Tag Archives: Reading

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley

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Here are a few of my favorite quotes fromThe Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” by Walter Mosley

 

“The great man say that life is pain,” Coydog had said over eighty-five years before.  That mean if you love life, then you love the hurt that come along wit’ it. Now, if that ain’t the blues, I don’t know what is.” p.76

 

“Ptolemy and Peter Brock worked on a truck, driving up and down city streets delivering ice to the customers of Brock’s father, Minister Brock. “What church your daddy preach at?” “He ain’t no preacher,” Peter said. “My grandfather named him that so if you used his first name you had to respect him anyway.” p.79

 

“The older you get the more you live in the past.” p.166

 

Check out more thoughts about this book on my Goodreads link.

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Reading Goals – 2014

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Last year I set a reading goal of 30 books for 2013. I am pleased to say that I achieved my goal of 30 before the end of the year and decided to raise it to 40! I was a bit nervous about attaining my new goal, felt I was being over zealous, but guess what, I did it!!!

I tracked my progress on Goodreads.com. Feel free to click the link on my home page to have a look at my list of read books. I am also proud of myself because I actually followed through with my New Year’s resolution and stayed true to my love for books for a whole year!

This year I have decided not to raise but to lower the number of books I’d like to read so that I can read without pressure. I want to continue to enjoy books without the guilt of not reaching my monthly quota. I also want to indulge in books without considering their length. Maybe I’ll read more “mammoths” this year.

My goal is to read more leisurely and diversely. With this in mind, I’ve decided to set my goal at an achievable 25 books this year. Since I’m a member of a book club, that should knock out 12 and I buddy read with friends, which takes care of more obligatory reading leaving me with the opportunity to read more of what I want without constraints. The way I see it, this will be a more exciting reading year.

***What are your plans for reading next year? Do you set reading goals? If so, how do you go about setting your goals?

 

Book You Should Read Before Thanksgiving – “Night” by Elie Wiesel

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I have a feeling this book will be with me forever. Rather than divulge the synopsis of this book, I have decided to share my feelings about it.

I was quite reluctant to read this  book, having been forewarned about its subject matter; but, for some reason, I was drawn to it. After reading the first page, I couldn’t put it down. It was gripping, chilling and transforming. I felt like a ghost reliving horrid events of the doomed.

I read this 109 page book in two sittings because I wanted its content to soak in. I wanted to be affected, haunted and reminded. The words on the pages settled in my heart as if they were a vital part of me. I am forever changed because of it.

Upon completion, I decided that this was the perfect book to read preceding the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a reminder to be thankful, more loving, kind and expressive.

This Thanksgiving, I vow to give thanks to the people who stood for injustice, muttered kind words to those at their weakest, shared their faith and hope, and those brave enough to share their hardships in the form of the written word so that it might positively impact the world and encourage us when evil creeps into the heart of those in leadership, to stand up and say no — we remember.

5 Stars!

“The Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes -Book Review

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Confident, promising and self-absorbed Tony Webster and his friends meet Adrian Finn at school. While the boys marvel at Adrian’s superior worldview and intelligence, they become very close friends and vow to keep the close bond throughout their lives.

Tony, now entering his sixties, re-examines the life he had not expected. He discovers sometimes memories can’t be reliable. When a letter from a lawyer arrives one day, out of the blue, he soon realizes just how unreliable his recollection really is.

This book (winner of  the 2011 Man Booker Prize) verifies that it doesn’t necessarily take 1000 pages to tell a great story. My paperback edition was about 150 pages! I read it rather quickly and was thoroughly satisfied.

The story (narrated by Tony) alternates between the 1960’s to present day London. Tony compares the different mores and nuances of the time periods. I thought this was very interesting. For example, there was so much freedom in traveling without cellphones and email — only postcards or, for emergencies, telegrams. No one expected you to check in daily or updated you with the current happenings where you were headed so wonder and exploration was prevalent.

He also expresses how simple recall can lack credence. We tend to remember events favorably when reality tells a different tale. While reading, I got the feeling that I had overlooked some integral parts  or perhaps the story was an unsolvable puzzle; but by the end , all the scattered pieces came together leaving my mouth gaped.

I really enjoyed this book, I gave it 5 stars!

