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SheriC

Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

If Walls Could Talk
Juliet Blackwell
Progress: 43 %
On Canaan's Side
Sebastian Barry
Progress: 182/272 pages
Flowers for Algernon
Daniel Keyes
Progress: 249/311 pages

The Fold ★★★★☆

The Fold - Peter Clines, Ray Porter

I really had to slog through the first part of this book. This is, for me, the tedious part of Sci-Fi, where the author is establishing the technical How Stuff Works of the book’s events. Honestly, I don’t care, as long as it’s plausible enough for me to suspend disbelief. Not having a hard science background, my mind starts to wander as soon as a story begins delving into quantum theory, which seems to be the underpinning for every Sci-Fi book I’ve read that was written during the last two decades. But the story really takes off somewhere between the first third and the half-way mark. Then it gets to be tremendous fun, with crazy action and mysteries solved. Ironically, though,

the scientific answer in the end was we really don’t know why it works, only that it does.

(show spoiler)

Still, the exciting last half more than makes up for the draggy first half.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. Ray Porter does a fine job in narrating, although I found his voicing of the female characters vaguely irritating. A little too breathy, perhaps.

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Mystery 8: Read a book that is tagged mystery or has a title that begins with any letter in the word “CLUE”. The first page of shelves shows 124 users tagged it “mystery” at Goodreads, which qualifies it, although I would personally class it as Sci-Fi and Thriller.

 

Previous Updates:

6/3/17 33% http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1568262/the-fold-33

 

 

 

The Fold: 33%

The Fold - Peter Clines, Ray Porter

Well, the concepts are kind of interesting, but I'm over 3 hours in and nothing much has happened. I'm ready for them to stop talking and the plot to start moving. 

 

Shane: 191/432 pg

Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

He was standing there, straight and superb, the blood on his face bright as a badge, and he was laughing.

 

It was a soft laugh, soft and gentle, not in amusement at Red Marlin or any single thing, but in the joy of being alive and released from long discipline and answering the urge in mind and body. The lithe power of him, so different from father's sheer strength, was singing in every fiber of him. 

 

HP's BL-opoly - 6th Round

I've just finished my 4th round pick (audio), and am still working on my 5th round pick (paperback). Since game rules allow us to do audio concurrently with text format books, I'm starting my 6th round on audio while I finish reading Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

 

Also, just a note of thanks to Ani, who gifted me with $5, as she took pity on my slow reading and tiny bank balance.

 

Round 6 (June 3-?, 2017)

Reading concurrently with Round 5 (one audio, one bound).

 

Dice Roll: 4

Square: Mystery 8: Read a book that is tagged mystery or has a title that begins with any letter in the word “CLUE”

Book Read: The Fold by Peter Clines

Pages: 384

Payout: $3

The Fold - Peter Clines,Ray Porter 

 

I chose The Fold because it was shelved as "mystery" by 124 users at GR, so it appears in the first page of shelves. Also, I bought the audio almost a year ago. Not sure if I'm going to like it. I skimmed the reviews and this seems to be a love it or hate it kind of read. We shall see. 

 

Round 5 (May 25-?, 2017)

Reading concurrently with Round 6 (one audio, one bound).

 

Dice Roll: 9

Square: Frontierland 2: Read a book with a main character who knows how to handle a gun, or where someone is shot

Book Read: Shane by Jack Schaefer (paperback)

Pages: 432

Payout: $5

Ending Bank: $

 

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1565466/hp-s-bl-opoly-5th-round

 

Round 4 (May 23-June 1, 2017)

Reading concurrently with Round 5 (one audio, one bound).

