Monday, Monday Go Away

My least favorite day of the week is 27 minutes away from being over, thank God. I’ve always had an aversion to Mondays…I know that’s not rare and I’m certainly not the only one, but things always seem to get a little bit better once you can make it past Monday. Today was a trial. Lets just say that work was crazy tonight. I work in admissions at a psychiatric hospital, so things can be a little out of hand sometimes, but it really just got laid on thick tonight. It was bad. I managed to make it until 11 though when I got off.

As I’m walking out the door, the phone rings and I think “I can get that and be nice or I can just let it ring….” I decided to be nice despite being cranky. The resulting call was a person telling me that their wife just left them and that they were feeling suicidal. So I immediately went into counselor mode and tried to calm them down and when I realized that they wouldn’t calm down asked if someone could take them to an emergency room. They said no…I asked if they could call the police…they said no…when I asked why they couldn’t call the police, the response was “because this is a prank bitch!”

I can’t even begin to tell you how pissed off I was. I work with suicidal people all day who are at the end of their rope and this little ass is going to get off on making fun of those people. I wish I would’ve checked the caller ID because I would’ve called the little asshole back and chewed him out, but I just slammed the phone down. So that’s how my night ended. So now I’m sitting in front of the computer drinking Bailey’s on the rocks :p Have to do something to calm down! Corporate is in town for the rest of the week and will be watching us like a hawk…yay…:/

In book news, I did finish Mouseguard: Fall 1152 by David Petersen a few days ago and it’s amazing! The art is what originally drew me to this graphic novel. Petersen’s art is unlike any other art I’ve seen in a graphic novel. The colors are rich and each page looks like a detailed, meticulously done work of art. The mice are incredibly cute, yes, but you lose that sense of cuteness when you begin to read the story and pick up the “epic-ness” of it. It’s described as “Lord of the Rings meets Stuart Little” and I can see that. It’s the story of a group of guard mice who’s job is to protect a town of mouse territories. But it is soon evident that there is a traitor among them and a group plans to overthrow them. We follow them in their adventures in battles in a manner similar to something like Watership Down. I thought of Watership Down quite a bit while reading this one. I loved how the towns of the mice were described, their history and folklore was laid out, and best of all, how the graphics accompanied it all. Wonderful graphic novel. I can’t wait for the next book, Winter 1152, due out in December! Another one for the Irresistible Review Challenge. I first heard about this one from Carl and have been wanting it ever since (so he gets the credit for it) and then Nymeth’s review put me over the edge to read it now. Thanks guys!

Looking for Alaska by John Green

I’m warning you now that this may just be a horrible review because it’s hard to find words to describe this book. Partly because it was just amazing and partly because I don’t want to give anything away. This one will certainly make my top 10 list of the year though. I put Looking for Alaska on my wishlist awhile back but I instantly went and checked it out from the library after reading Nymeth’s amazing review where she compared it somewhat to The Virgin Suicides. I can certainly see where the resemblance comes from.

Like The Virgin Suicides, this book brought to me a feeling of nostalgia for days past, for a time that’s come and gone, and for a time that may have never existed but a time that you still miss. The book is full of feelings of melancholy, hazy summer days, teenage firsts, love, loss, sorrow, and searching. Green’s characters are fully three dimensional and believable and I feel like I’ve known somebody just like each of his characters.

As I said, there’s not much that I can say of the actual story, but I’ll tell you what I can. The book is split into two sections: “before” and “after”, so you know from the beginning that something big is going to happen somewhere in the middle. The section headings count down “128 days before” and so on…Our narrator is Miles, a young man from Florida who has had problems at his school and has never had many friends and is going to live at a boarding school in Alabama. Miles has always had a fascination with people’s last words. His favorite being the last words of Francois Rabelais, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps“.

Miles arrives at the boarding school and quickly makes friends with a group of people who introduce him to the joys of teenage life and the bonds of friendship. One of the people is Alaska Young, a young girl who smokes, drinks, talks about sex, and loves to read. When hearing of Miles’ (now called “Pudge” since he’s so skinny) love for last words, she tells him about her favorite last words from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book The General in His Labyrinth. Simon Bolivar says as he dies “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?” It is a question that follows throughout the book and it’s a powerful question when you think of what it means.

Like I said, not the best review, but trust me when I say that this is one of the best and most powerful books that I’ve read this year. I was hooked from page 1 through page 221 and I still wanted more. To anyone who’s ever been a teenager, fallen in love, gone through hard times, crumbled and tried to pick up the pieces, you’ll feel at one with Green’s writing. It’s magic what he does with a pen.

