Summertime and the 'reading is easy'...Maybe this is true for you as well, but come summer I tend to take a break from reading heavy stuff, and allow myself to just let go, read some trash or light hearted fun stuff for a change.
So, what book do you have book-marked? Heady or not, review your latest read.
I must say, that book by Robert Charles Wilson sounds absolutely fantastic. I love 'post apocalyptic' story lines. The most recent book I read was Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood- another amazing story of our future turned sour. She incorporates genetic manipulation, the growing of organs like crops, mixed species like the 'snat' (snake and rat put together). And somehow, with all of this weird and unknown science going on, people either living the life of luxury on the Compounds, or braving the wilderness of the cities, the story itself is very home grown and touching, close to the heart. Atwood is one of the best story tellers I've ever read.
Neil Gaiman, however, may surpass her in some ways. I've read all of his books, American Gods being my favorite. It's a fantastical roller-coaster ride through mythology and fantasy. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me throw the book across the room in anger only to run over and pick it up again. He weaves together the finest of ancient mythologies from all over the world, all the while choosing to put his own spin on things. It is quite the read, for any fantasy reader, or anyone that knows anything about mythology. It's quite the read in general, really, but works best with some understanding of world cultures, etc.
Now I'm just standing by, waiting for this masterpiece to be made into a movie. In a lot of ways, it reads almost like a screenplay. All the settings are presented with the utmost clarity, the descriptions leave one with the most magical of images in one's mind. I really think you'll love it, no one can't. =)
The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir
By Josh Kilmer-purcell
I bought and started this book two weeks ago while away for a weekend vacation in Southampton, LI, and haven't been able to get even half way through (since I'm busy packing to move), but I have to say that I have never read a book that kept me rolling with laughter one page after the other. Delightful, funny, entertaining, well written, simply a delight.
I'm miserable at doing lengthy book reviews, but here a good one chosen from Amazon.
Amazon Review By Amos Lassen
"The Bucolic Plague", a memoir of how the author and his partner, Brent, decided to buy a farm in upstate New York and how it did not become a Garden of Eden but rather a cliffhanger. A story of love, land and goats and everything else that makes life worth living. I raced through this book turning pages as fast as I could and then I sat down and reread it again very slowly. I loved it as much the second time (f not more) than the first. If you have ever wanted to know what it is like to live the American Dream, here is the book for you.
I haven't had this much fun in years (with a book at least). Kilmer-Purcell is a great story teller and he manages to pull the reader into the story on the first page. But this is not a story--this really happened. Somehow it is hard to imagine the author bottle feeding baby goats but as the book moves forward, you find yourself holding the goat as he feeds it.
The author and Brent found Beekman Mansion, built in 1802, in Sharon Springs, N.Y. about three and a half hours from Manhattan. They made an offer, far below the asking price, and found themselves suddenly surprised to be the proud owners. John, a goat keeper with 70 goats applies for the job of caretaker for the property. They hire him and get the goats as a bonus. Before long they are involved with the community, the land, and the goats, as they manage to keep their weekday city jobs, with weekends spent living as farmers in the country.
This is a compelling story and so much fun to read. Noting that one of the gentleman farmers was a former drag queen, makes this all the more delightful. Here is the story of their transition from city dwellers to country farmers, from gay life to farm life. There were certainly a lot of laugh out loud moments, but also many touching, serious parts as Josh and Brent confront the realities of becoming gentlemen farmers, struggling as the economy tanks with all the Wall Street meltdowns in 2006 through 2008. I fell in love with this small town and it's people which made me do some daydreaming of my own about how cool it would be to do something just like they did.
Two thumbs up for this book! If you read no other book this summer, make sure you read this one.
I am currently reading Divorce Your Car by Katie Alvord. I have had to face the fact that as a car owner and driver that I have been supporting the same oil corporations that I so despise. I have to find out how to get out of this self destructive marrage.
This country has such poor public transportation that for so many of us, it is impossible to get around without a car. Car-pooling to and from work is one solution that some people make use of, also car-sharing seems to be a new trend just starting to pop up in certain areas. Amazingly enough, the small town of Ithaca, NY where I'm moving has a top notch bus system all around town and to neighboring towns as well. They also have car-sharing program that I'm going to look into once I finally move there in TEN DAYS....
