Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Sunday Salon ~ September 23, 2012

Hello! I’ve been on a forced “break” of sorts from blogging. Turns out that computer virus I thought was gone from my computer “hid” a few bits of itself here and there. My computer shut down again and wouldn’t start back up. Holy cow! What a nightmare! I think this computer is all set now and squeaky clean. This sounds like what I said a week or so ago!

We have another abandoned cat here. The people who lived just two or three doors away moved out and left their one-year old tabby cat on the landing with a cup of water and open can of cat food. Bear in mind they had a month’s notice. They knew they were leaving and couldn’t be bothered to take care of their cat. A cat you have to assume was a part of their lives for a few months at least. By late afternoon yesterday, the poor thing was consistently and loudly meowing to get into his home. So we took him in and we’re calling him Oscar at the moment. Considering that cats are creatures of habit, poor Oscar isn’t a real happy boy at the moment. He hisses a bit, growls a lot, even when he eats and plays, and meows loudly when anyone comes near. He’s scared, confused, unsure of where he is and what’s happening. Oscar doesn’t seem to like other cats too much, either. Hopefully he’ll calm down in a few days as we continue to feed him regularly, play with and pet him, offer him catnip and take care of him. What’s wrong with people? Is it pure cruelty? Laziness? Stupidity? Selfishness? It’s probably a combination of all these. Does this happen everywhere? It happens so often here in Brooklyn. It’s an awful way to treat a pet, so cruel and unfeeling. If they’re found out people are fined $300 if the abandonment is reported. Oscar’s adorable and if he decides we’re a good fit for him, we’ll be fortunate to have him in the family.

I missed the mid-point for IT reviews. I’m going to post mine by Tuesday and read the reviews by other #Italong-ers!. I received a terrific #Italong book mark from softdrink. It’s awesome and makes my reading much more festive! I missed my scheduled review date for Telegraph Avenue but will have a new date soon. I’ll be reviewing A Wilderness of Error by Errol Morris this week. Unbelievable! This weekend I’ve just finished reading Henning Mankell’s first Wallander book, The Pyramid, about his early years on the police force. It’s great. I’m going to start reading The Cutting Season by Attica Locke.

Now I’ll return to the football game that’s making me want to scream!! Oy those Jets!

Happy Sunday!
Happy Reading!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Bookie's Son by Andrew Goldstein

The Bookie’s Son by Andrew Goldstein

ISBN: 978-0-9848245-0-2
Pages: 248
Release Date: May 2012
Publisher: sixoneseven
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Publisher‘s Summary: The year is 1960 and the place is the Bronx. All twelve-year-old Ricky Davis wants to do is play stickball with his friends and flirt with the building super’s daughter. But when his father crosses gangster Nathan Glucksman and goes into hiding, Ricky has to take over his father’s bookie business and figure out a way to pay back his debt—before the gangsters make good on their threats. Meanwhile, Ricky’s mother, Pearl, a fading beauty of failed dreams, plots to raise the money by embezzling funds from one of her boss’s clients: Elizabeth Taylor. Fast-paced, engrossing and full of heart, The Bookie’s Son paints the picture of a family forced to decide just how much they’re willing to sacrifice for each other—and at what cost.

My Thoughts: The Bookie’s Son has the intimate feel of a memoir. The working-class Bronx neighborhood where the Davis family lives is described in such vivid detail I was as if I’d been there before. The first-person narration by 12-year old Ricky enhances the familiar and personal feel of the story. I sometimes felt as if I was sitting at the Davis’ kitchen table watching and listening as Grandma Rosie relayed stories of her past to Ricky and told him how to live his life. The more Ricky shared about his family and the neighborhood the easier it became to imagine the people and places he talked about. Ricky quickly drew me into his world with his sweet, caring nature, his vivid adolescent fantasies and his struggle to find the courage to save his family. I found myself laughing at some of Ricky’s anecdotes and nearly brought to tears by others, his sincerity breaking my heart. In just a few chapters I was emotionally invested in The Bookie’s Son, hoping for Ricky and Rosie’s sake, especially, that things would work out for the Davis family.

The book covers Ricky’s twelfth summer through Yom Kippur in October. Ricky’s got a lot on his shoulders: pounding, pulsing adolescent hormones; confused thoughts about girls’ bodies; ducking the neighborhood bully; preparing for his Bar Mitzvah and wondering what it means to become a man and how this is going to happen. But most of the time Ricky’s trying to find a way to save his family from the crippling debt his father owes a violent mobster. Ricky, like most 12-year old boys, wants his father, an extremely flawed, mean and inconsiderate man, to respect and love him and he wants to take away his mother’s worries. Ricky figures he’ll accomplish this by being a hero. It’s funny and sad to read as Ricky makes various plans to get the money and discovers, at 12, he doesn’t have the strength or bravery to do so.

