Sunday, August 28, 2016

Colin Kaepernick sits this one out

































































Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CHOOSE YOUR HEROES CAREFULLY


























































I REPEAT. CHOOSE YOUR HEROES CAREFULLY. AND NOW FOR SOME BOOK REVIEWS.

The LowlandThe Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a beautifully written novel, full of bold sorrow and muted hope. Where there is hope, no matter how cautiously one treads from the past, there is a chance of happiness. But some people cannot or will not move forward, and for them life is a continuous echo of sorrow, an eternity of regret. Those incapable of happiness because old wounds failed to heal will be cruel to those who try to love them. Whether it desires company or solitude, misery consumes whoever is nearest. Regardless of how far one travels, anguish that has been absorbed into the bones cannot be escaped. The Lowland is a story of family, a construct we are told is bonded by blood but actually is held together by love and willingly made sacrifice. It is the story of a woman who marries the love of her life, loses him, and then marries his brother whom she never comes to love while carrying the child of the man she violently lost. Leaving a country behind does little to erase memories and allow a new chance at happiness to take root. Someone who cannot love you, regardless of the ties of blood, will always be a stranger rather than family.

View all my reviews The Given Day (Coughlin #1)The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What an incredibly eventful time period to read about. Somehow in one city in one year there is The Great Molasses Flood, the early growth stage of the NAACP in a racist climate, a Spanish Influenza pandemic, unions gaining a foothold to combat unfair labor practices and absurdly low wages, the Boston Police Strike of 1919 and resulting riots, the start of Prohibition, a relentless hunt for violent radicals who sow seeds of fear, and Babe Ruth being traded from the Red Sox to the NY Yankees where a dynasty will result. This action packed period of time in history was fascinating to learn about, with a multi-plotted page turner Dennis Lehane story line thrown into the middle of it as bonus. The more things change the more they stay the same was the thought that repeatedly came to mind as I read The Given Day. In 2016 we call the violent radicals Islamic terrorists; the medical crisis du jour is the Zika virus; protests follow questionable shootings with riots sometimes resulting when activists from the newbie #BlackLivesMatter movement face off against police officers with #BlueLivesMatter mindsets; and Kevin Durant has left Oklahoma City to form a super team in the Golden State. What's the modern day equivalent to the molasses flood? Donald Trump's presidential candidacy perhaps. Both certainly created enormous messes to deal with.

View all my reviews The LoneyThe Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes it's necessary to carefully arrange a system of beliefs to explain the unexplainable. People love a good mystery provided it gets solved in the end. Unresolved we are left with questions that can haunt us. Religion serves the purpose of providing answers without needing to bear the burden of proof. By accepting the influence and omnipotence of a higher power, rather than wrestling with questions, people accept explanations that cannot be disproved. But even the most strongly constructed belief system can be vulnerable to harsh doses of reality and cruel twists of fate. The Loney is a place where people come to seek miracles, a private Lourdes. Maybe the miracles are gifts from God. Maybe they come from elsewhere. If you find what you seek, does the source matter? If you learn the truth, was the miracle worth the lesson? I recommend giving Andrew Michael Hurley's atmospheric debut novel a read. I've done my best to review it spoiler free. Like high tide on a desolate beach, this novel will pull you in and hold on fast.

View all my reviews