Friday, February 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday #1

My first Teaser Tuesday video--thanks to the glorious inspiration of thefictionfairy--with a little twist.  The Youtube/booktube thing is fun, but I feel as if I sometimes hold back with all the vigor I have and wish to convey, unless I’m speaking on a book where I would wish to be clear.  Then sometimes I don't feel like people get what I'm conveying.  In any regard, this was fun because I definitely don't try to take myself to seriously.  This was an opportunity to be my usual silly, blunt self.  The purpose of Tuesday Teaser is to read two passage/quotes from a specific book that you're currently reading.  Should said passages entice the viewer, he or she may go about purchasing the book.  Nevertheless, I added a twist where I shared four books and leave it to the viewer to guess which contains the passages.  Kind of advertising/pushing the book, and kind of totally not.  Such the conundrum that makes up me.

With that said, goodbye February 2014.  You will kinda be missed.  No, actually I just prefer Spring at this point.  There is so much I want to write about concerning books and series.  I hope I manage to get to them after I tie up these last conversations.  

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Last Thoughts on "A Thousand Lives"

I almost didn't make it through this book, deciding that maybe it was too dark and truthful to read.  Much of that trepidation was brought to me after my first reading session, having had a nightmare related to the Jonestown event afterwards.  Nevertheless, I proceeded forward with reading A Thousand Lives, and the experience got easier.  So much so that in the middle of the book my sadness slipped away in place of an absolute, running inquisitiveness for how this ugly event unfolded.  And Scheeres didn’t seem to hold back--according to my intelligence on the subject.  She revealed a mountain of startling information/back story on the Jonestown event that had me scratching my head and sparkly-eyed at the same time.  It’s also interesting that the more I read it, the more I saw parallels between Jim Jones’s ill-intended actions surrounding the Jonestown community, and Mao’s actions over the larger-scaled China.  Toss in a few shared terms like “communism” and “socialism” and I was sold by the connection my feelers kept picking up--having experienced reading Jung Chang’s Mao: The Unknown Story a month previous.

My current dilemma is that I don’t know exactly how to tackle this surfacing of thought diligently.  Or without branching into another web of topics concerning the two.  What I’m pondering sounds both sensitive and insensitive.  So much so that I just want to disregard the entire subject.  Still, it’s clear to me that Jones and Mao used politics and lies to reign on their followers.  They practiced some intense chicanery.  They purged their many enemies and rivals without too much hesitation.  They used the power of hunger and defeatism.  And they repeatedly pounded their maniacal-based mantas to subjugate their defenseless crowds.  In the end many wearily walked into their deaths, after living with the broken hope for change promised by their leaders.  And both leaders' imploded on themselves in the end.

This is me keeping much of my troubling thoughts simple.

Nevertheless, through my reading of A Thousand Lives, I kept asking myself what everyone else may have asked themselves: “What would I do in this situation?”  Then I would ask myself do I know of anyone in my life that would be susceptible to something like Peoples Temple's (Jones’s organization) religious doctrines?  Or not so religious... as apparently seen.  

Would I have fought or spoken up come Jones’s final speech, much like Christine Miller did?  Nonetheless, a speech where Jones pushed and encouraged the sacrificing of the Jonestown community behind his contemptible lie that a war was about to storm the township after the murder of Congressman Ryan by his own men?  What ways would I have ran if I could run, just as some survivors did?  Would I have managed like the brave Leslie Wilson and her child, along with a handful of others who escaped into the jungle the morning Congressman Ryan stepped into Jonestown?  Would I have spoken up to leave with Ryan, just as Tommy Bogue and his father did?  Would I have been slick and brave like Stanley Clayton, who managed to slip pass the armed guards surrounding the perimeter for defects?  Or would I have been like the elderly African-American woman named Hyacinth Thrash, who followed her sister to Jonestown?  Hyacinth had a body so worn that she stopped attending the pavilion meetings in Jonestown (partly because she disagreed with Jones's message).  Her staying in her cottage this one night saved her life.  She hid underneath her bunk when the last of Jones’s men went about shooting other individuals who did not report to the pavilion to drink the poison.  While I couldn't recall her name, Hyacinth’s story as a survivor was one that I could remember after watching a documentary on the event years ago.  There was a “she is the woman they were talking about” moment as I read her piece on surviving.  

Nevertheless, the biggest question I kept asking myself was would I have ran if I saw my family die before me?

Even as I write this I get a little emotional at the thought.

Therefore, I will close this out by not only declaring that this book was an eye-opener, but that it also reminded me of how good it feels to be grateful to have those that I love still in my life.  And if I should take one thing from this book to keep me going, it would most certainly be the courageous story of the few Jonestown survivors.

What would you have done?  Hard to really answer, right?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

AH! Year of the Demon!

Steve Bein (who I’m often accidentally touting as “Steven” for some reason) has done it to me again with his second book, Year of the Demon.  I am completely--utterly--sold on his Fated Blades series.  There is absolutely no going back at this point, and I am thankful for that.  So thanks, Steven--Steve(!).  Thanks for saving me from abandoning the urban fantasy genre, whether you consider your series urban fantasy or not.  See, while I understand and have spoken on the crossing of genres in you series, the fact still remains that I read fantasy books following a female lead for the sheer enjoyment of watching a lady kick paranormal ass.  And what makes the Fated Blades series so adoringly special?  You don’t dress said lead underneath a Chick Lit vanity lamp.  No.  Your main character (much thrills to the fact that she’s Japanese) is too busy solving narcotic cases, with ancient and paranormal glamour.  No, your main character isn't off swooning over any bare-chested bad boy with an agitated haircut.  She has a job to do, and it doesn’t involve her following the romantic blooms of her heart.  Praise Jesus!

Year of the Demon (book two in the Fated Blades series) takes place about two good skips (relate that to time) away from where book one ended.  After her gutted, near-death experience during her final battle with one of Japan’s yakuza (specifically labeled Kamaguchi-gumi or “clan“) crime syndicate henchmen, Fuchida, Mariko is now the proprietor of an ancient samurai blade known as Inazuma steel.  Nonetheless, there were a total of three blades pounded out by the fabled Master Inazuma, and each contains a different, mystical characteristic that presses into the spirit of its wielder.  Mariko manages to survive the fight with Fuchida with the blade--Glorious Victory Unsought--acting as a savior to her entry level samurai skills.  I state this in opposition to Fuchida's hedonistic-driven techniques, tickled by the bloodlust of his particular Inazuma blade, Beautiful Singer, screaming for Mariko's life.  

