Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Riding in Cars with Boys

Riding in Cars with Boys by Beverly Donofrio is an memoir originally published in 1990. My paperback copy has 204 pages. I picked this book up in a used books clearance area rather than because I had some great desire to read it. It was ok. The subject matter made it a little less appealing for me, but what really made it not live up to the wonderful reviews found other places was that Donofrio keeps it light and breezy. She never goes deeper than the surface actions of her outward rebellion. We don't see any personal growth or insight. In her story she presents all of her family and friends as merely surface characterizations without any real depth. Also, while she is bemoaning the fact that she was a teenage mother, she was 18. Many young people at 18 are mature and taking on adult responsibilities. Finally, this is an easy read and not even particularly well written, considering Donofrio's education. There were some humorous sections. I'd give it a so-so recommendation. Rating: 2.5

At Amazon from Publishers Weekly:
Donofrio, a rebellious policeman's daughter, details her promiscuity and drug abuse, early pregnancy and brief marriage, and eventual success as a freelance journalist. "In this humor-flecked, street-side view of her unconventional life, Donofrio . . . writes about a mother and her son coming of age together," said PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"Trouble began in 1963....The trouble I'm talking about was my first real trouble, the age-old trouble. The getting in trouble an in 'Is she in Trouble?' trouble. As in pregnant." pg. 13

"I just figured, naively, that anybody who was smart enough could go to college." pg. 21

"...'I hear your pains have stopped.'
'We're going to give you a little something to get them started again, speed things up.'
...'Okay...we're moving right along. Now I'm going to give you some Demerol to ease it up a bit.' " pg. 66

"If everybody picked their nose when they felt like it, everybody would be a lot happier. You pick your nose, I pick my nose, everybody picks their nose, so why hide it? We got ruined from socialization." pg. 78

"The only thing I thought about marriage after that was, Never in a million years, not for a billion dollars, and never again if it kills me." pg. 102

"Why did my parents decide to name their first daughter Beverly Ann Donofrio and forever brand me with the initials B.A.D.?" pg. 124

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell was originally published in 2006. The hardcover copy is 245 pages long. This is one of those books I picked up after reading more than one good recommendation. In this case the good reviews were right. This is a very good novel. I like the description from Carolyn Parkhurst on the back cover that says, "This haunting and extraordinarily engrossing novel - part gothis mystery, part tangled family drama - reminded me why I love reading in the first place: it's because a well-written book has the power to carry us away to a place we've never been but always suspected was there." O'Farrell kept me guessing right up to the end. I highly recommend The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. Rating: 4

Synopsis from cover:

In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend's attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital—where she has been locked away for more than sixty-one years.

Iris’s grandmother Kitty had always claimed to be an only child. But Esme’s papers prove she is Kitty’s sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme’s face.

Esme has been labeled harmless—sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But she’s still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?

A gothic,intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox will haunt readers long past its final page.


"It is always the meaningless tasks that endure: the washing, the cooking, the clearing, the cleaning. Never anything majestic or significant, just the tiny rituals that hold together the seams of human life." pg. 2

"[M]y colleague and I have worked closely with Euphemia during our recent schedule of Rehabilitaion Programmes. We are fully convinced of her docility and are very confident about her successful rehabilitation into society." pg. 35

"And something about her changes, and Iris has to hold her breath because she has seen something passing over the woman's face, like a shadow cast on water." pg. 49

"The cold was astonishing. It seemed to flay the skin from their faces, to chill the flesh right down to the bone." pg. 70

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dahlia's Gone

Dahlia's Gone by Katie Estill was originally published in 2007. My hardcover copy is 239 pages long. I guess this would be classified as a murder mystery for women, although there is very little mystery involved since the identity of the murderer is never truly in doubt. What Estill seems to be trying to do is take the basic plot of the murder and write a chick-lit novel around it. Dahlia's Gone is really more of an introspective-lite account about how three women handle their relationships and inner turmoil during the murder investigation. Actually, I think Estill was a wee bit confused about exactly where she wanted to go with Dahlia's Gone since there are several loosely started story lines that could have given the novel a richer depth had they been developed. Also in many ways it does seem that in her writing Estill was trying too hard in some cases but perhaps not enough in others. You know, Dahlia's Gone isn't a bad novel. There is some interesting character development and it did hold my attention. It's not quite as good as other people have claimed. Rating: 3.5

