Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Finished Memorial Day 5/28/12

Written in 1975, but takes place in 1960 and 1970.
........ John Wilder; sells advertising space for AMERICAN SCIENTIST wife-Janice; son-Tommy.
........ Paul Borg; friend of John who later marries Janice.
........ MARJORIE WILDER'S CHOCOLATES; Johns successful family candy business.
........ Pamela Hendricks; John's girlfriend who helps John with the production of his Bellevue incident.
........ Henry Spivack; Patient John meets at Bellevue. He is crazy, but a real doctor.
........ Dr. Bloomberg-Dr. Rose; John's doctors, Bloomberg tells him to quit drinking and does 'talk therapy', but Dr. Rose prescribes antiphyschotic meds and really isn't concerned about his drinking even though the combination with booze is dangerous.
........ Dr. Chadwick; Black doctor who lives in John's apartment complex, and he treats him when John has his psychotic breakdown...... "Leave Here"?

Sunday, May 27, 2012


This was the featured selection for my Classic Book Club and the meeting was on Monday, 5/21/12

............. This is a rather depressing and bleak tale of a poor country girl who was beguiled by the notion that she might be of 'royal blood', and then she is raped, and her reputation and her life are irrevocably damaged. Tess never had a chance and never catches a break, and although she is beautiful, this also seems to work against her. I thought that the novel had a 'fevered melodramatic' quality, and really didn't translate well to modern readers. The story is set in Southwester England of the 1880's. I found the prose rather lackluster, and for all the 'over-the-top' situations, the novel just seemed to plod along. Overall, I think this novel is more trouble than it's worth.
............... Tess Durbeyfield- John and Joan are her parents. Alec d'Uberville- the rakish libertine who rapes Tess, and she later murders him Sorrow- the name of her child who she babtizes, and then dies. Angel Clare- 'Farmer In Training' who loves Tess until he learns that she is a 'fallen woman'. He has two brothers who are college educated, and have joined the church. His father is also a churchman, and will only sent Angel to college if he continues in the clergy. STONEHENGE- After the murder, Angel and Tess flee, and this is where she is captured. A black flag signals that Tess has been hanged, and Angel leaves with Liza-Lu who was Tess's younger sister.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

WHEN SHE WOKE by Hillary Jordan

Finished Sa 5/26/12

 WHEN SHE WOKE reworks Hawthorne's THE SCARLET LETTER and mixes in a dash of Margaret Attwood's THE HANDMAID'S TALE. Hannah Payne is convicted of second degree manslaughter for aborting her unborn child after having an affair with a famous evangelist. Instead of wearing a scarlet red letter like Hester Prynne, her entire body is indelibly colored red for a period of sixteen years! The first half of the novel documents Hannah's imprisonment, colorization, and her experiences in a half-way house, the 'Straight Path Center'. This section of the book worked the best, and the second half is kind of a Action-Adventure yarn about how Hannah and her new friend, Kayla leave the center, and try to escape and find freedom.
............... The writing is not on par with Nathaniel Hawthorne or Margaret Attwood, but it's an easy read, and examines some interesting views about Faith, Religion, and living in a Theocracy. WHEN SHE WOKE is the kind of book that goes well at the beach, or in an airport.
................ Hannah Payne Reverend Adian Dale Kayla Becca and Cole- Hannah's sister and brother in law- Cole is a member of "Fist of Jesus" "Fist of Jesus"- Militant Christians anti-Chromes "Novemberists"- Militant group that non-violently works for Pro-Choice-Organize a kind of 'Freedom Railroad' SOL-'Sanctity of Life'- legislation the criminalizes abortion Simone- Hannah's lesbian lover Straight Path Center- Half-way house for Chromes Reverend and Mrs. Henley- They run the house and Mrs. Henly runs the reverend-She's very cruel Stanton- Rich Gay? who sells Kayla and Hannah to 'Red Slavers'

................The author was inspired for this story by listening to a friend say that, "I think that all drugs should be legal and provided by the government. They just ought to turn you bright blue."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

CALEB'S CROSSING by Geraldine Brooks

Finished We 5/l6/l2

CALEB'S CROSSING is in the style of a 'young adult' novel, but the writing is vastly superior to anything geared toward children. The novel is narrated by a young girl from the 17th century who lives on Martha's Vineyard, and her language is beautifully descriptive and extremely evocative of that historical era. The story is loosely based on a real event, and I found it most strange to learn that Harvard was formed to teach both American and Native American youth. The founders of the college felt that by educating the Indians, they would become better Christians. I was completely taken with the novel, and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in an historical novel, or even a 'coming of age' tale.

