Thursday, June 28

Summer Reading

I've been away from blogging for a long time (long story) and now that I'm back, I'm almost overwhelmed with all the changes! I don't take to change too well so this is going to take some time getting used to!

The cats haven't been up to much, just sleeping, and I've been doing a lot of reading. Right now I've just begun Gai-Jin by James Clavell and it is one big book!

First, one of my favorite memes: Booking Through Thursday:

Who taught you to read?

I can't remember a time when I didn't love books! The answer to the question is: my father. He was Deaf and had gone to the state school for the Deaf during the 1930s-40s. Education for the Deaf has always been rather delayed and I think my dad read at no more than a third grade level. I remember sitting on his lap while he read Dr. Seuss and other stories to me. He would point at each word as he read. I quickly figured out that the word he was pointing to was the one he was reading out loud. I went back later and looked at the stories, picking out words I remembered. It wasn't long before I was able to piece together entire sentences. By the time I started kindergarten, I was a fluent reader!

I finished three books recently. The first was Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving. His writing is circular to me in that something happens to a character and it might seem like just an anecdote but the incident is always revisited somehow years later. Don't take anything for granted in any of Irving's books! The early part of the story focuses on a logging camp, the cook and his 12 year old son, Daniel. I really enjoyed this part of the book. You could tell Irving did his research and knew about logging camps. Anyway, there was a tragic accident which forced Daniel and his father to flee and start life over in another place to avoid a cop who is pursuing them. Irving's got an offbeat sense of humor and many times I found myself laughing in the midst of what was or could be a sad event. I liked the book a lot.

I turned to two books I'd gotten at a library sale. The first was Hotel by Arthur Hailey. I've read others of his books before and enjoyed them. I enjoyed this one too, about the inner workings and people of a hotel in New Orleans called the St. Gregory. The story's a little dated, though, because one of the big conflicts was that the St. Gregory was not integrated. It brought memories of the civil rights movement to me. A better book about civil rights, though, would be To Kill A Mockingbird.

The second book, Charleston by John Jakes, was totally disappointing. The book tells the story of the fictional Bell family from 1779 to 1865. It's divided into three sections, focusing on the family members. I thought the characters seemed flat and sometimes unbelievable. Ken Follett and Edward Rutherford are a lot better when it comes to plots of revenge and animosity between characters. Ho-hum.

I think I'm going to like Gai-Jin although at the moment I'm a bit confused with the Japanese characters. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed Clavell's other books so I'm hoping I won't be disappointed!

Friday, April 27

One of the dumbest books I've ever read

I think this is actually the dumbest book I've ever read but that might be just because I just threw it down in disgust. I'd gotten almost to the very end of the book when I did that. I don't like to give up on a book unless it's just awful. About a third of the way through the book I'd resigned myself to a dumb thriller story and was going to power through it as best as I can. It just got so thoroughly stupid I couldn't do it. Oh. The name of the book is The Sign and it was written by Raymond Khoury. I looked it up on Amazon to see what other readers thought of it and it seems like the reviewers thought it was a good book. Well, we all have different tastes and mine definitely is not for this genre. I picked the book up at a library sale. When I read the back cover I didn't recognize it as a thriller. I believed it was a mystery and I was interested in finding out what this supernatural "sign" was all about. The story opens with the apparent death of a young man who was working on some type of project. I got my first clue that this might be a ridiculous book when I read that a military type just started shooting down members of the project for no rational reason. Two years later, a blazing sphere appears above the Antarctic. What is it? It doesn't seem to be manmade, a projected hologram or anything like that. It appears just as a glacier has begun majorly melting. Not long after, it also appears over the Arctic by another melting glacier. Is this a sign, a warning about global warming? I was intrigued enough with this mystery to keep reading. There's a big cast of characters and I found it annoying trying to remember who was who. The main character is Matt, older brother of the scientist in that first scene. Matt is trying to find out what happened to his brother. Someone who knew the brother contacts Matt and tries to pass him a message...but then a squad of goons show up to kidnap them both. Now, if Matt had been ex-military or a cop or something like that, I would have believed how easily he fought off his characters. He then goes on a wild adventure, seemingly an expert at handling cars, guns, and all kinds of jams. Please. Still, I stuck it out until almost the end when a reporter figures out what's really going on and who is involved. Of course, she's the next one that is grabbed by the goon squad and has to be rescued. That just asked me to suspend too much belief. No way would I believe that goon squads would run around kidnapping or killing prominent figures. I know I'm supposed to suspend belief in reality on these types of books and just accept regular people will be put in these situations and somehow know what to do to get themselves out of it. I know there's no character development and it's all melodrama. I just don't care for it. I'm sorry I read as far as I did.

