Turn of the Screw, by Henry James

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In the Turn of the Screw by Henry James, the Bachelor is responsible for his niece and nephew after the death of their parents and he hires a woman, the Governess, to take care of his niece and nephew. The story is written as if it happened to the Governess and as she tells the story as if it happened to her.

When she arrives to begin taking care of Flora and Miles, the bachelor niece and nephew, the governess immediately starts seeing ghosts and learns from the maid that the ghosts are Peter Quint and Miss Jessel who were former employees of the estate.

We wonder if the governess has really seen the ghosts or is experiencing an inner battle of conscience  is affecting her perception of reality because she has fallen in love with a boy much younger than herself. she believes she is justified in pursuing her desires through unconscious means.

Flora and Miles won’t admit to seeing the ghosts but the governess fears for them.  After more sightings she writes a letter to the Bachelor, but it is stolen before it can be mailed. Flora gets sick and Mrs. Grose takes her away leaving the governess alone with Miles who then admits that he stole her letter.

As the story line unfolds we see suggestions that the governess is highly influenced by her imagination and emotions and that the ghosts are scapegoats created to take the blame for what has happened.

The governess sees the ghost of Peter Quint out the window and when Miles looks and sees the ghost he dies from fright.

Quotes from Turn of a Screw

“No, no—there are depths, depths! The more I go over it, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I fear. I don’t know what I don’t see—what I don’t fear!”

“Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was. But I gave myself up to it; it was an antidote to any pain, and I had more pains than one.”

“He was there or was not there: not there if I didn't see him.”

“Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was.”

“The summer had turned, the summer had gone; the autumn had dropped upon Bly and had blown out half our lights. The place, with its gray sky and withered garlands, its bared spaces and scattered dead leaves, was like a theater after the performance--all strewn with crumpled playbills.”

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The Turn of the Screw
Starring Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Nicola Walker, Eva Sayer

The Pelican Brief, by John Grisham

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Two Supreme Court justices have been assassinated and a young law student named Darby who prepares a legal brief about a “fictional” assassination, but it rings too true and makes its way to the FBI, CIA, and even the White House. She finds that she is being targeted by the killer and her lover, a constitutional-law professor, is blown up in a car-bomb attack that was meant for Darby.  She then realizes for certain that she had been correct in her brief and goes underground. The only person she can trust is a journalist who helps her figure out what is happening. They soon see a conspiracy involving people in the government that includes the President and his Chief of Staff who want to cover up the White House's connection to this with the coming President's re-election plans.

Derby's runs but the web of killers closes on her. She continues trying to help Washington Post reporter Gray Grantham get the goods on the baddies in a news-break bigger than Watergate.

Grisham had a challenge with the success of his first two legal suspense thrillers, A Time to Kill and The Firm but The Pelican Brief published in 1992 was a success and Grisham’s special genre became expected.

Quotes From The Book

What kind of name is Siler-Spence? I mean, what's wrong with these women who use hyphens? What if her name was Skowinski and she married a guy named Levondowski? Would her little liberated soul insist she go through life as F.Gwendolin Skowinski- Levondowski?”

“He was neutral on prayer, skeptical of free speech, sympathetic to tax protestors, indifferent to Indians, afraid of blacks, tough on pornographers, soft on criminals, and fairly consistent in his protection of the environment”

Quotes by John Grisham

I can't change overnight into a serious literary author. You can't compare apples to oranges. William Faulkner was a great literary genius. I am not.

I don't want to force my politics on my readers.


"In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard."


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The Pelican Brief: A Novel
By John Grisham

The Winner, by David Baldacci

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LuAnn Tyler is 20 years old, a single parent, living in a beat-up trailer, striving to escape a life of poverty. She is lead to the local mall to meet with a Mr. Jackson who she assumes will offer her a job. Instead he offers her a guarantee that she can be the winner of the coming $100 million lottery.  The offer has conditions attached, one of which would require her to leave the country. LuAnn doesn’t want to do it and takes a few days to think about.  Jackson plans to kill her if she backs out.

While she considers the offer, she finds herself running from a false murder charge Less than twenty-four hours later, she is fighting for her life and Jackson’s offer seems her only hope.

