Reading Things you Would Really Rather Not…

…I have been doing a lot of this lately.  Being about halfway done with my MBA has me reading textbooks, data, statistics, charts and graphs, and the occasional book written on leadership.  I am happy with how far I have gotten so far, and that I made the decision to take this journey for myself.

I just always seem to forget how much time I do not have for reading, until I am no longer able to do it.  It just took me a month to finish a book I could have read in one day. A month! Anyone who knows me knows that me needing a month to finish the book means one of two things; either the book was absolutely horrible, or I was just too busy.

Luckily I have gained the courage to stop reading horrible books. You know what I mean, right? You start reading a book, and it is terrible, yet you feel terribly guilty for leaving a book unfinished. I have finished my fair share of not-so-great books because I was not brave enough to close it without ever knowing how it ended. Well not anymore. Not for me. I have finally started to realize the value of my time, and it is much too valuable to read some of the garbage I have come across lately.  It almost makes me feel sad to think of the number of books I have not been able to finish lately. Did you see my blog post (okay, rant!) on self-publishing? You may want to check it out. It’s right here: https://booksandopinions.com/2014/08/05/do-you-self-publish/

I have a stack of books I want to read, sitting next to my stack of school books. I have a few days break between classes, and am wondering how many books I can get read in that amount of time. I am not a fan of wishing my time away, but I cannot wait until it gets closer to the holiday season, and I have some extended time available to do my favorite thing: sit in a reclining chair with a good book, my cat, and read myself into oblivion.

Friday Fun Facts!

P Cornwell book cover 1Patricia Cornwell

Born: June 9, 1956

Wrote: numerous Kay Scarpetta novels, starting with Postmortem, as well as The Body Farm, Potter’s Field, and numerous others, with the latest being 2014’s Flesh and Blood. She has also written a couple other series, but no where to the extent of the Scarpetta series.

Awards: Too many to list them all, but they include the Edgar Award, Sherlock Award, and British Book Awards.

Personal: Patricia married one of her professors shortly after graduation, and divorced 9 years later. She was in a relationship with a married female FBI agent before meeting and marrying Staci Gruber in 2005.

She suffered with Anorexia Nervosa and depression, as well as bipolar disorder.

 

P cornwell book cover 2

 

Long Time Coming – Edie Claire

Another book by Edie Claire, this one is more along the romance line, but certainly not the Harlequin or 50 Shades type, if you get my drift.

This book was long, but another great read by Edie. I had it read within a couple of days, and will certainly be getting more of her books.

Image

Without giving away any spoilers, a woman returns to her home town to help take care of her parents, and has to deal with the death of her best friend from 18 years ago that she managed very well to avoid. Blaming her best friend’s boyfriend had worked very well for all of those years, but was not going to work much longer.

This is a great story, as much mystery and suspense as romance, and none of these elements are on the graphic side.

If you haven’t read a book by Edie yet, I definitely recommend it, you will not be disappointed.

The Ever-Increasing Body Count

As I continue into Real Murders, by Charlaine Harris, Aurora Teagarden seems to be the unluckiest person in the world. The dead bodies are piling up, and the members of the Real Murders Club are getting more and more worried about their own safety; but more-so for the safety of their friends and relatives.

Body #2 – Morrison Pettigrue; running for Mayor, his campaign manager is in the club. The death imitates the Murat case from long ago.

Bodies # 3 & 4 – Mr. and Mrs. Buckley, Parents of Lizzane Buckley, friend of Roe’s and member of the club. Actually, it was her step-mother and her father, and her real name is Elizabeth. Any guesses what famous murder of old this is staged after? Oh. Yeah. They were hacked to death. That should help you figure it out.

I am getting close to the end of this book, and to likely stumbling upon body #5.  It isn’t going to end this quietly, and I know something much, much worse is in store for Aurora, and the town of Lawrenceton, Georgia.

Do you have an answer about the staged murder?

