Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A WANTED MAN by Lee Child (A Jack Reacher Novel)

Finished Th 5/25/17  From the library Axis 360

Loved the book and was just trying to 'lighten it up' after wading through GINNY GALL.

From the page at amazon-

"Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. One man driving, eyes on the road. Another man next to him, telling stories that don't add up. A woman in the back, silent and worried. And next to her, a huge man with a broken nose, hitching a ride east to Virginia.

An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified. Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there.

All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride. He has tied himself to a massive conspiracy that makes him a threat - to both sides at once.

In Lee Child's white-hot thriller, nothing is what it seems, and nobody is telling the truth. As the tension rises, the twists come fast and furious, keeping readers guessing and gasping until the explosive finale."

The final scenes in the missile silo in rural Kansas is really a bank for terrorists. Paper copies of all the accounts; nothing is online.


100 divided by 81 is '1234567890 to eternity'

You can say all the numbers from one to one hundred without using the letter 'A'.

BROUGHT TO OUR SENSES by Kathleen H. Wheeler

Bought on Kindle and finished Mo 5/29/17, Memorial Day. The author came to the May meeting of the Contemporary Book Club. She talked a little about the book, although she did not want to speak before the group, she just wants to become a member. I thought I would give it a chance, and I loved it!

Link to amazon-


Krause Family Saga. Set in Springfield, IL.  Mel-O-Cream, Gabatoni's. Janice's final nursing home is in Litchfield, Il.

Janice- Born in 1930, Nebraska. Grim and unhappy childhood. Married to Ron during the Korean conflict.

Tom- oldest and only son. Janice wants him to distance him from the family and leave the conflicts behind and have successful life. He's at least twelve years older than the youngest, and probably the closest to his father because he was around when Janice's marriage was still viable.

Failed marriage to Audrey, but clicks with Jane. Two kids, Vicky and Evan

Jessica- When Janice kicks Ron out, she becomes the mother. Janice must go back to work and Duke, a small business owner set in Belleville, Il, but has a satellite office in Springfield and Janice helps to run it. Jessica Gets pregnant and has an early marriage just to escape The Krause Conflicts.

Failed marriage to Vince, but has four kids that she raises on her own. Jack, Megan, Justin, Becca.

Terri- 'Carrot Top'. The Krause Rebel; acts out and very resentful and violent to Elizabeth. Terri sees that Elizabeth is the favorite and fights for attention. Janice puts her in an all girls Catholic school and she gets expelled; smoking cigarettes, taunting the nuns, and swearing. She does get her GED, but doesn't attend to commencement.  

No husband, but has two daughters that she raises on her own; Ashley and Amanda.

Elizabeth- The youngest and the favorite. Janice learns early that Elizabeth is extremely intelligent but Ron feels that she is destined to become a housewife and special schooling would be a waste. Janice never mentions this until Elizabeth is in the the eight grade and qualifies for an advanced math class. Terri is seething.

The most successful marriage. John is a few years older and has an advanced degree. He is stable and supportive. Two daughters, Claire and Katie.

Early in her career Janice begins an affair with Duke. Everyone knows or suspects, except Elizabeth. Janice hates Ron, but really drove him away. He knew of the affair because he read a love letter in their lock box that Janice wrote to Duke. Elizabeth believed Janice that Ron was a cad and never learns the truth until Janice is too far gone with Alzheimer's.

When Janice is losing her memory she becomes kind of involved with Harold. He is Elizabeth's father in law (John's father) and feels that the Krause family is too hard on Janice. She's just fine but only experiencing normal 'senior moments'. He tries to gain legal control of Janice. The Krause's win.

On a trip to Las Vegas, Janice wakes up and doesn't know where she is or who is Harold. Then Harold realizes that there is much more going on with Janice.


Where was Duke when Harold was wooing Janice?

Early in the disease, Janice has weird eating impulses. At a wedding reception for one of the daughters, she eats chocolate cake with salt, and eats potato salad sandwiches. Is this a symptom of the disease. (My father's  compulsion to eat sugar substitutes with soup or chili).

How is normal dementia different from Alzheimer's?