Wednesday, April 18

Books I've Read

Recently, I finished reading two books. The first was Shannon by Frank Delaney and I enjoyed that one a lot. I'm not sure whether the book takes its name from the river in Ireland or from the name of the main character, Father Robert Shannon. Father Shannon is of Irish descendant, an American hero who served in France during World War I. He returned to the United States with a case of shell shock, now called PTSD.

He'd made almost a full recovery when he came upon a secret within his church and involving the archbishop. That secret caused such a trauma that he relapsed, becoming a bare shell of a man. It's also caused him to question his faith. Father Anthony Sevovicz begins to work closely with Robert, hoping to bring him back to recovery. The archbishop proposes a trip to Ireland for Shannon, allowing him to trace his roots. But what is the real motive for the trip? Is it so Robert can heal or is it to keep him quiet about the secret?

One thing that fascinated me was that Delaney also explored the PTSD caused by parental abuse. There is a character called Vincent Patrick Ryan that suffered horrible abuse as a child. He finds himself unable to form attachments and is surrounded by cruelty and violence.

As Robert travels up the Shannon River in search of relatives, he meets many different people, kind, interesting people. He begins to heal again slowly.

I'll stop there so I don't give away too much. I just want to say that the book is very well written. Some of the passages are beautiful, like the country of Ireland, and some are very suspenseful!

I also read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins to see what all the fuss was about over the movie and the character Katniss Everdeen. I'm probably one of the few people who read it that didn't like it much. The story is set in the future, in the ruins of the United States. Now it's called Panem and is made up of twelve districts.

Apparently there was a rebellion against the central government, located in The Capitol (somewhere near the Rockies I think). The rebellion was put down and as punishment each of the districts have to send a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to The Hunger Games every year. It's a televised event at which the participants are supposed to hunt and kill each other until there's one person left standing.

It could've been a great story in my opinion. The main reason I didn't like it, though, was that it was very superficial. I never felt connected to Katniss, the heroine. She just seemed like a cardboard character to me. The events that happened were predictable, which was disappointing. I would have liked a big surprise or a twist. It was all just too melodramatic for my taste. I don't plan to read the other two books in the series. Oh well.

Tuesday, April 10

Cats on Tuesday: Kosmo's Back Rub


CATS ON TUESDAY is a group of cat lovers who share pictures and/or stories about their cats once a week, hosted by Gattina.


One morning, Cubby and Kosmo were sleeping peacefully on our bed.



Cubby sez, Kosmo's back is bothering him!



Don't worry, Kosmo, I know what to do! I gives good back rubs!



Kosmo sez, ooooh, that's it, that's the spot!



What, Mommy Bean? You want a back rub too? I should start charging for my services!

Want more cat blogging?

Be sure to check out Gattina's blog and Blogging Cat Noos for all the latest!

Tuesday, March 27

Cats on Tuesday: Taking Care of Daddy Bean


CATS ON TUESDAY is a group of cat lovers who share pictures and/or stories about their cats once a week, hosted by Gattina.

Cubby sez, Recently we haf been very worried bout Daddy Bean. Him got an owee in hims toe and it spreaded to his foot and ankle. So him hadda take a lotta medicine!


Munchkin sez, a couple times Mommy Bean hadda take him to the mergency room! And he almost hadda stayed inna hospittle, oh noes!


Mouse sez, Mostly he was just sapozed to rest and take his medicine.



Indigo sez, I holded him down to make sure he got lots of rest!



And we guarded him to make sure no one disturbed him!



Daddy Bean is gettin better very slowly but it's happenin! I fink he'll be just fine!

Want more cat blogging?

Be sure to check out Gattina's blog and Blogging Cat Noos for all the latest!

TB update: We went to an appointment with the podiatrist last Thursday and the main concern is that TB's toe is still very swollen. The doctor debrided the toe and discovered that the infection is still trying to drain. She wants him to continue the oral antibiotics and he's probably going to need another MRI of his toe, foot and ankle to see what's going on. Sigh.

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