Saturday, January 3, 2009

This and That: Thanks to eBay and Chris

Thanks to eBay for the $25 gift card they sent me for Christmas. While they do charge me an excessive amount of fees if it wasn’t for them I’d be stuck in Middle Management and miserable. Instead I’m running my own business so for that I’m thankful. The $25 didn’t last long. It took me no longer then 5 minutes to log onto my account and purchase the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake which I received a few days ago. Can’t wait to dive head first into this one.

Since I don’t believe in sending thank you cards, especially when you tell someone thanks in person I would none the less like to send thanks to my friend Chris who was nice enough to purchase me a few books at a local used bookstore.

The thing you’ll have to realize is that both Chris and I are both extremely frugal people as we don’t like to waste our money frivolously. So a used bookstore was the perfect place to exchange gifts. We both ended up spending about $7 on each other which isn’t too bad. My haul consisted of the Tyrants and Kings Trilogy by John Marco along with a Michael Crichton novel called “State of Fear”. Chris summed the book up this way “It’s a book

about how Global Warming is fake.” I was sold as I think the whole global warming thing is a bunch of hogwash. Chris picked up a couple Ed McBain novels and a couple other books that escape my mind at the moment. I’d love to hear about everyone else’s book related gifts as well so post it up on comments.

Lastly, I just finished “The Shadow of the Wind” which I read base d on Plinydogg’s recommendation. Everyone and their mother have been blown away by this book and I’m no different. A near perfect novel in every respect. There’s been so many rave reviews on this book there’s no need for me to write yet another one citing the virtues of this novel so I’ll just give my brief score which is:


Friday, January 2, 2009

Review: The Northwood Chronicles

Like a fish your hooked right from the start by Elizabeth Engstrom’s Northwood Chronicles. The title of the book in my opinion is a bit pretentious as it’s a Novel Told In Short Stories. Come on folks lets call a spade a spade it’s a collection of short stories that are all interrelated to each other. After reading the previous two sentences it may be an argument of Tomato/Tamatto so I’ll desist.

In any case in the sleepy little vacation community of Vargas County there are some strange happenings going down. The strangest being the disappearance of the town’s children. They just up and vanish without a trace. Yet despite this fact people choose to stay in this town and many consider the disappearing children to be a tax levied on them for the otherwise quiet and prosperous lives each of them lead. Fair enough.

As the book progresses and more stories are revealed to us the book begins to take on a depth that I wasn’t expecting. The way the author weaves the lives of the townspeople together is just incredibly captivating. It’s great when a character from a previous story makes an appearance in another’s story. This makes the characters seem that much more alive as they each are honest to goodness people going about their lives. Engstrom has completely nailed the small town feel in this novel. The minor feuds and gossip that go on between all the townspeople is spot on and left me nodding my head that this is how small town life really is.

While some of the story didn’t resonate with me as much as others there were no dogs in this collection. Each story was decent and some were excellent. Throughout each short story the author kept the main story arc on the backburner always teasing us with new tidbits about who or what was taking the town’s children. The weight of these disappearances were felt by each and every person in the town. A story arc like this makes the pages fly by as you can’t wait to read the next story as more and more is revealed to you and then…the book’s over.

I was a bit perplexed as the author was building toward a grand finale and then the story just ended with what was a huge COPOUT by the author. Nothing is revealed, no answers, no nothing. While for some novels this whole “leave the readers wondering about the mystery” works it doesn’t for this one. The reader is left both wondering and with an incredibly crappy ending that is just moronic. Not even the village idiot would be satisfied with the ending we get.

No matter how great I thought each of the stories was the incredibly horrible ending left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I’d still recommend picking this book up but be prepared to be let down by it in the end.


Should be back soon.

My computer is back from Dell and they assure me that its in perfect working order we shall soon find out.