Time’s Up by Janey Mack

parking meter graphicTime’s Up: A Maisie MgGrane Mystery by Janey Mack (2015)

I enjoyed this as a nice read with humor and a good plot for a fun fiction read. It is the first in what will be a series focusing on the single daughter of a pair of cop/lawyer parents with five brothers, also split between cops and lawyers. At least I think five brothers, it was hard to keep track. The first handful of pages grated on me a bit because of excessive analogies, but they smoothed out and were not intrusive as I went on. The series takes place in Chicago.

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Stealing America by Dinesh D’Souza

book jacket with weird photo of Obama and HillaryStealing America: What my experience with criminal gangs taught me about Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party by Dinesh D’Souza (2015)

Creative nonfiction with an emphasis on the creative part is how I would categorize this book.

Arrogance oozes from so many of the commentaries he makes that it is almost embarrassing. Although I do agree that his conviction and length of incarceration in a day half-way house was ridiculous and does smack of a targeted prosecution, the fact that he sees himself as so manly that nobody tried to steal his freaking Rolex even though he was surrounded by “murderers” and “gangbangers” is just one instance of his pridefulness. He seems to take pride in the apparent acceptance and even admiration of himself by this normally threatening group of people.

I learned of a new thing to me: Christian apologetics.  Still not entirely clear on this, but it doesn’t seem to bode well for an atheist to be safe in a country of them. He also takes great pride in his many debates against prominent atheists based on his Wikipedia page (one presumes he edits it).

The book is not worth the time to read.

Banned Books Week – fun and sad at the same time

Here is a link to the New York Public Library Quiz on how well you know your banned books. I was shocked that I only got 33% correct, but some wrong answers were because I didn’t release you could pick more than one answer and sometimes pick all. One was a bit of a trick question because they were all banned, but the question was about the most banned or something similar.

New York Library Banned Books Quiz

Goodreads banned nonfiction — I find it interesting that so many people get their knickers in a twist over sexual content in books. It is like having a car and never reading the manual. We all should know how are bodies work on every and any level.

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The Martian by Andy Weir

orange cover with space-suited astronautThe Martian by Andy Weir, (paperback 2011) and now a movie starring Matt Damon. Since I am coming late to this book, you all probably know the whole story behind it, with him writing it on the web and being discovered and input from others on some technical stuff, etc. so it has a fun backstory too.

I really enjoyed it — even though I expected not to because I generally don’t care for the monologue type dramas. This one was relieved, thankfully, by the externals that were brought in. But it still had me wondering why, when it was just the usual series of man gets in bad situation, FORTUNATELY just happens to have two skill sets needed, botany to grow food and engineering to fix things, and so he proceeds to fix the problems. But since according to traditional storytelling, nothing can go completely smoothly, there must be ”
obstacles to overcome to be truly heroic. The protagonists must always be thwarted in some way, though usually not of their own fault. This was fun because the author made the hero make a rookie mistake with the drill. But at the same time, I, who is the most illiterate person I know about tools, knew enough to see that problem  coming. So it did strike me that that one was a bit contrived, but hey he’s stranded on Mars, I’ll give him a break. But yeah, the author uses the injury as the story point, but it never gets referred to again.

But he just carries on lifting rocks with no apparent impediment of a stab wound; I prefer a little more realism. When a pretty boy gets beat up, he should not magically transform to an unmarked face two hours later, nor should he be able to go on to beat the bad guys up with bare hands over and over without breaking something. But that’s just me.

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Wool by Hugh Howey

book jacket with title "wool" showing sky and green hill on field of staticWool by Hugh Howey, (2011) This book is science fiction, set in the far future, with people living in 100 story silos without the majority of the people being aware that there are other silos with living people as well. Cartoon villain, but it is hard to write good villains.

This book was a pretty good read, despite my criticisms here. It started out pretty interesting with the world building, but I had a lot of trouble suspending my disbelief that anyone designing silo underground living would NOT HAVE AN ELEVATOR. The whole protagonists must overcome “obstacles” is routine, but usually the obstacles should be believable. 100 stories and lots of equipment and so on, yet no explanation to justify why no elevators. Maybe I missed some sentence or two somewhere offering some lame excuse but I would think that it would be a critical component. However, the desire to have “runners” who pound up and down stairs (geez, not even a DUMBWAITER) to carry stuff and messages is so absurd that it really spoiled the book for me entirely. Of course, I could predict that there would be a fight and that the ability to blockade said SINGLE stairwell would be a crucial plot element (one I just started flipping through yada yada yada). Similarly, it was totally obvious that the second tube [spoiler alert, although of course you will guess before getting there anyway] would have one more person lurking.

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