I loved the novel and thought it would take a long time to read. I saw the 'family tree' at the beginning and I thought that I would be lost, confused, and dejected by page twelve, but this was not the case. I raced through the book and finished in just a couple of days. When the novel ends, I wished that I could continue learning about the characters, and this very rarely happens to me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Finished Tu 5/23/17  (Axis 360 from the library ebook selection)

the book at amazon-


"Before Kiss, Paul Stanley was in a local band, Rainbow (not to be confused with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow) and was also a member of Uncle Joe and Post War Baby Boom. Through a mutual friend of Gene Simmons', Stanley joined Simmons' band Wicked Lester in the early 1970s. The band recorded an album in 1972, but as of 2009 it has never been officially released (although songs from the album appeared on Kiss's 2001 box set). Wicked Lester soon fell apart and Stanley and Simmons placed ads for a drummer and a guitarist in various New York papers. This resulted in Peter Criss and Ace Frehley joining the group, and they named themselves Kiss. Kiss released their self-titled debut in February 1974.
Stanley's persona in Kiss was "The Starchild" utilizing one star over his right eye. For a brief time, Stanley changed his make-up character to "The Bandit", with a "Lone Ranger" style mask design make-up pattern. This make-up design would only be used during a few mid-1973 shows, soon to be replaced by the now famous "The Starchild" make-up design and persona. In his book Sex Money Kiss, Gene Simmons admits that Stanley was the driving force for Kiss during the makeup-free 1980s, while Simmons was feeling lost without his demon makeup and was distanced from the band while attempting to launch a film career."
It seems that Stanley has a real vendetta against Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. He really has nothing good to say about either one of them- as people or musicians. For my money, Paul doesn't seem like an easy day at the beach himself. 
I was reading this while reading GINNY GALL, which was a pretty difficult read. This was my 'Day's Off' reading, but I thought the book was way too long. Never boring, yet I felt that it could have been much shorter. Maybe I'm just not that enamored with the band, Kiss . For example, Keith Richard's autobiography was probably longer, but I felt it was very justified because 'The Stones are The Stones', whereas, 'Kiss are just Kiss'. While I was reading Stanley's book I downloaded Kiss's Greatest on Hoopla, and although I liked the music more than I thought I would, it was still very, very rudimentary and simple. I've always felt that Kiss's music should be able to be played (and mastered) by any student of Rock with just a few month's worth of lessons (guitar, bass, drums, and maybe keyboard/ organ).
Stanley complains that they were never taken seriously by critics. He seems to feel that when someone like Bruce Springsteen would do something outrageous it would be called iconic, yet when Kiss would try something bold or original, critics would write it off as a gimmick.  This is ridiculous. It's like saying Louie- Louie and a Brandenburg Concerto are both music so they are both the same. And, to compare the lyrics of a Kiss song to a song written by Springsteen is truly night and day. Kiss are not even in the same league! I think that this is much more than personal taste, but some things are just corny and clownish, and some Rock can really change your life and move your soul. And, for me, Kiss never did it. Not then, and not now.  

GINNY GALL by Charlie Smith

Finished Tu 5/23/17

The Contemporary Book Club selection for May, 2017

No one liked this book, and I felt it was like a record that is critically acclaimed, and you put it in your collection, but you never listen to it.

The author is primarily known as a poet and this was not his best known novel.

'Ginny Gall' is Black early 20th century slang for a part of Hell

Delvin Walker abandoned by his whore mother. She killed a man (maybe?) and took off.
Delvin is basically raided in a whorehouse.

Delvin is befriended by the local Black mortician, Cornelius Oliver. Delvin becomes a kind of apprentice.

Delvin and another boy are attacked by a gang of white boys. Delvin's friend pulls a gun, fires, and they believe that they hit one of the boys. Delvin takes off and goes on the road. He's basically peripatetic all of his life.

Delvin leaves a girlfriend who is going to college. Celia Cumberland is the love of his life, but it doesn't come to anything.

Delvin meets and teams up with a traveling Black museum curator, Professor Caramel.
Delvin winds up in jail and so does the professor. They get separated.

