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Saturday, May 21, 2016

#22 - At the Mountains of Madness, a Graphic Novel - H. P. Lovecraft/I. N. J. Culbard

Title:  At the Mountains of Madness, A Graphic Novel
Author:  Lovecraft, H. P./Culbard, I. N. J.
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  2010
Dates:   5/20/16 – 5/21/16
Pages:  124

Our local public library has a reading challenge in place for this year called 16 in ’16.  It started in February but I was so busy I felt I needed to wait until later in the year.  So here I am.  There are 16 categories and for each one finished either 10 or 15 points is awarded.  This particular category is graphic novels.  I’m not into graphics and have really only glanced at what has been on the New York Times Best Seller list.  Interestingly enough, I actually listened to Lovecraft’s 1936 version earlier in the year.  As I was deciding what book to read for this category, I found this graphic tale and decided to read it.  Many graphics are based upon a book that has already been written.

This book is so cool!  I only had my imagination earlier to see the description of Lovecraft’s Antarctic monsters.  As I read the comic book by Culbard I actually got to see what these critters looked like and what the results were after they’d had their way with their victims!  Yikes!   Culbard followed the story closely.    “For a second we gasped in admiration … and then vague horror began to creep into our souls.”  The same spine tingling suspense sparked awe in the center of my heart as I re-lived this adventure.  I may even have to try another graphic someday soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

#21 - The Letter - Richard Paul Evans

Title:  The Letter
Author:  Richard Paul Evans
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  1997
Dates:   4/30/16 – 5/14/16
Pages:  331

The Letter is third in The Christmas Box Collection.  It continues the story of David and Mary Anne Parkin following the tragic death of their three year old daughter, Andrea.  The year now is 1933, deep in recession times.  David’s business continues.  He employs whites and Negroes alike.  Yet time continues to starve the hungry and freeze the scantily dressed and pray heavily upon both David and Mary Anne as they continue to grieve their daughter’s death.  In utter despair that David’s love for her has all but disappeared, Mary Anne flees to England to attend her brother’s wedding.   

The Letter could refer to a number of letters described in the story.  One letter is found by David at the grave of their daughter, presumably written by David’s mother.  Another letter Mary Anne hands to Catherine, their housekeeper, to give to David before Mary Anne leaves him.  The third, David learns about when he travels to Chicago to satisfy his need to find his mother who abandoned him when he was a child.  As they face love’s greatest challenge alone and together, will David and Mary Anne find its truest meaning before its too late?

Friday, May 13, 2016

#20 - War Dances - Sherman Alexie

Title:  War Dances
Author:  Sherman Alexie
Read by:  Sherman Alexie
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  2009
Dates:   5/1/16 – 5/13/16
Cds/Hrs: 4/4.75

“National Book Award winner and New York Times best-selling author Sherman Alexie infuses his writing with a mix of biting wit and poignant insight.”  So quotes the review on the back of the CD box.   I was having trouble sorting out this story to make sense.  It’s always helpful to know upfront you’re listening to a collection of short stories and not try to string the “chapters” into one coherent book.  I’ve done this before and did it again with this collection.  I didn’t even realize it until I began to write this review!  So forgive my simple-mindedness!! 

My favorite vignette is about the young obituary writer who must follow in the steps of the woman who had the job before he took over.  Alexie gets inside the soul and mind of his characters and in this case there is no exception.  The obit writer comes up against his boss who reads him the riot act about allowing an old woman to write her husband’s funeral notice.  The interaction between the writer and the woman is precious, too.  And leaves one with hope for mankind, including yours truly.