Friday, August 21, 2015

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I decided to actually listen to The Hobbit since I was keeping up with the movies. I downloaded a copy from my local library and turns out..... I was in for a surprise.

I kept thinking that this audio book was well done but then I realized it was an old (1979) radio show. No wonder it was so well done! Music, sound effects, actors out the ying yang.

If you listen to The Hobbit, listen to this version!

The Hobbit is an age old story about Bilbo Baggins, a little Hobbit who was quietly living his Hobbit life, when Gandalf arrives to take him on an adventure. He is employed as the burglar in a quest of dwarves to get back the dwarf fortune and mountain from Smaug the dragon. Hobbits don't normally take on such adventures, or adventures at all, but Bilbo more than handled himself and saved his new dwarf friends more than once.

We meet Gollum ("My Preciioooooouuuusssss") here as well as trolls, dragons, elves, and shapeshifters. It is truly a wonderful adventure to go on with Bilbo.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

I assumed this would be a difficult read and I was correct. I had heard about this because of the movie starring Julianne Moore of the same name and all I knew is that it was about a woman with Alzheimer's Disease.  It's so much more than that.

I thought this would be difficult to read simply because my dad had dementia. He had Parkinson's Disease and no one told us that Parkinson's Induced Dementia was a thing until that thing happened. Dementia in Parkinson's patients is very similar to Alzheimer's and just as upsetting when watching someone you love disappear. So, I guess what I am saying is, this book was very hard to read for me. My dad has been gone for almost six years and this brought a lot back.

Alice Howland is a linguistics professor at Harvard, one the most brilliant minds in the business, when she starts noticing that she is forgetting words, misplacing items, etc. All of those symptoms are easy to write off as stress or fatigue. Alice only became worried when she went for a run in Harvard Square, a place she has lived at for over 25 years, and became lost.  She went to her doctor and asked to see a neurologist. Many tests later and she had the diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 50.

Still Alice is very interesting in how her story is told. Her neurologist tells her in the beginning "You may not be the most reliable source of what's been going on." which struck me since this novel is Alice's point of view so we wonder if the story is reliable. I think it is because it is heartbreaking and terrifying. Walking with Alice as her memory declines rapidly is not for the weak and her family, her children, are by her side through it all. I very much worried about her husband, John, who did not seem to want to accept the diagnosis nor want to be around to see the decline.

There's nothing to spoil, per se, but I cannot do justice to this book with my words. It's an important book to read as nearly everyone will be, or has been, touched by Alzheimer's or dementia in their life. Standing in the shoes of someone who is losing their memory, losing their mind, is something everyone should do... once.

The thought of my dad feeling as helpless and confused as Alice describes breaks my heart all over again.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Junk food reading.

So I am out of order again on this, Heat Wave was the first book in the Nikki Heat series and I apparently should have started there, but let's be honest, with these books it doesn't matter where you jump in.

I've been watching Castle, mainly because Nathan Fillion, so I have a good idea what this whole thing is about. So jump in wherever you please.

Nikki Heat is a young, attractive New York Homicide detective and Jameson Rook is the writer who is shadowing her and her team, using her as a muse for his novels. Heat Wave revolves around a murder of  Matthew Starr, a very rich man in New York, who plummets to his death from his incredibly tastelessly rich apartment.

Heat and Rook are forced to work together and I must say that Rook was incredibly annoying. Thankfully, I've read ahead and I know his character changes a bit so it's ok.

This is a formulaic crime novel and it's good. I read it for fun and filler and usually enjoy myself.