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Page turners

Time to catch up the old library. This is going to be sort of a long list so we’ll run through them quickly…

Scared Stiff by Annelise Ryan

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This was a fast read about a murder in a small town. You know one of those that everyone knows everyone else’s business? It was enjoyable and I really liked that the protagonist wasn’t taken too seriously throughout. She had more than her fair share of embarrassment which made for a great change of pace from the perfect heroes in most stories. 6/10

A Band of Misfits by Andrew Baggarly

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I had to relive the great postseason run of my San Francisco Giants after the disappointment of not making the playoffs last year. What a fun ride! 9/10…but I’m really biased.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

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The second in the Hunger Games trilogy. Started out great and kinda fizzled at the end. I just expected more before I ran out of pages…7/10

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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The conclusion of the Hunger Games. Don’t know why, but I wasn’t satisfied with this one. Wanted more from these characters I grew so fond of in the first two books. 4/10

The Long Run, by Mishka Shubaly

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This was a mildly entertainingly narrative of a man that transformed from a drunk, druggie, couch potato slob to a long distance runner. 5/10

The People of The Mist by Haggard H. Rider

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Mr. Rider has taken me on a few great adventures now and is becoming one of my favorite authors. They are page turners that a filled with adventures of explorers and treasures. This one didn’t disappoint. 8/10

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

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Another great classic from THE great American author. I wish I could spend one day in his imagination. 8/10

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie

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The origin story of Peter Pan. Just had to find out how the story started, could have lived without it. 3/10

Sons and Princes by James LePore

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A gritty story from the New York mafia and protecting your children. Was a good decent read that kept me interested from start to finish. 7/10

Dust by Arthur Slade

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Off the wall story involving missing children and a Piped Piper type character. I didn’t want to like it, but I kept coming back to see what was going to happen. 6/10

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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The basis of Apocalypse Now. An journey on a river of chaos and insanity. 7/10

Under Your Skin by JR Chartrand

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Teens are literally scratching themselves to death in this mystery novel. One that you have to keep reading to see what is going to happen. 7/10

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, John LeCarre

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The best spy novel ever written, even though it’s a bit dated now. I couldn’t put it down and agree with all the hoopla over it. Think that I am going to have to read it again though, I’m sure there are parts that I will love rediscovering. 9/10

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

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I had stared this book a handfull of times and stopped in about the same place each time. Just couldn’t get into it for some reason. This time I put my nose down and powered through and was pleasantly surprised that is got really good after that stopping point. A different perspective on the typical Dracula myth. 8/10

Birdmen by Phil Williams

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The only reason that I picked this out was that I have met the author. He is the husband of my best friends cousin…full disclosure. What an incredible surprise when I became completely immersed in the story. The twists and turns of a military tour were incredible and I truly came to care for the guys and what they were going through. I would highly recommend and hope that there are more stories to come from this yet pretty much undiscovered author. You’ll thank me for it. 9/10

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

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I went for this because of the movie trailer starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. What a weird journey I was taken on. Sad, disturbing and somewhat depressing. Then I tried to watch the movie and was incredibly disappointed, should have never been attempted as a film. I would give the book a 7/10.

Superbia by Bernard Schaffer

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A cop mystery that deals with cop killers, child predators and police corruption. 7/10

The Girl That Kicked The Hornets Nest by Stieg Larrson

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I just hand to finish the trilogy. While I was into what was going on in the back of my mind I had a nagging voice repeating “this is nowhere close to the first one.” While I am going to miss Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander and where their adventures might have gone. I think it might be best that they separated ways after three books. 7/10

The Parrot Talks in Chocolate by Everett Peacock

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Wanted some lighter subjects and this was just the ticket. Nothing can beat tiki bars, Hawaii, surfing and bar stories. No plot to follow, no deep meaning to unearth, just observations of life in an island bar. Good fun read that brought a smile to my face and a desire to get back to an island ASAP! 8/10

Whew…caught up on my reading. Hope I don’t get that far behind again.

Til next time…get out and live!

Nothing but a couple more books, related to S. King

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Well the holidays are here, and I haven’t had much of a chance to accomplish much on here, but I do still read.

First up I have had this book, Faithful,  since it was first released. I thought it would be a great recap from one of the best (until this year) season’s of baseball I had ever witnessed. Then I started reading and just couldn’t stay interested. The book is set up as a day by day diary of Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan’s documentation of the season as Red Sox fans.

Chronical of the 2004 Red Sox Champs!

I finally found the perfect way to read this book, I put it in the bathroom. I love reading in there and I don’t like having to stop a particular story so the short little entries were perfect. Additionally I grew superstitious that reading about the ’04 Red Sox was helping my ’10 SF Giants, and we all know how that ended. It was fun to see the parallel’s between their journey and mine through the season and specifically through the playoff runs. Just shows that baseball is universal and all of us go through the same roller coaster year after year, except in the year that they pull it off.