Known for its ability to turn on its wielder should its wielder seek the pride of battle victory, Glorious Victory Unsought seems a perfect fit for the usually skeptical Mariko.  So despite Mariko’s skeptisim in all things related to the blade and its power, she now officially owns a hard-sought Inazuma blade.  And what it’s worth in the power it draws from its wielder is universes more than the millions she could pawn off it.  Needless to say, that is the least of Mariko’s interest anyway.  She treasures the blade, as it harbors a sentimentality she wishes to hold on to (no spoiler here). 

Japanese demon mask from the movie Onibaba
Unfortunately for the reader, Mariko does little with the sword in Year of the Demon; however, that doesn’t slow down the general interest in its power.  Besides, Mariko couldn’t help it that the blade was stolen from her within the first 33 pages of the book.  Talk about hard luck.  Nevertheless, such thievery isn’t done without forwarding the plot.  Apparently an ancient Japanese cult, referred to simply as The Wind, has its eyes set on reuniting Mariko’s sword with a centuries-old traditional demon mask.  Placed on its adorner, this mask is said to create the strong desire to inflict torture or death on others.  The adorner implements the mask’s dark cravings through a multitude of murderous/torturous avenues, as we‘re shown through the eyes of several of the book‘s villains.  Nonetheless, it is also made apparent that the mask truly hungers for the blood shedding potential of Inazuma steel.  In Mariko’s case, the only one of the three available to The Wind is her Glorious Victory Unsought.  

The Wind obtains Mariko’s blade.  Together with the demon mask, they set forth plans to construct mass destruction over the city of Tokyo‘s population.  Mariko wouldn’t have much of a stake in the matter if she weren’t a detective assigned to a narcotics case linked to The Wind’s infernal plan.  And that’s besides the fact that her blade was stolen from above her slumber, as well as the fact that Fuchida's underboss has a bounty out on her.  Nevertheless, said underboss is the previous owner of the mask and offers to waive Mariko’s bounty should she return it.  And that is where Year of the Demon takes off.

And yet… that’s not exactly what sends Year of the Demon sparkling into the night sky.  The narrative of the book divides itself throughout the voices (though not in first person) of multiple protagonists, or loosely labeled, B Plots.  We have Mariko’s segments plugged into modern day Tokyo, or the Heisei Era according to the book; our familiar underdog from the last book, Daigoro, resumes his tale and dealings with the mask in the Azuchi-Momoyama period; and a new face, Kaida, in Japan’s Muromachi era shares the third narrative string.  Kaida takes us to places within the demon mask’s origin, while lightning us up with her troubles as a one-handed pearl diver tormented under her stepsisters' nasty little codes of conduct.  Each story lends the history of the mask and sword, forming the backbone of the book which lie in Mariko’s present investigation.  

Hardly formulaic, this jumping between periods was introduced in the first book and is even more engaging and plumped with ancient tales in this one.  And while I have no qualms about slipping into the predicaments of ancient Japan, and the delightful characters who unveil its ruthless politics and seemingly misogynistic nature, that slipping oftentimes makes me forget about Mariko’s journey.  As I mentioned in a previous post on the first book, I seldom found a connection with Mariko.  I blame part of it in the book’s technical sense; many more pages are dedicated to characters of the past and their individual stories.  So in reverse, Mariko’s story is the appetizer to Diagoro’s struggle to uphold his family name through the villainous actions of a twisted General who wears the demon mask with pride.  And even I felt Mariko played second to Kaida’s full blitz-style entrée where we witness the longings of a girl who will risk her life to be set free from her family.  Actually, Diagoro reads like the entrée and Kaida is the satisfying dessert dish.

So I’ll admit that I wasn’t totally pulled into Mariko’s investigation.  Nor was I completely wowed by its conclusion.  It almost felt like the interruptions of leaping-into-the-past killed the buzz and structure of her storyline and plotting.  It didn’t leave without its highs, however, including a couple of raids and slick bantering between characters.  But it wasn’t as astounding as the other stories.  I would hope that the third book thickens more in Mariko‘s favor.

Are you currently thrilled by Steve Bein's series also?  Looking forward the the third book as much as me?  Do you like Bein's push more toward historical fiction?  Or do you want more of his modern crime thriller forward by Mariko?  Do you also think a balance should be carefully laid out between the two?  Comment below.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Booktube Newbie Tag

What's up, people?  Coming to you live and in person (psyche!) with another tag video.  This is a Booktube Newbie Tag--as you can see.  It was brought to my attention by thefictionfairy who received her tag from its creator, Brenda C.  It looked like fun--and since I don't have a channel introduction video--I decided to take part in it.  Hope you guys like it and I'll provide all the referenced links down below.  Much love!

Comic Towel Zazzle Shop:


Brenda C.:

Booktube Newbie Tag
1. Why did you start this channel?
2. What are some fun and unique things you can bring to Booktube?
3. What are you most excited for about this new channel?
4. Why do you love reading?
5. What book or book series got you into reading?
6. What questions would you ask your favorite booktuber?
7. What challenges do you think starting a booktube channel will be the hardest to overcome?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Guest Post: Nathaniel Sewell on Writing "Fishing for Light"