This novel was the selection for my Contemporary Book Club for May, 2012.


Finished Tu 5/22/12

........... Another terrific novel by Ian Rankin, yet this novel does not focus on local color or flamboyant characters, but is more of a very elaborate and complicated 'who-dunnit'. Three officers from Edinburgh, Scotland's Internal Affairs (Professional Ethics and Standards) are sent across the Firth of Forth to check out allegations that a local cop has been using his position to bargain for sexual favors with women. This investigation leads to crimes and murders that have gone unsolved going back thirty years, and uncover collusion within the highest level of the Edinburgh police department. However, in the end, one man is responsible for it all.

.............. Malcolm Fox- Officer in Charge of The Professional Standards Unit. Tony Kaye and Joe Naysmith- The other members of the unit. Mitch Fox- Malcolm's aging father who is living in a transitional nursing home. Jude Fox- Malcolm's sister who disagrees with Malcolm's handling of their father. Paul Carter- Cop charged with ignoring infractions of the law in exchange for sexual favors. Alan Carter- Uncle of Paul; Retired cop who owns a security company. Francis Vernal- Leftest Scottish leader involved in car accident, and then suicide. But, it was murder. "Alice Watts"- The fake name of Alison Watson when she was involved with violent Leftist politics. She is now a high ranking member of the police. "Hawkeye"- The fake name of Stephen Pears when he was involved in violent Leftist politics. He is now a wealthy industrialist, and married to Alison Watson.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

BROKEN IRISH A NOVEL by Edward J. Delaney

Finished We 5/2/12

........... The novel reminds me of a certain style of film-making that has been popular for the past fifteen years or so. Multiple and divergent story-lines are introduced, and then they are overlapped and blended by the end of the film. They are probably too numerous to mention, but here are several of the better ones: NASHVILLE, PULP FICTION, BABEL, CRASH, and MAGNOLIA.
............ BROKEN IRISH is set in the Irish section of South Boston at the end of the millennium. This is a rough, but proud predominately Catholic area of the city. I thought it was mostly notorious for its Pro White stance, but Race is never once mentioned in the novel. Six major characters are developed and they are all from 'Southie', and they are all Catholic. The protagonists in the novel are--- an alcoholic with Advanced Liver Disease, a Desert Storm war widow with a fourteen year old boy who is kind of running away, a young teenage girl who is becoming involved in the porn industry, a Catholic priest who is being retired in disgrace, and a corrupt, yet very successful local businessman who is in the process of recording his life story. And, although, at the outset, these characters seem separate, but by the final page, their stories are all very artfully linked.
........... Delaney's writing is clearly expressed, and his descriptions are impeccable. The characters are beautifully presented, and developed with precision. And, the way that he seamlessly blends all of the stories together is a testament to his great skill as a writer. I will definitely try to read more by Edward J. Delaney.
........... John-Catholic priest who is being forced into retirement for his unethical dealings with young boys. This is not examined as to what he actually did. He is the much older brother of Terrance Rafferty.
............Colleen/Barry/Christopher-Colleen was married to Barry but he was killed in an accident during the Gulf War. He was hoping to become an airplane mechanic when he left the service. Christopher is Colleen's son who has been abused (sexually?) by the priest, John. Although this is never spelled out, the boy received a thousand dollars in cash from the man.
.............Jimmy-an alcoholic writer who suffers from ALD(Advanced Liver Disease). He is in the final stages and the book maintains that although he has quit drinking, he is prone to lapses of memory where he feels that he has spend the entire night in an alcoholic haze. I wonder if there is any truth to this assumption.
.............Jeanmarie-a sixteen year old runaway who has entered the Porn Industry. Her father is a Teamster boss, and the arch nemesis of Terrance Rafferty.
.............Terrance Rafferty-he is a rich and powerful investment banker who came from 'Southie'. He is a ruthless thug, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He is telling his story to Jimmy so that Jimmy can compose a private autobiography for him.
.............Chuckie-friend of Colleen who works with her at the airport.
.............Butchie Morrissey-a young hoodlum who falls from the back of a Ford Mustang, and becomes a quadriplegic. This incident helps Jimmy to stop drinking, but the real reason is that he was going to give the church six hundred dollars to atone for the six hundred that he stole from his father many years ago. Although, Jimmy does not remember where he was going when he witnessed the accident involving Morrissey.
..............Shelagh-A girl that Jimmy used to know when he was a freshman in college. She was attracted to him, and saw something in him that was worthy of saving, but by this time, Jimmy is oblivious.
..............Marty-Jeanmarie's pimp, and porn producer. He did create a website for her, but really he is taking money from men who he sets up to sleep with her.