This isn’t a book just to read though. If you pick it up please be a hardcore baseball junkie that can deal with the emotional up and downs of following a team through the long, long, LONG season.

Secondly I flew through the second in the Millenium Trilogy, The Girl That Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. Once again the book started out slow and had a lot of background information that I thought was unneccesary if you had read the first book (and you should read the first book!) Once it got going though it was incredible! I was burning through the pages and literally didn’t want to put the book down.

Lisbeth and Mikael continue to have adventures

It is one of those mysteries that grabbed your imagination and doesn’t let go, even when the criminal is revealed you are glued to the book to see how it is going to play out. This one didn’t disappoint.

I highly recommend Larsson’s Trilogy to anyone that likes strong characters and good mysteries.

You might be asking yourself how this one is related to Mr. King? Each year he publishes a summer reading list through his Entertainment Weekly column. This year the Millenium Trilogy was #1 on his list. Stephen King’s summer reading list is one of the highlights of my year. I have yet to find a disappointing book on one of his lists. I’m sure it’s out there, and I am enjoying myself trying to track down his disappointing recommendation. The reason that I love Mr. King, his stories, his insight into pop culture, and take on life in general is that he doesn’t take himself to seriously. He lets you know that he is just a dude that wants to be entertained. He doesn’t care if it’s “cool” or “hot” or “in.” If he likes it, or it’s fun he lets you know. This was never more apparent than when he repeatedly screamed from the rooftops about Harry Potter. It would have been much easier to stick his nose in the air and try to impress the literary world with all the mistakes and child focused plots, but who isn’t a kid inside. The bottom line is that Harry Potter was fun and he was willing to put his name out there and say that he enjoyed the ride.

So everyone take a lesson from Uncle Stevie, and the Life is Good brand…Do what you like and like what you do!

Homegrown veggies and the Dragon Tattoo

August 21, 2010 1 comment

I suppose that it’s been a while since I updated since The Cartman was reminding me that I had a blog the other day. I just haven’t had too much free time to focus on the list lately. The new baby has been making my wife really sick so I’ve been trying to keep the house up and our 19 month old out of her hair. I hope that she starts to feel a little better soon.

Some developments have been taking place though. If you’ll remember from a few months ago my wife and I put together a garden in our back yard.

This was a few months ago.

This project included making a couple of raised beds and purchasing a yard and a half of the “best” soil in the county. All of the “medicinal” marijuana agriculturalists use this soil so it has to be the best. After all Mary Jane is HUGE business in Mendocino County. Also a huge pain in the ass with all the crime, smells, and well lets just say the people working in the industry aren’t good for the county image.

Back to the garden…

Our garden today, completely growing out of control.

It has been really fun watching our little food patch grow, blossom, and fruit this summer. It  has been an awesome project that Dani and I look forward to seeing the new developments.

We have had a few setbacks. Our peas never really had a chance. They were one of the first things to pop up out of the ground, but got all burned up in the two weeks that we had some real heat. Some of the first tomatoes were ravaged with blossom end rot and unusable. The lettuce and cucumbers grew and looked great, but were so bitter you couldn’t eat them.

For every disappointment we have had a victory, our tomatoes recovered and are incredible. This even thought everyone that I’ve talked to has said it’s been a rough year for tomatoes. We have crookneck squash and zucchini coming out of our ears. Our herbs have been a great addition to our cooking, especially the basil. I think that we are going to have a lot of pesto this winter. We thought that our strawberries were just not going to work, but in the last two weeks we have been getting great little red berries off of them too.

One days harvest.

So I can happy that we can now cross “Grow a Successful Garden” off the list. We have had a lot of fun and got lots of good veggies and fruits, in addition to turning us into gardeners. We have a bunch to learn, but I’m pretty sure that we’ll have some form of garden every year now. I guess in that sense this item really did change our lives.

The beginning of the Millenium Trilogy

Another book to add to #37. This one was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson which has become a bit of a sensation lately. This book started out a bit slow and tedious. I was really wondering why it had become such a big deal. Then I read that the author had passed away before completing the series of novels that he had planned and figured that had a lot to do with it. As I slogged through I became hooked and soon wasn’t able to put it down. The mystery is first rate, but I will warn you that some of the subject matter is absolutely Adult Only! There are quite a few scenes that are very very graphic. After the foundation was poured the story was fantastic. It moved quickly and I became really concerned with the characters and how it was all going to come together.

Dani got me this one as a gift and said that she expected I would get hooked and want the other two books in the series. True enough. My bride knows me very well and I am looking forward to the further adventures of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Soon enough I’ll be adding The Girl that Played with Fire and The Girl that Kicked the Hornet’s Nest to this list.

See you guys later.