My inspiration for writing Fishing for Light
Have you ever walked about a museum and stopped and closely examined a painting and admired the brushstrokes, the colors, and the hidden symbolism? For example, I love Salvador Dali’s masterworks and his surrealism. In fact, there are several that inspired me to write Fishing for Light. I have sat down and marveled at The Ecumenical Council, The Hallucinogenic Toreador, and of course, the Clocks. Perhaps these links to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida will be helpful:
The last link is for, Galaciadalacidesoxiribunucleicacid or ‘Homage to Crick and Watson’ that was the one that hit me emotionally the hardest. If you read the painting’s description, the key for me are the last words, “all who suffer”. The reason is I have a strong interest in the science of Epigenetics or how life choices, our environment and trauma alter our genetic code.
My first novel, Bobby’s Socks was a tough story about child sexual abuse and the epigenetic link to suicide. As you might imagine, I know what it feels like to be traumatized. But I prefer to laugh, be weird, so Fishing for Light is a satire. The common link between the two novels are the main characters; they had a life trauma, Bobby was attacked, and Eddie the sudden death of his father. That is not funny.
But what is satirical, is that 21st Century society was swirling around Eddie. Now that idea can be wacky, and surreal. Why? Because Eddie was unaware that he had magic DNA, and he was destined to fight Professor Quan’s accidental creation, the evil Ms. Prosperina! But the life trauma, it altered Eddie’s destiny, and switched on the wrong gene instructions. So Professor Quan and Captain Lovins have to fix the problem because Ms. Prosperina intended to alter humanity in part by expanding her Starry Eyed Coffee Hut empire. By the way, that’s why you should always drink your coffee black.
I think I should share some of the novels hidden themes, it might improve the reading experience. I created a triad, Eddie represented a son and the Millennial Generation, Professor Quan represented a father figure and personal responsibility and Captain Lovins, a NAVY SEAL, was the defender of the weak and in the military, they are referred to as, ‘ghosts’. And it is important to note, SEAL’s live by a code, I recommend you look it up and read it. So we have a father, son and ghost for those who recognize a Christian theme. But I also have Buddhism and Hinduism references hidden within the story.
And Ms. Prosperina, a Chimera, she represented that hidden government and the organized conspiracy slithering into every aspect of society, even down to inventorying our base DNA code, so she can control humanity. If you think that is a crazy idea, I recommend you read my blog post - and she had the power to shape-shift into some really nasty religious symbols. She even quietly helped fund a secret IRS unit that was trying to track down Professor Quan. Her name, Prosperina, came from Greek and Roman mythology, and the tale of Pandora’s Box. After Pandora opened the box, what got left inside? Hope. And of course, Professor Quan and Captain Lovins stole the Hope Diamond. He needed it for his experiments.
Yes, I have a lot going on within the story on purpose, remember, this is a satire and one of my influences for writing Fishing for Light was Salvador Dali. I think good literature is about an issue beyond us. I think art should move our emotions and trigger us to stop and think about this world we live. And to wonder if there is a higher power beyond us that we cannot see, but only sense. But then again, Professor Quan does find pure love, but think about it, to have love you also need to have hope. Right?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Faux Prayer Beads and Dreamcatching

Happy Sunday, Comic Towel Readers.  Can I say that?  Maybe.  Anyway, with a birthday coming up, I decided to buy things.  Lots of things.  Things besides books--although I got books!  In any case, Saturday (2/15/14) turned out to be such a great day.  I don’t know about you, but I love spending my Saturday mornings, moving into Saturday afternoon, out and about.  There’s something about the glow of a Saturday sun that just livens me up.  I could attribute it to those childhood years of watching Saturday morning cartoons before heading out shopping and begging for books.  So there’s this irrefutable desire in me to spend every Saturday out in that sunshine shopping before lunch.  Thankfully, I got to do that yesterday.  Something about between 11am-2pm glow while out shopping and eating on a Saturday just… there are no words for what that does to my inner child. 

I spent doing much of the same (buying stuff and eating) as the evening rolled around.  I ended up at Import Treasures and damn near had to hold myself back from spending.  This place is fantastic.  Had I thought about it at the time, I would’ve taken pictures of their various products to show.  Though… that might’ve upset the clerk.  Anyway, the place sells things like huge, vintage Chinese vases, lucky bamboo plants in porcelain pots (I almost got one featuring a quartet of happy panda bears).  They also sell Japanese furniture like decorative cabinets, hall pieces, and Oriental-themed landscape paintings/bamboo scrolls.  The majority of said furniture items were stamped with SOLD stickers and awaiting customer pick-up.  Assortments of figurines, bust art, sculptures, and woodcarvings line the back of the shop.  We’re talking Native American inspired pieces to pagan/deity inspired ones.  There’s Buddhist, Hindu, Norse, Egyptian, and Greek figurines and products aplenty.  It just goes on and on, sedging into crystals, stones, and salt rock lamps traditionally used to purify the air.  I almost got a Chinese porcelain tea cup, although I don’t drink tea.  It was just beautiful.  Damn me for not taking pictures.  I was just too excited and found out quickly that I needed to find something and leave.  I shopped there before, leaving with some maneki-neko (lucky cat) figures instead of engaging with my impulse to reach for the higher priced items.

So I kept it simple, drawn to two of the smaller items presented in this post.

"Xiao Kou Chang Kai" is inscribed on the back
It may or may not seem apparent to you in the photo, but this Laughing Buddha Pendant prayer bead tassel is made of anything but wood.  Much to my sorrow, it’s made of plastic.  At least the beads are.  The pendant portion is copper, according to my best guess.  I suppose there shouldn’t be a difference between prayer beads (or mala) being made of plastic versus the usual wood.  At least I hope after I've already snatched this item up squealing without the forethought that it was made of plastic instead of wood.  Maybe its purpose is for décor, as opposed to its usual practice in creating tranquility and inner-peace in its bearer.  I haven’t yet decided, hedged on the fact that I’m not exactly a practicing Buddhist to begin with.  Nevertheless, there was simply something about it that I was drawn to; I've never had anything like it before.  I wouldn’t’ve noticed it behind a stage of child-size floor vases had I not asked my guide to direct me toward something I may need within the store.  I can’t say that I’m going to burst out in a synchronized mantra recital as I draw the beads toward me.  I can say that it’ll have the same effect similar to a placebo pill; my mind will instantly register a smiling Buddha radiating prosperity and good fortune my way.  It's a lucky charm after all.  Then again, maybe I’ll try to ignore the niggling “plastic” concerns and see if there’s a practical purpose for the item in terms of Buddhist/Hindu tradition.  We all start somewhere.

I’ve never owned a dream catcher before… until now.  There’s not much I can say in line with its origin and purpose, at least to those already familiar with the craft.  But I will say that I was attracted to this one--out of many in the shop--by its color and the chimes.  The feathers are natural and, unlike the Buddha pendent tassel, the beads are real wood.  This points to another little nugget of knowledge I’ve come to understand that gave me pause to the Buddha beaded tassel.  While we all know that the Native American legend behind the dreamcatcher is to capture bad dreams, what I didn’t know until recently is that the wooden beads and feathers aren’t there for decorative purposes.  They are actually meant to attract and guide good dreams and thoughts into the individual, mainly positioned above his or her bed.  

