"I was bitten must have been the devil"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Favorite Books

Today's topic is supposed to be dream house, but I think that's a silly topic. I'll take and house with four walls and a roof.

I'm going to change it to something more like me and talk about favorite books. I'm actually going through some that I really enjoyed and re-reading them. Now, I read for pleasure when I have time (which isn't often) so I only read something if it is entertaining enough to be worthy of my time. I don't read literature, I read novels. I'm sure I could get through something like "A Tale of Two Cities" but I'm not going to read anything that I have to think about, when I read it is to unwind not to stimulate my sluggish mind. I like horror,thrillers and good stories by good story tellers. One of my favorite storytellers is Dean Koontz. Here I will take you through a few favorites.

The Good Guy by Dean Koontz- I am actually re-reading this right now. Imagine sitting at a bar and a man mistakes you for a hitman. He gives you an envelope with a picture, address and 10k. After the buyer leaves the real hitman shows up and mistakes you for the buyer, do you just hand him the envelope and go on with your life? That's what happens to Timothy Carrier, and he tells the hitman he has had a change of heart and goes to find the woman and warn her of the potential hit. The hitman, Krait, has a job to do and he will complete his task whether Tim is in his way or not. A great Koontz story with lots of twists and turns, he always has a good surprise or two.

Pressure by Jeffery Strand- I am looking to re-read this one soon. I got a little carried away on Paperback Swap and dealt this book out but am now regretting it, I have requested it again and hope to have it soon. I'm going with the synopsis they give in the book because it is very intriguing..
Alex stared at the red pocketknife shown to him by his daughter. A pocketknife owned by somebody he hadn’t seen in years...
They met first in boarding school at age twelve. Alex Fletcher, shy and scared. Darren Rust, always furiously scribbling away in a private journal. It was not an immediate friendship, but then one night Darren convinced his roommate to sneak off school grounds to see something glorious. There was a sleazy strip club, you see, and every once in a while the back door opened just long enough to maybe catch a quick glimpse... Though a bond was formed from their pre-pubescent interest in naked women, Darren had another interest. A morbid curiosity about death. A curiosity that turned into something much more sinister.
They crossed paths again in college and became the best of friends. But Darren wasn’t just looking for a friend. He had dark, ghastly urges squirming around in his head, and he believed he saw the same things — the urge to hurt, the urge to kill — in Alex. He was looking for somebody who understood. A partner. But Alex could never become a monster. Not even when Darren tried to bring out his friend’s most deeply buried feelings of rage. Not even when Darren tried to show him the euphoria of having that much power over another human being. It just couldn’t happen...right?
Now Alex has a wife and a daughter. And Darren is back. He’s hiding. He’s patient. His mind is twisted in the worst possible way.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen- This was a great story about a young boy named Jacob growing up during the Great Depression and his work at a traveling circus. It was so well written you felt you were right there with Jacob experiencing all of his experiences. It is actually a bit of a love story and I was surprised myself that I got so into it, but I did. It's one of those books that are just hard to put down.

Night by Elie Wiesel- I think everyone knows this story. I read this one fairly quickly, the horrors of the Nazi party always interest me. I don't think it is because of my Jewish heritage, just the thought process of people interests me highly. I always wonder what people are thinking when they do what they do, and this tells you exactly what death camp survivors go through. Obviously, it is not a easy or fun read but I found it very interesting.

Blaze by Richard Bachman aka Steven King- I just read this for the third time. It is a modern day (well late 70's) version of "Of Mice and Men" (which I also loved). I keep trying to get my wife to read it but so far no luck. This is the story of Clayton Blaisdell Jr (Blaze), as a boy he was beaten by his father badly and ended up with a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). He had no other family and was made a ward of the state of Maine. The book goes back into his childhood and his current life in which he is a small time con man, well he isn't himself because he isn't bright enough to run a scam but he is a tool used by his friend George Rackey.
He talks to George who died 3 months before the story starts in his head, and George answers back. They had a plan before George died of one big hit then retiring. That hit was to kidnap a baby of a nearby wealthy family. Blaze decides to pull it off himself, with the whispers of George helping him along the way. But, being a 6'7" 300lb mentally challenged man makes this difficult. What I really like about this story is how King tells the story of Blaze's childhood in between the story of the kidnapping. You really start to feel bad for Blaze, and as the story of his childhood gets worse and worse, the other chapters of current day show Blaze falling in love with the baby, Joe. He really starts to believe that Joe would be best with him, and he decides he's going to take the ransom money and run. The story of young Blaze is amazing, the story of current Blaze is even better. King makes you root for Blaze to succeed, to finally have the happiness in his life that was taken away in so many scenes of his childhood. I wanted Blaze to get away with baby Joe, and I don't know why.
This is by far my favorite book and I ask everyone to read it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling- The conclusion to Harry Potters is the best of the series. I don't know how she got all of the little details from book 1 to make sense and explained in book 7. Pure genius. I think she must have had the entire series written in one shot, I have read each book and have found no plot hole. Deathly Hallows is the perfect ending to the saga of Harry Potter, just a perfect book. The writing and detail is just enough without being too much, even following the Battle of Hogwarts is easy. She really saved the best for last.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger- Anyone like me who is into Nirvana and teen angst must enjoy this book. Holden is such an angry,cynical character not usually how you picture people from that time. Everyone is phony, everyone lies, everyone makes themselves out to be greater than they are. I guess Holden never saw these qualities on himself. I loved this book tho, I think we all sometimes get into a mood that's a bit Holden-esque. I know I do.

I'm gonna stop at those 7 because I'm tired, and because I can so ha.


  1. I couldn't get through A Tale of Two Cities 40+ years ago when I was supposed to read it high school...However, I enjoyed it as an adult. Liked Water for Elephants and HP and the Deathly Hallows was my least favorite book in the series. Camping...whining...and sniping at each other.

  2. Of all those books, my favorite still is The Catcher in the Rye. Following Holden and all the other characters in the story was a treat.

  3. Bookworm, which did you prefer? Before I read the last one my favorite was Prisoner of Azkaban. I was just amazed at the way she tied it all in, I also just rewatched the first part of the movie the other night.

  4. Whit, following the trials of Holden could definitely make anyone feel better about themselves. On days when you're feeling a little bitter you could always say "at least I'm not this guy".

  5. What about Lord of the Rings? Or, have you ever read Huckleberry Finn? (Two, OK four, of my favorites.)

    I read Night in high school. Not exactly escapist fiction. I read Catcher in the Rye somewhere along the way, too. None of the others.

    Once I'm done with school (pretty soon, now) I want to start reading more fiction again. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is on deck. And Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

  6. Nota- I have read The Hobbit and enjoyed it, I wasn't sure about getting into the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy though. I read Huck Finn way back in school (edited of course).

    I haven't read Frakenstein but I did read Bram Stoker's Dracula.