Delvin rides the rails with a group of Blacks, and a white boy steps on his hand during a Black/ White fight. This action starts a brawl between the two groups. After the fight, two white girls say that the Blacks raped them; Lucille Blaine and Hazel Fear. Later the train is halted and the Blacks are taken to jail.

This is during the 1930's and the best they can hope for is life behind bars.

Lucille is filled with rage and singles Delvin out as one of the prime assailants.

Delvin is sentenced and basically they threw away the key. He escapes- he escapes from prison and jail numerous times.

In the final scene he comes back to the whorehouse to find out what happened to his mother. He learns that she is dead, but some of the whores remember her.

Lucille shows up and Delvin strikes her. The action is unclear.
'Ghost' one of Delvin's friends from the funeral home is there.


Very long paragraphs. Long and confusing descriptions. The plot was lost among the picturesque passages. Some of it was well written, but I don't think that it worked as a novel. It was the most unpopular books that the club has read in a long time. I think that I appreciated what the author was trying to do rather than what he actually did. Sections were beautiful and poetic, but didn't support the strong and powerful story.

Kinda like SARGENT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND- groundbreaking album, it's in your collection, but you never listen to it.

Monday, May 15, 2017

THE SPARROW by Mary Doria Russell

Finished Su 5/14/17   I ordered this book on the recommendation of one of the members in the Contemporary Book Club. I ordered it at the April, 2017 meeting from Amazon.

Told in flashbacks. Father Emilio Sandoz is the only survivor of a Jesuit mission to the planet Rakhat in the Alpha Centauri galaxy. Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico heard 'singing' from 'the stars'.

Four Jesuit priests
A young astronomer
An elderly husband and wife; engineer/ physician
Female ex-child prostitute, 'indentured' Computer expert. A 'vulture'- If you want to learn all a person knows, she will talk with the person and extract the information.

DW Yarbrough- Captain of the mission. Ugly, gay, witty.
Emilio Sandoz- He is the primary storyline, and only human survivor of the mission. Expert linguist.
Marc Robichaux- artist
Alan Pace- musician

Anne and George Edwards- In their sixties and Liberal Do Gooders. Very moral yet bristle at the very idea that only God could create a moral universe. 'Don't need to be scared or threatened into doing the right thing'.
Jimmy Quinn- He is a very tall astronomer who first heard the 'singing from the skies'.
Sofia Mendes- The Jesuits bought out her contract so that she could be a part of the mission.

Interesting idea-
The homeless children problem is taken care of through Privatization. Wealthy patrons sponsor children's education and then take a percentage of their future wages.

'Leonardo Da Vinci is probably the last human who had  clear grasp of all the technology that he used'.

The two species of life on the Varakhai planet (Rakhat)
Runa- This species are bred for food. They are like pets. They only exist to prevent the ecosystem from going out of balance. This is the species that the humans meet first.

Jana'ata- The dominant species. When the humans introduce crop cultivation they thought that they would help the Runa, but it caused a genocide. Sandoz feels responsible for this. He also was used as a prostitute. Not entirely for sex, but kind of a 'gift'. His hands are destroyed, but the aliens were trying to make him beautiful.




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

READY PLAYER ONE: A Novel by Ernest Cline

For the whole time I've been reading the book, I have been calling it 'Game Player One'....why?

Explanation for the title-
On the eighties coin operated video machines the phrase, Ready Player One is what appeared when you deposited your quarter.

Finished Tu 5/9/17.

This book was recommended to me by Shane Miller, the contractor who is remodeling my kitchen. When he was telling me about the novel I found it on Amazon and then noticed that the library had it on Axis 360. I downloaded it before we finished talking about it. I'm really going to enjoy the library's ebooks.

"READY PLAYER ONE takes place in the not-so-distant future--the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. People can plug into OASIS to play, go to school, earn money, and even meet other people (or at least they can meet their avatars), and for protagonist Wade Owen Watts (WOW) it certainly beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life. Along with millions of other world-wide citizens, Wade dreams of finding three keys left behind by James Halliday, the now-deceased creator of OASIS and the richest man to have ever lived. The keys are rumored to be hidden inside OASIS, and whoever finds them will inherit Halliday’s fortune. But Halliday has not made it easy. And there are real dangers in this virtual world. Stuffed to the gills with action, puzzles, nerdy romance, and 80s nostalgia, this high energy cyber-quest will make geeks everywhere feel like they were separated at birth from author Ernest Cline".