Anyway, thanks everyone for sticking with me.  I just wanted to share these light and sweet little goodies added to my collection of other goodies.  I have a last question though, are there any thoughts on how some goods such as Buddha pendants and dreamcatchers are often commercialized?  Is that an actual concern or am I over-thinking some of this?  Do you have any experiences you would like to share?  If so.  Do so.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Final Thoughts on Kang's "Control"

I’ve finally managed to dip my toe into YA fiction again--after I failed to get past page 7 of The Hunger Games two years ago.  I know!  Crazy, right!?  Nevertheless, as I stated in one of my videos, my generational sense of YA revolves around writers like R. L. Stine [Fear Street] and Christopher Pike.  Basically, teen-slashers ala my love of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies.  Sure there were a collection of YA books I grew up with that leveled more with establishing and dissociating social and teen issues.  But Stine and Pike were my go-to boys!  Then there is my favorite YA fantasy writer, T. A. Barron, who wrote my all time favorite fantasy novel, The Ancient One.  Sprinkle in my love of middle-school readers like Animorphs and even The Babysitter’s Club (yes, I loved that series), and I just know what I know and stick to that concerning YA fiction.

But I’ll be frank in saying that I don’t really get YA post the Twilight series.  That’s mainly because that book wrecked me with its vehemence surrounding teen angst and romance, told through a subservient female lead dressed as an extraordinarily Mary Sueish character.  Matter-of-fact, I recommend Patrice Kindl's Owl in Love for some teen romance.  I’m probably pissing off many fans.  But I can’t help it.  I’m a guy.  I’m a guy who likes reading books about women who know how to keep their romantic emotions vibrate but in check as they go about kicking ass.  I grew up on Buffy and Sailor Moon.  Is that any indication of why I feel so strongly about the way I feel?
My absolute favorite YA--fantasy as well--novel!

Nevertheless, that is probably my main issue with YA novels: romance and the angsty teen girl who traverse its waters.  I found a touch of that in Lydia Kang's Control.  Thankfully, not so bitterly that I’m not interested in reading the second book to the series.  The key matter is that I finished the book despite the trepidation I walked into, concerning the romance element.

So here we go, my take on Control by Lydia Kang.


The year is 2150.  After a nasty car (or magpod in this case) accident kills her forever-zipcode-switching father, Zelia Benton (age 17) is quickly orphaned alongside her thirteen-year-old sister, Dylia.  Considering the two girls are minors, social services greet them at the local hospital with the intent of placing the girls in foster care via potential families serviced by a placed called New Horizons Center.  Hammering on the mantel of the big, responsible sister, Zelia makes her determination clear on keeping Dylia close.  See, it should be noted that despite being sisters they are both different in health and appearance.  Dylia is seen as rosy, faultless and attractive to the many boys she associates with as her wavy hair frames her pretty face (!).  However,  Zelia appears empty of having received a healthy dose of luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones.  Plainly put, she looks as if she skipped the major part of purity.  In turn, this makes her less attractive than her younger sister, an issue she readily points out in the beginning of the book.  Add on a condition known as Ondine’s Curse (a respiratory disorder), and it’s here that we see Zelia emphasized as the runt between the two.  Nevertheless, that doesn’t displace her resolve to protect her younger sister.  They’re all they go after all.

New Horizons Center seems unworried.  Cute boys run as staff members and a prospective adopter named Marka believes that she's the girls' best choice.  She also informs the two that she knew their father.  Marka wants to take the girls to her home/safe house named Carus.  However, problems arise--through what turns out to be a not-so-clever scheme--when the girls find themselves transported to two different foster homes.  Told through the first person narrative, it’s here that we follow Zelia’s gene-manipulating story toward finding Dylia who has landed in the clutches of Marka’s rival house, Aureus.  The main clash between the two houses resides in their determination to gather genetically manipulated children for different purposes.  Where Marka chooses to nurture such children and their conditions, her rival house, Aureus, provides a little twisted psychology used to exploit and even kill this brand of children for their abilities.

But why did Aureus take Dylia?  What is Dylia’s genetic modification centered around?  Is it that valuable to the House of Aureus?  Will Dylia become a victim to Aureus's tragic genetic extractions?

Those questions are answered within the dress of the book as we follow Zelia through labs, test tubes, beakers, centrifuge tubes, and a host of genetic engineering terms sprinkled around romance, light action, and a not-so-complex plot.  In addition, the cast of genetically altered cast members who use their various abilities to help--and hurt--Delia along the way.

Syntax & Sentence Structure

The syntax structure is delivered in short, quick, staccato beats/sentences that is probably purposefully natural in a YA book.  So I can’t really say much on that.  However, I like a cool balance between lean and fat in my reading.  Control read like a lot of lean to me.  That’s not to say description, dialogue, and interior monologues aren't there to guide the reading experience, they just didn't absorb me because of the book's almost click-like pace.  This points to my other issue: the world building.

World Building/Setting  

The setting of the book is 2150 yet it is about as blandly described as a piece of drywall.  You would think the future would look much more flourishing here, but it doesn’t.  Now Kang does take some creative--if not borrowed--steps to paint a futuristic semi-dystopian setting.  One deal she introduces is a club where private rooms fill with bizarre drug fogs for users to snort up.  Also, there is this construction called the agriplane that’s basically an agricultural field built high above the actual earth.  And while those things sound great, they’re mostly described in a swiftly imaginative way, kind of like an impulse idea tacked on paper.  They're cool, but they hardly get past being just ideas. This leaves behind much of the technical aspects, considering this is a book based on the future, technology, and science.  So while those scenes that showcase these areas are great, I was left wondering how did we get from planting on earth to up in the sky.  A quick this-is-the-way-it‘s-done-now did not sufficed for my curiosity.  I needed a why and how?  I could picture much of what was present, but it wasn’t all that explicated.  Nevertheless, what Kang did with her characters' respective rooms inside of their futuristic foster home reflected their individualism.  A small example of this is how we come to understand why the foster kid (or Zelia’s adopted brother) with two brains owns the room littered with computers and technological equipment.  Whereas the chloroplast girl prefers vegetation in her quarters.  It's not the most ingenious tool, but it kind of works here.

I should point out that while I felt Kang kind of lacked in her setting and world building, she made up for it in the science her protagonist plays with during the course of the book.  I wished for more discussions and scenes about genetics and biochemistry, though.  After all, these topics are the backbone of the book, as opposed to its paranormal-based counterparts.  Nonetheless, talks about genetics and biochemistry encouraged real science behind Kang's fantasy.  I just didn't find that to be consistent all around.

