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Sheila

Sheila's Reads

I love to read. I am very eclectic in my reading but I especially enjoy erotica and erotic romance. I also like movies, live theater and concerts, hockey, and counted cross-stitch.

PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD by Michelle Falkoff

Playlist for the Dead - Michelle Falkoff
Not a book to be read quickly.  This must be savored.  A 16-year old commits suicide and leaves his friend a playlist to discover why he committed suicide.  Listen to the song at the beginning of each chapter and see how it fits.  Listen more than once.  Make sure you know what is being sung.  I only knew one of the songs but found a lot of them I enjoyed.  Listening caused me to read slower but I wanted to be able to put the clues together to figure it out as Sam (the friend) was figuring it out.
 
I liked Sam.  Started out hating some of the characters while loving others I met throughout the story.  The ending changed my feelings towards some of the characters but not all.  Some are just jerks and you can't change that.  Some seemed cool but had feet of clay.  Others were hurt just as much by the popular kids but managed not to lose their integrity. 
 
Read this book for the experience. 

MURDER, SHE KNIT by Peggy Ehrhart

Murder, She Knit  - Peggy Ehrhart
Cozy mystery where Pamela tries to find where the kitten she's been feeding is hiding but finds a body in her bushes.  She and the victim have a past but so do many others in the town. 
 
I enjoyed this story.  I liked the characters.  I also enjoyed the small-town gossip and mind set.  The knitting group are older women whose children are raised.  They get together weekly to knit.  There is also Roland whose doctor told him to take up knitting as a way to reduce stress.  Not so sure if it has or has only added to the stress in his life.  There is good world building here as this sets up the series. 
 
The story was good but I missed the clues to help solve the mystery.  They hinted at the back of my mind but never came together until the murderer was identified and the story told.  I am looking forward to the next mystery in this series.

HOPE NEVER DIES by Andrew Shaffer

Hope Never Dies - Andrew Shaffer
This parody of cozy mysteries is told from Joe Biden's point-of-view as he and Barack Obama chase down a killer.  I loved it!  I laughed so hard at times.  Suspend belief but you have to read it.  It was so much fun. 
 
I liked the characters.  Watching them solve the crime is a scream.  I liked how they view the current happenings in D.C.  I felt bad when Joe had to change some of his idealistic beliefs about others.  I hope there are more in this series.  I adored it.

THE SQUIRE'S TALE by Gerald Morris

The Squire's Tale - Gerald Morris
Terence becomes the squire to Sir Gawain of King Arthur's Round Table.  As they travel on their quest, Terence becomes aware of gifts that he has and he uses them to help in their quest.  Sir Gawain becomes the Maiden's Knight. 
 
I enjoyed this book.  Some of the tales made me laugh out loud.  Some sobered me up.  I liked Terence and Sir Gawain.  Some of the characters they meet are a hoot.  I am going to track down more of the series.

THE NEW JIM CROW: MASS INCARCERATION IN THE AGE OF COLORBLINDNESS by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness - Michelle Alexander

I knew this would be a hard read and I was right.  I learned so much in this book.  I am appalled that this discrimination is going on.  I did not know how completely a felony conviction takes over a person's life and how much it ruins that life.  This book opened my eyes to the abuses that go on today.  I do not know how we can go about correcting the wrongs of mass incarceration but changes do need to happen.  This is one book everyone should and must read.

SUNSET by Erin Hunter

Sunset - Erin Hunter
Ending of series 2 in the Warriors series.  Some of the story lines are ended but others open up here.  The clans are adjusting to their new homes with the usual fights over borders and Two Legs interfering with the clans' lands.  Leafpaw is getting many visions.  Which are true?  Which are hers?  The prophecy comes true.  But who is the traitor now?  Does Leafpaw confront some of the others or not? 
 
I like this series.  I hope my questions get answered in series 3.  I think I know the answers to my questions but I want confirmation of those answers.  This is a good ending of series 2 and sets up series 3.  Excellent world building.