You Did WHAT To That Book?

Oh, nothing much…just turned it into a movie.

So, when I can’t read the books I would like to be reading, I tend to think about those books. (If you are starting to think I have a problem; you are too late).

I have been thinking about the number of books that have been made into movies. And that is a huge number. It seems to be the theme lately for movies. Take the list of best-selling books, and turn them all into movies so we can keep making money. Do I think it is a bad thing? No, I don’t. To a point. Now I have seen some really bad movies that were excellent books. They should have just left it alone. I have never seen a movie that was better than the book. Ever.

HP Cast

Now I absolutely love Harry Potter, and was beyond thrilled when they started making those movies. Yes, I own them all. And Yes, I still re-read the books. I also have all of the Lord of the Ring movies.  As well as the 2 Hunger Games movies that are out. And the two Percy Jackson movies that are out. Yes, I will admit I have all 4 of the Twilight movies (I love those too). I have the 3 Narnia movies, anxiously awaiting if they are actually going to make “The Silver Chair” or not. Inkheart? I watch that movie all the time. I wish they would have made Inkspell and Inkdeath into movies as well. I could go on all day like this (I have a slight DVD problem as well).

Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath
Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath

As for the classics…. To Kill A Mockingbird was an outstanding movie, and one of my favorite books. I read it about once a year. Of Mice and Men actually has 2 movies out; one from 1939, and one from 1992. Disney has turned more books into movies and amusement park rides than anyone else could possibly even get away with.

Should these books be made into movies though? I think that the current books that have the author writing or editing the screenplay, and being on the movie set is perfectly fine. But what about those books where the author is no longer alive? Maybe their family sold the rights to have a movie made, but do they really, truly know how the author would want the book to be interpreted? Are these relatives instead taking liberties with the author’s words and thoughts, and possibly using them in a way they never intended? Would C.S. Lewis care that his series of Narnia books were made into movies? Maybe only as much as he might care that more often than not they are sold and read out of the order that he intended for them to be read.

cs-lewis-read pdf

Yes, this works in the reverse as well. As soon as a major motion picture is a box office hit, there are books all over the place about it.

As much as I love my movies based on books, sometimes I just really wish Harry, Ron, and Hermione looked like I thought they were supposed to. In “my” version of the stories. I can never again read these stories and see them as anything other than the actors who portrayed them. I honestly can no longer remember what I imagined them to look like. It’s like one of the joys I get from reading has been taken away from me.

Can you tell what book I am reading in my photo?

Unwholly – Neal Shusterman

Image

 

This book started pretty much where Unwind left off; and I appreciate the fact that the author does not cover every single detail from the first book.

Conner is now running the Graveyard, and they are down to about 700 teens. The age limit for unwinding also got lowered to the age of 17, which means thousands of 17 year olds at harvest camps had to be released.

There now appears to be a shortage of organs, and tissue, so children are now being kidnapped and sold on the black market. The Juvey Cops (that is what they are called in the story) are well aware of the Graveyard, but have a very good reason for leaving the kids there alone.

Supply and Demand

The powers that be can charge enormous fees for body parts while there is a perceived shortage. They want the AWOL teens to stay in the Graveyard, or they will have to lower their selling costs.

And then there is the advertising campaign. One such ad as in the book:

“When Billy’s behavior became too much for us to bear, and we began to fear for our own safety, we did the only humane thing. We sent him to harvest camp, so he could find fulfillment in a divided state. But now, with an age restriction preventing seventeen-year-olds from being unwound, we wouldn’t have had that choice. Just last week a seventeen-year-old girl in our neighborhood got drunk, crashed her car, and killed two innocent people. Would it still have happened if her parents could have chosen to send her to harvest camp? You tell me.” VOTE YES ON PROP 46! End the Cap-17 law, and lift the ban on late teen unwinding! Paid for by Citizens for a Wholesome Tomorrow. (Shusterman, N. 2012, pg 36).

