Mark’s #42 – Revival by Stephen King (2015)

November 29, 2015 // 0 Comments

Occasionally I enjoy reading Stephen King because I know the story will always be creative and sometimes thought-provoking.  At other times, King is just a bit too bizarre for my tastes – Revival is on of those books. I appreciate King’s unique perspective, but more often than not, when it comes to metaphysical reality, he seems to paint a caricature of Christianity.  In this case, the protagonist of the story is a former Methodist pastor who bitterly turns away from faith upon the tragic death of his young wife and son.  What follows is a life of pursuing ‘special power’ and various healings through electrical treatment.  To conduct his experiments and healings, Charlie Jacobs eventually becomes a t.v. ‘faith healer’… At any rate, I was fairly bored by the book, I persisted to the end, but just barely.

Mark’s #38 – The Long Walk by Stephen King (published under pseudonym Richard Bachman in 1979)

October 31, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Long Walk This book was as disturbing as it was engaging.  The premise is simple, yet the storytelling is dynamic and thought-provoking.  Each year 100 walkers are chosen from a pool of qualified applicants across the United States.  At 9am on May 1st, deep in the state of Maine, the walkers begin their journey.  The goal is to outlast all the other walkers. Those who drop out receive their ‘ticket’.  What this means isn’t apparent until the first boy gets a side cramp, receives his three warnings, and then is shot in the head. Along the more than 200 mile journey, King masterfully weaves his story, keeping the reader engrossed in the lives and eventual sufferings of these teenage boys who all but the winner has signed up for a death sentence. This is a dystopian novel with some kind of dystopian alternative past that has taken place in world history.  We’re never told exactly what has happened to lead to both the conditions that would create such a race or the broader societal influences that would lead a nation of spectators to revel in such a horrific form of entertainment. “The reason all of this is so horrible,” McVries […]

JRF’s #17, #18, and #19 Stories of the Western Range: Man Riding West, The Black Rock Coffin Makers and Showdown on the Hogback by Louis L’Amour

October 20, 2015 // 0 Comments

Back before hashtags, in a time before Jenner saturated newsfeeds, was a time when men were men and women were women.  Some of these men were good guys and some were bad guys.   They shot each other over land, cattle, pride, and mostly…women. They also rode horses and ate a lot of chili cooked over an open flame. I listened to these books on a long road trip through Nevada and let my imagination fill the landscape with these heroes and cowards of the legendary West.

Mark’s #29 – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

September 16, 2015 // 0 Comments

Continuing on with my theme of reading historical fiction from World War II, All the Light We Cannot See may be the best novel I’ve read so far this year.  Both in the storyline and the way Doerr writes his intricate sentences, it is no surprise that this book won the Pulitzer Prize. This is the story of two children who each fight to survive and make sense of the world in the face of the sweeping tragedies of WWII. Marie-Laure is a blind french girl who lives with her father in Parisnear the Museum of Natural history.  As the Nazis invade Paris, the two are forced to go to her wealthy, eccentric, and reclusive uncle in the seaside town of Saint-Malo.  There they take with them the museum’s prize possession: a very rare and valuable jewel with a legend of its own. Werner is a young German orphan who has an incredible skill in fixing radios.  This skill earns him a place in the brutal Hitler Youth program and later with Nazi intelligence across Europe.  The two children’s lives and the story collide toward the end of the war in Saint-Malo. The book offers great writing and an intriguing interconnected storyline.  I […]

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