The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia

The People of PaperThe People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant, simply brilliant. “The People of Paper” is about sadness and the tribulation of lost love (it is also about a man writing a book). The way the story is told is amazing, there is a blending between the characters stories and scenes told from multiple points of view. There are drawings, words cut out, black ink covering words (even whole paragraphs), some pages have paragraphs written in more than one direction (so you have to turn the book sideways to read), and part of the story is about the writer’s life (or at least the man writing the book in the story). It’s not as confusing as it sounds. It all makes for a wonderfully unusual reading experience. Everything that Salvador Plascencia does, moves the story forward and it gives the reader a real sense of the emotions the characters are experiencing.

As I was reading “The People of Paper” two other books kept coming to mind and neither because of plot, the first was “The Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut, because of the brilliance and the quirkiness of the story. The second book that kept coming to mind was “The History of Love” by Nicole Krauss, because of the level of emotional depth. Both books are among my favorites.

I highly recommend this book, especially to Vonnegut fans.

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The Monk by Mathew Gregory Lewis

The MonkThe Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Monk” was written over 200 years ago. Mathew Gregory Lewis later revised it to avoid charges of blasphemy. The edition I read is based on the original, before it was revised, and is the one I recommend.

There was a tipping point for me in “The Monk” somewhere between page 30 and 50 where the story went from feeling a little disappointing to totally engrossing. The Characters became alive and the story rich and full. The story twisted and turned to unexpected places. “The Monk” known for it’s violence and eroticism is a complex story about about abuse of power. Filled with violence, rape, murder, witchcraft, demons, and ghosts. The heart of evil is laid open for the reader to explore. I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say that the heart of evil belongs to man.

The eroticism and the violence in “The Monk” would be considered tame compared to books published today.

Being over 200 years old, the language is archaic, but it is beautiful, using words like unclose in place of open or peruse in place of read. I recommend that you gain possession of “The Monk”, unclose the book and peruse it’s pages, seated on your sopha or laid upon your couch.

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Mr. Trill in Hades & other stories by Iain crichton smith

MR Trill in Hades & Other StoriesMR Trill in Hades & Other Stories by Iain Crichton Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The title alone was enough to get me to pull this off the shelf and give it a read. A short short stories collection that turned out to be a nice surprise. All of the stories had a teacher and/or a school in them yet the variety of the stories were wide. The stories ranged everywhere from a relationship between a boy and his step-father (a teacher) to a horror story that really sets a mood of terror for some kids in a school after dark. As with most books of short stories, there were some hits and some misses. Many of the stories I found to be just so-so,even though the writing was still great, but a couple of the stories really made this book worth a read and the stories really stuck with me, especially the horror story.

As for recommending it I would suggest that if you run across it pick it up and enjoy, but I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest that you run out and buy it right away.

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Smedley Darlington Butler

Smedley D. Butler born July 30, 1881 was probably one of the greatest American heroes that you’ve never heard about. What made him such a great American hero wasn’t the fact that he served his country as a Marine, the many battles and wars he fought in, or all the medals he received, including two medals of honor. Or that he stuck by the veterans when they marched on Washington to lobby for the bonuses they were promised. Several veteran were killed when the cavalry disbanded the veterans using gas.

What made Smedley such an American hero was the fact that even though he was at odds with some of the things the government was doing/did he never lost sight of what it meant to be an American. So when some wealthy businessmen approached him to lead an army of veterans to overthrow the United States Government and set up a fascist government. Not only did he say no, he exposed those who wanted to destroy American freedom. The media (owned by businessmen) reported the story as a hoax, even though an investigation found evidence that confirmed Butler’s story.

It is my opinion that Smedley Darlington Butler should have a national holiday in his honor, and that holiday should be the first Tuesday in November. Everyone should get the day off work and be strongly encouraged to vote. What is more American than voting?

No Matter The Wreckage by Sarah Kay

No Matter the WreckageNo Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“No Matter The Wreckage” is everything I want from a book of poetry. For me poetry should take you to familiar places and allow you see them in a new light or it should take you to places you have never been and make them seem familiar enough that they becomes a part of you. “No Matter the Wreckage” is beautifully written and passed all my expectations.

I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book, I have seen Sarah Kay on Def Poetry (HBO), Ted Talks and on Youtube. I thought that after seeing the poet perform her poems with the passion she had for them, that they might seem, somehow, “less” if I was reading them. That proved to be a silly thought.

I not only recommend this book, I also recommend looking up Sarah Kay on Youtube, Ted Talks and Def Poetry, which had many great poets on it (Netflix on disc).

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The Trickster’s Hat by Nick Bantock

The Trickster's Hat: A Mischievous Apprenticeship in CreativityThe Trickster’s Hat: A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity by Nick Bantock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this up at the library, knowing nothing about it except for the fact that I liked the “Griffin & Sabine” (trilogy). Two minutes into the book and I knew it was a book I wanted to own.

“The Trickster’s Hat” is a guide to help you unlock your creativity. It’s full of activities to help you loosen your brain and to help you quiet that inner voice we all have that judges the things we create. At the beginning of each activity is a list of supplies needed (several activities just require pencil and paper), and instructions, many have a time limit ranging anywhere from minutes to days.

I have done a few of the activities and I am looking forward to doing more. Since the activities in “The Trickster’s Hat can be done by just about anyone. I highly recommend this book to everyone (creative or not).

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The Black – Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black

The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe NovelThe Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel by Benjamin Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One day a few weeks ago I walked passed the boob tube, and the guy that was talking caught my attention. He said his name is John Banville, and he was talking about a book he claimed he has written. Titled “The Black – Eyed Blonde”. He said he had written the book using his pen name, Benjamin Black. I was suspicious the moment that name rolled off his tongue. My first question was “why did this Banville fellow need an alias?”. He must be trying to pull a fast one. My second question was “why did he go with the name Benjamin Black?”. It didn’t take me long to conclude that finding the answers to those questions wasn’t worth my time, I had a drink to finish.

This Benjamin Black went on to say how he’s written a Philip Marlowe novel. Now I’ve never read a Philip Marlowe Novel before but I do recall watching a few movies where a man by the name of Humphrey Bogart played the part of Marlowe. I liked those movies, so my interest was piqued. Now I’ll have to do some investigating to see if Bogart is an alias. Maybe after a few more drinks I’ll Google it.

I was placed on a waiting list at the local library to get the book, seems I’m not the only one looking into this Benjamin Black character. After waiting a few weeks and checking my library account every couple of days the book finally showed up and was waiting for me, good thing I’m a patient man. When I got the book home and I cracked it open my head was suddenly filled with the voice of Mr. Bogart’s Philip Marlowe, it felt as though he was next to me telling me the story, the story of “The Black – Eyed Blonde”. Yeah the book was good. This John Banville A.K.A Benjamin Black bloke is A-OK in my book.

Before I laid my hands on the book I was hoping it would be a modern story, a story with a Marlowe of today. As I read my brain and my heart knew that Philip Marlowe didn’t belong in todays world and is best left in his own time.

So if you’re looking for a fast and fun read get your hands on “The Black-eyed Blonde”

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