Set in a dystopian world of the future, 2045. Due to neglect and overwhelming problems, the 'real world' is ignored and most people live primarily in the virtual world of OASIS. Visors and haptic gloves are used to seamlessly interact with the virtual world.

James Halliday and a man named Morgan co-founded the virtual world of OASIS. When Halliday dies without an heir, he leaves all of his billions to the finder of an 'Easter Egg' within OASIS. The winner must successfully complete three stages or gates.

1.) RPO, 2.) the Jade Key, and 3.) the Crystal Key

The game has been on for five years and Wade Watts, a poor kid who lives in a vertical trailer park (stacks) outside of Oklahoma City finds the key to the first gate.

Perzival (Wade Watts)
Aesch (H)
Two Japanese brothers (not really related, but 'brothers by game')

'gunters' The hunters for the Easter Egg.

'IOI'- The international Internet Service Provider and if they find the egg and get the billions they plan to monetize (introduce advertizing and charge for websites) the virtual world of OASIS and thus make it available only to the rich.

'The Sixers'- These are the army of hunters working for the IOI. Most are indentured servants to IOI and they use their employee numbers for their surnames.

The big reveal-
Ar3timise is a girl and she's just as beautiful as Wade imagined, but she has a large Port-wine stain on her face. Wade could not care less.

Aesch (He thought that his friend's name began with an 'H') Aesch is not male but a large, Afro-American lesbian. But Wade and Aesch are still 'brothers'.

He splits the winnings with his friends.

Monday, May 8, 2017


Finished Sa 5/6/17   Borrowed from Janny

Two stories; Two couples and a child are on a sailing boat. A double murder that happened on March 5. 1873 on Smuttynose, an island ten miles off the New Hampshire coast.

Jean- the female photographer who is on the boat as part of an assignment for the murders.
Thomas- Jean's husband; poet/professor.
Billie- Their ten year old daughter

Rich- Thomas's brother; captain of the sailing boat
Adaline- Beautiful model.

'Dominant Theme'- Jean suspects that Thomas and Adaline are having an affair. This is never resolved and it's heavily influenced by her paranoid point of view.
Feeling of ominous foreboding and/or dread.

This storyline ends with a severe storm. Adaline is washed overboard, but rescued. Billie is washed over, and her body is never found- only her life jacket.

'2nd Storyline'

Maren Honvedt is the witness to the murders and sole survivor. The manuscript that Jean has reveals that was written by Maren, and it's actually a confession. It is written in 1899 as she is dying.

John Honvedt- Her husband

Evan- Maren's brother. Maren has had an incestous affair with him, yet this is only hinted (rather strongly). It happened as their mother was dying and the incident left her unable to have children- something physical or psychological.

Anethe- Evan's beautiful wife. Kinda spacey.

Karen- Maren's older sister. Never really liked Maren and she witnesses Maren and Anethe together and accuses Maren of a lesbian relationship. "First you had an incestial relationship with are brother and now this"!

Similarities with the two storylines-

Both Maren and Jean are isolated; Jean on boat, Maren on the island.
Both surprised and shock be an unexpected death;

I like this novel a lot, but I still prefer ALL HE EVER WANTED.

I have put the movie from 2001 in my que. I had seen it and rated it five stars.

RECKLESS by Chrissie Hynde

(Axis 360)

Finished Sa 5/6/17

Loved the book and listened to numerous interviews with her. She never reveals anything about her personal life. Two children, but I'm not even sure if they are boys or girls. A daughter (I think) by Ray Davies, and the only thing that she mentions of this relationship is that they always fight. Over what? And, he was a musical idol to her since she was a young teenager and she finally becomes involved with him, yet she never mentions him.

Lemmy important for her career
Malcolm Mclaren and Vivienne Westwood friends and important figures
Must always keep moving
Some years of high school in Mexico
Spent time in Paris after high school

Very much a militant vegetarian

The bass player, Pete Farndon is expelled from the band for drug abuse. Three days later, the guitarist, James Honeyman-Scott dies of a cocaine related death. Ironic.