Pearl, his mother, a narcissistic, quick-tempered, mouthy woman loves Ricky and, sadly, treats him as her best friend. Sometimes this scares him and often it further confuses him. But I think the shining light of the book is Rosie, Ricky’s grandma. Rosie is the quintessential Jewish grandmother. She has a 91-year old boyfriend she‘s called Mr. Fein for 20 years. She cooks constantly, forcing food on anyone who enters the apartment: even mob enforcers. Rosie relishes offering unsolicited Yiddish-laden advice to family and friends. She’s convinced everyone likes her because she’s so smart. She has no qualms letting her son-in-law know what she thinks of him: as a low-life, telling him in a string of unflattering Yiddish insults. She’s more sure of herself than Ricky is, and she believes she can save the family, roping him into helping with her scheme.

Much of the commentary about this book focuses on the comedy. And much of the book is funny. However, make no mistake that in the form of Nathan Glucksman, the family nemesis, a sinister force pervades this story and it is far from sweetness and light. Andrew Goldstein has set out to create an atmosphere not just of a time and place. There is fear, loyalty to family and friends and what it means to be part of a family, since all families are crazy. In the Davis Family, as in most families, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly! I was surprised at the brevity of the book and the uncertainty at the end, otherwise, Goldstein accomplishes the goals of this book with a great deal of success. I highly recommend reading The Bookie's Son!

Andrew Goldstein’s website

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review The Bookie’s Son and to Andrew Goldstein and SixOneSeven publishers for a copy of this book.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII

It’s the time of year for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril when we spend our time imbibing as much that is ghastly, ghoulish and ghostly as possible! I never seem to get in as much as I hope too, but I enjoy trying to read and watch as much creepy stuff as I can! Considering as I keep forgetting to sign up, I may not be off to the best start but it could be the fault of a scary clown, Pennywise, in IT or the hair-raising true life murder case in The Wilderness of Error!
Anyway, I'm (finally!) signing up for R. I. P. VII hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.

This fun event runs for the next two months, between September 1st and October 31st. We can read novels (or watch movies) in the following categories:

Dark Fantasy.

There are several different levels of Peril to choose from. I was tempted by Peril I but not being the quickest reader I decided I might not get to 4 books so I opted for Peril II. I’ll definitely read at least two books from the above categories. I wanted to join the read along for The Little Stranger but I have too much to read already this month! Some of the books I might read other than

IT   and
The Wilderness of Error, are
The Murderer’s Daughters by Randy Sue Myers,
Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson,
The Likeness by Tana French, and
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

Another great option of this event that I love is Peril on the Screen for those of us who, as Carl posted, “like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare”. I’m a fan of British Detective shows such as Midsomer Murders, Rebus, Waking the Dead, Wire in the Blood, Luther and similar movies as well as thrillers such as Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Rebecca and Cape Fear.

Once you finish a book, TV show or movie and review it, there's a R.I.P. Review Site to post a link to you review, sharing it with other R.I.P. VII participants.  As Carl made sure to mention, the goal of R.I.P. VII is:

1. Have fun reading!

2. Share that fun with others!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros ~ September 11th

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly meme hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea every Tuesday. To participate share the opening paragraph or two of a book you've decided to read based on the opening. This is a debut novel that sounded really interesting to me. I also liked the Wales setting!

Don't forget to drop by Bibliophile By the Sea and read Diane's selection this week and be sure to visit and read the contributions of other participants in this terrific meme who can be found in the comments!

It doesn’t take long to divide an old life from a new life - a few minutes, not even that. One quick, unfair blow, and you find yourself looking back across the uncrossable, to a place that can’t ever be reached again, despite the fact you were there - brushing your teeth or reading your paper or wondering where you left your umbrella - just a moment ago. But that’s over, the kind, old life, and you have to go out into the unknown, unbalanced world, where everything important is wrong. People vanish, the scenery changes. Things you loved become meaningless, and meaningless things stay that way.

After this happened to me last November, one of the worst things has been the swap between the hemispheres of asleep and awake. I used to shake myself out of my dreams with relief; I would rush into the day and not look back. But now I start to wake up from a dream of my old life, in the uneasy, empty twilight of the morning, and I think No all over again, with the same force as the No on the telephone that day, standing in the Arctic blank of the hotel room, gripping the receiver with my locked-up fingers, as if that could stop her disappearing.

What are your thoughts about these paragraphs? Would you read this book based on these paragraphs?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday, Sunday...

Happy Sunday!  It's terrific it's a beautiful, sunny day, great for football and US Open Tennis! I hope you're enjoying the day!

