The Light of the World, a memoir by Elizabeth Alexander; 2015; $26.00; 209 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-4555-9987-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 6/30/16-7/2/16
Elizabeth Alexander was married to Ficre Ghebreyesus until his death just before his fiftieth birthday. Ficre was a refugee from Eritrea who was a painter, married to Elizabeth Alexander, a poet. The married, meshed their lives and had two sons. This is Elizabeth’s memoir of their sixteen years together. It is very easy to picture their relationship and life together as she uses beautiful and lush language to describe their life and love. I was moved several times as I read this.
Why did I read this? As with the previous book and many others I have read recently were on a list that was titled, something like, Books that I wish my white teachers in the hood would read.
What did I learn? This reinforces my recent realization that I really like to read prose written by poets. They have such a grasp of the language that it enables to paint with words in their prose.
Revival by Stephen King; 2014; $30.00; 405 pages; Scribner, New York, NY; Fiction; 978-1-4767-7083-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Capitol Hill; 12/23/14-12/26/14
The lives of Jamie Morton and Charlie Jacobs intertwine in this tale that starts innocently and moves deeper into horror. Jamie Morton is just a small boy when Charlie Jacobs comes to town as a minister in his small Maine town. Charlie uses electricity in all kinds of interesting ways, starting with demonstrations of electricity and relating it to the Christian life. After his wife and son are killed in a horrible automobile accident, Charlie rejects all aspects of Christianity but continues his search for a secret electricity. He finds all kinds of uses for electricity,3-D photos and healing powers. Meanwhile Jamie has grown and become a rock and roll rhythm guitarist with several different bands, he is severely injured in a motorcycle accident. As a result of the accident he becomes addicted to pain killers and then escalates to heroin. He is searching a carnival midway to make a buy when he stumbles into the path of Charlie Jacobs again, Charlie nurses Jamie back to health. After getting him somewhat healthy he uses electricity to heal Jamie of his heroin addiction and his limp from the broken leg in his motorcycle accident. Jamie works with Charlie for awhile before they go their separate ways again. They eventually cross paths again and that is when the horror really ramps up.
Did I like it? Yes it was exciting and suspenseful and scary and fun like most Stephen King books.
What is with the title of the review? SKU is stocking keeping unit or the barcode on most items and now it is Stephen King Universe, since most of the books seem to take place in the same universe. He mentions Joyland in this backstory of one the characters.
Falling From Horses by Molly Gloss; 2014; $25.00; 330 pages; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, MA; 978-0-544-27929-2; Fiction; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Library Outreach; 11/26/14-12/4/14
This is the story of Bud Frazier from Eastern Oregon who takes a bus ride to California to break into movies as a cowboy. Along the way he meets a young woman who goes on to become a legendary screen writer. They become life long friends but never break out of the friend zone for several reasons which are articulated. The story is told from Bud’s point of view and we learn what leads him to move to Hollywood and how he goes on to become an artist after his year in movies. He tells of his upbringing in Eastern Oregon and his family, the good times and the tragedies.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, Molly Gloss has a knack for creating characters that it is easy and rewarding to invest in. She writes of a time that not many of us know the backstage working of and brings it to life.
What is with the title of the review? As I was reading the story certain elements of Bud’s life seemed somewhat familiar. As I read further I found out that he is the son of the main character in Molly Gloss’ book The Heart of Horses. It was fun to find out what had happened to Martha and Henry.
The Squared Circle, Life, Death and Professional Wrestling by David Shoemaker, A.K.A. “The Masked Man”; 2013, $27.00; 390 pages; Gotham Books, New York, NY; 978-1-592-40767-5; 796.812s 55916s; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 4/21/14-4/24/14
The author set out to write a book about sports entertainment figures (pro wrestlers) who had died and it morphed into a history of pro wrestling. He writes about pro wrestling in a manner that I haven’t read before, he insists that most fans understand that the outcome is predetermined, but enjoy the show. I have told people for years that it is like watching Saturday morning cartoons crossed with a soap opera and I enjoyed the athleticism of the actors. The author does chapters on many wrestlers who have passed away, one who is Brian Adams AKA Crush whom I had met once. The author details many of the important moments that have changed professional wrestling and the personalities that have shaped it. This is one of the most balanced and insightful looks at the industry I have read.
Did I like it? Yes, as a fan of sports entertainment I really enjoyed this look at the history and the biographies of some wrestlers.
What is with the title of the review? Back in 1987 or ’88 we lived in an apartment in Fairview, Oregon on the 3rd floor. Directly beneath us lived Curtis, his wife and their baby. Curtis was a professional wrestler, of the little person type, and I would once in awhile go to matches with him. One day I went down to their apartment for something, when I knocked Brian Adams, AKA Crush of Demolition answered the door. If I remember correctly Curtis’ wife was Brians’ sister.
Minding Molly by Leslie Gould; 2014; $14.99; 349 pages; Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN; 978-0-7642-1033-4; 978-07642-1033-4; Contemporary Fiction; a gift from the Publisher; 3/11/14-3/13/14
What is the story? Molly Zook is sent reeling when her Dat dies, she had helped him around the farm and is very organized. Her organization and adherence to a schedule sometimes rubs others the wrong way. She becomes even more concerned when her Mamm starts experiencing health issues. One thing all Christians often teach and talk about is trusting God in everything, which is harder than it seems. We want to lean on our own understanding and control our destiny and circumstances. Molly comes up with multiple ways to save the farm as does her mother, not all of which are favorable to Molly. Her mother thinks she should marry the boy next door, which Molly thinks about until she meets an Amish Cowboy from Montana. In addition the boy next door is loved by Mollys’ best friend. Much confusion ensues between the couples when people assume things and don’t think before speaking. When Molly begins trusting God instead of herself things begin to work out for her.
Did I like it? Mostly yes. The last chapter felt tacked and rushed to me. The whole rest of the story was excellent and very engaging.
Why did I pick this up? Because I read most of what Leslie has written and she is an excellent storyteller. I look forward to more from her.
What is with the title of the review? The Amish are sometimes known as the plain people and Molly can be rather bossy in parts of the story.