Ten years later LuAnn has lived all over the world and learned a great deal. She is one of the wealthiest women in the world and she secretly returns with her daughter Lisa to the United States. She meets Matthew Riggs and falls in love with him. Rigg’s past is also full of mystery.  

A reporter who has been investigating the lottery system for years becomes aware of LuAnn’s return as have both the FBI and Jackson. Matt Riggs seems to be the only person who can help her.

The twisting plot holds our attention right to the last page.

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Quotes

“America was full of opportunity, everybody said. You just had to unlock it. Only they forgot to give out keys for LuAnn’s kind. Or maybe they didn’t forget at all. Maybe it was intentional”

“Nothing, absolutely nothing, was above corruption so long as human beings were involved.”

“Half truths were a wonderful way to inspire credibility.”

“Assumptions are dangerous things. I like facts a lot better.”

“Human beings are infinitely fallible, completely unreliable. Science is not. Science is absolute. Under strict principles, if you do A and B, then C will occur. This rarely happens if you inject the inefficiences of humanity into the process.”

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The Winner
By David Baldacci

The Day The World Came To Town 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland by Jim Defede

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U.S. airspace was closed and all airlines inbound were forced to land on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. 38 jetliners headed for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Newfoundland and the small town went from a population of 10,300 to nearly 17,000.

“The Day The World Came To Town, 9/11, tells how the citizens of Gander welcomed the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill. The passengers had been held on board their plans for in some cases more than 24 hours and were upset, hungry and even fearful for their and their loved one’s lives. The townspeople came out in full force to greet them and had prepared a large meal for them.  

Local bus drivers who had been on strike came off the picket lines to transport the passengers to the various shelters set up in local schools and churches.  A middle school, as well as residents, provided showers, access to computers, email, and televisions, enabling the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.

“For the better part of a week, nearly every man, woman, and child in Gander and the surrounding towns stopped what they were doing so they could help. They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. They affirmed the basic goodness of mankind when it was easy to doubt such humanity still existed.”

A amazing event in the middle of a horrendous tragedy.

Quotes

“They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. They affirmed the basic goodness of man at a time when it was easy to doubt such humanity still existed. If the terrorists had hoped their attacks would reveal the weaknesses in western society, the events in Gander proved its strength.”


“Neighbor to neighbor. It is a mentality that has been fostered over centuries, since the earliest settlers realized the only way to survive in this desolate but beautiful outpost was to work together. Much of their music captures this spirit.”


“Their willingness to help others is arguably the single most important trait that defines them as Newfoundlanders. Today, it is an identity they cling to, in part, because it is something that cannot be taken away from them.”

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The Fix, by David Baldacci

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"The Fix," begins as Amos Decker is walking to an FBI meeting in the Hoover building in Washington DC. The man walking a little ahead of him approaches the building about the same time Anne Berkshire is coming from the other direction. The man walks up to the women and shots her in the back of her head and then turns the gun killing himself.

Decker and his sidekick Alex are assigned to the case and he uses his photographic memory and powers of deduction only to find the case totally baffling. The shooter is a family man with a successful businessman who consults with the FBI and was a former employee of the NSA. Decker and his team are unable to find any link between Dabney and the victim who is a substitute schoolteacher who volunteers in a local hospice.

Harper Brown is an agent for the DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, and shows up soon telling Decker to back off because the murder is part of their open investigation involving a National Security issue that could be bigger than 9/11.

Decker is the man who cannot forget anything, and his mental powers drive the ever-twisting plot of “The Fix”.  Baldacci is indeed a master storyteller.

See Special Favorite Author Section for more on David Baldacci click here to link

David Baldacci Quotes

“Why can't people just sit and read books and be nice to each other?” ...

“Small mistakes tend to lead to large ones. ...

“When a poor man gives something, that is a sacrifice indeed. ...

“Depending on the situation, sometimes you can know a person better in ten minutes than someone you have crossed paths with all your life.” “Depending on the situation, sometimes you can know a person better in ten minutes than someone you have crossed paths with all your life.”

“Today might not be so good. But tomorrow, you got another chance to get it right.”

“All you have to do [to win a Pulitzer Prize] is spend your life running from one awful place to another, write about every horrible thing you see. The civilized world reads about it, then forgets it, but pats you on the head for doing it and gives you a reward as appreciation for changing nothing.”

