Listen to my latest short story "The Forest Trail"

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Giver by Lois Lowry | Book Review

This was a great book. It brings you into a very different world from our own, but a world that seemed pretty similar at first. Then it strips away the thin layers one by one until you are horrified by the end of the book. It seems so innocent at first as you get to know the characters. Then you slowly discover just how weird the world they live in is. Everything is controlled and regulated. There is no pain and everything works like a well oiled machine in their society, but that's only for the ones who fit in and follow the rules. Everyone else gets released. I wont tell you what that means because wanting to find out was a huge factor pushing me through the story as I read it.

This is easily one of the most interesting books I've ever read. The world Lois Lowry creates in this novel is like nothing else I've ever read. I loved how the world just slowly creeps up on you. The more you read the creepier it is and the more you realize how messed up everything is in the place the characters live. It was a very light easy read but slowly unraveled a complex and cringe worthy story world that leaves you turning the pages faster and faster so you can dive deeper into this world and find out just what the heck is going on.

I really liked the main character Jonas and discovering the secrets of his world with him as I read through the story. I loved rooting for him and feeling for him. Seeing him react to things that in his society would be unimaginable was awesome. His journey to the truth was a great one to witness. I can't say enough about this wonderful little book and I don't want to spoil any of it so that's where I'll end my review.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Reading Paper Books Is My Last Choice

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I just finished The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was the first time I've read a book in paper in years. I've owned the paperback for a long time and have been intending to read it for years. I grabbed it from my bookcase because my wife and I were going on a trip where we planned to lay by the pool for hours. I didn't wan't an eReader and my phone screen isn't great for reading in bright sunlight so I opted for a paperback instead of my usual reading habit of reading via eBooks and audiobooks. While reading this story in paper I probably stopped to smell the pages at least once every reading session - but I found it really frustrating that once we were back from our trip I had a really hard time finding time to read it.

I have two hours of communting a day during the week for work and during this time I listen to audiobooks. That's how I do most of my reading. Someday my circumstances might change but for now I just can't find time to read paper books. One of my good friends who also has many young children told me he's the same way and get's most of his reading done with audiobooks. 

Electronic books are great too because they're easy to chip away at in small bursts. They're always with me in my pocket on my phone. I have gotten through a few pages while waiting at appointments or while in a long line at the grocery store. It's so convenient. Here's the other thing though - I actually prefer reading eBooks on my phone to reading a paper book even when I'm lounging at home. I like to read lying down and I've got to tell you that after holding my super light weight phone up above my head and having the ease of turning a page with a tiny quick tap even small paperbacks feel clumsy and annoying. I like to read with the text very large and my screen horizontal. It gets to be so I don't even notice I'm tapping it just becomes automatic and I think I read faster this way than with a paperback, or at least it feels easier. Also having a backlit screen is so much better at night than a clunky reading light perched above my pages that I might accidently shine in my wife's eyes while adjusting my posture in bed.

Yes I love paper books and as I mentioned even the smell of them but I will always choose to read via eBooks or audiobooks when given the choice. They're on my phone so they're always just a click away. They don't take up physical space in my house. They're usually cheaper. I can buy a new one and be reading it within seconds without having to even get up. For me eBooks and audiobooks win out everytime. That said I have hundreds of paperbacks I haven't read yet so I'll keep reading paper books for years to come, but when it comes to buying new books the only time I'll be choosing to buy paper books is when I'm planning on getting them signed and putting them safely on my shelf where they won't get bent and cracked.

What about you? Have you tried eBooks or audiobooks and they're just not your cup of tea or are you a paper defector like me joining the new electronic revolution and loving it all the way? I'd love to hear your side of the story when it comes to reading. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 28, 2015

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green | Book Review

This book was hit and miss for me. I didn't like it at all until about the last quarter of the book. Act 3. Why, you might ask, did you keep reading if you didn't like it until then? And my response to that would be: because the last two John Green books I read I loved and they were nothing like anything else I'd ever read and they were their own kind of wonderful. But in those books I loved the characters. In this book I kind of liked some of the characters but do not like Colin the main character. He's really annoying and even though I know I'm supposed to feel sorry for him I just want to tell him to shut up and stop whining. I kind of liked him by the end of the book.

There were parts in this book that made me smile and even made me laugh out loud. There's some good stuff in there, but overall it wasn't my cup of tea. I wanted to like this one, I really did, but it just didn't do it for me. This is the third book I've read by John Green. I LOVED the other two but this one was kind of blah. I read The Fault in our Stars first, then Looking for Alaska. Both of those books blew me away. I thought they were fantastic. This one seemed to be trying too hard. The eccentricities of the characters that usually make them more interesting were just kind of extra annoying fluff in this one. I think what it all comes down to is that I didn't like the main character Colin, or even his best friend Hassan. By the end of the book I did like Hassan more than the main character Colin, but these still weren't characters I really cared about.

So yeah, not my cup of tea but I'm still super excited to read all of his other books because like I said I loved the other two books I've read by him. You can't win them all. Even my favorite authors, John Green is easily now one of them, have written books I don't like. I have a feeling that I'm going to love Paper Towns though.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 27
The Regulators by Stephen King & Joyland by Stephen King

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In this 27th episode I review two books by Stephen King - The Regulators, and Joyland. Listen to hear why I didn't care much for The Regulators and absolutely loved Joyland. It's two for one this week people! Two book reviews with only one download! Enjoy.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Written by Stephen King
Narrated by the Michael Kelly

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Strangers On a Plane by Kay Kendall | Book Review

This is the first Prometheus story I've read that takes place over a very short length of time. It encompasses one plane ride where the main character ends up sitting next to the being I've come to know from this saga of short stories named Prometheus. An alien sent from another place to Earth to watch and learn of humans. A being constructed from our DNA who can heal itself and change its form to whatever age and gender it wishes. It lives on generation after generation interacting with humans to observe them. In this story Prometheus is taking the form of a sweet old lady with a firm constitution and special gifts.

As I read the story I really enjoyed it's flow and pacing. It just kind of folds out in front of you. It was a very enjoyable story to read. I like the writer's choice to use first person in this story. We get to see Prometheus up close and personal as the main character interacts with it. It was really cool to see that after reading about this being in so many other stories.

This story brought me back to a time in history, as many of the other Prometheus stories had, but to a very specific person's experience instead of having a more broad cast of characters. It takes place during the Vietnam war where a character is in Canada because her husband is trying to dodge the draft. In this way it was a more intimate story that left me wanting to know what was going to happen next to the character when the story ended. Maybe it was because I've flown on planes a lot this year but I could totally picture myself right there with the characters as I read the story. I think it was because the author Kay Kendall is a skilled storyteller. It was a fun mysterious tale leaving you wanting more. If the author ever writes what happens next I'd love to read it. Thanks for stopping by!

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