For a while now I’ve been thinking that I should say something about the many thought-provoking novels I’ve been reading on WordPress, authored by my talented fellow bloggers. I was almost beaten to the post by Carrie Rubin, who’s planning to do a similar expose, but am hoping that Carrie has read DIFFERENT books to mine. Carrie, when your book is published (15 September?), expect a BIG fanfare from this site, ok?
So here goes:
The Stream (Discovery, Awakening and a third which I can’t find), by Bill Jones Jr of This Blog Intentionally Blank (just a note: NOBODY gets called Junior or Senior in Australia, and hardly anyone gets called Taylor, Ford or Campbell. Our loss.). The novels are about a kid called Charlie, who moves between the ‘real’ world and a dream world inhabited by pink, cutesie-pie dragons, psychopathic firebirds, and a mysteriously evil lord figure who may or may not be responsible for the dark side of this chaotic universe. Charlie and his beautiful friend Robyn discover that something is enslaving people’s minds, leaving them – in the real world – demented and soulless. I haven’t yet read the second in the series, but the first is imaginative and whimsical and full of the kind of muddled, sometimes nightmarish quality that dreams often have. Suppose our dreams ARE an alternate universe – a life within a life. Who knows! (but lucid dreaming’s on my bucket list)
The Bellman Chronicles, by Robert Hookey (the hugely popular Hook) is what it sounds, a chronicle of the amusing, frustrating, weird and touching experiences of a bellman at a major Canadian hotel. Whatever bellmen are, I wish WE had them – they seem to do everything except wipe your bum. The Chronicles are full of invaluable tips on living – for instance, just HOW do you tell a hooker from an ordinary common or garden slut? How SHOULDN’T you bring up children? and the immortal job hunting line, in answer to ‘Why did you choose us?’.
Starvation doesn’t fit into my lifestyle.
Nor mine. Let’s face it, being a Bellman is a perfect job for a keen observer of humanity – which writers ought to be. That said, Hook is much nicer to and about his customers than I would be!
One Night in Bridgeport, by Mark Paxton (aka King Midget). Ok, suppose you go on a business trip. Suppose you meet a gorgeous woman at the motel bar, and one thing leads to another and you sleep together. You go back home to your fiance, swearing to yourself never again to do such a foolish and impulsive thing. And then suppose – the police come round to your door and charge you with RAPE. You get thrown in jail. Your fiance dumps you. You lose everything. This book’s about how a single unwise decision can change the course of a life. I won’t say how it ends, except to say that it’s interesting and unpredictable. Makes you think (SHOULD I sleep with that hot writer? oh what the hell!).
Some guy I used to know had a saying ‘If you don’t like my opinions…I have others?’. Well, I’ve downloaded quite a few books, but I haven’t read all of them yet. When I do, I WILL review them (short of an injunction from the author). Anyway, here is one book that WASN’T (as far as I know) written by a WordPress blogger but it IS nevertheless worth reading. It’s called:
Mass Casualties: a Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception and Dishonor, by SPC Michael Anthony. Michael Anthony can’t be too popular in the US military at the moment, because this is a story about how our hero goes to Iraq, buoyed by ideals of helping the put-upon Iraqis experience the joys of peace and civilisation, and fighting for his country in a just cause. Needless to say, it all falls rather flat in a Green Zone beset by little kids with suicide bombs, recklessly fornicating sergeants and officers who wouldn’t know a medical emergency if it bit them on the arse. What comes through in this book most is honesty and disillusion. (And I have to admit, I’m not even one of those who thought the Iraq war was a particularly bad idea, to begin with).