Complex and Tricky Book Reviews

Folks like what you’ve got to say today and you should be able to get them to keep listening for a lot longer than they would otherwise. If you’ve got anything tricky or complex to get across, go for it!

Yeah.  Feel  free to copy and paste that somewhere if you think it might apply to you, because for me it’s just one big astrological blunder today.  What they should be telling me is something like this:

It’s snowing, you have a killer headache, you probably should call work and tell them you’re sick, and for pete sake let go of those tricky and complex thoughts, they’re making you crazy.  Go back to bed. 

Yep, I should just start writing these stupid things for myself.  I do have something interesting to share though, because I’ve read two and a half books even though my aching head is being all stubborn about processing information.  So if these mini reviews are less than stellar, consider the source.

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy is a story about a poet and his wife and daughter on holiday in a rented villa in the south of France.  It’s also about the sexy, mysterious, quite possibly crazy Kitty Finch who walks out of the pool naked and into their holiday, invited to occupy a room in their suite by the poets wife.

And after that it just gets more complex and tricky and weird.  It was hard for me to understand anyones motivation to do anything they did.  The characters were all confusing as hell.  However, I guess that’s why the book was short listed for the Man Booker Prize, because the writing is allusive, elliptical and disturbing and it’s a stealthily devastating book.

Well I did read the whole thing, so something kept me going, although I’m hard pressed to figure out exactly what it was.

After that I needed something simple for the brain-dead, a minimum amount of thinking required, just entertaining enough to keep me awake.  And that’s why I read Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye.  It won an award for Juvenile Fiction in 2005, has one of the best named heroes ever, and is great fun.  The fate of the world lies in the hands of a fourteen year old boy.

Leven, a.k.a. “Lev,” lives a wretched life at the Rolling Greens Deluxe Mobile Home Park in Burnt Culvert, Oklahoma. But his life is about to change and his destiny be fulfilled as he learns about a secret gateway that bridges two worlds — the real world and Foo, a place created at the beginning of time that makes it possible for mankind to dream and hope, aspire and imagine. “Foo is an entire realm hidden in a fold of the mind, a very real place,” says author Obert Skye. (Amazon Book Description)

Where do I find these things? you might very well be wondering as you scratch your head and roll your eyes.  But seriously, this book was just what the doctor ordered.  Some days you need to escape to a different realm.  Well, I do, anyway.

Last but certainly not least (and I’m only part way through but could not wait a second longer to recommend this one) is The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days by Ian Frazier.

I’ve been laughing since the first page and it’s the kind of thing where the more you read the funnier it gets.  So when you share an excerpt from it with someone who doesn’t know what’s going on, they will look at you with a complex combination of confusion and fear for your sanity on their faces.

It’s the journal of a housewife and mother of pre-teen boys who tries to offer tips on doing various things around the house, is eternally optimistic, but invariably ends up in a complete mess, cursing and swearing (often from the floor) about the frustrations of everyday life.  You can’t help but love her.  Unless you’re offended by foul language, but I didn’t have a hard time forgiving her for that.  Because for some situations those are the only words that can make you feel better.

You know what?  My head isn’t quite so achy now.  Apparently it was just full of crap that needed to get written down.  There’s your health tip for the day.  My shift at work is a short one – surely I can survive six hours knowing that there’s three days off coming up when they’re done.  I’ve had my spinach cocktail and its no longer snowing, so I guess I’m good to go. Happy American Thanksgiving, happy reading, happy cursing, happy whatever you’re up to day.

Ten Things That Are True In My Universe

Upside down

Upside down (Photo credit: Gemma Bou)

The things on this list are not to be mistaken for those scary Universal Truths people are always going on about.  I would never be that presumptuous.  Well actually I would but then this list would be considerably less credible.  So it’s strictly stuff that is constant in my subjective reality.  Believe it if you dare.

1.  When W calls me from the island, he is sitting on the deck, looking out over the water, and downing copious amounts of rum.  I know this is true, because it’s exactly what he tells me.  Every time.  It’s of course possible that this is how he spends his entire day, with or without making a phone call.

2.  Everyone I know and everyone I meet just wants deep down to be GOOD.  At something, with something, for something.  They want to be good to someone, or do something good for the world.  Some are better at this than others.  Some will end up good at being bad, or good for nothing.  But GOOD nonetheless.

3.  No matter how hard you work or how hard you try, some lunatic manager/boss type person is always going to ask you to try harder, to be more, to do more and to get better. (And thus make him/her look better in the process.) Resist the urge to choke this nutcase and don’t make excuses;  just smile and nod and promise you will.  It’s not really a lie if you don’t mention “when” you’re going to get around to it.

4.  The harder it is to learn something, the longer you’ll remember it.  Because you sure as hell don’t want to go through THAT again.

5.  You’ll never fully appreciate what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.  And even then you’ll rationalize it to death.

6.  Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears.  If it looks complex from the get go, you’re in big trouble.

7.  People tend to hate what they don’t understand, and fear what they hate, and then they can’t understand why they’re so afraid.  And hateful.  And bloody confused.  Ignorance is not bliss, it’s hell.

8.  Love can hurt, but it’s always worth the pain.  As long as you get to be the one inflicting it at some point, it will all even out in the end.  No one gets out of being in love unscathed.  Just like no one gets out of life alive.

9.  Upside down and downside up are the very same thing.

10.  Because it’s in the last place it was left, you will always find what you lost in the last place you look.  And if you never find it, it’s because you gave up before you got to that last place.  Or some idiot destroyed it.  One or the other.

I’ve finished reading Joe Golem and the Drowning City, by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, and it was everything promised on the back cover and more.  Steampunk turns out to be a genre I quite like.  Except maybe don’t read it while you’re eating.