You should read this book if you enjoy:

  • short stories
  • mystery books
  • accessible philosophy

Other books by this author: “Metroland” (1980) “Before She Met Me” (1982)” Flaubert’s Parrot” (1984) -shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize “Staring at the Sun” (1986) “A History of the World in 10½ Chapters” (1989) “Taking It Over “(1991)”The Porcupine” (1992)”England, England” (1998) -shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize “Love, etc” -sequel to “Taking it Over” “Arthur & George” (2005) -shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

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I usually do not gravitate toward classics when I am searching for a leisure read but sometimes I get a hankering for a good old classic reminiscent of my favorite “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens.

This book is highly praised and raved as a pioneer for gothic literature in the book community, so I gave it a shot. Also the fact that it is considered a modern classic persuaded me to assume that it would not entail a ton of flowery language and excessive description. I was right. It contains just enough detail to assist in imagery but those who may not be accustomed to reading classics might have an opposing opinion.

Let’s cut to the chase. I really enjoyed this book. It encompassed everything I enjoy in a classic; complex themes and characters, mystery and intrigue. When I finished it, I sat for a while and pondered my feelings. I thought about how much I shared with each character. I also examined my feelings for the villains and discovered that I didn’t hate them but pitied them for I saw their suffering.

The main protagonist constantly rehearses self-sabotaging mantras that she’s too young, inexperienced, unattractive, incapable, and overall boring. Throughout the novel, she undergoes a drastic transformation. Her journey lends greatly to the story.

This book made me contemplate the aging process and the importance of living in the present moment while appreciating what you have and who you are.

I enjoyed the mystery element most. There’s definitely a lot of “woo woo” stuff going on that had me guessing and anxious to find out what was going on.

4 stars!

I would recommend this book to those who:

  • enjoy books with Gothic themes
  • appreciate character development
  • enjoy mystery novels
  • enjoy classics

Other books by this author:

Jamaica Inn, Frenchman’s Creek, Hungry Hill, My Cousin Rachel (1951)

The Birds (1963)

Don’t Look Now (1973)

The Glass Castle – Review

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The Walls family  live a nomadic and deplorable lifestyle. Although Rose Mary Walls (mother) has a teaching license and Rex Walls (father) is completely able bodied; one might even categorize his intelligence as genius, having the ability to construct remarkable inventions without advanced technology, the family members often find themselves sleeping in cardboard boxes, rooting garbage receptacles for scraps of food and lodging in places without proper plumbing or running water. The Glass Castle takes you on an impossible journey complete with battles with alcoholism, child neglect, regret, love and hope deferred.

While reading this book, I couldn’t help reminiscing on my childhood. During reflection, I entertained the thoughts that suggested my childhood might not have been so bad. I mean, sure my parents only bought and drove used cars that always lacked either heat or air-conditioning or both. We lived in a rural area and, being devout Christians, drove to church several times a week about thirty miles away because, according to my mother, that was where the real “truth” was being taught.

In the winter we kids would climb into the car with blankets or quilts in tow to keep us warm on the scenic ride. We usually ate foods that had labels we didn’t recognize from the commercials we watched between our favorite television shows. We wore clothes handed down by older siblings and even older/elderly benevolent strangers. But unlike Rex and Rose Mary Walls, my parents worked hard and accepted governmental assistance to keep the family fed and warm. They even subjected themselves to harmful and unjust labor conditions because they felt it was their responsibility to provide their children a decent livelihood.

I found myself yelling at the parents in this book for not getting off their lazy butts and doing something about the poverty in which they lived. I willed the mother (in my thoughts) out of bed each day and use that degree she had obtained to feed her staving family. I scoffed and rolled my eyes every time the father stumbled in the house completely drunk after having lost yet another job. I nearly cried each time the children were bullied by kids and adults for their unkempt appearance and repulsive smells. I cheered when Child Services knocked on their door in hopes that these children would finally get the chance in life they deserved.

However, it wasn’t until nearly the end of the story that I realized I loved those “worthless, good-for-nothing parents.” Though unorthodox and negligent, they taught and encouraged autonomy, fearlessness, resourcefulness and family loyalty.

I realized labeling your childhood as bad or good isn’t helpful or accurate. It’s just what it is. All circumstances lend consequences both good and bad. So labeling is simply irrelevant. I learned from my childhood how to be resourceful and optimistic. I also learned to stoop to low levels to obtain what I feel is a necessity.

Janette Walls, the author of The Glass Castle and one of the Walls’ kids, expressed in an interview that she neither hates nor resents the parenting she received. She only notes it as the story she has. She willingly accepts the scars and the lessons she received as a result of her parents’ expressed ideals about life.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who thinks he doesn’t or couldn’t enjoy memoirs. It is an easy read. My copy only had 288 pages; a great story with an important message.