My plans to spend most of my free time in the book blog arena this past week were thwarted by a hideous computer virus called Live Security Platinum. Ugh! It was a rogue software virus which took a good 4 days to fully and completely rid from the computer. I think it infected my computer when my Facebook page was hacked. I’m not entirely sure that’s how it got in. I am sure I spent entirely too much time frustrated by it!  It was a huge relief when we knew it was gone for good. Now it’s a matter of beefing up security and anti-virus software, trying to guarantee, as much as possible, it doesn’t happen again.

I read a considerable amount this week since it’s one of the best way to calm my mind and soul after fighting the virus. Unfortunately, I seem to have buried myself in review books, again, despite my intentions not too. At least I still want to read most of the review books now that it’s come time too! I’m reading the true crime book The Wilderness of Error by Errol Morris which is fascinating. I am about 100 pages in to Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue. His writing is brilliant and the characters are intriguing, so far. I just started The Bookie’s Son by Andrew Goldstein which I have no doubt will be good.  And, last but not least,  I’m loving IT by Stephen King. I’d forgotten what a terrific story-teller he is, creative, detailed and thrilling! I'm so glad I joined this readalong!
The one other wonderful, delightful distraction from all that’s frustrating and painful is the cats, especially the kitten, Owen. He’s full of energy and lots of fun as well as mushy, loving and cuddly. He’s an ideal cat!  I'll have more photos soon, just need to download them!

Enjoy your Sunday!
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermudaonion's Weblog where we share words we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun (please do!) Be sure to leave a link to your post over at Bermudaonion's Weblog.

The following words are from Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk :

She, Juliet, aged thirty-six, mother of two, a teacher at Arlington Park High School for Girls - a person regarded in her youth as somewhat exceptional, a scholarship student and at one time Head Girl - had been slightly obnoxious to their hosts, the Milfords: Matthew Milford, the vilely wealthy owner of an office supplies company in Cheltenham, and his horse-faced, attenuated, raddled wife, Louisa.

1. Attenuated
: weak; diminishing

2. Raddled
: being in a state of confusion : lacking composure
: Broken down; worn

In they came, farouche in their ballet slippers.

3. Farouche: (adj.) (French)
: fierce
: sullenly unsociable or shy; socially inept

These words are from The City & The City by China Miéville

It is a heavily crosshatched street - clutch by clutch of architecture broken by alterity, even in a few spots house by house.

1. Alterity
: The state or quality of being other; a being otherwise.

The local buildings are taller by a floor or three than the others, so Besz juts up semi-regularly and the roofscape is almost a machicolation.

2. Machicolation (noun, Architecture)
: (esp in medieval castles) a projecting gallery or parapet supported on corbels having openings through which missiles could be dropped
: any such opening

The convenor, a wiry, pony-tailed man, who went by Zyet, “Bean“ would not give us their names.

3. Convenor
: a person who convenes or chairs a meeting, committee, etc, especially one who is specifically elected to do so.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros ~ September 4th!

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly meme hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea every Tuesday. To participate, share the opening paragraph or two (I’ve shared a little more here) of a book you've decided to read based on the paragraph(s). This book was published several years ago and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2007. This is a relatively small book and I found it buried on a shelf a few weeks ago. Reading over the book’s summary ~ the lives of five young mothers over the course of a rainy day in a London suburb ~ reminded me why I wanted to read this book.

Be sure to drop by Bibliophile By the Sea to read Diane's selection this week and the other wonderful contributions to this meme.

Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk

All night the rain fell on Arlington Park.
The clouds came from the west: clouds like dark cathedrals, clouds like machines, clouds like black blossoms flowering in the arid starlit sky. They came over the English countryside, sunk in its muddled sleep. They came over the low, populous hills where scatterings of lights throbbed in the darkness. At midnight they reached the city, valiantly glittering in its shallow provincial basin. Unseen, they grew like a second city overhead, thickening, expanding, throwing up their savage monuments, their towers, their monstrous, unpeopled palaces of cloud.

In Arlington Park, people were sleeping. Here and there the houses showed an orange square of light. Cars crept along the deserted roads. A cat leapt from a wall, pouring itself down into the shadows. Silently the clouds filled the sky. The wind picked up. It faintly stirred the branches of the trees, and in the dark, empty park the swings moved back and forth a little. A handful of dried leaves shuffled on the pavement. Down in the city there were still people on the streets, but in Arlington Park they were in their beds, already surrendered to tomorrow. There was no one to see the rain coming, except a couple hurrying down the silent streets on their way back from an evening out.

"I don't like the look of that," said the man, peering up. "That's rain."
The woman gave an exasperated little laugh. "You're the expert on everything tonight, aren't you?" she said.
They let themselves into their house. The orange light showed for an instant in their doorway and was extinguished again.

What are your thoughts about these paragraphs? Would you read this book based on these paragraphs?