The murder of a teenage girl, Dahlia Everston, profoundly affects three middle-aged women in Estill's poignant second novel... set in what appears to be the Missouri Ozarks. Norah Everston, Dahlia's fundamentalist stepmother, can't bring herself to believe that her teenage son, Timothy, may know more than he's telling about Dahlia's brutal stabbing death. Sand Williams, a former World Health Organization reporter and Norah's nearest neighbor, who was supposed to check up on Dahlia and Tim while Norah and her husband were away, feels terrible guilt. Deputy sheriff Patti Callahan, who's the first official to visit the crime scene and has made a career of defending the abused women of her Ozark community, vows to see justice done. Simply told, without cliffhangers or sensational revelations, the story focuses on Norah, Sand and Patti as each adapts to the emotional landscape in the aftermath of an outrage that will leave them forever changed. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

First paragraph:
"A promise can change a life. Even a small, casual promise extended without much thought or contemplation." pg. 1

"The implied criticism that she left Weleda County and went away.. and moved back only after her father died. It's true that no one from here asks her what her life was like away from here." pg. 9

"Mom - Norah - said you're going to make sure we follow all the rules"
"Rules? What rules? She didn't tell me about any rules?" pg. 12

"The lesson of the wild dogs had many applications in life... Don't let then know you're scared. Stand still. Talk to them in a commanding, even voice. Don't ever run, or they'll attack." pg. 24

"Her father always complained about the nuisance of squirrels...'They're nothing more than rats with puffy tails!' " pg.. 48-49

"When her father left this world, all the bird feeders in his yard were armed with nails. any squirrel foolish enough to jump down onto a feeder would be instantly impaled" pg. 50

"I call it the wife-beater god." pg 93

"Two years ago she was hauling fifty-pound bags of rice over her shoulder for hours at a time. Now, most mornings, it's an effort to climb out of bed. Where is her strength, her energy? What happened to the person she has been up to now? Is she suddenly old?" pg. 118

"When Sand walks back into the cabin, she senses some mild geological shift has occurred, an intimation received without language but understood, the way cats and dogs know an earthquake is on the way." pg. 141

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Brief History of the Dead

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier was originally published in 2006. My paperback copy is 253 pages.

Synopsis from the back cover:

The City is inhabited by those who have departed Earth but are still remembered by the living. They will reside in this afterlife until they are completely forgotten. But the City is shrinking, and the residents clearing out. Some of the holdouts, like Luka Sims, who produces the City’s only newspaper, are wondering what exactly is going on. Others, like Coleman Kinzler, believe it is the beginning of the end. Meanwhile, Laura Byrd is trapped in an Antarctic research station, her supplies are running low, her radio finds only static, and the power is failing. With little choice, Laura sets out across the ice to look for help, but time is running out. Kevin Brockmeier alternates these two story lines to create a lyrical and haunting story about love, loss and the power of memory.
I enjoyed this book and felt Brockmeier did and excellent job capturing the essence of what the reader needed to know about each character. His writing style is clear, clean, and precise. This was a thought provoking book, but an easy one to follow and read. Even though I'm not sure if I totally liked the ending, I highly recommend The Brief History of the Dead. Rating: 4

Quotes (Due to Brockmeier's concise writing, I can't include too many quotes without giving too much of the story away.)

"The stories people told about the crossing were as varied and elaborate as their ten billion lives so much more particular than those other stories, the ones they told about their deaths." pg. 4

"Occasionally one of the dead, someone who had just completed the crossing, would mistake the city for heaven. It was a misunderstanding that never persisted for long. what kind of heaven had the blasting sounds of garbage trucks in the morning and chewing gum on the pavement, and the smell of fish rotting by the river? What kind of hell, for that matter, had bakeries and dogwood trees and perfect blue days that made the hairs on the back of your neck rise on end?" pg. 7

"[T]hey all said the same thing: the numbers of the dead were shrinking. There were empty rooms in empty buildings that had been churning with bodies just a few weeks before." pg. 14

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Wild Trees

The Wild Trees by Richard Preston (with illustrations by Andrew Joslin) was originally published in 2007. My hardcover copy has 294 pages. This is nonfiction. I adored The Wild Trees and knew I would before I even read it. I have been keeping a look out for a used copy since it was originally published but I should have just purchased it new. This makes me want to go back and look at more sequoias... and I already felt an overwhelming desire to see them again before reading Preston's book. You might need to love big trees to really cherish this book, but since I already love big trees, it was a natural for me. I very highly recommend The Wild Trees and rate it a 5.