Scene Choreography

Speaking of scenes, there were plenty that I felt like Kang could have choreographed better.  At one point her main protagonist decided to escape out of her bedroom window, located within the tower-like structure of the Carus home.  Instead of going down to earth, as you would kind of anticipate, it somehow appears that she climbed up to the agriplane, ending up at her rival’s doorstep.  The writing used to navigate this scene came off as weightless and confusing, halting the reading flow.  I witnessed the struggle of her climb, but not so much the path of her destination.  I experienced this several times in the book, including during fight scenes that seemed vacant of smooth choreography and a clear resolution.  One minute a character is against a wall.  The next second the same character flies to the wall after a punch in the stomach.  But wasn't she just at the wall?  I was never sure exactly where characters were placed during the set up and execution of a fight, or sometimes a general scene.  However, Kang did pile on some pretty tense action toward the end of the book that is worth noting.  She didn't always keep me in line with her direction, but I was always interested enough to keep going.  Even if I had to backtrack to figure out how a character suddenly ended up inside a room where it wasn't indicated that he walked through a door to trigger a scene.


Despite all of that, let’s talk about what I probably never grasp without the book.  That would be the overarching tone.  You would think that a book about a girl devastated by tragedies in her family would pull you through the reading a little more emotionally.  Her father was killed in a wreck, and it was dealt with swiftly.  Little to no vigor in the dealings.  So while her sister was taken away from her in the aftermath of her father’s death, charging the crux of the book, I never got the feeling that anything was truly at stake.  Least not until the end when I finally got a clear view as to the antagonist group’s motives.  However, even then I wasn't certain of their impetus, or the drive behind it.  In a lot of ways, the motivation behind Zelia read like a drama that didn't quite stick that something high was at stake.  Which left me with the feeling that the author believed and saw into her world/characters more than she managed to translate to the reader.


How befitting for a Sailor Mercury plush

Now I mentioned that I was scared to read into the romance element of the book, and I mentioned how that didn’t really phase me after all.  However, I will speak a little about it in terms of how I believe the romance element should have remained only hinted in this book.  Kang should’ve drove the romance in the next book.  I hate to "should" on her, but considering the pacing, it just seemed best.  Here’s why: Like many emotional-building scenes in this book, it happened like a switch being flipped.  I knew the romance would be present but with the cast of characters Zelia was attaching herself to, I wasn’t sure who exactly it would be.  And like many adult and YA novels, Zelia's romance seemed inevitable in the hands of the troubled, dark, bad boy within the group.  The problem I had was that once the romance element switch was hit, this seemingly cool character dropped his coolness a good 70%.  It’s usually the other way around, but here I was left bemused by this once troubled character suddenly reaching for kisses and hand-holding while putting aside most of the initial firmness he displayed earlier to the protagonist.  This is not to say that they wouldn’t make a good couple, I just wish Kang waited and gave it the proper legs to develop and stand.  The two haven’t been through enough to solidify their relationship.  It’s the same with my view of the “nothing is at stake” tone of the book.  Except here, nothing is reasonable enough for a romance just yet.  The sacrifice Zelia’s interest made at the end should have been the catalyst to their desires for one another.

3/5 Stars

At the end of the day I liked Control.  It didn’t knock me out of the park or anything, but it was interesting.  I’d much rather read a YA book providing science elements as opposed to those driven by paranormal romances.  While they’ve been given a bad rep as a fourth-hand group of X-men, the various characters and their special genetically-motivated abilities were a nice touch.  Some I would like to see again, given proper girth on their development and motivation.  Nevertheless, it was fun.  Certainly not my speed, but light and fun nonetheless.  Kang sold me enough to anticipate the next book.  So time will tell.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Unboxing ~ ここで開く

Latest video.  I'm doing my first book unboxing here, coincidentally (though I don't necessarily believe in coincidences) tied to my first purchase at  It's a small wonder, though.  See, months ago when I discovered Bookoutlet, I wasn't particularly crazy about it.  I think I browsed the site twice and only ran across maybe two books that I really wanted.  And those books weren't a desperate-to-own.  So I passed.  I talked a little smack about the site's overabundance in YA novels (that was my poor perception at the time), and moved along.  Recently I tried them again.  This time I took my Amazon Wishlist and did a "cross check" where I browsed for specific titles that I knew were desperate-to-own.  Lo and behold I checked out with four titles and spent less than $24.  I consider that a fawning success.  While the titles are probably noted as remainders, they are all in perfect condition.  However, Bookoutlet marks the condition of several books as otherwise for consumer awareness.  They also list the stock amount of available books.  Which kid of pissed me off because had I paid attention to those small numbers before, I would've had a cheaper copy of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Talents by now.  Boo-hoo!

So I got...

1.  A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres

Without a doubt this is going to be a dark, dark read.  Anyone familiar with Jim Jones and the Jonestown tragedy that took place in the 1970s understands that there is probably nothing bright seeping out of this book.  Nevertheless, for the curiously nosy information freak that I am, I decided Julia Scheeres [Jesus Land] would provide a familiar narrative to the unfolding of this horrific event.  Needless to say, this is going to make for a page-turner.  While I'm familiar with its subject matter through watching several documentaries throughout the years, I've never went into educating myself on the hard details concerning Jonestown.  Stacked with referenced facts and recounts, I have to say that I am ready for the dive.  And it's next on my TBR.

2.  The Complete Keeper Chronicles by Tanya Huff

Long ago Tanya Huff was pointed out to me as a slicker alternative to Laurell K Hamilton.  To be specific, Huff's short-lived Victoria Nelson series shined as a better, comparable alternative.  Within five books and a short story omnibus, Toronto homicide detective turn P.I., Victoria (Vicky) Nelson, teamed up with her ex-partner and a centuries old vampire to deal out ass-whoopings to several paranormal uglies squatting the urban (and one rural) Canadian streets.  While that series makes an easy five stars, Huff's range stretches in further directions, including fantasy and sci-fi.  So color me anxious to read more by her.  The Keeper Chronicles trilogy is urban fantasy, with a high emphasis on fantasy done in ways other than vampires and zombies.  To my pre-mature awareness I should say.  I passed on the series until a couple of years ago when I bought the first book at a used bookstore.  I got a good 40 pages in when I put it down and read something else.  Never to pick it back up.  But I held on to it.  Like we all do.  Until two years ago when the trilogy was released as an omnibus edition and my interest peeked back up.  Took me a minute, but I finally got it at a great price--thanks to BookOutlet.  So far, we have a bed-and-breakfast setting, a talking cat, and a ghost.  No giving up this time!

