Tuesday, October 30, 2012

(68) Papillion

Title: Papillon (P.S.) Henri Charriere
Publisher: William Morrow Publishers
576 pages
Genre: Autobiography

Synopsis:  Henri CharriÈre, called "Papillon," for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal:escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious prison, Devil's Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped . . . until Papillon. His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.

Review: An unbelievable story of adventure and redemption.  Henri called Papillon or Papi by his friends is sentenced to life imprisonment and makes it his goal to escape.  He escapes once and winds up with a native tribe where he lives for almost a year.  He leaves still bent on revenge against the people who wrongly imprisoned him.  Leaving behind 2 pregnant wives and a new family of friends he  tries to make his way back to France, but is captured and sent back to prison where he spends 8 years trying to escape again. Although he keeps trying to escape he wants to do it with as little impact on the other prisoners or the guards and wardens.  He finally gives up his idea of revenge and decides to move forward and just live.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Teaser Tuesday 10/23/12


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser Tuesday is from: Papillon (P.S.)by Henri Charriere

Synopsis: Henri CharriÈre, called "Papillon," for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious prison, Devil's Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped . . . until Papillon. His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.

"These people had made the "cavale" worth doing. Even though it was a failure, my escape was also a victory because of the way these extraordinary people had enriched my life. No, I didn't regret any part of it. "

Thursday, October 18, 2012

(67) The Cross in the Closet

Title: The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek
Publisher: Blue Head Publishing
352 pages
Genre: non-fiction, lgbt, religion

Synopsis: Timothy Kurek, raised within the confines of a strict, conservative Christian denomination in the Bible Belt, Nashville, Tennessee, was taught the gospel of separation from a young age. But it wasn't long before Timothy's path and the outside world converged when a friend came out as a lesbian, and revealed she had been excommunicated by her family. Distraught and overcome with questions and doubts about his religious upbringing, Timothy decided the only way to empathize and understand her pain was to walk in the shoes of very people he had been taught to shun. He decided to come out as a gay man to everyone in his life, and to see for himself how the label of gay would impact his life. In the tradition of Black Like Me, The Cross in the Closet is a story about people, a story about faith, and about one man's "abominable" quest to find Jesus in the margins.

Review: Timothy made a brave journey that not only showed him what it was like to be gay but also what it was like to be in the closet as he hid his true heterosexual identity from his family and the others that he met.  Similar to Morgan Spurlock's experiments in his movie Super Size Me and his TV show 30 Days: The Complete Series  Timothy decided to "come out" to his family and friends and live as a gay man for 1 year to answer questions for himself about who he was as a person, his faith and how it fit with loving your neighbor as you love yourself.

Timothy doesn't gloss over his struggle.  He reveals how he belittled gay people when he was younger thinking he was better, how he hid behind his religion and the scripture but never really sat down to understand it.  Timothy's journey was not an easy one.  He had to overcome his prejudice and open his eyes and his heart to learning more about himself as a person and who he wishes to be. This is a riviting read - I can see how some critics may say that he was swayed by the devil or even the "gay agenda". But I believe that in opening his eyes and his heart he may have learned a more about humanity, hate, prejudice and compassion than he ever could have before.

Timothy shows us his journey through dialogue fights with himself. In these he reveals how his feelings changed from one of being bigoted against gay and lesbians to one of being bigoted toward conservative Christians and then finally finding a middle ground of love and acceptance of all people.  Bravo Tim, your journey can teach us all a thing or two.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teaser Tuesday 10/16/12


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser Tuesday is from: The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek


Synopsis: Timothy Kurek, raised within the confines of a strict, conservative Christian denomination in the Bible Belt, Nashville, Tennessee, was taught the gospel of separation from a young age. But it wasn't long before Timothy's path and the outside world converged when a friend came out as a lesbian, and revealed she had been excommunicated by her family. Distraught and overcome with questions and doubts about his religious upbringing, Timothy decided the only way to empathize and understand her pain was to walk in the shoes of very people he had been taught to shun. He decided to come out as a gay man to everyone in his life, and to see for himself how the label of gay would impact his life. In the tradition of Black Like Me, The Cross in the Closet is a story about people, a story about faith, and about one man's "abominable" quest to find Jesus in the margins.