Synopsis from book:
Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored.

The canopy voyagers are young–just college students when they start their quest–and they share a passion for these trees, persevering in spite of sometimes crushing personal obstacles and failings. They take big risks, they ignore common wisdom (such as the notion that there’s nothing left to discover in North America), and they even make love in hammocks stretched between branches three hundred feet in the air.

The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems that have fused and formed flying buttresses, sometimes carved into blackened chambers, hollowed out by fire, called “fire caves.” Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life that is unknown to science. Humans move through the deep canopy suspended on ropes, far out of sight of the ground, knowing that the price of a small mistake can be a plunge to one’s death.

Preston’s account of this amazing world, by turns terrifying, moving, and fascinating, is an adventure story told in novelistic detail by a master of nonfiction narrative. The author shares his protagonists’ passion for tall trees, and he mastered the techniques of tall-tree climbing to tell the story in The Wild Trees–the story of the fate of the world’s most splendid forests and of the imperiled biosphere itself.

"The Coast Redwood Tree is an evergreen conifer and a member of the cypress family. Its scientific name is Sequoia sempervirens. It is sometimes called the California redwood, but most often it is simply referred to as the redwood. No one knows exactly when or where the redwood entered the history of life on earth, though it is an ancient kind of tree, and has come down to our world as an inheritance out of deep time." pg. 5

"The redwoods you can see in Muir woods are nothing like the redwood titans that stand in the rain-forest valleys of the North Coast, closer to Oregon. These are the dreadnoughts of trees, the blue whales of the plant kingdom." pg. 6

"In its first twenty years of life, a Coast Redwood can grow from a seed into a tree that's fifty feet tall. In its next thousand years, it grows faster, adding mass at an accelerated rate. A redwood can go from a seed into a big tree in about six hundred years. Around age eight hundred, which is the end of its youth, it may reach its maximum height - its thirty-something-story height." pg. 20

"In any case, biologists regarded coast redwood trees as unreachable towers, remote and bare. Steve Sillett encountered something quite different. He found what amounted to coral reefs in the air." pg. 25

"The National Geographic Society had once made a big deal of the way it had allegedly explored the redwood forests, but in fact the Society had totally dropped the ball. Executives in Washington, D.C., seemed unaware of the fact that one of the most important ecosystems in North America remained unexplored at the most basic level, the level of a map." pg. 87

"You can get reasonably good at tree climbing in six months if you climb regularly...Each move has to be done on a nearly instinctual basis. It's called muscle memory - the hands and body instinctively know what to do before the mind does. You have to keep a hundred percent focus on what you're doing when you're in a tree. If you lose focus just once, and make one small mistake..." pg. 138

"Sillett's first task in trying to understand the redwood canopy would be to describe the things that live there. Putting together a basic picture of an ecosystem or habitat and what lives in it is called a descriptive natural history." pg. 147

"The exact location of the grove is known only to a handful of biologists, who climb the trees and study the ecology of the grove. They guard the knowledge of its location with the jealousy of a prospector who has found the mother lode." pg. 175

"A giant redwood that is adding one or two millimeters of thickness to its wood layer in a year is adding huge amounts of material to itself, and is one of the fastest-growing organisms in nature. That a redwood seems to be growing slowly is merely an illusion of human time." pg. 212

"The coast redwood is a so-called relict species. It is a tiny remnant population of a life form that once spread in splendor and power across the face of nature. The redwood has settled down in California to live near the sea, the way many retired people do." pg. 218

"Not only are the redwoods sensitive to damage from climbing but the whole habitat of the redwood canopy is fragile...If people start climbing around in it for recreational reasons, it will inevitably be damaged." pg. 228

"[T]hey estimated that Hyperion was close to 380 feet tall..." pg 282 It "turned out to be 379.1 feet tall." pg 284

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Search for the Red Dragon

The Search for the Red Dragon by James A. Owen (book two in the young adult The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series) was originally published January 1, 2008. The hardcover edition is 371 pages long. Please refer to the previous Here, There Be Dragons review for my feelings on this series, although I felt this second book was better than the first. No rating; YA readers will likely enjoy this.

