When they kidnap 12-year-old Luke Ellis for his minor telekinetic ability they overlook the power of his very significant intellect. Luke is brilliant and that power is something the evil Institute people had not expected.
Luke wakes up in a room that looks just like his bedroom back home. The door opens onto a hallway decorated with posters of romping children with mottos like “JUST ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE” and “I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!” Of course, the Institute is not a paradise it destroys its victims. It also destroys the “moral compass” of those who work there too long.
Luke teaches a group of traumatized kids to understand and utilize their own abilities, and to turn those abilities against their captors. In creating human “weapons” of the minds of the kids to be used against perceived enemies, the Institute created a weapon to be used against itself. Luke’s intellect with the linked mental efforts of the children, and with significant help from a powerful 10-year-old psychic named Avery Dixon the balance of power shifts and Luke escapes making his way to DuPray, South Carolina, where he meets up with S.C., Tim Jamieson, a former policeman.
Is this really one of the scariest of King’s novels? I don’t think so. In some ways it seemed to be less gory and horrifying but it was well done with a plot that took some unexpected turns. It was what you would expect of Steven King and worth the read.
“this life we think we’re living isn’t real. It’s just a shadow play, and I for one will be glad when the lights go out on it. In the dark, all the shadows disappear.”
“Back in the main corridor—what Luke now understood to be the residents’ wing—the little girls, Gerda and Greta, were standing and watching with wide, frightened eyes. They were holding hands and clutching dolls as identical as they were. They reminded Luke of twins in some old horror movie.”
“Between midnight and four, everyone should have permission to speak freely.”
“He wanted to tell Luke that he loved him. But there were no words, and maybe no need of them. Or telepathy. Sometimes a hug was telepathy.”
In Colorado the towns of Hope and Despair are separated by twelve miles of empty road. Jack Reacher arrives in Despair and all he wants is a cup of coffee but only finds trouble. The town folks just ignore him in the only diner in town and then order him to leave.
Despair is a company town owned by a powerful, wealthy, ultra-religious businessman and everyone works in this man’s scrap metal recycling plant. This only adds to Reacher’s suspicions that the town is hiding something.
After being kicked out of Despair Reacher goes back to the town o Hope. He gains the interest and help of a local police lady. He learns more about Despair finding out that each night a small plane takes off like clockwork returning 7 hours later while a small well-armed group of military cops stand guard around the scrape metal plant.
He returns to investigate and learns of two men who have disappeared and of a connection to a distant war that's killing Americans by the thousand.
The conflict quickly becomes one between the man who owns the town and Reacher and of course Reacher doesn’t lose.
Another exciting Jack Reacher story well worth the read.
“No, I'm a man with a rule. People leave me alone, I leave them alone. If they don't, I don't.”
“A person less fortunate than yourself deserves the best you can give. Because of duty, and honor, and service. You understand those words? You should do your job right, and you should do it well, simply because you can, without looking for notice or reward.”
“I have to warn you. I promised my mother, a long time ago. She said I had to give folks a chance to walk away.”
“Where are the deputies?'
'On their way up to the first-aid post.'
'What happened to them?'
“That should be your town motto. It's all I ever hear. Like: New Hampshire, Live Free or Die. It should be: Despair, You Need To Leave Now.”
“Because deep down to the army a wounded soldier that can’t fight anymore is garbage. So we depend on civilians, and civilians don’t care either.”
Blake Crouch’s novel, Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch is a science fiction, mind bending, multiverse thriller. The story begins with the main character, Jason, at a family dinner with his wife Daniela and their son Charile. Jason tells us at the beginning of chapter one: “I love Thursday nights. They have a feel to them that’s outside of time. It’s our tradition, just the three of us-family night.” Everything soon changes.
The premise is that some other version of the multiverse exists, and in one of them Jason2 has built a way to cross over. Jason1 becomes lost in another universe and experiences take him to many alternate realities where his main goal is to get home to his wife and son.
The story in a unique answer to the question: If you had a chance to go back and change a decision in your life, would you do it?
A key time in the plot happened years before the story starts when Jason Desson girlfriend Daniela learned she was pregnant. Jason gives up his very successful studies on superposition, becoming a teacher and devoted family man. Daniela gives up her own very successful life as an artist and they focus their lives on family.
The plot takes us to the day when Jason is forced to face what that life might have been like when he is kidnapped by a strange man who asks if he is happy with his life.
This book was one I didn’t want to put down. What was obviously a complicated story became even more complicated by the end. I enjoyed the book.
“No one tells you it’s all about to change, to be taken away. There’s no proximity alert, no indication that you’re standing on the precipice. And maybe that’s what makes tragedy so tragic. Not just what happens, but how it happens: a sucker punch that comes at you out of nowhere, when you’re least expecting it. No time to flinch or brace.”