3.  Hurricane by Jewell Parker Rhodes

I have gushed about my love of this particularly series in minute details throughout Comic Towel and my videos.  It's New Orleans setting, shrouded in old spells mixed with murder mysteries and some hospital drama, just lights me up.  Part of a trilogy, Hurricane is the final foray into the world of doctor Marie Laveau nee Levant, and her double life as a mystery-solving-voodoo-priestess.  I'm hoping her journey goes out with a bang, especially considering the first book (Voodoo Season) put this series on a high bar for a person with interest in such subjects as voodoo spells and mysteries.  The magic within this series has always been how Rhodes serves readers an intelligent woman of color solving mysteries, underneath the veil of commanding the powers of her ancestor, the infamous (and historical based) voodoo queen of Louisiana, Marie Laveau.  While the first book features a cult and zombies, and the second book (Yellow Moon) an African vampire spirit called wazimamoto, Hurricane takes on Hurricane Katrina.  And that's all I know at this point, but my thirst and trust in this author's delivery is so real.  Be sure that once I finish this book, it'll be splashed all over this blog. 

4.  Innocent Blood by P.D. James

I've never read any of the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries by English crime writer, P.D. James.  However, what I have read by her was the first book in her two-book Cordelia Gray series called An Unsuitable Job For a Woman.  Needless to say, I loved the book.  It features a young woman P.I. solving a seemingly domestic suicide that turns into a complex (and sometimes leaning toward convoluted) murder case.  Did I say that I was in love with this book?  Of course I did.  However, the second book, The Skull Beneath the Skin, was too much of a bore for me to complete it.  Though I plan too.  Innocent Blood isn't a part of either the Cordelia Gray or Adam Dalgliesh series.  It's a stand alone mystery.  According to the synopsis, the adopted, Philippa Palfrey, turns 18 and decides it's time to find her real parents.  While she has always envisioned aristocratic ties within her heritage, what she encounters is a little more bloody than she anticipated.  I've wanted to read this book for years based off the synopsis.  Finally, it's within my grasp.

With all that said... all I can scream is...

Thanks everyone.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chinese Cinderella & History

I’ve been writing about China and Historical Fiction/Non-fiction on Comic Towel lately.  So much so that I wanted to share more of my love of both subjects in their sometimes blended splendor.  While the book I’m currently reading doesn't occupied either of the two topics, I couldn't exactly find a book to square up to that would allow me to delve deeper into the subject.  Then I glanced at my copy of Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter, by Adeline Yen Mah, and recalled the summer night I spent reading the book from start to finish.  Needless to say, that night I freely absorbed Chinese culture and Mah’s personal story revolving around subjugation to many of China’s darkest administrations.  Politically and communally I might add.  That glancing led me to an essay I wrote not to long ago featuring Adeline Yen Mah’s teen version of her autobiography titled, Chinese Cinderella, as well as the topic of historical fiction versus fact.  I would like to share it here, knowing that these subjects have always been something I generally loved to talk about.

Historical fiction and non-fiction novels contain a precise view of the world via a particular story’s setting.  This category of children stories represent realities of earlier periods in human history, told to contemporary readers.  Therefore, because of generational gaps, children may be unfamiliar with the settings and traditions that make up historical fiction.  Here writers must provide enough strong material to fill in the customs of the past so that children of the modern age can understand and appreciate the entirety of a story.  It is this filling of significant period-related material that eases children into the plot of a story, instead of pushing a history lesson.  Adeline Yen Mah’s nonfiction biography, Chinese Cinderella, introduces children to 1930s China through the eyes of an unfortunate girl within an emotionally abusive home.  It is a story that pulls from generations past to express political and cultural upheavals while maintaining the story of one Chinese family’s struggle.  Some may assume that Mah’s need to reveal Chinese culture and politics found itself unnecessary in developing the story’s theme concerning family and child disassociation.  However, Mah’s political and cultural reflections of past China shape much of the influence of family oppression that encouraged young readers to engage with her story.

Chinese Cinderella represents a story about conquering one’s own painful past to establish a productive and wealthy future.  Told through the autobiographical eyes of Adeline Mah, the children’s novel begins with young Mah living a relatively normal, happy life as a child in revolutionizing China.  

The beginning of the novel shows Mah celebrating with a silver medal that she received from school as well as a certificate.  This celebration is in honor of her leading her class, an element that foreshadows her future as a physician and writer.  Nevertheless, like many Chinese families, Mah lives within a complex family; therefore, she presents this award to her aunt, who is combing her hair and not to her numerous brothers and sister because of her fear of an unwarranted reaction.  Mah’s aunt becomes inspired by her niece’s achievement, pulling forth old photographs to relay where her niece came from within the complexities of her family‘s list of honors.  With the photograph, Mah’s aunt reminds Mah of each family member and his or her purpose, goals, and achievements.  However, when Mah questions her aunt about her mother’s role and death, her aunt reveals that Mah’s mother died three days after giving birth to her only.  This begins to set the tone of a motherless girl who becomes classified under Chinese tradition to contain bad luck because of the life her birth took.  No amount of achievements would appear to shadow Mah’s existence following her mother’s death, even within her own family (Mah, 1999, pg. 6)

Mah’s family siblings would forever blame her for their mother’s death, her father sought marriage to a woman of French and Chinese heritage.  This wife bore two additional children (a girl and a boy) during the time China faced and lost the Opium War between England and France.  Many families migrated from coastal cities to Tianjin and Shanghai as a result of the war.  As World War II came about many Chinese traditions further changed from customs featured in the Tang dynasty.  One of these customs was the custom of bounding girls’ feet, considering Chinese men put stock in women with small feet.  Here, Mah no longer had to follow tradition.  This later granted her the ability to form her own destiny as the story unfolds presenting the horrors her stepmother placed on her family (and her in particular) during their time in changing China.  Because her stepmother came from mixed heritage, it became easy for the father to accept that her form of discipline was a matter of cultural progression.  Therefore, he accepted the abuse for the sake of maintaining his wife during a period of struggle (Mah, 1999, pg. 8-10).

Literary elements that construct novels such as Chinese Cinderella are honest history and convincing characters.  Each of these two elements coincides with one another to illustrate a story.  Readers of Chinese Cinderella must consider the history behind China, presented in the novel as well as the character’s place and reactions to those histories and settings.  Convincing cannot be established when the setting and characters are not balanced correctly.  One must fit into the other.  Should the setting contain elements of future sciences and technologies, the characters would no longer be honest to the setting.  Likewise should the character contain knowledge of future sciences and technologies, the character would have no place within the influence of his or her story (Russell, 2009, pg. 247-250).  Chinese Cinderella manages both literary elements correctly, stemming from its nonfiction nature.  Told from the perspective of an individual, the information is accurate.  However, that is not to say that some autobiographies contain elements of fiction.  