"The people I condemned most heartily have shamed me by walking more closely with the faith I have proclaimed so boldly. Talk really is cheap. "

Thursday, October 11, 2012

(66) Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Title: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend: A Novel by Matthew Dicks
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
321 Pages
Genre: Fiction

I received this book as an advanced e-galley from netgalley.com.  It was released on August 21, 2012.

Synopsis: Imaginary friend Budo narrates this heartwarming story of love, loyalty, and the power of the imagination-the perfect read for anyone who has ever had a friend . . . real or otherwise.

Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He's been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age, and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear.

Max is different from other children. Some people say that he has Asperger's Syndrome, but most just say he's "on the spectrum." None of this matters to Budo, who loves Max and is charged with protecting him from the class bully, from awkward situations in the cafeteria, and even in the bathroom stalls. But he can't protect Max from Mrs. Patterson, the woman who works with Max in the Learning Center and who believes that she alone is qualified to care for this young boy.

When Mrs. Patterson does the unthinkable and kidnaps Max, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save him-and Budo must ultimately decide which is more important: Max's happiness or Budo's very existence.

Review: Very original story told in the voice of the imaginary friend.  Not only do you learn about Budo and Max but you learn about the lives of imaginary friends and the world in which they live. There are rules to being an imaginary friend.  Some can walk through walls, some look human and some don't it really depends on the person who imagined them.

Regardless of what they look like all imaginary friends eventually fade away.  As their friends get older and don't rely on them or forget about them they start to fade and eventually cease to exist. Most imaginary friends don't really worry about this because they aren't imagined that way but Budo is different.  He is smart, can learn, think, travel and worry and  Budo is very worried about what happens after Max stops believing in him.  He has seen so many imaginary friends just disappear.  He equates it to death and constantly worries about when Max will start to forget him.  But Max is not a regular boy and he needs Budo's help to get through life, until Mrs. Patterson kidnaps him.  Leaving Max on his own and Budo stuck not being able to help.

Thoroughly original and engaging this is a very entertaining book. The characters are believable and I really cared about what happened to them.  Budo's take on people, their motives and the way they interact with the world really gives you something to think about.  What is real and what isn't? I really felt for Budo he may be imaginary but he was very real.

Monday, October 8, 2012

(65) The Dead of Summer

Title:The Dead of Summer (Volume 1) by Mari Jungstedt
Publisher: Stockholm Text Publishing
262 pages
Genre: Mystery

I received this title as an e-galley from netgalley.com It was released on May 3, 2012

Synopsis: The most isolated island in the Baltic Sea, Gotska Sandön, north of Gotland, serves as the setting for her perfect crime story.  A husband and father of two is mysteriously murdered while on holiday, taking a morning jog.  With no evidence of a motive or suspect, assistant commissioner Karin Jacobsson is assigned to her first major case to lead the investigation while her boss, Superintendent Anders Knutas is away on holiday. Meanwhile, TV reporter Johan Berg keeps pace with the police team, while at the same time distracted in trying to win back his former love and the mother of his child, Emma, who resides on the island.

Review: While I really enjoyed this book I wasn't quite sure who the main character was.  The book really focuses on so many characters. I believe the police man Knutas was supposed to be the main player,  but there were so many other more intriguing characters that he sort of got lost.  I was more drawn into the story of Johan Berg the TV reporter who seemed to be one step ahead of the police and the Assistant Commissioner Jacobsson whose power is given a back seat when her boss Knutas returns from vacation early.

This is your typical slower paced Scandinavian mystery.  There is no clean wrap up at the end, the characters are all flawed, and while you know that something happened in the past to spark these murders you aren't quite sure what.  I almost feel like many of these books are more character studies with the mystery as secondary.  Either way its a very enjoyable read.
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