“It's terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, branches off into a new world.”
“Imagine you’re a fish, swimming in a pond. You can move forward and back, side to side, but never up out of the water. If someone were standing beside the pond, watching you, you’d have no idea they were there. To you, that little pond is an entire universe. Now imagine that someone reaches down and lifts you out of the pond. You see that what you thought was the entire world is only a small pool. You see other ponds. Trees. The sky above. You realize you’re a part of a much larger and more mysterious reality than you had ever dreamed of.”
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Ok, I admit it. I am reviewing my own book. Please forgive me and read on. For one thing I am not offering any rating on the book. Maybe in reality this isn’t really a review anyway but a announcement.
I liked how it came out but I will have to wait and see what type of ratings it does get. The title “Why Life Stories Change: As You Look At Your Own Life Story You See Yourself Differently” isn’t an original idea but the way I came to this conclusion is part of my own life story as well as many of the other life shaping experiences.
Do experiences from someone mostly unknown to you have any value? Well why not? At least you don’t have the bias about what you know about the author filtering into the message. So please look for this book either in the “My Book” section of this blog or on Amazon where the book can be ordered. Paperback or Kindle E Book
Novelist Laura Lippman’s Inspiration for her latest crime novel, Lady in the Lake, came from two real-life disappearances in Baltimore in the 1960s when the body of Shirley Lee Wigeon Parker, a black 35-year-old divorcee, was found in a fountain in one of the city’s parks. That same year in September, Esther Lebowitz, an 11-year-old Jewish girl, was beaten to death inside a fish store, a gruesome killing that profoundly impacted Baltimore’s Jewish community.
Lippman’s main character is Maddie Schwartz a beautiful, bored, 37-year-old housewife who decides one day to leave her husband and become a crime reporter because she wanted to live a life that mattered.
Maddie Schwartz finds the body of schoolgirl young Tessie Fine. She needs a job and uses the details she learns about Tessie to get herself hired at the Baltimore Sun hoping to turn that into a reporter job.
After she is hired by the newspaper, she becomes obsessed with the disappearance and drowning of Cleo Sherwood and her focus is intense as she tries to find out what really happened.
The plot moves with a strong backdrop of the racism of the Sixties. Maddie has an affair with Ferdie, a black police officer, who isn’t allowed to use a patrol car but borrows one at night to visit her. The one-time Maddie and Ferdie goes out in public it is to a baseball game and she pretends not to know him acting like they just accidently sat by each other. The never talk of marriage but Maddie mentions that Interracial marriage was not legal in the United States. (Not until 1967)
Maddie evolves from a woman whose main skill is the ability to get men to like her to a woman who has learned she’s going to have to fight her own battle.
Lady in the Lake is a great newspaper novel and captures much of the feelings of the 1960s.
“A woman dies young, it’s man trouble.”
“How could 1906 and 1966 be part of the same century? In 1906, there had been no world wars, most people didn’t have telephones and cars. In 1906, women couldn’t vote and black men could by law, but not in practice.”
“Kindness could be so much more painful than cruelty.”
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Gertrude Stein's was born in 1874 in Pennsylvania and raised in Oakland California. She moved to Paris in 1903. She associated with Hemingway, Picasso and other famous artists and writers. Her book tells us about Picasso and his life as a great painter.
In 1904, Picasso rented a studio in an old, dilapidated building in Paris filled with artists and poets located at 13 Rue Ravignan in Paris. Picasso painted Stein between 1905 and 1906 in a style foreshadowing of his adoption of Cubism—and portrays her face like a mask with heavy lidded eyes.
Picasso was one of the innovators of Cubist artwork where objects are analyzed by breaking them up and reassembling them in an abstracted form and Steins seems compelled to defend the art form in this book and mentions that in 1909 when Picasso had completed the Cubist paintings Horta de Ebro and Maison sur la Colline that she was shown the photographs that inspired the paintings.
We learn from Stein’s writing how much Picasso’s home in Spain shaped his approach to art which was considered ahead of its time or avant-garde. She was one of the first Americans to claim that about his work.
Stein's close relationship with Picasso provided her with a unique vantage point to the man and his approaches.
Quotes from Gertrude Stein
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
We are always the same age inside.
America is my country and Paris is my hometown.
“One must dare to be happy. ”
“We are always the same age inside. ”
“It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much, doing nothing, really doing nothing.”
“Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something. ”
Reflections on the Dialogue Between Man and God
C.S. Lewis presents fictional letters written to a close friend Malcolm, who seems very real, that discuss things that are puzzling about having a dialogue with God. ‘For example, one question he asks is “If God is omniscient, why do we give Him information?” Lewis is skilled at explaining difficult questions, and this book considers many giving easy to understand answers.
The book starts out discussing "corporate prayer", praying with others, and private prayer discussing "when to pray and where, ready-made prayer, petitionary prayer, prayer as worship, penitential prayer, and prayer for the dead". Of corporate prayer it is clear he has a negative opinion when he says in a letter: “If you were thinking of corporate prayer, I won’t play. There is no subject in the world (always excepting, sport) of which I have less to say than liturgiology. (the system of church rituals and their symbolism}
The book concludes with Lewis looking into the subjects of the soul and the resurrection and then summing up how he feels by saying “If we were perfected, prayer would not be a duty, it would be a delight. Someday, please God, it will be.”
"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending."
"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
"Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties."
"Don't shine so that others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see HIM."
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The Red and the Black was Stendhal’s major work when it was published in 1830. The book is a character study of Julien Sorel, a carpenter’s son and an ambitious young man who uses seduction as a tool for advancement. He does not see any path for success in the military despite his admiration for Napoleon. That just leaves the church because in Sorel’s time that is the best way to gain power.
The army is symbolized in the novel by the color red and the church by the color black. The novel examines careerism, political opportunism, the climate of fear and denunciation of materialistic values in the Restoration of France.
Sorel is employed as a tutor for the mayor’s wife, Mme de Renal. At the same time, he is training to become a priest and he decides to seduce the mayor's wife, because he thinks that it is his duty.
M. Chélan, the town priest and Julien's mentor, sends him to the Besançon seminary to avoid any further scandal. The director of the seminary, M. Pirard, likes Julien and encourages him to become a great priest. Julien does very well at the seminary, but only because he wants to make a fortune and succeed in French society.
He then goes to Paris where he seduces the aristocratic Mathilde who is the daughter of his second employer. The book ends with Sorel’s execution for the attempted murder of Mme de Rênal after she had jeopardized his projected marriage to Mathilde
“A good book is an event in my life.” ...
“One can acquire everything in solitude except character.” ...
“There are as many styles of beauty as there are visions of happiness.” ...
“I love her beauty, but I fear her mind.” ...
“A novel is a mirror walking along a main road.”
“A melancholy air can never be the right thing; what you want is a bored air. If you are melancholy, it must be because you want something, there is something in which you have not succeeded.
It is shewing your inferiority. If you are bored, on the other hand, it is the person who has tried in vain to please you who is inferior.”
“A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love.”
“After moral poisoning, one requires physical remedies and a bottle of champagne
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The writers were students at New York University, and both had worked as Nannies for a number of wealthy families on the Upper East Side, where the book is set.
The book starts off with Nanny telling us: “Every season of my nanny career kicked off with a round of interviews so surreally similar that I’d often wonder if the mothers were slipped a secret manual at the Parents League to guide them through.” This is an early tipoff of predictability that follows in this Nanny’s experience in the summer ahead.
Nanny is an NYU student in her senior year and she takes part-time job as Nanny for a Grayer X the 4-year old son of Mr. and Mrs. X. She cares a great deal about the boy and is concerned about the lack of any relationship that he has with his parents. She picks him up at school, makes sure he goes to the activities that are arranged for him, and in addition works at being a personal assistant to his self-centered not very good mother.
Nanny meets a young man who goes to Harvard living in the same building and has a relationship with him. Nanny’s other life is of some interest but her experiences with the X family are funny, sort of, and predictable
Quotes from the Book
“And he doesn't care what you're wearing or what you've brought him. He just wants you there. Wanting him. And time is running out. He won't love you unconditionally that much longer. And soon he won't love you at all.”
“There are people─ in your home─ human beings─ drowning in their desire for you to look them in the eye. You made this family. And all you have to do is to show up and like them. It's called 'relating'. So get over whatever totally-absent-buying-your-affection parenting that you received and get here, man─ because this is your LIFE and you're just pissing it away.”
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Austin Kleon tells us in his new book, “Show Your Work!, 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered”, and then how to do it. Each of the ways listed is expounded on. He tells us that the key is a process, not a product and that we should share something everyday.
Kleon says it is about being find-able, about using a network instead of wasting time networking.
The book is a next step from his prior two books, “Steal Like an Artist, and Keep Going”. He says the key is that you do good work. It has to be worth stealing.
The 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered are:
You don’t have to be a genius.
Think process, not product.
Share something small every day.
Open up your cabinet of curiosities.
Tell good stories.
Teach what you know.
Don’t turn into human spam.
Learn to take a punch.