And I thought all of the political advertising was ridiculous!

As for Risa and Lev, they are both still a huge part of this second book; Risa dealing with feeling abandoned by Conner, and Lev being worshipped by everyone for being the “clapper” that didn’t clap. (Clappers are teens who have their blood mixed with explosives, and basically do a suicide mission by clapping their hands, where detonators are implanted, and killing themselves and everyone in the vicinity).

This book has kept me just as interested as the first story did, and I hope to have this finished by tomorrow.

“An Irish Country Christmas” by Patrick Taylor

A great, feel-good story!
A great, feel-good story!

If you are looking for a feel-good book to read to get you in the Christmas spirit, and you want something a little more cheerful than “A Christmas Carol”, this is the book for you!

It was by chance that I happened upon one of Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country books. Being Irish, if it has anything to do with it, I am reading it! I was glad to find these books, they are a fun read, while interesting, and the descriptions have you feeling like you are sitting in the same room as the characters.

The series revolves around an Irish town Doctor of long-standing, and his newly hired Doctor, who is learning his senior partners’ ways, usually with laughs. They share a house with a housekeeper who keeps you chuckling as well, and the practice is actually ran out of said house. (Don’t you wish it was still like that?)

They are in the county of Ballybucklebo, and Barry is excited to spend his first Christmas in the village, if his fiancé cooperates, that is. A new Doctor in town is proving to be stiff competition as well, practicing medicine in a “new” way that the other two gentlemen don’t favor. This “new” type of medicine is the basic way we are treated by doctors. Not new to us, but new to the setting this story takes place in.

As Fingal tries to figure out his love-life, and Barry tries to salvage his, they also take it upon themselves to help a young single mother who is struggling with her sick son. The story is not overly romantic (I certainly wouldn’t put a Harlequin stamp on it) but definitely gives you an idea of what these two somewhat attached men struggle through with the respective women in their lives.

There is enough drama and emotional attachment to this little sick boy, his mother, and the doctor’s themselves that will keep you turning the pages on this book until you realize you are at the end and looking for another of Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country stories. This is a great read, a feel good story, that will have you laughing as well as rooting for the characters in the story.

For your own information, some other Irish Country books by Patrick Taylor are, “An Irish Country Doctor, An Irish Country Girl (about their wonderful housekeeper in her younger days), and An Irish Country Wedding.”

Have you been lucky enough to read one of these books? Did you enjoy them as much as I have?

“The Race” by Richard North Patterson (2007)

The latest book I grabbed off from my bookshelf is one I picked up about a year ago from a clearance table at Barnes and Noble. The synopsis on the jacket sounded interesting, and the price was right, so I figured “Why not?”

Very Good Book!
Very Good Book!

And there it sat. As I pulled out other books and read them, and pulled this one out, looked at it, and put it back on the bookshelf. Time and again. Until it was just about the last book on my shelf I had not even read once. So I started reading it  this week. And boy am I ever glad I did. It is a really great story that actually holds my interest, and I am not looking at how many pages I have left to read as I have been with the last couple of books I have read.

It is a political book, which I don’t generally tend to read very many of, about the presidential election and 3 Republican candidates. One is a religious leader, one is a divorced man dating a Hollywood actress, and one is basically a puppet for another man who wants control over the internet, since he already has control over the news stations and journalists. There tends to be a lot of mud-slinging (who would of thought) along with giving the back story on the divorced man who is the central character of the story. Parents who weren’t supportive, a bright military career, current Senator, and living with the guilt of his brothers suicide as well as the loss of his navigator in the Iraq war.

I have to say the story is really less about war and politics and more about the lives of these people, and how they interact and effect each other, both good and bad.

I haven’t finished the story yet, and am forcing myself to not sneak a look at the back of the book to see if Corey Grace, the main character, wins the nomination and future election. So needless to say, I will have what is left of this book finished in short-order, because the suspense is almost too much!