Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Finders Keepers by Stephen King

Have I mentioned how much I love Stephen King? Oodles.

Finders Keepers in 2nd in the Bill Hodges trilogy. You might have met Hodges in Mr. Mercedes. If you haven't met him, go back and introduce yourself. Mr. Mercedes gives us evil in the form of Brady and his stolen Mercedes.

In Finders Keepers, Hodges is back with Holly and working for himself. We get several soon-to-be-interacting subplots: Morris, a young asshole who burglarizes a famous author and ends up committing several murders. Pete Saubers, a kid who discovers treasure in his backyard and innocently uses it to help his parents through a financial crisis. Hodges, who is just going about his workaday business until Pete's little sister Tina comes to him with her fears.

We get to know everyone involved as we go through the years with them. Then, we're on a runaway train as they all collide (ouch -  this really was a fast paced ending that required me to shout at the book).

The last book in the trilogy, End of Watch, will be out in June and I'm really looking forward to it. Because here is where King shines. The first 2 books are your basic people-are-evil books. We don't have any supernatural or monsters yet because, honestly, people are very good at being monsters without any help. BUT..... the ending of Finders Keepers is a teaser. I have a feeling we're about to get all Firestarter up in here (of which I approve as I loved Firestarter). King excels at the monsters and he excels at the monstrous people.

Did I mention how much I love King??


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I've been wanting to read this for a while and my book club had as the next book to read. Shame I missed that particular book club meeting but I'm still happy I read this. I feel like it needs a re-read.

The plot is very simple. Since it's so simple, there is obviously a greater, spiritual meaning behind the book. We follow Santiago, a poor shepherd, on a trek to the Egyptian Pyramids in search of his treasure. He has been having many dreams about this treasure and decided to sell his sheep and follow his Personal Legend (note the capitalization). According to this book, everyone has a Personal Legend and it's up to everyone to follow it. No matter how difficult the road to the ultimate destination is. 

"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

Santiago runs into some shady characters and learns life lessons in trust. As in, don't just hand over all of your money to a stranger "to hold". As he continues his journey, he meets people who help him understand what he needs to follow his dream.

In the end, really, this book is a fable designed to tell us to keep dreaming, follow your heart and don't give up. I started off really into the story but, not being a religious person, the more it got into God and creation of all things, the more I slowed down in my reading. That being said, there were still plenty of pieces of this tale that I appreciated. And I'm sure I'll appreciate just as much on a re-read.

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees The World by Clara Parkes

If I have a knitting bucket list, and I do, Clara just made me add more to it. Some of her adventures were already on my list (Rhinebeck, Maryland Sheep and Wool) but how little did I know of the world of knitting and fiber out there. I must get myself educated!

I own several of Clara's books - the way she researches fiber and presents her completely in-depth knowledge of knitting and fiber makes me feel like this just isn't a hobby, this is passion and life. I'm glad I grabbed this book from the library. It got me through a day of airports and traveling!

Knitlandia consists of 17 essasys about Parke's traveling around the world on fiber adventures. If you are a pretty hardcore knitter, you will recognize a lot of the places she's been and her friends that she meets. If you aren't a knitter, just read it anyways! You don't need to know the people because the essays are adventurous enough on their own (and it may encourage you to pick up sticks and string too!).

The places in America that she hits are doable for me: New Mexico, New York, Denver, Maryland, etc. But the overseas adventures - that will take some doing: Iceland (Oh this sounded like a grand trip!), Paris, Edinburgh.

I'm ready to travel.Who's with me??

Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World --Purchase from Amazon

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world... or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

As much as I like Felicia, I had no idea about her past (prior to appearing on Buffy The Vampire Slayer). I just know her as a geeky redhead who kept popping up in the things I kept watching. So now I know she was home-schooled, is a violin prodigy and an amazing singer (for proof of the latter, be sure to listen to the audio book).

I usually astound people with the"Yes, I'm a programmer and in IT. No, I can't stand video games/computer games" I try, I really do. I always think computer games would be fun but when it comes down to it, I'd rather pick up a book and/or knitting. My passion for those hobbies is off the charts, so I do relate in that way to Day's passion for gaming. She has done quite a bit to bring gaming to the forefront, that women CAN be gamers, we CAN go to GenCon and we CAN be geeks. Day details her very first foray into gaming and it speeds along from there. Again, listen to the audiobook. She's a very enthusiastic reader.

Felicia devotes a chapter to GamerGate, and even I, outside the world of gaming, knew about this. Internet trolls are the pond scum in the online world. People, pre-internet, sucked pretty bad but give them anonymity and WiFi and those bastards have a field day.

Felicia also shares her struggle with mental illness. As someone suffering from depression and anxiety, it's reassuring to hear that other folks deal with it and keep moving forward. She makes a damn good point about how difficult it is to get anyone to be sympathetic to mental illness ("Chin up! Try to feel happy!").

I liked Felicia before and really like her now. You don't need to be a geek to read this book because it will entertain you regardless (but being a geek helps!).