More of a fan than a musician. Saw most of the sixties bands.

A big deal was made of her rape. She got wasted on quaaludes and hangs out with bikers. She tries to take some responsibility for this, and the feminists took her to task. They feel that she somehow is condoning the bikers actions because she voluntarily put herself in a dangerous position.

Akron Ohio native

'The VegiTerranean' was the name of her vegan restaurant in Akron.

Married to Ray Davis, then Jim Kerr of Simple Minds. Then, an artist named Lucho Brieva. None of this info was in the book, but I found it on the internet.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

AT THEIR OWN GAME by Frank Zafiro (Kindle)

This book was on my Kindle and I must have gotten it when I first signed on, but I don't remember how or why. I'm really sold on the ebook experience, and this is only the beginning.

Finished Mo 5/1/17

Frank Zafiro is the pen name of Frank Scalise. He spent many years with the Spokane, Washington police department and has been a writer since the early 90's. He's also a big fan of hockey- as a player and a fan.

A hard-boiled noir thriller that's a quick and compelling read. Lots of twists, and they're not really unexpected turns in the plot, but complete and unexpected character revelations. Nobody is who they seems to be.

Characters aren't fully developed, but the shocking character revelations are the point of the book. Absolutely no complaints and the book has the feel of a really fantastic graphic novel.

From the book's page at amazon-

"Jake Stankovic has been flying below the radar for years, dealing safely in stolen property crime with his two-man crew. But times are tough, so he decides to step up to the big money with a drug deal. Everything that can go wrong, does. The deal goes bad, a vengeful detective sets his sights on Jake, one of his crew might be a turncoat, and a woman from a long past affair suddenly reappears. All of this would be complicated enough on its own, but for Jake, it's even worse.

The woman is the detective's ex-wife.

And Jake Stankovic used to be a cop. He now is a dealer in used products on the internet and also a dealer in illegal merchandise- 'a fence'. His old girlfriend, Helen (the detective's wife) comes back into his life and convinces Frank that it is time to branch out into the drug game with her connection. Both his partners turn on him, and the novel ends when he kills Helen after he learns that she isn't on his side either.

Now Jake must face new problems and old vendettas in an all-in proposition with lives on the line. He has to find a way to get his money back, keep the girl, and beat everyone involved...At Their Own Game".

The primary rule for a cop and this principle must never be broken- Do Not sleep with another cop's wife, but Jake does. This detective frames him for a crime that he didn't commit, Frank goes to prison, and when he comes out, he works the other side of the law with a couple of partners, Brent and Matt.
The Frame-
One day while off duty Frank walks by a store and notices two men fighting. He breaks up the fight and in the process, he breaks one of their noses. The man with the broken nose turns out to be the security guard for the store who was in the process of trying to stop a shoplifter. The police (egged on by the detective that has it in for Frank) make the case that Frank was a partner with the shoplifter and in on the theft.

Jake Stankovic (Stank)
Brent/ Matt

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I DREAMED I WAS A VERY CLEAN TRAMP by Richard Hell (Axis 360)

I re-read this ebook again and finished it on Tu 2/13/18. I started his novel, GO NOW, which I found my hardback copy downstairs on the shelves. This is a novel although it's very much based on fact. In TRAMP there's even a picture of his French girlfriend in GO NOW.

And the second time through, my only complaint is that the book ends in 1984. He's only in his mid thirties and I would really like to know how he made it through to middle age. He's now in his late sixties and I wonder how he handled his forties and fifties. We are the same age and I know that my forties and fifties turned out very different from anything that I could possibly have imagined. Hell's must have been too- but in a much different way.

Three cheers for the library's ebooks!!!!
This is the first book that I've read from the library's ebook selection. I took my tablet to the April, 2017 meeting of the Contemporary Book Club and one of the librarians downloaded the Axis 360 app. I had it on the device, but she said that it probably needed to be redownloaded for possible updates. Now it works just fine.

I finished the book early on the morning of Su 4/30/17. This was after over four inches of rain and the newly remodeled downstairs area flooded. God Save The Shop Vac!!