 

Dice Roll: 7

Square: Paradise Pier 30: Read a book with a twist, or that is tagged “suspense” on GR, or that has more than 555 pages

Book Read: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (audiobook)

Pages: 582

Payout: $5

Gift from Ani’s Book Abyss $5

 

Ending Bank: $39

 

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1565463/hp-s-bl-opoly-4th-dice-roll

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1568146/fingersmith

 

Round 3 (May 11-May 22, 2017)

Dice Roll: 10

Square: Adventureland 24: Take the Jungle Cruise. Read a book set in Africa or Asia, or that has an exotic animal on the cover

 

Book Read: A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

Pages: 276

Payout:$3

 

Ending Bank: $29

 

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1562194/hp-s-bl-opoly-3rd-dice-roll

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1565455/a-golden-age

 

Round 2 (April 19-May 11, 2017)

Dice Roll: 7

Square: Additional Task 15: Read a book where someone gets married, with jewelry on the cover, or where any character is a millionaire/billionaire!

 

Book Read: The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Pages: 512

Payout: $5

 

Ending Bank 5/11/17: $26

 

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1554280/hp-s-bl-opoly-2nd-dice-roll

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1562193/the-shuttle

 

Round 1 (April 17, 2017)

Dice Roll: 9

Square: Fantasyland 9 King Arthur’s Carrousel

(Read a book that is tagged Genre: Fantasy or Fairy Tale on GR

 

Book Read: Dream Weaver

Pages: 80

Payout: $1

 

Ending Bank 4/17/17: $21

 

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1553610/hp-s-bl-opoly-1st-dice-roll

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1553798/dream-weaver

 

Start

Bank 4/17/17:  $20

 

Player Bank Posts

http://booklikes.com/thread/3011/booklikes-opoly-player-banks?p=6#thread-post-30979

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fingersmith ★★★★★

Fingersmith - Juanita McMahon, Sarah Waters

It’s hard to review this historical thriller without spoilers, because much of the fun is in the twists and turns of the plot as the various characters and their machinations are revealed. It’s well-done, too. I wasn’t able to correctly guess any of them, at least until the very end. But this is not only a cleverly plotted story. It is peopled with interesting characters, none of whom are wholly sympathetic. This is not a book for readers who want at least one likable character that they can identify with. But I was able to connect, to empathize to some extent, with several of them, for they were well-drawn and all very human. For me, that is the best kind of book. I did find it a little weak at the end, where events do tie up a little too neatly for my taste.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. Juanita McMahon’s performance was excellent.

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Paradise Pier 30: Read a book with a twist, or that is tagged “suspense” on GR, or that has more than 555 pages. This book meets not just one, but all three criteria.

 

Previous Updates

5/28/17 40%  http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1566694/fingersmith-40

5/29/17 56% http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1566952/fingersmith-56

5/30/17 76% http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1567152/fingersmith-76

Shane: 176/432 pg

Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

Then he was talking rapidly to me, as close to pleading as he could ever come. "I tried. You can see that, can't you, Bob? I let him ride me and I gave him his chance. A man can keep his self-respect without having to cram it down another man's throat. Surely you can see that, Bob?"

 

I could not see it. What he was trying to explain to me was beyond my comprehension then. And I could think of nothing to say. 

 

"I left it up to him. He didn't have to jump me that second time. He could have called it off without crawling. He could have if he was man enough. Can't you see that, Bob?"

 

And still I could not. But I said I could. He was so earnest and he wanted me to so badly. It was a long, long time before I did see it and then I was a man myself and Shane was not there for me to tell...

 

The Ritual Bath: DNF, not rated

The Ritual Bath - Faye Kellerman, Mitchell Greenberg

This book was clearly written to appeal to someone very different from myself. Didn't get through enough to feel like it would be fair to give it a star rating, although I will say that the writing was uninspired enough to make the experience as interesting as performing the multitude of chores that the main character is engaged in during the first several paragraphs.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Audible. Michael Greenberg sounds as bored reading it as I felt listening to it.

Shane: 139/432 pg

Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

Said by a man with a dangerous and morally dubious past to a boy whom he has just found pretending to be a gunslinger: 

"Listen, Bob. A gun is just a tool. No better and no worse than any other tool, a shovel - or an axe or a saddle or a stove or anything. Think of it always that way. A gun is as good - as as bad  as the man who carries it. Remember that."

 

I'm not sure yet if this story is more about the boy learning to become a man than about the near-mythical gunslinger Shane. 

 

Fingersmith: 76%.