Electric bicycles are something that has caught my imagination... No need to register and insure them, and they can travel up to 15 miles an hour. They have rechargeable batteries, so all you need do is plug them in overnight. Only problem is that I would be only able to use it for a few months out of the year living in such a northern climate, but it still might be worth it. These electric bikes are not cheap, averaging around $2,000. but there are many less expensive models available, and hopefully as they become more popular in the US the prices will come down as well. Also considering a motor scooter.
I'm reading "The Year of Living Biblically" by A.J. Jacobs. It is both thought provoking and funny. Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book so far that debunks the idea that the religious are stupid: "In fact, you have to be quite sharp to be a leading creationist. The mental gymnastics can be astonishing."
That's a great quote Mentor. I read an article about how the author managed to live out the year, and it was very funny and apparently very difficult for him as well. I don't know if the article was on NPR, or where I read it?
This book isn't on my night-table yet, but it's going to end up being there soon. I stumbled across it on the NPR website this morning and knew that it would also appeal to you as well.
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free [Paperback]
Charles P. Pierce (Author)
Amazon Reader Review By James Hiller:
Make no mistake about it. "Idiot America" is really going to irk some people, and irk them very badly. Charles Pierce leaves no "right winger" behind in his polemic about how stupidity is reigning and raining hard in America, mostly due to the foible of rabid conservative thought.
Covering topics as varied as crank author Ignatius Donnelly's "fictional" non-fiction book on Atlantis that made him an author celebrity, to Oklahoma senator James Inhofe, who claims that global warming is a "hoax". Pierce's narrative bounces all over the place, from topic to topic, skewering right wingers with every slash of his lexigraphic sword, often to funny results. His case: America has become the land of idiocy, where senators diagnose patients over a television set, radio buffoons suggest that autism is caused by bad parenting, and evolution should be banished from the schools.
He builds his case with three interesting premises:
1) Any theory is valid if it sells books, soak up ratings, or otherwise move units. (Ann Coulter, right)
2) Anything can be true if someone says it loud enough. (Hello Rush!)
3) Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it. (Right wing, helllooo?)
Thus, what Pierce calls "the Gut", people just know something is right and wrong, because their "gut" tells them. Unfortunately, as Pierce explores through this book, people are experiencing serious gastronomical issues; more aptly, the right wing of this country needs to seriously look at taking a colonic, for what they actually perpetuate and pander to is absurd, if not laughable.
Pierce starts each chapter with an scene or two from the life of President James Madison, funnily labeled "the Charlie Brown of the Founding Fathers", whose words illuminate the concept that Pierce explores. One of the most powerful chapters comes in his journey through the world of Terri Schiavo's hospice experience. Pierce speaks with the people most effected by Terri (not the Congress passing legislation, which Bush "interrupted" one of his many vacations to sign), the brave souls who worked at the hospice and endured the brunt of hostilities when the media besieged the location. Another powerful chapter centers on the "Intelligent Design" battle in Dover, Pennsylvania and the Republican judged irked at the people trying to inject national politics into their little hamlet.
"Idiot America" works to expose cranks in our society, in order to restore something that we once had in the United States, but increasingly, is disappearing, which is the ability to engage in thoughtful, meaningful dialogue. When one side puts up such a wall of idiocy, blares it loudly without listening, dialogue, honest debate simply cannot happen.
This book is not for everyone. Those on the right of issues in this country won't find any of the exposed hypocrisy remotely believable or interesting. Those on the left, and the center, would do well to read this book, and learn from Pierce's brilliant damning look at those who declare war on America's intelligent people.
Check Out the 131 Reader Review on Amazon - LINK
Hi Mentor, Yes, I've been listening to NPR for over 35 years... (oh my...) Catch it most days, but not always. I do love that if I miss something I can now listen to it online! In the 'olden days' it was catch as catch can...lol... Do you listen to NPR too? NYC has a great public radio channel that I listen to on and off all day long. Hardly ever/never watch TV anymore, except for my fav show Mad Men. Sometimes House and Dexter online....