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Exile The Unquiet Oblivion of Richard Nixon, by Robert Sam Anson

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Anson captures the 10 years after Richard Nixon resignation in 1974 and starts out the overview with Nixon talking to his aide Kenneth Clawson about  his life saying: so you are lean and mean and resourceful and you continue to walk on the edge of the precipice because over the years you have become fascinated by how close to the edge you can walk without losing your balance." Followed by the comment, “a man doesn't cry".  The dialog ends with: "There was a silence, and quietly Clawson began to weep. When he looked up, Nixon was weeping as well."

Anson’s view of Nixon’s Exile leans to a preoccupation with the dark and weak side of the man. He uses a passage from Nixon’s very insightful book “Leaders” where he described Abraham Lincoln as a ''supreme idealist'' who nonetheless ''broke laws,'' violated the Constitution, ''usurped arbitrary power,'' and ''trampled individual rights'' in his quest to preserve the Union. ''His justification was necessary,'' wrote Nixon, and he generalized: ''Whatever the field, the crucial moral questions are, in effect, those of the bottom line''

If Anson expected his book to show Nixon as a man who wouldn’t quit and reinvented himself in the eyes of the public and became a valuable source for advice on foreign policy then he failed because he focus seemed preoccupied with showing Nixon as petty and somewhat of a ridiculous figure.

He was critical of the Frost interview of Nixon but didn’t acknowledge that fact that the interview itself showed how the public’s fascination with Richard Nixon has never really stopped.

Nixon’s many post-Watergate books suggest that Anson missed the point that in spite of his weaknesses, Nixon had much of value and interest to say.

Most Controversial Quote

“When the President does it, that means that it's not illegal.”

Richard Nixon Quotes

“Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”

“If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats. But if you take no risks, you win no victories.”

“You must pursue this investigation of Watergate even if it leads to the president. I'm innocent. You've got to believe I'm innocent. If you don't, take my job.”

“Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.”

“You must never be satisfied with losing. You must get angry, terribly angry, about losing. But the mark of the good loser is that he takes his anger out on himself and not his victorious opponents or on his teammates.”

“We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another — until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.”

“Defeat doesn't finish a man, quit does. A man is not finished when he's defeated. He's finished when he quits.”


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Tar Baby, by Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison loves to tell to tell stories and this one is about the love between two Black Americans Jadine and Son.  Jadine Childs is a beautiful Sorbonne graduate and fashion model. Son is a black fugitive and strong-minded man who came from the Caribbean to New York. He represents everything that Jadine hates and yet she is attracted to him. They have an affair but can’t find a place where they both fit.

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Morrison uses their relationship to show the struggles between not just blacks and whites but between blacks themselves as well as the masters and servants in society.

Another major theme in Tar Baby is the conflict between nature and civilization. Morrison adds to the conflict by giving nature human like qualities.  An example is when she describes the strength of the water in the harbor as the assertive push of a women’s hand.

Quotes

“At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don't need someone to share it with or tell it to. When that happens — that letting go — you let go because you can.”

“It was a silly age, twenty-five; too old for teenaged dreaming, too young for settling down. Every corner was a possibility and a dead end.”

“I wonder if the person he wants to marry is me or a black girl? And if it isn't me he wants, but any black girl who looks like me, talks and acts like me, what will happen when he finds out that I hate ear hoops, that I don't have to straighten my hair, that Mingus puts me to sleep, that sometimes I want to get out of my skin and be only the person inside-- not American-- not black-- just me?”

All narrative begins for me as listening. When I read, I listen. When I write, I listen—for silence, inflection, rhythm, rest.”

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Tar Baby
By Toni Morrison

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

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Odd Thomas, the hero’s name, meets Annamaria on the pier of Magic Beach, California.  Odd, a fry cook and a person who sees dead people, saves Annamaria from some bad men and barely escapes himself. Odd runs trusting his instincts and two companions who are really ghosts. Frank Sinatra and a dog named Boo. Boo has replaced his old pal Elvis.

Throughout the story the world itself seems to be under threat and many could die. Odd has prophetic dreams and psychic encounters and struggles with his reality. Odd is very humble about it all and he knows he has come to this little town by the sea for a reason.