Fingersmith - Juanita McMahon, Sarah Waters

"We have a name for your disease. We call it a hyper-aesthetic one. You have been encouraged to overindulge yourself in literature and have inflamed your organs of fancy!"

 

This would be hilarious if it wasn't a historically accurate portrayal of psychiatry. 

Fingersmith: 56%.

Fingersmith - Juanita McMahon, Sarah Waters

It is amazing to me that at one time, "doctors" genuinely believed that providing a woman with an education and allowing her to read novels could cause insanity. And given the state of mental health care at the time, I think I'd have rather pretended to be stupid and uninformed than to be permanently committed to an insane asylum. 

Shane: 91/432 pg

Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

There were sharp hidden hardnesses in him. But these were not for us. He was dangerous as mother had said. But not to us as father too had said. And he was no longer a stranger. He was a man like father in whom a boy could believe in the simple knowing that what was beyond comprehension was still clean and solid and right.

 

Fingersmith: 40%.

Fingersmith - Juanita McMahon, Sarah Waters

Wow. Just, wow. I knew there was a twist coming. I expected it. I anticipated it. I had about 3 theories about it. And it still took me completely by surprise. Take a bow, Ms. Waters, that was amazing. Now I can't wait to gobble up the rest of this book. 

The Road to Jonestown ★★★★★

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn

This was a thorough examination of the evolution of The Peoples Temple from its socialist ideals and Christian roots to a cult willing and able to commit the 1978 atrocity of mass suicide and murder of over 900 men, women, and children. It examines as much as can be known of Jim Jones, the Temple’s founder and ultimately deranged leader. It provides a study of several members, both survivors and deceased. From this, the author lays bare the mechanism by which a group of committed idealists and vulnerable believers can be led down the path to deranged behavior, enthusiastically participating in atrocities committed upon themselves and others, giving up all control to a single man in spite of clear evidence that he is a charlatan.

 

Guinn does this with remarkably little judgement. He provides facts and observations and conclusions, from a variety of points of view, and pays the reader the compliment of allowing them to judge or not. As a result, the story can be a little dry at times, but in this case I much prefer that to a sensationalized faction.

 

I was surprised by two things. One: The similarity between the techniques used by Jones and Temple leaders to subjugate their followers and those common in domestic violence situations, where outsiders say, “I don’t understand why anyone would put up with that, why didn’t they leave?”

 

The other: The Peoples Temple, at least in the beginning, performed great good. They turned lives around, provided a haven for the disenfranchised, and made material inroads in systemic societal racism. But because the Temple idealists who were committed to these goals were willing to overlook the warning signs of Jones’ unethical and immoral behaviors, feeling that the ends justified the means, they were really as much to blame for that final massacre as Jones himself. They were willing to make excuses for him, to enable him, in order to use him and his power to achieve their own ends. First small violations of ethics, then another, then another, then another, until any means necessary seemed natural and acceptable. Let that be a lesson to us all.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. Competently read by Jeff Newbern.

 

Previous Updates:

5/20/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564040/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-6

5/20/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564153/the-road-to-jonestown-16

5/21/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564258/the-road-to-jonestown-20

5/21/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564338/the-road-to-jonestown-21

5/22/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564529/the-road-to-jonestown-34

5/25/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1565457/the-road-to-jonestown-59

5/25/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1565592/the-road-to-jonestown-70

The Road to Jonestown 70%

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn

 

Temple bookkeeper Terri Buford estimated that the Temple's foreign accounts totaled about $8 million, but in fact, the total was around $30 million. Yet, in several San Francisco services, Jones asked that everyone donate their wristwatches to The Cause. These were in high demand for resale in Guyana, where, if an immediate amount of additional money wasn't received, the Jonestown project might very well fail. Every cent counts, Jones thundered at his followers, upbraiding them and sending collection plates around for an extra turn or two if the half-dozen offerings regularly taken at each Temple meeting failed to produce satisfactory sums. They had no idea of the vast fortune their church had already amassed, or why, no matter how much they gave at Temple services, it was never enough to please their pastor. 