Although the book only covers Richard Meyers life up to the early 80's he seems to be an insightful and thoughtful individual. Just as he grew out of the poetry scene of the early 70's, it seems that he also has left the music scene behind, and is now (for a couple of decades) part of the literary establishment.

Born in 1949 (so was I and Arthur 'Killer' Kane) and he spent his early years in the white suburbs of Lexington, Ky. His father was a Jewish behavioral psychologist who died when he was seven. He has a sister a year and a half younger, and after his father died his mother went back to school and received a PHD.

A grandmother lived in NYC and they visited her frequently, so this might have been where he picked up his love of New York.

I loved that he mentioned caps and cap guns. I remember them well; and Captain Kangaroo.

Interesting recollection- Just before his father died, Richard and some friends were going to run away and live in the caves of Kentucky. His father discovered his plan, but instead of getting mad, he drove Richard to the meeting place to show him that his friends wouldn't go through with it. He was right.

The title is from the story that he wrote as a kid about this adventure with his father.

He believes that Punk Rock, and rock in general, are the province of the young. Passion and reckless indifference to 'what's supposed to be' trumps musicianship. I don't know why it can't be both; striking and different, yet musically competent and sublime.

Loved Romilar and BETWEEN THE BUTTONS.

The NY Punk Rock Scene of the seventies was really small and interconnected. Many of the girlfriends became wives and girlfriends of other prominent musicians.

He's a big fan of Dee Dee Ramone, but I don't think that he ever mentioned Joey.

He and Tom met at Sanford. A college preparatory boarding school in Delaware. They ran away to Florida. Started a fire in Alabama while camping, police were called and they were sent back. He decided that school was not for him and he wanted to go to NYC. His mother agreed to let him go only if he saved up a couple of hundred dollars. He did.

He was involved with various poetry magazines before and during his career in music.

He learned bass when he met Verlaine. He decided on bass because it had less strings than a guitar.

Bob Quine sounds like someone who was radically different. He was a bald lawyer who dressed like a yuppie on the skids and was very insecure.

I'm listening to DESTINY STREET and BLANK GENERATION on Youtube and I love it; "The Kid With the Disposable Head"and "Love Comes In Spurts", also an excellent cover of Them's, "I Can Only Give You Everything".

Although he never really admits it, drugs and alcohol seem to really have prevented him from reaching his full potential. Many drug addled artistic characters seem to be able to skate through to something great, but, in his case, I'm left with the feeling that he could have accomplished so much more. Maybe he's done it in his writing. I'm going to check it out.

He portrays Tom Verlaine (Tom Miller) as an egotistical control freak. The book ends when they both meet accidentally more than thirty years later in a used book store; "Did you know that Plato was from Pluto"?

Ripped from his bio at Goodreads-

"Born in 1949, Richard Meyers was shipped off to a private school for troublesome kids in Delaware, which is where he met Tom (Verlaine) Miller. Together they ran away, trying to hitchhike to Florida, but only made it as far as Alabama before being picked up by the authorities. Meyers persuaded his mother to allow him to go to New York, where he worked in a secondhand bookshop (the Strand; later he was employed at Cinemabilia along with Patti Smith) and tried to become a writer.
He arrived in the Big Apple at the tail end of the hippie scene. He took acid (and later heroin), but sought to develop a different sensibility in the manner of what he later referred to as 'twisted French aestheticism', i.e. more Arthur Rimbaud than Rolling Stones. He printed a poetry magazine (Genesis: Grasp) and when Miller dropped out of college and joined him in New York, they developed a joint alter ego whom they named Teresa Stern. Under this name they published a book of poems entitled Wanna Go Out?. This slim volume went almost unnoticed. It was at this point that Meyers and Miller decided to form a band. They changed their names to Hell and Verlaine, and called the band The Neon Boys.
During this hiatus, Hell wrote The Voidoid (1973), a rambling confessional. He wrote it in a 16 dollar-a-week room, fuelled by cheap wine and cough syrup that contained codeine. He then played in various successful bands: Television, Richard Hell and The Voidoids.
Hell recently returned to fiction with his 1996 novel Go Now."