I really have liked Dean Konntz’s books, but this character is just too weird and the story is not exciting. Obviously characters and plots make a book good but they were both weak. I didn’t feel this book was good and would not recommend it.

What is really odd about this book is that it is part of a series?

See more on Dean Koontz at Favorite Authors Section (click here to link)

Odd Comments from the Book

“Of all the spirits I have seen, only Elvis and Mr. Sinatra are able to manifest in the garments of their choice. Others haunt me always in whatever they were wearing when they died.

This is one reason I will never attend a costume party dressed as the traditional symbol of the New Year, in nothing buy a diaper and a top hat. Welcomed into either Hell or Heaven, I do not want to cross the threshold to the sound of demonic or angelic laughter. ~Odd Thomas”

“It's only life. We all get through it. Not all of us complete the journey in the same condition. Along the way, some lose their legs or eyes in accidents or altercations, while others skate through the years with nothing worse to worry about than an occasional bad-hair day. I still possessed both legs and both eyes, and even my hair looked all right when I rose that Wednesday morning in late January. If I returned to bed sixteen hours later, having lost all my hair but nothing else, I would consider the day a triumph. Even minus a few teeth, I'd call it a triumph.”

“Evil men often easy to mislead, because they have spent so long deceiving that they no longer recognize the truth and mistake deception for it.”

Life had not taught me to distrust ministers, but it had taught me to trust no one more than dogs.”

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Marathon Man, by William Goldman

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William Goldman’s Marathon Man broke ground in 1976 when the action thriller novel was published. Goldman was a successful author well known especially for writing the Princess Bride and  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance. The book was good but not as smooth as today’s thriller novelists like Lee Child, Dean Koontz and others.

 

 Kid A former Nazi SS dentist at Auschwitz, Dr. Christian Szell, now residing in Paraguay, has been living on the proceeds of diamonds he extorted from prisoners there. The diamonds are kept at a bank in New York by his father. The sales and transfers of proceeds are facilitated by a secret US agency called "The Division" for whom Szell has provided information about other escaped Nazis. When his father dies in a car accident, Szell must come to New York himself to retrieve the diamonds, as there is no one else he can trust with them.

"Tom" Levy, known by his brother as "Babe" is a postgraduate student at Columbia University in history and an aspiring marathon runner. His brilliant academic father, H.V. Levy committed suicide after persecution under McCarthyism. Levy is working on his PhD dissertation which he believes will clear his father’s name. His older brother, Hank, also known as Doc, is involved with a former Nazi Dr. Christian Szell who lives in Paraguay and is hiding illegal diamonds with Doc’s help. Doc by the way is known as Scylla to his Nazi associate.

Szell comes to New York, but he is certain that Scylla is planning to kill him, so he stabs him leaving him for dead, but Szell makes it to his brothers apartment before he dies. When Szell finds that out, he tries to kill Scylla.  Tom skills as an aspiring marathon man are a big help to him.

The plot has a lot of twists and turns and was exciting, but it was also hard to follow.

Quotes from the works of William Goldman

“Someone pointed out to me that the most sympathetic characters in my books always died miserably. I didn't consciously know I was doing that. I didn't. I mean, I didn't wake up each morning and think, today I think I'll make a really terrific guy so I can kill him.” - William Goldman

“Any experience is profitable if you allow it to be, all actions are profitable, no matter how badly you may suffer from them.”
—Marathon Man

“Have you ever failed?
Only in life.”
—The Ghost and the Darkness (Goldman script)

“All non-denial denials—we’re dirty guys and they doubt we were ever virgins but they don’t say the story is inaccurate.”
—All the President’s Men (Goldman script)

“If he’d just pay me what he’s spending to make me stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.”
—Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Goldman script)

“Boy, y’know, every time I see ‘Hole in the Wall’ again, it’s like seeing it fresh for the first time, and every time that happens, I keep asking myself the same question, ‘How can I be so damn stupid as to keep comin’ back here?'”
—Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Goldman script)

“We’re under a lot of pressure, too, and you put us there–not that I want it to worry you–nothing’s riding on you except the First Amendment of the Constitution plus the freedom of the press plus the reputation of a hundred-year-old paper plus the jobs of the two thousand people who work there—(still building)—but none of that counts as much as this: you fuck up again, I’m gonna lose my temper.
—All the President’s Men (Goldman script)

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Marathon Man: A Novel
By William Goldman

The Cutting Edge, by Jeffery Deaver

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Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are what I expected to find out more about in this book since it is #14 in Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln series but there really was not enough of either of them in the plot of the first half of the book or even the last to accomplish that. I was left unimpressed that an investigator in a wheelchair would carry what is expected from a Deaver plot.