UNCOMMON TYPE: SOME STORIES by Tom Hanks

Uncommon Type: Some Stories - Tom Hanks

A series of short stories with a common thread running through them.  Watch some of them carefully or you will miss the thread.  I enjoyed all the stories but my favorites were the three that had Anna, MDash, Steven Wong, and the narrator in them.  I liked these characters and their friendship.  My other favorites where with Hank Fiset.  He is a reporter who takes on a variety of topics, such as coffee shops, places from his past, New York, and the press room.  I liked his style.  Tom Hanks is a clever writer.  I will read him again, especially if it has the narrator and company in it.

4:50 FROM PADDINGTON by Agatha Christie

4:50 from Paddington - Agatha Christie
I forget about Agatha Christie's books and when I read one I remember why they are still being read today.  They are good!  This is one of Miss Marple's books.  Her friend has seen a murder on a train but no one believes her.  It is up to Miss Marple to find the body and the murderer.
 
I enjoyed this book.  I tried to figure it out but was wrong on the culprit.  I liked how different people were purposed as the culprit, each with a motive.  The story moves rapidly.  I liked Alexander and the women in the book.  The men left much to be desired.  The plot was believable. 
 
I will be reading more by Agatha Christie.

1984 by George Orwell

1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four (Penguin Modern Classics) by George Orwell (2004-01-29) - George Orwell
This may be more timely then when it was written.  Winston Smith is not following the Party's rhetoric.  He is thinking and realizes he has other memories and thoughts than what the Party wants good Party members to have.  He finally sees a way to rebel but the Party gets to him.
 
There is so much in this book.  It is a story of a regimen that controls everything including people's thoughts.  It is also a story that can be likened to our day and society.  Power and money are held by a few who control everything.  Winston thinks the proles will one day rise up but those in power know they won't because they don't think for themselves.  They listen to what the Party tells them and believe it and never question it.  Those in the Outer Circle of the Party believe what is told them also.  If they are caught thinking and remembering other pasts, they are arrested and tortured, reeducated, and eventually murdered so that they fall back into the Party line.  I thought Winston would make it.  I hoped Winston would make it.  But the Party got him.  It broke my heart.
 
This is my first time reading 1984.  I have to admit I wish I could write an essay about it and how our politics and society are becoming what Orwell was warning us about.  He talks about the technology, the oligarchy, the Newspeak used, emotions voided, everyone thinking the same, .  I see it so much of his vision happening today.  We grow further apart from one another.  We use technology instead of communicating face to face.  Families are broken and fewer marry and have children.  Education becomes rote because of teaching to tests.  1% of the population has more money than over half the lower income people.  Corporations have more rights than people.  Wages have frozen and backslid because of rising costs of housing, transportation, and food.  The government does not help the proles.  It keeps them downtrodden and poor.  So much could be expanded upon.
 
I also enjoyed this book because it made me think.  It used 50 cent words.  I had to use a dictionary.  I haven't had to do that for a while.  It is not a book I will forget any time soon.  If you haven't read it, I urge you to read it.  Wow!

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

Simon is outed while trying to deal with his best friends' problems, his parents, and his youngest sister.

I liked Simon. His family was weird but likable. The story captured the angst of the teen years. Best friends are not easy to tell especially when jealousy comes along. He is also falling in love with a Tumblr e-mail pal. I liked how social media is portrayed--the good and the bad to the downright ugly.

This is a good beach read. I look forward to more in the series.

MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis

Main Street - Sinclair Lewis
In a word tedious.  Sinclair Lewis wrote a satire about small time life.  His writing is tedious as he shows what life is like in a small town when you surround yourself with like-minded people.  No one wants to change.  Everyone knows everything about everybody.  No one wants to go out of his/her comfort zone.  And his uses his writing to show that. 
Carol marries Will, Gopher Prairie's doctor.  She's used to a big city and tries to change things and is discounted and laughed at and gossiped about.  She is a whiner and nothing and nobody does anything she likes.  She has an active inner life but drove me crazy. 
 
Will does not see Gopher Prairie as Carol does.  He sees nothing wrong with the town or the people.  He does take Carol to task at times.  He is also willing to let her do what she wants even if it is leave but she still is not happy.  They have a few blow-ups over her discontent.
 