[I'm editing the original post to add that, with a few exceptions, I normally prefer hard science fiction over fantasy science fiction. While I very much enjoyed C.S. Lewis and J. R.R.Tolkien from the moment I first read them years ago as a YA reader, I prefer to return to them rather than some of the newer fantasy novels. Also, allow me to add that I found Christopher Paolini's dragon books more enjoyable.]

From cover:

It has been nine years since John, Jack, and Charles had their great adventure in the Archipelago of Dreams and became the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica. Now they have been brought together again to solve a mystery: Someone is kidnapping the children of the Archipelago. And their only clue is a mysterious message delivered by a strange girl with artificial wings: "The Crusade has begun." Worse, they discover that all of the legendary Dragonships have disappeared as well...


"As they awoke to find the beds of their sons and daughters empty, the mothers and fathers in the towns and villages would feel bewilderment, then fear, and then terror." pg. 2

"When they had parted ways in London years earlier, they had made a pact to never contact one another except in the event of a situation arising that involved the care of the Geographica, or the Archipelago, or in case of another extreme emergency. It was, they decided, the only way to protect the secrets they had been entrusted with." pg. 9

"You are here because you are supposed to be here, and you are the Caretakers, after all. You well know that the responsibility is greater than just looking after a book. Even if you were not the caretakers, you are still friends of the king and queen - and it is in times of peril that one must call on one's friends, wherever and whoever they may be." pg. 65

"His new attribute showed itself, not through an irrational recklessness, but rather in a disregard for any personal price he might have to pay for a course of action. The best word he could use to describe his awareness was from India: satyagraha. It meant to do anything, give anything, sacrifice anything, to pursue what was right without harming another. And to do it without regard to self.
The only fear John had was for his children." pg. 215

"Why is it that all fables and fairy tales involve children in peril?...Was there some great assembly of storytellers that decided the best tales to tell children should also frighten then to death." pg. 275

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Here, There Be Dragons

Here, There Be Dragons (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica) by James A. Owen was originally published in 2006. My hardcover copy has 326 pages. It's recommended for young Adults (YA) 8th grade and up, although I wouldn't hesitate giving it to a younger reader.

This book is one of those that is going to be hard for me to review. It's a YA book, so reviewing it as a book for it's target audience would be much different from reviewing it for adults. Some YA books are easily assimilated into favorite books for adult readers, The Book Thief comes readily to mind, but some books should stay YA books and be reviewed as such for a reason. Here, There Be Dragons is definitely a YA book and I'll review it as one. If I reviewed it as the adult reader I am, it would suffer. Besides, I personally know that there are some great kids out there who really like Here, There Be Dragons and count it among their favorites.

This is classified as "fan fiction". If you are a fan of Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, H.G. Wells, or Jules Verne, to name just a few authors, then this might appeal to you. Woven throughout the story as part of the plot are references to many other author's work. It's a clever concept and will likely appeal to many young readers. Be forewarned that flaws in the flow of the plot are numerous and a scientifically minded kid may scoff at a few sections breezily written that could never occur in real life (such as swimming into and out of a sinking cabin on a ship - without getting sucked under), but these kids, along with adult readers, need to suspend disbelief and simply read this for pleasure.

Basically, the story begins when, after a murder, three young men are pressed into service to protect the Imaginarium Geographica. They are being pursued by the villain who wants it for himself. At the end you learn that these young men are the future authors of books most kids will know and love. Apparently movie rights for Here, There Be Dragons have been negotiated, which should increase its YA popularity.

I can't say I'm a fan of fan fiction and probably would not have been a fan of this book when I was in the target age range. My thoughts are quite simple. If you enjoyed the original, then why not reread it? Here, There Be Dragons is never going to be considered a great piece of literature or even a classic, like the works of many of the authors Owens alludes to in his story, but it does fill a certain niche in the market that has opened up in recent years. To enjoy it, sit back, relax, turn off your inner reviewer, and enjoy. It's an easy read. I'm continuing the series with the second recently released book, The Search for the Red Dragon. I will also be passing this book along to some readers that better fit the demographic for which it is intended. (Sorry, no rating on this book in deference to the young adult fans who love it.)