 

And that's on top of the church's required tithing of 25% of each member's weekly paycheck.  

HP's BL-opoly - 5th Round

As explained in my 4th Round post, I finished my 3rd round book on 5/22 and rolled for the 4th round on 5/23, but didn't post until today, as it took me that long to get the book review written and posted. As I've chosen an audiobook for the 4th round and game rules allow us to do rounds concurrently if one is on audio, I chose to roll today for my 5th round and to pick a bound book, so I have one for my trip to visit my parents for my mother's birthday.

 

Round 4 (May 23-?, 2017) & Round 5 (May 25-?, 2017)

Reading concurrently with one audio, one bound.

 

Dice Roll: 7

Square: Paradise Pier 30: Read a book with a twist, or that is tagged “suspense” on GR, or that has more than 555 pages

Book Read: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

(audiobook)

Pages: 582

Payout: $5

Ending Bank: $

 

Dice Roll: 9

Square: Frontierland 2: Read a book with a main character who knows how to handle a gun, or where someone is shot

Book Read: Shane by Jack Schaefer

(paperback)

Pages: 432

Payout: $5

Ending Bank: $

Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer 

 

I was pretty excited to land on the Frontierland 2 square, because I knew I could pick one of the many books on my TBR that my father has given me, in vain hopes of sparking my interest in westerns and Texas history. The one I chose has special meaning, because my dad loaned his copy to me a few years ago, complete with his notes, and told me the backstory of his favorite book. He first picked it up at random, off a paperback rack in a bus station in San Antonio, where he had been sent for his Army physical when he was drafted for Korea. He fell right into the story, and has loved it ever since. 

 

Since I'll be staying with my parents over the weekend, I think he'll be especially pleased to see me reading it, and for us to discuss it. 

 

 

 

 

HP's BL-opoly - 4th Dice Roll

I'm mowing them down like an especially fast moving glacier! So finished my 3rd dice roll book a couple of days ago and did my 4th roll on 5/23, but since I'm just now getting the review posted, I delayed making this post. 

 

Round 4 (May 23-?, 2017)

Dice Roll: 7

Square: Paradise Pier 30: Read a book with a twist, or that is tagged “suspense” on GR, or that has more than 555 pages

Book to be Read: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Pages: 582

Payout: $5

Fingersmith - Juanita McMahon,Sarah Waters 

 

I chose Fingersmith for a couple of reasons: First, it fits all three criteria in the category - the bound version is 582 pages, 50 people shelved it as "Suspense" on the first Goodreads shelf page, and according to reviews I scanned, it comes with more than one big plot twist. Also, I have it on audio, and at 23.5 hours of listening time, it's perfect for the road trip I'm about to make, to visit my mother for her birthday and attend my great-nephew's 5th birthday party. 

 

However, I still have about 5 hours left of the audiobook that I'm currently listening to, so I can't start it until probably tomorrow, when I'm on the road. Meanwhile, since the rules of the game allow us to have two rounds going simultaneously if one is an audiobook, and I don't have a bound book going right now, I'll do another dice roll for today (5/25) later on, so I've got a bound book to read over the weekend, too, with out losing game time. 

 

Round 3 (May 11-May 22, 2017)

Dice Roll: 10

Square: Adventureland 24: Take the Jungle Cruise. Read a book set in Africa or Asia, or that has an exotic animal on the cover

 

Book Read: A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

Pages: 276

Payout:$3

 

Bank: $29

 

Round 2 (April 19-May 11, 2017)

Dice Roll: 7

Square: Additional Task 15: Read a book where someone gets married, with jewelry on the cover, or where any character is a millionaire/billionaire!

 

Book Read: The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Pages: 512

Payout: $5

 

Bank 5/11/17: $26

 

Round 1 (April 17, 2017)

Dice Roll: 9

Square: Fantasyland 9 King Arthur’s Carrousel

(Read a book that is tagged Genre: Fantasy or Fairy Tale on GR

 

Book Read: Dream Weaver

Pages: 80

Payout: $1

 

Bank 4/17/17: $21

 

Start

Bank 4/17/17:  $20