28 October 2005

19. Rules of the Wild by Francesa Marciano

There were time I thought this was for sure a chick book. The narrator is a woman and the main thread is her finding and losing love, BUT it's not chick-lit.

The book is about Euro and Ameri expats living in Kenya and all the twisted reasons they are there and all the twisted relationships they get into. Ultimately it is a journey of discovery for our narrator, Esme.

Some of the dialogue in the begining is so bad you feel sorry for Marciano, but the description and protrayal of the characters is so good you forgive her immediately.

This was a good book and I strongly recommend it.

26 October 2005

18. You are Going to Prison by Jim Hogshire

Well, if I wasn't scared enough about going to jail, I am now.

Nothing about the experience sounds good. Or survivable. Hogshire goes through each step of the process, from seeing the rollers/flashing lights behind you all the way up to the electric chair. He even tells a beautiful little story about a Quaker who skips out on $10 bail and winds up in a Detention Center "covered wagon," a pair of bunk beds with a blanket thrown over top. Seems the war protestor spent hours getting gang raped and beaten up. Speaking of rape, if you go to jail, there doesn't seem to be much chance of not getting the shaft, so to speak. No anal rape metaphors in prison, it's all ass-banging reality. And there isn't much comfort in coming to the end of your sentence - it seems that is an even better time to get fu.cked in the keester because the bad guys know you don't want to get in trouble (by getting into a fight) just before you are about to get out because doing so might extend your sentence. And there are lots of ways to get your sentence extended. Jail is bad. Don't fu.ck up.

18 October 2005

17. Stormrider by Akira Yoshimura

Not that great. I'm reading a lot of duds this year.

This is the story of Hikozo, a young boy from a small village in Japan who get s agig as a cook's apprentice on a merchant ship. The ship gets into a big storm, gets dismasted, drifts, and is rescued by an American whaler. Then the castaways go on to America and various adventures.

There is almost no conflict in this story. It's more like Yoshi's writing a (boring) diary of Hiko's (boring) life. Toward the end of the book I had taken to calling it Boringrider. I'm falling asleep just trying to write this entry.

07 October 2005

16. The Dubliners by James Joyce

A collection of short stories. I had never read any Joyce, or so I thought, until now. I had read the story "Araby" in my intro to lit class at Suffolk Community College. Loved it then. Loved it now. This whole book was excellent. Each story was a delicious little bite. The last story, "The Dead" left me breathless toward the end. These are short stories. Nothing like what they put in One Story, the New Yorker, or the Atlantic. Excellence. More Joyce to come.