"What happens to me is no longer important. You may claim my life, but I've put an empire forever out of your reach - and when all is said and done, which of the two matters more?" pg. 2

"His appearance was what might result if you shredded an illustrated edition of the works of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, then pasted the pieces back together in random order." pg. 15

"It is the world, my boy... All the world, in ink and blood, vellum and parchment, leather and hide. It is the world, and it is yours to save or lose." pg 20

"It serves exactly the use one would think: to guide one to, from, and across imaginary lands." pg 21

"Power, true power, comes from the belief in true things, and the willingness to stand behind that belief, even if the universe itself conspires to thwart your plans. Chaos may settle; flames may die; worlds may rise and fall. But true things will remain so, and will never fail to guide you to your goal." pg. 105

"Secrecy is the weapon of those like the Winter King - they have power only so long as the secrets are kept." pg. 163

"A sea monster loose in Scotland. That's going to have some interesting repercussions." pg. 183

"Our weaknesses are always evident, both to ourselves and to others. But our strengths are hidden until we choose to reveal them - and that is when we are truly tested." pg. 191

"I know you, don't I?...You seem familiar to me. Not in a 'blood brothers' way, but more of a 'so-you've-come-to-date-my-daughter' sort of way." pg. 197

Monday, April 14, 2008


Atonement by Ian McEwan is unquestionably a brilliant novel. Originally published in 2001, my hardcover edition is 351 pages. This feels like a much longer novel than it really is due to McEwan's masterful writing. In Atonement, McEwan has written an incredible novel with fine characterization and a gripping plot. The themes question truth, justice, guilt, innocence, punishment, and, ultimately, atonement. This is a story told in three parts, with a final much shorter fourth section that ends the story.

Part one takes place in 1935. In part one thirteen year old Briony, allows her over active imagination to misinterpret actions between Robbie, a life long family friend, and her older sister, Cecilia. This is when Briony commits her crime, which you can see coming but know the characters are powerless to stop the inevitable conclusion to the events set into motion. McEwan tells this story from shifting points of view and captures the tensions in this upper middle class family. In part two, in 1940, five years after the crime, Robbie, now a footsoldier is retreating from the French countryside to Dunkirk. The horrors of war are masterfully but tragically captured. In part three, a young adult Briony is atoning for her earlier crime by working as a student nurse, rather than studying to be a writer. This section has Briony tending the casualties of war and confronting the implications of her crime and how it effected the lives of Cecelia and Robbie. The ending takes place in 1999, at Briony's 77th birthday party, and brings the past and present together. This is where you see clearly her atonement. A very highly recommended novel. Rating: 5

Quotes (notice McEwan's beautiful, descriptive writing.):

"She was one of those children possessed by a desire to have the world just so. Whereas her big sister's room was a stew of unclosed books, unfolded clothes, unmade bed, unemptied ashtrays, Briony's was a shrine to her controlling demon: the model farm spread across a deep window ledge consisted of the usual animals, but all facing one way - toward their owner - as if about to break into song, and even the farmyard hens were neatly corralled. In fact, Briony's was the only tidy upstairs room in the house." pg. 4-5

"She wanted to leave, she wanted to lie alone, facedown on her bed and savor the vile piquancy of the moment, and go back down the lines of branching consequences to the point before the destruction began. She needed to contemplate with eyes closed the full richness of what she had lost, what she had given away, and to anticipate the new regime." pg. 14

"She also knew that whatever actually happened drew it's significance from her published work and would not have been remembered without it.
However, she could not betray herself completely; there could be no doubt that some kind of revelation occurred." pg. 39

"In front of her, illuminated by the lowering sun, was a cloud of insects, each one bobbing randomly, as though fixed on an invisible elastic string - a mysterious courtship dance, or sheer insect exuberance that defied her to find a meaning. In a spirit of mutinous resistance, she climbed the steep grassy slope to the bridge, and when she stood on the driveway, she decided she would stay there and wait until something significant happened to her. This was the challenge she was putting to existence - she would not stir, not for dinner, not even for her mother calling her in. She would simply wait on the bridge, calm and obstinate, until events, real events, not her own fantasies, rose to her challenge, and dispelled her insignificance." pg. 72

"She wondered whether having a final responsibility for someone, even a creature like a horse or a dog, was fundamentally opposed to the wild and inward journey of writing." pg. 149

"From this new and intimate perspective, she learned a simple, obvious thing she had always known, and everyone knew: a person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easily mended." pg. 287

