will make this gem more sought over.

Modern Romance

Even though this is non-fiction, it is also straight up comedy gold. Aziz makes an interesting topic more engaging and easy to read by inserting his trademark wit and humor. Modern Romance is exactly what the title implies, it's all about love, dating, and relationships in the modern era. It's not all conjecture though, he consults top researchers in a variety of fields to provide statistical analysis, charts, and graphs and also conducted tons of focus groups to see how people today view romance in the age of technology. There is some interesting new trends on how we meet soul mates, judge potential candidates, and view love now that we have access to a wide variety of dating apps, social media, and expanded friend groups. Definitely an interesting read that is sure to start great conversation.