The Translator by Daoud Hari

The Translator is a book that took me completely by surprise. I’ve heard it praised by many people, but it’s one of those books whose power evades you until you actually pick it up and read it. For those who don’t know, it’s written by Daoud Hari, a native of Darfur, who served as a translator to the media during the ongoing genocide crisis in Darfur. Before reading this book I was aware of the genocide in Darfur, but I have to admit that I didn’t have much of a knowledge base on everything going on over there and just how bad things actually are.

Daoud Hari tells us how bad things actually are over there and asks for our support. He tells horrifying tales of rape, torture, and whole villages being destroyed. But you would be surprised when you read this book because Hari brings such a ray of light, such a voice of hope to the whole situation. He tells his story from his heart and in the midst of tragedy he unveils a smile and a little humor. He can certainly look at tragedy with a much more positive gleam for the future than I could. But with so much tragedy around you, I guess you would have to in order to go on.

I sometimes actually forgot that I was reading a work of nonfiction while reading this book. There are two main reasons why. 1. Hari writes in a way that is so riveting and so personal that you are completely drawn into the story he is sharing. He portrays his emotions perfectly and really throws the reader into a situation. Secondly and most importantly, I just can’t believe that things so evil actually exist in our world. It nearly brought me to tears to know that as I was reading this book these horrible acts were being comitted in Africa.

I commend Hari for being brave enough to speak against the Sudanese rebels and to reveal as much as he did about the horrors going on in Darfur. It’s something that needs to be shared and something that the world needs to be made aware of. It’s something that needs to be stopped. I highly recommend this quick little read that won’t take any of your time if you haven’t already read it. It’s heartbreaking, but important and surprisingly uplifting at moments.

This is yet another read for the Irresistible review challenge thanks to Debi. I had read many reviews of this one, but it was hers that finally convinced me that I had to read it!

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Did it live up to it’s hype? I’d say yes but in a totally different way than what I expected. I really didn’t know what to expect to be honest. I sort of imagined very soft sci-fi with over the top romance which I really wouldn’t have been able to stomach. Well there’s some of that in there, but it’s presented nicely for the most part, though a few of my complaints lie in that section as well. But we’ll get to that later. Overall this was a really fantastic book! It kept me hooked throughout once it got going and it had some wonderfully written characters that I found myself truly caring about. And I have to say that Meyer does an exquisite job of world building. I could’ve listened to her tales of other worlds all night long!

Stephanie Meyer paints a picture of a world that has been taken over by alien beings called souls. They’ve come to our world because we have ruined it with violence and neglect as they see it. The souls are inserted into humans and Earth goes on functioning seemingly like always only the bodies walking around looking human and performing the tasks of humans are inhabited by alien beings. Wanderer is one of the souls who is inserted. She’s inserted into the brain of a human named Melanie. Melanie is different though, she’s resistant to Wanderer and refuses to disappear like the other humans have. Wanderer hears all of Melanie’s thoughts, lives her memories and shares her loves. Wanderer learns that Melanie’s lost love, Jared and her brother Jamie are probably still out there and may still be human and they set off together in the same body to find them. To say more would be too much as the story becomes quite powerful as Wanderer learns just what the human race is and how our emotions work.

On the back of the book, Orson Scott Card gives Stephanie Meyer high praise and I see why he would. She’s a very similar writer to him, though I think she has a few more novels to go before she’s up to that ranking. She can write a sci-fi novel, that’s for sure, but like Card, she’s able to write Sci-fi that’s extremely readable and extremely human. One problem that I have with some sci-fi is that it feels alien when you’re reading it…it’s just plain hard to read. But not The Host. She creates a world that we can see ourselves in. Surroundings that we can feel, smell, and almost touch. And the alien worlds that she describes are just amazing. Her characters are also wonderfully creative just like Card’s. They’re never robotic. Each one is clearly defined and each one forms some kind of bond with the reader whether it’s a love or a hate relationship.

I had a few problems with the book, but they were really nothing compared to the overall enjoyment I had. I thought that some of the romance scenes were ridiculous, but then again maybe that’s because I’m a guy. I thought that they just didn’t fit and that the book became a romance novel all of a sudden when they happened. They were just cheesy. I think she could’ve developed them better. I think part of the problem with them is that she’s still writing romance scenes for teens! She marketed this as her “first adult book” and I think she forgot that sometimes when she was writing it. It read very YA to me at times. I think the romance would’ve been much more believable and not so juvenile at times had it been written as a more adult relationship. Though at times, the emotional scenes were just that…quite emotional. That’s really my main complaint. It felt very YA and I think it would’ve worked better as an adult book when it came to romance…something more like The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Now that I’m complaining about Meyer’s writing being too YA for me (even though I really like YA lit) I think I’m going to try the Twilight series :p

It's Friday Already?