Nevertheless, examples that illustrate Mah’s placement of these two literary elements are Mah’s reaction to traditions such as her older sister’s marriage arrangement and bringing honor to family and ancestors.  Under each circumstance, Mah remained innocence and honest in her wonder as regarding why such traditions should be held, even as she went about upholding them.  However, when faced with the scrutiny of her stepmother (who twice sent her to boarding school because of Mah’s tendency to question her), Mah’s resolve to one day be set free of China increased.  This set of traditions (including the early mention of bounding girls feet for marriage) reflected the character of Mah, who has remained an outcast to her family no matter how clever and smart (indicated by her school achievements) that she was.  

One insightful passage helped establish readers to the character of Mah as well as her struggle to separate herself from the harshness of China because she longed for life outside her confinement as a girl and an unwanted daughter.  The passage is told by Mah’s grandfather.  He states to her:

“You may be right in believing that if you study hard, one day you might become fluent in English.  But you will still look Chinese, and when people meet you, they’ll see a Chinese girl no matter how well you speak English.  You’ll always be  expected to know Chinese, and if you don’t, I’m afraid they will not respect you as much” (Mah, 1999, pg. 151).

Her setting later allowed her to split from the boundaries women face in China, leading her to a successful career in London and America as a bilingual physician (Ford, 2003, pg. 66).

Fact or fiction is a statement that demands truth over false within historical fiction or nonfiction.  In Mah’s nonfiction biography, Chinese Cinderella, the elements of fact become determined by the historic events that take place within the story.  Two examples that relay how her material becomes based on fact are her mention of China’s divide with foreign territories or concessions while the Japanese ruled the country beyond these foreign territories.  Because Mah’s family was wealthy and with clout (particularly her French and Chinese stepmother), her family lived well within the territories of the French.  Mah express this piece of fact stating that “Tianjin’s French concession was like a little piece of Paris transplanted into this center of this big Chinese city” (Mah, 1999, pg. 5-6).  During the late 1930s and early 1940s, the Japanese and other foreigner territories did reside in China during the period of the Opium War and World War II. 

Another example of fact within Mah’s novel arises in the political stains the country faced after the Japanese fled the country at the end of World War II.  This period of Communists and Nationalists became the cause of civil war within the country, as the exchange of ideas erupted in Chinese communities, concerning the progression of the country after the wars.  When Mah became pushed into a boarding school, the teachers, and administrating staff questioned: “Didn’t your parents tell you the Communist don’t believe in God and hate foreigners?” (Mah, 1999, pg. 129-130).

Each example furthers the theme of Mah’s story as she continued to wrestling with inner and outer wars to establish her separation from many elements that created a corrupted China.  These elements brought envisions of freedom from tradition as well as freedom from her family.  Mah was the perfect student and remained partly, such as mistreatment from family and wars proceeded to damage her mentality.  Had she not continued to pursue excellence, she would have never escaped the hardships of her past (Ford, 2003, pg. 66).

Even as humans try to remove themselves from his or her past, it is the past that makes the individual.  Mah learned this through the development of her autobiography, aimed to teach children how one’s past does not onset a negative future unless and individual chooses to allow it to be so.  Much of the events Mah faced, from war to political ruling, shaped her determination to exceed beyond her past.  How these elements also contributed to the destructive behavior of her stepmother furthered Mah’s resolve, as toward the end of her true story, when her father’s will is read, Mah decides to no longer fight with her abusive stepmother.  Instead, Mah walks away to continue creating the life she desired with her newfound power of freedom of mind.

Ford, Kim. Voices From the Middle 10.3 (March, 2003): 66.

Mah, A. Y. (1999). Chinese Cinderella. New York City: Dell Laurel Leaf.

Russell, D.L. (2009). Literature for Children: A short introduction (6th Edition). Boston,
MA Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Housekeeping Video

Review and Book Housekeeping Video

I'm giving a small review of Domino Falls by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due and doing a mini book haul featuring Control by Lydia Kang and Year of the Demon by Steve Bein.  Be on the lookout for reviews.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January Reading Wrap-Up

January was a very good month.  My year of blogging and book tubing remained strong, just as I’d planned and continue to work on.  Set the stage and keep on performing… so to speak.  In any regard, time to wrap up my January reads as we move on into February.  My list is incredible short because two of the books I’ve already written about on Comic Towel.  If you’ve read any of these books and have something to share about them, please feel free to do so.  Who doesn’t love discussing books, right?

Beside finally finishing Laurell K Hamilton’s airless Anita Blake novel, Affliction, and Maya Angelou’s inspirational collection of essays in, Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now, I finally managed to catch up on Steve Bein’s multi-layered genre novel, Daughter of the Sword.  I also devoured Jung Chang and Jon Halliday's Mao.  Needless to say, I am now pleasantly--pleasantly--satisfied with them both.

Daughter of the Sword

Daughter of the Sword combines elements of urban fantasy, historical fiction, and crime fiction into one fantasy seen cavorting down some mean and murderous Tokyo streets.  To a degree, however.  The fact is that the narrative switches between several time periods between 1587 Japan and 2010 Tokyo.  Nevertheless, the story begins with Tokyo detective, Mariko Oshiro (the only female detective in the city so noted within the text), in the midst of placing a cap on a string of narcotics dealings taking place within the city.  Almost inadvertently, her sister collides into her latest sting operation, troubling Mariko’s position.  Go easy on the drug-using sister?  Or book her?  Mariko goes easy on her sister and later finds criticism for her actions via her partners.  It’s already troubling being the only female detective in Tokyo--now this.  What troubles abounds Mariko gets worst when the new station lieutenant, Lieutenant Ko, gathers Mariko into his office for a critical rundown of her previous operation.  In basic terms, he’s a straight-up asshole to her for a variety of reasons besides the fact that she is a female cop.  Nevertheless, with his rank, he decides to put Mariko on probation from working Narcotics cases, and in turn, sends her on “shit cases” involving an elderly Japanese man who recently reported an attempted burglary of his home.  Someone tried--but obviously failed--to steal one of his many ancient swords.  To be specific, his Master Inazuma sword named Glorious Victory. 