My favorite character was Miles, the town handy man.  He was real but also an outcast.  I felt bad for him.
 
The place and time are written well.  I am glad I did not live then or there.

UNCOLLECTED POEMS by Ranier Maria Rilke

Uncollected Poems - Rainer Maria Rilke, Edward Snow
  I like Rilke. I don't always understand his poetry. The poems in this book are from 1909-1926. Many are short. Some longer. Lots to ponder upon.

FUN HOME by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home - Alison Bechdel
Growing up in a small town when you are different is not easy.  Add a father who seems to be so exacting, a mother who is intent on her thesis and her theater productions, and siblings who are into their own things makes it harder.  Alison knows she does not like the feminine clothing her father wants her to wear and their house is, as her mother later calls it, a mausoleum.  At times there are moments when she and her father are close, usually around books.  Coming out in college, she must now come home for her father's funeral.
 
This story resonated with me.  I could identify with Alison.  Though they are a family, there is a disconnect between them.  Each person is into their own thing.  No one seems to be there for one another.  I don't know how this family remained together.  There are memories that come out during the book.  They may provide clues to the father's lifestyle but, for Alison, there is no more to them than the face value at the time.  Later she can see the pattern and realize her father thought she knew about him.  There is so many lost opportunities in this family for them to become closer.  I felt sorry for them all.

TWILIGHT by Erin Hunter

Twilight - Erin Hunter
The Clans are still settling into their new homes and problems are developing between those who feel the Clans should still help one another and those who believe there were always four Clans and each Clan is responsible for itself.  There is also the visions that the medicine cats are receiving that none can interpret.  They can see blood and violence but not the who or why. 
 
I did not cry as badly in this book.  Probably because the battle scene was interrupted by my having to close the book to get off the bus in the middle of the battle scene which was towards the end.  I still teared up though.  This story is more of Leafpool and her feelings.  It also shows the resentment Clans have towards one another but how it is necessary at times for them to help each other.  And the battle still rages between Clan born and kittypets.  Midnight makes another appearance.  I like the respect shown to her.  The bond between those who traveled to the sun-drown place is still strong but fraught with problems because of the division of the Clans.  A surprise appearances occurs.
 
I enjoyed this book.   I look forward to the next book.  I want to know about Leafpool's one vision.  What does it mean for the future?  And why the appearance of an old friend?

CLOCK DANCE by Anne Tyler

Clock Dance - Anne Tyler

Chronicling Willa's life during decisive years for her. Willa's reactions to life events depend on how she sees others responding. She then works to make sure they calm down. It is not until the end she learns to stand up for herself (in small ways) that she becomes her own person.

I liked Willa. I felt bad for her because most of the people around her were jerks and she enabled them to continue acting that way. She idolized her father because of the calmness he exhibited when her mother went off the rails. She wanted to be like him in that way. So many others in her life went off the rails like her mother and, like her father, she was the calm but the others walked over her because they knew that Willa would accept them and their behavior and not lash out.

When she gets a call from Baltimore, she goes even though she has no connection to the people involved except her son used to live with the woman. It is here where she finds a purpose and herself. No, she does not go off the rails like her mother but she does finally stop accepting and glossing over the bad behavior. Willa will never be the scream out loud type but she does make her feelings known if you look for the signs.

SUMMER HOURS AT THE ROBBERS LIBRARY by Sue Halpern

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library - Sue Halpern
Sunny is sentenced to 40 hours per week service at the library in Riverton for stealing.  She shadows Kit, the librarian.  Kit has secrets she tries to hid.  Sunny learns secrets she, maybe, did not want to know.  Rusty, a daily library patron, lets his secrets be known.  They collide and form a bond none expected.
 
I loved this book.  I liked how it was set up by Kit's secrets and by the weeks Sunny worked at the library.  I also liked the story told from the different points of view.  The secondary characters were quirky and fun.  They were honest in their actions and words. 
 
I would like to know what the future holds for all of them.