A blog post title totally stolen from Quix’s post yesterday 😉 But it’s fitting. This week has totally flown by! To say that work has been busy is an understatement. I’ve worked at least 30 minutes of overtime every night and over an hour a couple of nights, so the check should be good at least. Sadly, this hasn’t left time for much else. But I do at least have a day off today! So I’m catching up on reading, blog posting, blog reading, and just relaxing today knowing that I have to be back at the office at 7 AM tomorrow.

I’ve been wanting to blog all week, but my internet connection has been sporadic all week. In fact it’s just gone out as I’m typing this, so I’ll have to save this post.  It seems like everyone’s been having problems with the internet lately…I don’t know what’s going on with that. But I’ll be back later with a real post for once! I finally finished reading Stephanie Meyer’s The Host and really enjoyed it, so I should hopefully have my review up in a couple of hours if the internet allows it. I also wanted to get my review done for J. Scott Savage’s Farworld done today and my interview questions sent off to him, but I don’t know if that will get done. There’s only so much time in the day…you know?

Ok, that’s all…excuse the random post :p

It’s Friday Already?

A blog post title totally stolen from Quix’s post yesterday 😉 But it’s fitting. This week has totally flown by! To say that work has been busy is an understatement. I’ve worked at least 30 minutes of overtime every night and over an hour a couple of nights, so the check should be good at least. Sadly, this hasn’t left time for much else. But I do at least have a day off today! So I’m catching up on reading, blog posting, blog reading, and just relaxing today knowing that I have to be back at the office at 7 AM tomorrow.

I’ve been wanting to blog all week, but my internet connection has been sporadic all week. In fact it’s just gone out as I’m typing this, so I’ll have to save this post.  It seems like everyone’s been having problems with the internet lately…I don’t know what’s going on with that. But I’ll be back later with a real post for once! I finally finished reading Stephanie Meyer’s The Host and really enjoyed it, so I should hopefully have my review up in a couple of hours if the internet allows it. I also wanted to get my review done for J. Scott Savage’s Farworld done today and my interview questions sent off to him, but I don’t know if that will get done. There’s only so much time in the day…you know?

Ok, that’s all…excuse the random post :p

A Winner And A Good Weekend

We Have a winner for David Sedaris’ When You Are Engulfed in Flames and I’m excited to say that it’s Trish of Hey Lady, Whatcha Readin? Why am I excited you may ask? She’s going to see David Sedaris speak in October, so this should really add to the experience for her. I wanted to go see him here a few weeks ago but couldn’t get off of work. Hope you enjoy it Trish and I hope you enjoy the book! Send me your address at chrisa511(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll get it out to you ASAP.

This weekend was great. I’m horribly behind on blog reading now I’m afraid, but I’m about to go get caught up on all of that :p We drove about 40 miles to go eat at a little seafood restaurant down here called Middendorf’s that’s famous for their fried catfish. I hadn’t been there in years…like since I was a kid years. This place is literally a little shack in the middle of nowhere. Lots of people go crabbing around there or take boats out to fish, but aside from that, it’s just a bunch of trees. But the food is delicious and the whole family went. It was good getting dad and grandma out of the house.

Today was spent mostly in front of the Wii :p The golf game on Wii sports just wasn’t enough any more so I went and bough Tiger Woods ’08 which is highly addictive and I also bought Okami which is an incredible game that I’ve been wanting for the PS2 for over a year now. I didn’t know that they made it for the Wii. The graphics are stunning and are done in this beautiful traditional looking Japanese brushstroke type style. Your main character is a wolf and you use a brush and ink to change your surroundings. It all takes place in ancient Japan…love it!

I picked up the Mouseguard graphic novel over the weekend finally after coveting that for about a year now as well and I think I’m going to start that one tonight. May just read the whole thing tonight. I first heard about it from Carl and then Nymeth…the art is amazing in that one. Can’t wait to dig into it. In other book related news, I think I’m going to admit defeat to the series challenge. Even though it doesn’t end until November, it’s just stressing me out entirely too much knowing that I’m committing myself to reading three more books in the Song of Ice and Fire series by then on top of everything else I need to read. I love that series so far, but that’s just too much. I’ll certainly read them, but in my own time! I already feel better!

How was everyone else’s weekend??