Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules by David Sedaris

I had the audio book for this one and since it was under 3 hours and short stories, I tackled it. David Sedaris is just awesome, so awesome, I'm happy to listen to him reading other people's work.

Color me surprised then when I see that the printed book version had many more short stories than the audio book. Now I feel like I missed something.

The audio book covered

"Where the Door is Always Open and the Welcome Mat is Out" by Patricia Highsmith, read by Cherry Jones
"Bullet In the Brain" by Tobias Wolff, read by Toby Wherry
"Gryphon" by Charles Baxter, read by David Sedaris
"In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried" by Amy Hempel,read by Mary-Louise Parker
"Cosmopolitan" by Akhil Sharma, read by the author

I am having difficulty choosing which story I liked best, not that I am forced to choose, mind you. All were really excellent and read incredibly well.

I do think I need to get the printed version because if the selection for the audio book was this good, I don't think I want to miss the others.

Shift (Omnibus) by Hugh Howey

Holy hell...this audiobook was 18+ hours long. And I could not stop listening....

Hopefully, you will read/listen to Wool (Omnibus) first even though Shift is the prequel. I frickin' loved Wool and there were so many things left at the end that just confused me. How did these people come to live in Silos? What happened to America that forced so many people underground? Shift explains.

Shift flips between the somewhat current years with politicians (I KNEW it had to be politicians ruining the earth!!!) planning a nuclear waste area in Georgia, including building an underground silo that would be used in case there was a nuclear "issue" and all the workers had to go somewhere in an emergency. Donald is the very green congressman tasked with designing this silo. He commits a great deal of time to it, working with his ex from college and a senior congressman's daughter, Anna.

Then we flip to many many years in the future and the silos are in full use. Silo 1 has shifts of people who work for 6 months and then are frozen for a period of time until their next shift. Troy comes on shift and is the head of the silos. He is struggling with his shift because, despite the medication given to him, he remembers.

The omnibus continues to flip back and forth between pre-silo and post-apocalyptic silos. I am loathed to give anything away because of how many times I was surprised when I was listening.

Truly, read this series but start with Wool.

Shift (books 6-8)

Book 6 - Legacy
First Shift is a prequel to the story in the first five Wool novels, where the actions that led to the status quo of the world are explained through the eyes of Donald, a young congressman, in two different timelines.
Book 7 - Order
Second Shift follows a few of the characters of Book 6 when they are woken from cold-sleep 100 years later to be consulted on some unresolved problems, as well as a young new character in silo 18 named Mission, where they are experiencing internal fighting which threatens their survival.
Book 8 - Pact
Third Shift brings a close to the prequel trilogy. It tells the story of the fall of Silo 17, and the transformation of Jimmy into Solo, as well as the continued story of Donald Keene in Silo 1.

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Sometimes, when I'm trying a new type of knitting pattern, I can puzzle over it and try to make sense of it and feel like tearing my hair out (baby booties come to mind) and declare that I just don't need to make that pattern. But then I get hold of myself and decide to just quit over thinking and follow along exactly without worrying about the final product.

Amazingly, I got a nice pair of baby booties out of that.

This book was actually tackled the same way. I had issues with the writing and some of the characters and was struggling at first to get through it. But I decided to just throw myself into the story, forget that it was a bit clichey and the characters seemed off, and just go with it.

Once I did that, I enjoyed the story.

Georgia Walker owns a yarn store called Walker and Daughter. Her daughter, Dakota, is almost a teenager but was written to appear to be 10. I had a rough time with her character, but I digress. Anita is Georgia's mentor and also works in the shop. As per the title, a Friday night knitting club ends up, rather spontaneously, in Georgia's shop with a hodgepodge of ladies who are brought together by the love of yarn. Or something like that.

Most of this book was pretty formulaic. Single mom, struggling business, jealous friends, major trauma, etc. etc. But just go along with the flow, dive in and enjoy (this is a definite beach-type read).