Rhyme and Sachs return to New York from a honeymoon and find Manhattan’s diamond district terrified. Three people are tortured and brutally murdered in a secluded jewelry shop. Vimal Lahori, a young diamond cutter, walks into the scene and then runs barely escaping with his life.

We are left wondering about the motive of the perpetrator of the murders when a half million dollars worth of diamonds are left behind at the scene. Before long engaged couples are found murdered and the diamond on their ring fingers seem to be the motive. By this point Rhyme and Sachs are on the trail of the man now being referred to in the press as The Promisor. Vimal has gone into hiding since he knows that the killer is looking for him.

We learn a great deal of information about diamond cutting and the industry in general from this novel. The book is divided into five sections named for the stages that a rough diamond goes through before becoming a finished diamond: plotting; cleaving; sawing; bruting; and brillianteering. If these section names have relevance to the process used to investigate the crime it seems weak.

It was a twist and turn plot full of unexpected developments but that was not enough to make this book what it was expected to be.

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Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko is a story based on actual experiences of those who worked in support positions for Alcatraz in the 1930’s when Al Capone as a prisoner.

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Moose Flanagan and his family have moved from Santa Monica and he tells us right how he feels saying: “Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. Alcatraz sits smack in the middle of the bay…” His Dad, Cam, has taken two jobs as a prison guard and an electrician.

Moose is big for a 12-year-old, his older sister Natalie has autism and he looks out for her and concern for her consumes his mother Helen.

Moose becomes friends with the warden's daughter, Piper, and they get into trouble when she talks him into being part of her money-making schemes, like having inmates on the island do laundry for the kids at school.  Piper and Moose hope Al Capone can help them when the trouble starts.

An interesting plot with some funny situations.

Quotes

“Nobody knows how things will turn out, that's why they go ahead and play the game...You give it your all and sometimes amazing things happen, but it's hardly ever what you expect.”

“Now I understand. When you love someone, you have to try things even if they don't make sense to anyone else.

“Life is amazing, isn't it? You can't ever tell what will happen. Nobody knows until they go ahead and play the game.”

“You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to.”“What they say about females being the weaker sex is the biggest lie in the world.”

“I’m big as a linebacker, and a seven-year-old girl treats me like her errand boy. Does she smell weakness on me?”

“Oh, we have everyone who is bad. Except Bonnie and Clyde on account of their being dead,” she says.”

Blockade Billy by Stephen King

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The story of Blockade Billy by Stephen King is told by fictional character George "Granny" Grantham  as he is tell Stephen King in an interview about the 1957 Major League Baseball season, when he was the third base coach for a now-defunct team, the New Jersey Titans and when fictional character William "Blockade Billy" Blakely briefly played for the New Jersey Titans.

The team loses both of their catchers’ days before the start of the season, so they bring on a minor league player as a last-minute replacement. The replacement, Billy Blakely, seems to be slow witted but turns out to be a great player.

Billy’s skill helps him become accepted by the team and a star pitcher, Danny Dusen, sees Billy as his good luck charm to what he believes will be his best yet and a record season.

In what turns out to be the last game of the season umpire Hi Wenders, who the team had never liked  makes a bad call and Granny, who is coaching this game, is thrown out and when he argues against it the crowd starts yelling  "Kill the ump!". Things don’t turn out for the team, Danny, or Billy.

Stephen King said of the book, “I love old-school baseball, and I also love the way people who've spent a lifetime in the game talk about the game. I tried to combine those things in a story of suspense. People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story. Ask no more; this is it. “

The book took King two weeks to write. It is 112 pages long and I finished it in a few hours. I wanted to find an example of King’s writing that was different from his normal genre to see if it was still as good and it was indeed. 

See more on Stephen King at BJ’s Favorite Authors (click here)

Quotes

“Baseball is a good thing. Always was, always will be.”

