Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is a reason I studied history in college. I just love a good story and history is filled with them! Scary stories, stories that tell us where we've been and where we could be again if we don't freakin' learn our lessons. This book was amazing. It was the story of one man's complete belief in his way and that his way was right. About another man who wanted to find out more, why, how. About stupid American politicians who didn't want to listen to foreigners because they were right...seriously listen to the people who have been there longer than you....uhg history! It's about learning to not dismiss amateurs cause sometimes they get things right. It's about trusting your gut, listening to your wife, getting away from the freakin' water- omg the water is coming towards you go the other way! It's about learning from your mistakes and trying to figure out what more could be done. It's just a really good book.

Now this is Erik Larson's first book of this kind- where he takes a subject researching all the moving pieces and puts together a story out of it- I believe and so it's not as detailed as some of his later works, but it's still so good! It was fascinating to hear how the weather bureau was founded, about the signal corps, how weather stations were originally set up and where. It was also cool to see how if things had happened just slightly different Galveston would have been "Houston"- if that was the case maybe I'd hate Houston a little less today... I just really enjoyed it. I don't know a lot of weather and meteorology and storms but now I have an interest.

Another thing this book gave me was a new irrational fear to add to my list! Drowning inside my own house! OMG how awful that must have been! Again hopefully I will never live by the sea but if I do if water is slowly coming up to my house over you know a 12 hour period...I would go in the direction AWAY from the water...that makes sense right? Loved this book. I recommend to anyone who list history, to any Texan, for anyone who hates Houston (or Galveston), for anyone who loves Houston (or Galveston) and for anyone who has ever lived by a body of water...yep.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Review: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was about to say this book only made me cry three times but then I read the last page. Goodness this woman is a wonderful writer- storyteller and has had a very interesting life. I've never read any of Ann Patchett's novels and this is a collection of Essays she's written over her time as a writer. They cover everything from school, friendships, marriage(s), nuns and dogs. This book has been on my to read list for two years and I'm glad I read it now instead of when I added it. I don't think I would have seen it the same way.

My favorite essays are "The Sacrament of Divorce", "The Right to Read", "Introduction to The Best American Short Stories of 2006", "The Bookstore Strikes Back", "This is the Story of a Happy Marriage" and "The Mercies". Honorable mention to all the ones about her dogs- omg the tears and the ones about her grandmother. There's a lot of good stuff in here.

Several of her essays address the readers specifically and I loved a quote where she said that once the book is in the readers hand the author should stay out of it cause the relationship is now between the book and the reader not the author and the reader. I agree! I've always felt bad for authors who get pestered about their characters after the book is finished, if they'd had more to say don't you think they would have written more? Tangent.

Anyways I liked this book a lot and would recommend it. I'm not sure if I'll read any of her novels, I'm such a fan of her essays now I want more of those- she talked about how her novels are all made up stuff and her essays were written because she was trying to make a living as a writer so I don't know...

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: Wind/Pinball: Two Novels

Wind/Pinball: Two Novels Wind/Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So basically Murakami has always been amazing. These were his first two books/novellas really and they were amazing. I loved it! It's like seeing him find his voice and style as a writer. This is the first time these we published in mass in English and I'm so happy to have been able to read them finally! There's also a super cool introduction where Murakami talks about how he initially wrote in Japanese but didn't like it so he then wrote it in English and translated it into Japanese! How cool is that! He said once he did that he liked his writing much more. He started writing after going to a baseball game and just had the thought that one day he'd be a famous writer, so he better start now. At the time he and his wife owned a jazz bar! He's just fascinating I need to read his memoir too, but I just loved these stories and love his writing.

All the usual Murakami themes and motifs are there- music, a story inside a story, women who are smarter than men, men who are absolutely useless and way too old to be going through identity crisis, cats, weird sex dreams, other literary references (quotes, retelling of other's stories, reading at all), minimalist stuff (apartments, design), trains, and food- eating always plays a role. It's just so fun to see these things told over and over again and it never seems repetitive or boring.

This books fits in the larger scheme of his Rat stories. A character without a name but Rat, who effects other's lives without really living his own, or by just being passive in his own. The first book he was just a side character and in the second I'm not even sure who he was. But that doesn't take away from anything.

If you've never read Murakami and are wanting to get into it I still highly suggest Norwegian Wood as your first, but these as a close second because if you don't like this you're probably not going to like where Murakami goes in his late works either. YAY!!!

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