Reluctantly taking on the case, it's here that Mariko is introduced to Yamada, the elderly man who reported the attempted burglary.  With this introduction comes a budding friendship and a peek into the legend by the ancient Inazuma swords--which consist of three swords providing three different utilities to its wielders.  Now, while Mariko’s case seems packed and all well and good, what really sets this story off is the leaps into the past we experience as the narrative switches.  I should clarify that the book remains third person, however the narrative changes by providing interlocking plots that illustrate the purpose and power behind each Inazuma sword via characters from ancient Japan.  This was especially fun for me because I love Asian ghost stories and Japanese Kwaidan tales.

Now, the third narrative point revolves around the actual villain and his quest to retrieve the three Inazuma swords.  Meanwhile, he wields the bloodiest of them all, Beautiful Singer, around Tokyo leaving a trail of bodies for Mariko to follow.

The way this book comes together between these three points is what kept the text fresh and engrossing.  You get the history behind the swords, as well as the case, as well as the desperate actions of the villain, all rolled into one.  It’s also told through a solid beat, or voice, that is consistent throughout the ride.  Therefore, the switches between narratives didn’t drag through certain areas to impress you with monologues on tradition and culture.  All that was woven into the voice.  A personal plus for me was that the book wasn't urban fantasy underneath the veil of chick lit.  Therefore, no romance was present enough to override the plot.  That, my friends, is gold country right there!  I recently bought the second novel in the series, Year of the Demon, and will be sinking my teeth into it this month.  Steve Bein.  You have a new fan.

The Unknown Story: Mao

Without a doubt, The Unknown Story: Mao, by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, made for a thick and concentrating read.  There was absolutely nothing light about this 600+ page elephantidae of a biography uncovering the life of one of China’s [add your own adjective here] leaders.  I walked away from reading the book mesmerized, puzzled, and a little appalled at this leader’s tenacity to beat an entire country of people down, particularly through the use of vicious indoctrination and starvation.  Now, much of this I’m familiar with having read books (fiction and non-fiction) revolving around the atrocities of China’s Cultural Revolution.  However, there was no way I could know--or even come to understand--the truth behind its history.  This book provided that truth; some agree some disagree.

What a spread of information!  From Mao’s Communist beginnings, his many rivalries (I saw Chiang Kai-shek more like a nemesis; only one I voted for between the two), his usurping of the Red Army, and the fate of his wives; this book was just an uncontrollable wealth of information page after page.  Let’s not even forget to mention Mao's ugly Purges, kidnapping schemes, poisonings, and failed attempts to spread his Maoism across the world as China starved.  This book was explosive to say the least, and I enjoyed every minute of delving into the dept of this man.  It was an exhaustive ride, but very much worth the trip.  Guided by Chang and Halliday’s near seamless writing, I found myself devouring every bit of painted descriptions, character (though they are actual historical people) portraits, and factual (rather documented) pieces of dialogue.  However, I must say that in the beginning I was gathering a “textbook” feel for the book, but eventually their storytelling operation took over the more I understood the role and names of the historical people this book was written around.  Only then did each event unfold ceaselessly until its end.

More could be written on this biography--lots more.  As usual, any biographer will receive their share of criticism about their interpretation of history.  Apparently, Chang and Halliday received theirs in bulk.  Nevertheless, for the individual that I am, I am happy to say that I found myself complacent with what I received from this book.  I can’t weight fact from fiction because I‘m not an expert or historian on the subject of Mao.  All I can say is that I read the book, soaked into the history/story, and found myself a lot smarter and informed at its end.  That’s good enough for me.

What I'm Currently Reading

A couple of weeks from now will mark a year since I had this particularly book.  After digging into the depths of Mao, I thought it was time for some light reading... with a little post-apocalyptic zombie mayhem.  Domino Falls (second in a series) by the married writing duo, Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, had been staring at me from its sleeper position on my shelf for quite some time.  I figured what the hell, I could save money buying books by reading what I already have.

At approximately 179 pages into Domino Falls, I have to say that I like the first book in the series, Devil's Wake, a little better.  Mainly because in Devil's Wake we are introduced to the zombie outbreak on what is known as Freak Day, as well as the immediate chaos that followed.  Plus, we witnessed how the cast of characters came together, which is always fun.

In Domino Falls, the pacing has slowed down considerable from chase scenes, survival tactics, and shootouts.  This is done in favor of building character conflict/discord/relationships, survival-town huddling, and a creepy mystery hinting to something out of The Walking Dead's Governor's secret room.  I haven't gotten into that part quite yet to tell what is happening, but it's definitely happening.  I'm kind of upset that I put the book down a year ago after stopping about 20 pages in.  The shift in pacing between the two books is necessary.  So what was I thinking?

Nevertheless, the draw of this series (when is the 3rd book due?) is the fact that the main cast of characters are people of color.  It's the same cast of survivors, ranging from late teens to mid-twenties, that were introduced in the first book, Devil's Wake.  From African-American to Native American, the seven of them (plus a dog) find themselves manning and avoiding the politics that make up the survivors town/colony inside Domino Falls.  While several of the cast of characters annoy me, I can't help but grin because I know them so well from the first book.  Should something happen to one of them, I don't know how I'll handle myself.  With that said, I don't think all eight of them will come out of this novel together.

After I post this, I'm seeping back into their world.

Books That Didn't Make It

There is one book in the month of January that I bought and couldn't find myself to finish.  I found it at my public library's bookstore.  It's called The Healing, by Gayl Jones.  I haven't decided whether I should give the book another try or not, but as of right now, it's on my TD pile--To Donate.  I've never read Gayl Jones, but I am a complete sucker for African-American writers who are of a certain age writing with a certain wisdom and vernacular that reminds me of butter on toast.  While I don't doubt that a book about a traveling faith healer is absent of some of the elements I love in African-American writers, Gayl Jones's The Healing just missed its mark with me.  It wasn't so much that the narrative is written in a stream-of-conscious fashion, it's the fact that her dialogue is un-punctuated!  If you have the patience to re-read lines to determine whether you are comprehending inner monologue or actual dialogue, then good for you.  For me, it's not worth the headache.  Maybe one day I'll get there, but I'll have to settle for what I am familiar with in this instance.  I can read The Healing to be absorbed into a story, not to find myself reading the equivalent of stepping carefully over shards of glass.  Sad that I didn't make it...

Thanks for catching up with me.  I'll share my latest video explaining as an extension to this post.  Well, actually, this post in an extension to the video.  (^.^)

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