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Sense of the World

I first read about A Sense of the World either from someone in one of the book groups I belong to or on one of their blogs. This is one of those great books that make it worth while to spend extra time checking out what other people are reading. A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler by Jason Roberts was originally published in 2006. My paperback edition is 402 pages, including the notes at the end of the book. Even though it is a nonfiction account of the life of James Holman, it reads like fiction. This book was incredibly interesting and I recommend it very highly. Rating: 5

A synopsis from the back cover:
He was known simply as the Blind Traveler. A solitary, sightless adventurer, James Holman (1786-1857) fought the slave trade in Africa, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted rogue elephants in Ceylon, helped chart the Australian outback—and, astonishingly, circumnavigated the globe, becoming one of the greatest wonders of the world he so sagaciously explored. A Sense of the World is a spellbinding and moving rediscovery of one of history's most epic lives—a story to awaken our own senses of awe and wonder.

"Until the invention of the internal combustion engine, the most prolific traveler in history was also the most unlikely. Born in 1786, James Holman was in many ways the quintessential world explorer: a dashing mix of discipline, recklessness, and accomplishments, a knight of Windsor, Fellow of the Royal Society, and a bestselling author. It was easy to forget that he was intermittently crippled, and permanently blind.
"He journeyed alone. He entered each country not knowing a single word of the local language. He had only enough money to travel in native fashion, in public carriages and peasant carts, on horseback and on foot. Yet 'he traversed the great globe itself more thoroughly than any other traveler that ever existed,' as one journalist of the time put it, 'and surveyed its manifold parts as perfectly as, if not more than, the most intelligent and clear-sighted of his predecessors.' " page 1

""Some salt pork was so old the crewmen gave up trying to eat it, and instead carved it into decorative boxes." pg. 24

"Holman began to use his ears not only to read people, but to read the landscape." pg 75

"Henceforth he cultivated the skill of subtly reaffirming his status as a human being, observing every wordless courtesy and taking pains to speak with a geniality that needed no translation. Decades later, fellow travelers encountering him for the first time would be struck by how easily and quickly his voice assumed 'the earnest tone of an ancient friendship.' It was a genuine sociability, but also a measure against slipping into invisibility." pg. 115

"Alone, sightless, with no prior command of native languages and with only a wisp of funds, he had forged a path equivalent to wandering to the moon." pg. 320

Thursday, April 10, 2008


University of Kansas men's basketball team
the 2008 NCAA Champions

Rock Chalk Jayhawk
Go KU!

Friday, April 4, 2008


Event by David Lynn Golemon was originally published in 2006. My paperback copy has 482 pages.

Synopsis from Back Cover:

The Event Group is the most secret organization in the United States, comprised of the nation’s most brilliant individuals in the branches of science, philosophy, and the military. Led by the valiant Major Jack Collins, they are dedicated to uncovering the hidden truths behind the myths and legends propagated throughout world history—from underground agencies and conspiracy theories to extraterrestrial life and UFOs. And now that a new, unspeakable threat has been revealed, humanity’s greatest hope for survival lies with Collins and his crew.


This time, the Group faces an enemy of remarkable strength and power. In order to ensure that history’s errors never be repeated, the Group must team up with an unlikely ally to stop a deadly presence known only as the Destroyer of Worlds. Now, amid the desert wastelands of the American Southwest, the epic battle between two entities is about to begin…. “Golemon puts his military experience to good use…sure to satisfy fans of The X-Files.”—Publishers Weekly


"To tell you the truth, knowing what's in those crates... I can't seem to look at the world the same as I did yesterday." pg 2

"The two Super Tomcats were about a mile behind the UFO. The shape was what they had always expected or thought they would have seen - if they ever saw one." pg. 10

"Well, Mr. Lincoln, although he didn't know it at the time, laid the foundation for the Event Group during the Civil War." pg. 42

For now, those mountains held a close-kept and dark secret that was about to be shared with the world. The bogeyman was starting to wake up." pg. 83

"If they are indeed back, and if they are successful this time, something may be out there that will explain to you in no uncertain terms why man has always been afraid of the dark." pg 117
"...people are from California, Sarge, they may have been just stupid enough to walk off into the desert." pg.225

" 'Why don't you guys do what comes natural to French soldiers?'...
'And what would that be, my drunken friend?'
'Give up and let Americans get a handle on this.' " pg 417-418

Wednesday, April 2, 2008