TAGGED – I’m It…

Brainfluff

I saw this tag by Rae at PowerfulWomenReaders, on The Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag and couldn’t resist…

The Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2017
Really? I’m supposed to pick JUST ONE out of allll the fabulous reads I’ve had? Fine! But this is a CRUEL question!
After Atlas – Book 2 in the Planetfall series by Emma Newman
Govcorp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away; what made his father lose hope; what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man…

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SUNDAY (EVENING) POST

This has been an “off week”, and I took advantage of it by making it a reading week. Tuesday through today (Sunday) my main activity has been reading.

I have finished:

Who Is the Human? by Gary Pegoda — Reviewed recently on this blog.  Good sci-fi action.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald–Reviewed recently on this blog.

Setting Free the Kites by Alex George–a recent library impulse selection chosen because it was large print and thoroughly enjoyed.  To be reviewed on this blog soon.

The Devil’s Highway by Alberto Urrea–Reviewed recently on this blog.

Continuing to Read:

Set aside temporarily, Garth Stein’s A Sudden Light

My non-fiction attempt to expand my genre preferences, bell hooks’s Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics  I have barely begun, but I feel I should read bel hooks.

A book recommended by a fellow blogger at Brainfluff, The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
A Kindle Purchase written by a blogging friend Notes from a Small Dog by Ani

Watched:

The rest of the TV series, “Genius”, the story of Albert Einstein’s life and work

Rick Steves’ Europe on PBS, Went to Germany, twice; Scotland; parts of England.  I never get tired of him as a tour guide nor his show.  We often watch during meals since they are only thirty minutes long.

Movie, “The  Magdalene Sisters–brutal! A true story from Ireland.

Next week brings doctor’s visits and a few fun things as well, and of course, LOTS of reading!

 

Who Is the Human? Sam, Fred, Dylax: A Review of a Sci-Fi Novel

Gary Pegoda’s novel begins with a question posed on the title page: “If computers were human in every way, would it be human? How would you know?” In this day of messing around with IA, it is a question to be considered. The first character we meet is Sam, “I am Sam, the Star Bright Machine…” a computer activated in 2020 who is, in its/his own words, “intelligent,” and “conscious” although he/it is a quantum computer in reality. The second character we meet is Fred, who is escaping from Sam, in a series of fast-paced, action-filled escapes and near-escapes as Fred tries to decide whether he, Fred, is a human or a figment of Sam’s creation and imagination. When Dylax, who speaks strangely and is a bit hard to follow until one gets used to her disjointed, out-of-syntax speech, comes on the scene, she is the love-match for Fred, and the sex is out-of-this-world (pun intended).

Although the story is puzzling at times (I believe that is the author’s intention), the twists and turns keep readers turning the pages to see what happens next.  Oftentimes it is another beating, another capture, another operation to implant or take out implants on poor Fred.

Fortunately, the novel has a very satisfying ending, leaving it open for a sequel, which I hope the author will write.  I for one will follow these fascinating characters and their lives/existences.

TUESDAY TEASER

This meme hosted by The Purple Booker asks readers to take the book they’re currently reading, open it at random, and copy a couple of sentences that might tease other readers into reading the same book.

I love books about books, reading, and people who love books. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is just such a book.  It is her first book, her debut novel, which tells the story of Sarah who comes to visit the US from Sweden to see her elderly Book Buddy, Amy, only to find a surprise.  While spending her time in Broken Wheel, almost a ghost town, Sarah re-opens Amy’s small shop as a book shop, using Amy’s vast collection of books as her merchandise. Here is an excerpt from near the beginning of the book:

As she enters the local cafe, Sarah meets Grace, the toughest, shotgun-toting woman in town who owns the place.  Grace speaks: “You must be the tourist,” she said.  The smoke from her cigarette hit Sarah in the face.”

“I’m Sarah.  Do you know where Amy Harris lives?”

“The woman nodded,  “One hell of a day”, a lump of ash from her cigarette landed on the counter…” “She leaned over the counter. Amy’s dead, she said.”

This is one of the funniest, laugh-out-loud-books I’ve ever read, and it makes me want to go an see what Sarah brought about in Broken Wheel, just through the introduction of books into people’s lives.

Sunday (Evening) Post

Because I read several books at a time, I often finish several near the same time as well. During the past two weeks, I finished the following books:

The Devil’s Highway by Luis Urrea, a story of the US Border Patrol and its policies toward illegal immigrants–This book was one that although non-fiction, read like a novel, and I polished it off in two days.

Sophie’s World took much longer because it was full of philosophy and required thinking about while one followed the plot of an-about-to-be-fifteen year old girl.  It was educational as well as entertaining.

Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Divakaruni, a Houston writer I had read before took only a day and an evening, for it was so good that I stayed up late to finish it.

Gary Pegoda’s sci-fi novel,Who Is Human? also took more time because I had it on my Kindle app and was adjusting to the first novel read in that format, because it was very thought-provoking, and because I often found myself slowing down to admire the excellent writing.

For the time being, I had put aside Garth Stein’s (author of Racing in the Rain, a heartbreaking but engaging novel, told from a dog’s point of view) A Sudden Light in order to return Divakaruni’s novel to the library on time.  I hope to return to it this coming week.

I have just begun the large print version of Katarina Bivald’s The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, also borrowed from the library, which has me laughing out loud and totally delighted by page 355 in just two days.

I did manage to work in the Sunday edition of The Houston Chronicle as my guilty pleasure for a Sunday afternoon, something I reward myself with when I’ve worked hard on various things all week.

I have had out-of-state company all week, and although we have had a lovely time and wonderful visit, I will be glad to have some peace and quiet (they have an 8 year old and a ten year old, brilliant and sweet kids, but exhausting to an old woman like me LOL) before starting teaching summer school at the local college in July. I am sure once the family is out the door I will be missing the happy laughter from the many games of Uno played on the living room floor and the delicious authentic Chinese meals the father of the family has made for us.  I feel like it has been Mother’s Day (week) instead of Father’s Day because of the royal treatment I have been receiving.

I have plans to get some reading done before I get caught up in lesson plans and grading, perhaps I’ll start right now…

THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY: A Good Non-Fiction Read

Non-fiction is not my first love, not my favorite genre in which to read. However, Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway kept me turning pages like any good novel.  It is excellent investigative reporting on the US border policy.  The readability is probably what made this book a Pulitzer Prize finalist. It deals with illegal immigration, specifically from Mexico and South America into Arizona, California, and Texas.

The author tells the story of a 2001 crossing of the desert which contains the area known as “The Devil’s Highway.”  The author expresses his own “outrage tempered with concern.” As one critic explained, Urrea writes with “tragic and beautiful intimacy.” Dealing with hyperthermia and how people die in the desert, the author traces a group walking across and down the Devil’s Highway seeking a better life in America. It is at times, “artful, powerful, and shocking.” It is a border story written by a self-proclaimed border son, a fronteriza.

The lasting impression this book will have on you is that it will haunt you.