“I prefer the Yankees,' one of the blueshirts chimes in.”

'If I want your opinion, I'll rattle the bars in your cage,' Lombardazzi said. 'Until then, shut up and die right.”

“Baseball is also a game of balance.”

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Blockade Billy
By Stephen King

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

These first lines of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens are often quoted and when you bring the book up they come to mind. It is a historical novel that takes pace in London and Paris as the French Revolution approaches during those dark days. The story twists and turns.

The story contrasts the social and political events taking place in Paris and London and draws comparisons between the two cities in how they deal with crime, poverty, aristocratic greed and capital punishment.

The main characters are Dr. Manette, his daughter Lucie, and her eventual husband Charles Darnay. Jarvis Lorry, a banker and Sydney Carton, a lawyer's clerk. Miss Pross, a servant and Monsieur and Madame Defarge.

Love and sacrifice are interconnected themes in the book . Genuine love involves sacrifice and this is shown with Carton's sacrificing his life for his love for Lucie Manette .Another theme is resurrection and it helps the characters tie their destinies together . Sydney Carton is resurrected in spirit at the novel's close of the story. Dr. Manette is presented having a rebirth from the living death of his incarceration. Dr. Manette’s 18 years in prison is referred to by saying, "Buried how long?" The character Jerry Cruncher’s story reflects the theme being referred to as a "Resurrection Man", a person who digs up dead bodies to sell to medical men.

At the end of the novel, Sydney Carton is executed at the guillotine along with many other French prisoners. Dickens ends the novel with imagining what Carton might have said.

Quotes

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

“You have been the last dream of my soul.”

“I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul.”

“‎And yet I have had the weakness, and have still the weakness, to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire.”

“A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self”

“There is prodigious strength in sorrow and despair.”

“A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”

Writing To Persuade, by Trish Hall

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The former editor of the New York Times Op-Ed page tells us in the books preface she “was immersed in argument, in passion, in ideas.” The book promises help: “Whether you want to compose a convincing cover letter, pitch a story for publication, or win over a college admissions officer.

“Writing To Persuade” is a definitive resource on the neglected art of persuasion. The books 5 parts has, each with their own chapters, Part 1: Lessons From My Story, Part 11: What’s Your Story?, Part 111: Winning People Over, Part 1V: Tips On Writing, and Part V: The Psychology Of Persuasion.

Hall’s advise goes beyond just good writing, as she discusses the attitudes and methods that will persuade. Her writing feels good and the messages she wants to convey are clear. The book is creditable, in part, because Hall’s background is so solid, but also because it makes sense. I was surprised. I usually read books on reading just out of habit but this was a good experience.

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Home, by Harlan Coben

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It has been ten years since the kidnapping of two 6-year-old boys from two wealthy families. A ransom was demanded but then everything went quiet with no clues until now. An anonymous letter arrives telling of a sighting of the boys in a sleezy part of London. Myron Bolitar aided by his powerful friend Win are both friends of the families and they go to see if he can find the boys.

Fat Gandhi controls the area in London where the boys were seen in and before Myron can reach the boys he has to deal with the psycho. Eventually he finds Patrick, one of the boys and he returns to the United States.  

Is this the real Patrick, and where is the other boy Rhys? The lives of both families has really been destroyed over the years and Patrick’s return opens wounds with Rhys’s family. The story is about family, friendship, deceptions and the meaning of home.  It is #11 in Coben’s Myron Bolitar series. As expected from Harlan Coben the plot twists and turns and you have no answers to what has happened until the end and even then there are still surprises.

See BJ’s Favorite Author Section on Harlan Coben

Quotes

“If you want to experience love, then you have to be ready for pain. One doesn’t come without the other. If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t have to worry about losing you. If you want laughter, expect tears.”

“Man plans and God laughs,”

“When you’re young you don’t get how great it is to be loved unconditionally.”

“Some people are conduits for misery.”

"A novel is like a sausage. You might like the final taste but you don't want to see how it was made."

“The homes were beautiful and picturesque and had all the warmth of a chain motel. ”"..

."better to have loved and lost" bullshit. Don't show me paradise and then burn it down." ~

Harlan Coben expounds on Writing! Does his net worth of 25 million give him insight?


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By Harlan Coben