Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

For this one, I thank Jon Stewart's The Daily Show for this one. He had Elizabeth Kolbert on the show and I was really interested in the book. I recommend following the link to go to the interview!

The Sixth Extinction covers the mass extinction happening right now to many plants and animals. There have been 5 extinction events previously, with the dinosaurs being the newest (relatively speaking). The cause of the sixth event turns out to be.... us.

Kolbert lays out the evidence that humans are, purposefully or not, pushing species right off the ledge of extinction. She lays out different issues in each chapter, ranging from the ever present but still poo-poo'd climate change, ocean acidity, coral reefs breaking down to how modern humans wiped out Neanderthals (after having sex with them).

It's not a horribly in-depth book, so you don't need a science degree to understand it, but it delves enough into each scenario to make you worry about the future of the earth. As one scientist noted we are liable to wipe ourselves out along with other species. And that is pretty scary.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

I'm trying desperately to remember if I've read The Shining or if I've seen the movies. I know this sounds bad, but it's such a well-known story, I feel like I've read it even though I really don't think I have. I've seen enough of the movie, enough of King's miniseries of the movie and The Simpson's episode.

Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining and it's a damn good one. Little Danny Torrance and his mom Wendy survived the Overlook hotel and moved on to make a (somewhat sad) life for themselves. We start with Danny as a kid, still seeing the ghosts from the Overlook and learning tricks from Dick to keep his sanity.

Danny grows up and is basically a shadow of his father, giving in to his alcoholism and drifting around the US. The book mostly races through this time of Dan's life, focusing on one pivotal moment of a drunken haze, and blazing forward into a town called Frazier. And there we stay, while the events of Dan's life play out.

I don't think there are major plot points to give away but we are introduced to the True Knot, led by Rose the Hat. They are vampires of a sort, traveling the country in RVs, finding kids with shining to feed upon, suck dry and bury in shallow graves.

Dan still has his shining and he teams up with a young girl, Abra, with more power than he can even imagine to stop the True Knot.

Classic King. I was determined to finish the last third of the book in one day and my poor dog was neglected (she says). I love it when books suck me in like this.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


I haven't completed any new books but am still reading 2 from the local library. I had varicose veins removed on Friday the 14th and I thought I would happily spend time on the couch reading for my recovery. Buzz!

Sharp, stabbing pain in the leg just isn't complementary to happily reading.

I'm still reading The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert and it really good. But I had to stop temporarily to read something not so in-depth and brainy.

I switched to Doctor Sleep by Stephen King and, while I haven't actually read The Shining, I'm really enjoying this one. So much in fact, my knitting has taken a hit. Maybe I should have gotten the audio....

I'm on a short wait list for Catching Fire on Netflix which is disappointing, so I'm appeasing myself with Season 2 of Deadwood. My, but the F-word is dropped a lot.

And that's the ketchup...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Ashfall (and the trilogy) was recommended by a friend on Facebook. YA books are becoming mainstays in my reading pile because they are much improved from back in my day (yes, I'm old). Mullin is also an Indianapolis author and I like to support the natives :)

I had a seen a documentary a bit ago about supervolcanos and Yellowstone was listed as one of the greats. It detailed the catastrophic nature of what would happen if it erupted again. It's erupted about 3 times previously, millions of years ago, and people are saying it's "due".

I visited Yellowstone on a family vacation and was pretty young. I never really fathomed that there was a volcano under there. It was just stinky and pretty.

Ashfall gives us Alex Halprin, in Cedar Falls, IA, home alone while his family visits other family in Illinois. Something crashes into his house, collapsing it and starting a fire. He escapes and stays with his neighbors and thus begins the fallout of Yellowstone erupting. Thunderous noise and ash falling so fast and furious that no light can be seen keeps them all in terror for the first of this disaster. Almost immediately, looters are prevalent (which is disheartening) and Alex begins a journey to Illinois to find his family.

He encounters many shady characters, some good people and some scary government people. His trip is difficult and I appreciated his ingenuity in his journey.

I'd rather not give away any more plot points so I will say this reminded me of a teen version of The Road with more emphasis on teen love and less lyrical in it's storytelling. I'm disappointed that cannibals appear so quickly as they did in The Road. Is that really what we will immediately resort to? Ugh.

I'm definitely reading the next books in the series. This is a good one.