Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lisette, Part 1

And when he pushed her out of the way that first time, was he conscious then of how his choice would change not only the course of her life, but of his own life? If you could even call his existence a life. Upon reflection, he knows he intellectually understood the cause and effect reaction that promoting a soul would set into motion, but in that moment, as his emotions rose for the first time in more than two centuries, his intellect was paralyzed.

From his place beside the outdoor ashtray near the laundromat door, he watched the dark lashes of her brown eyes flutter and then lift as she opened her eyes wide in astonishment. A vaguely familiar looking man in the parking lot aimed a hand gun at her mother demanding to know where her mother's husband was. As her mother stammered about not having a husband, Lisette interrupted,

"Are you talking about Bruce?"

The man adjusted the gun's aim, pointing it at Lisette.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Me, Myself, and I

Me: I lost two pounds.

Other Me: Did you do it on purpose?

Me: Kind of...?

Other Me: Okay then...

Me: Well, I've been trying to lose weight over the past few weeks, but haven't been very successful because I love shit food. Long story short--I got astoundingly and unbelievably drunk, uncovered repressed feelings, vomited, had a very productive session with my psychologist, and then barely ate anything for two days. I still feel the lingering pukey feeling of an on-coming panic attack, but I also feel like I might be on the brink of figuring something out.

Other Me: Hmm.

Me: Yeah, I know. It's a lot. It's a lot for me too. I for real think I really did make progress with the psychologist, because he let me keep talking all the way up to the end of the hour instead of stopping me at 45 minutes so he can have time to take notes. And he said he thinks I'm funny, but that I often use my humor to "deflect." He's pretty funny too. When I told him I think that everyone struggles with feeling like a total useless piece of shit while simultaneously feeling like they are the greatest person ever and should probably be worshiped, he said that is not true. He said, "Babies aren't born saying, 'I'm such a piece of shit baby.' They get that way because of the way they've been treated by others." I laughed with complete abandon, because not only was that certainly going to be the quote of the day (which I told him), but he also got into character to say it. Please keep in mind that he talks exactly like Ben Stein.

Other Me: The eye drop commercial guy?

Me: Yes.

Other Me: I don't think I'd like that.

Me: You know, I wouldn't have thought I'd like it either, but he's very good.

Other Me: That's good

Me: Yeah. So anyway, I came to the conclusion that my stellar work ethic in combination with my mental problems do not make a happy marriage with a corporate career. Which made me think, "Oh my god now I have to find a different job!" but I've been thinking, like I always do, and have realized maybe I just cannot make my job my career. Like Brendan Burchard says in his book, The Motivation Manifesto, "...our busywork consumes our day but it is not our life's work." Thus, with Pablo's full support I am going to start writing. He told me I can write whatever I want, which it seems I shouldn't really have to be told, but I'm a bit odd.

Other Me: That's great! I think you have lots of interesting things to say! And it's awesome that Pablo is so supportive!

Me: It really is. He also cooks for me.

Friday, August 31, 2012

"Tales of the Madman Underground" by John Barnes



Historical fiction, Realistic Fiction, Friendship

Ages 14+

544 pages





Karl Shoemaker is now one of my favorite characters. If I went to high school with him, I totally would have been all over that. His  dad is dead, his mom's an alcoholic, pothead, hippie that steals his money, and his teachers are jerks that force him into group therapy at school year after year. Karl works five jobs, takes care of the house, is kind of psychotic, and is a recovering alcoholic himself as well as his mother's enabler.

This book covers the span of only a few days in Karl's life, but the characters are so well-done and the Karl's voice so incredibly and unbelievably real that I knew this book was sure to change my life. Even though the story takes place in the 1970s, the story does not feel dated, and truly celebrates the way physically and emotionally abused kids and teenagers can lean on one another to overcome anything, and also how adults in their lives can do the simplest things to help them in the biggest ways.



Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron
Crazy by Han Nolan
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Happy Reading!

Friday, August 24, 2012

"Reality Check" by Peter Abrahams





















Mystery, Sports, Romance

Ages 13+

352 pages




Cody's girlfriend moves out of state to go to a boarding school and he breaks up with her. After sustaining an ACL injury playing football, Cody drops out of high school and get s a job. When he discovers that his ex-girlfriend has gone missing from her boarding school, he drives up there and tries to solve the mystery of what happened to her, all the while keeping his identity hidden.

While the plot of this book does indeed sound like an interesting mystery, the writing is poor and the characters are unrealistic and unlikeable. The author, Abrahams, typically writes books for adults, and the way this young adult novel reads, it feels like he was trying way to hard to dumb it down for the kiddos, while having mature plot points like sex and drinking alcohol.

There are much better teen mystery options than this book. Perhaps Mr. Abrahams should just stick with writing for grown ups.





The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price
Boot Camp by Todd Strasser
Blank Confession by Pete Hautman

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Code Name Verity" by Elizabeth Wein




















Historical fiction, Friendship, Espionage

Ages 14+

352 pages





The plot of this book is hard to explain, as the character's names change with their missions, and to give you their real names would be to give away important parts of the story.

Overall, this is the story of two amazing girls who manage to make their way into the British Royal Air Force. Over the years, the two of them become best friends, but don't often work together.

One night they find themselves together in a plane, which is fired upon by Nazi forces. One girl parachutes out and is captured by Nazis, while the other girl crashes the plane and is taken in by the Resistance.

You get to read both girls' tales from their own points of view, but it's winding and twisty, and it's hard to tell what the truth is.

Kiss me Hardy! (You'll get that if you read it!)



In Darkness by Nick Lake
All Woman and Springtime by Brandon W. Jones
Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan

Fantasy, Mythology

375 pages

Ages 10+





Percy Jackson is the son of Poseidon. He is also dyslexic and had ADHD.

Strange things have always happened to him throughout his life.

He eventually learns that he is a demi-god and that the Greek myths are not myths at all.

Percy and his friends venture into the Underworld and Olympus to return items stolen in order to start World War III.


The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"All the Broken Pieces" by Anne E. Burg


Historical Fiction, Novel in Verse

224 pages

Ages 11+



Matt Pim is a 12-year-old  half Vietnamese boy who was rescued from war-torn Vietnam after the war. He was adopted by an American family at 10.

This novel in verse is Matt's story of trying to remember his past in Vietnam, his baby brother, and his birth mother.

My Assessment:

I read this book as assigned reading but I thought it was pretty good. I would not have liked it when i was 12, but I think it would be a great book for a teacher to assign along with The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien for high school seniors.

If you like reading memoirs or historical fiction about children who overcome adversity and violence, you would likely enjoy this book.



A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis

Happy Reading!