The Virtual Hermit Book Club

(So I wrote this yesterday and while I like the idea of talking about books I’ve read and making recs…it read back to me like a bad book report or a bad amazon book review…so I’m gonna try to edit it down a bit and if I do this again I’ll try to write it a hell of a lot better.)

As previously mentioned in my postapocalyptic genre post…I read a hell of a lot. Not that much to do up here otherwise really, other than watching the few shows I watch, and hunting for streaming stuff on netflix. So I literally read probably 15-20 books a month.

Quick disclaimer: when I say I’ve read a book it could either be in paper, e-book, or audio form. I listen to a lot of audiobooks while driving and doing stuff around the house, and there’s not a lot of bookstores around here so I buy some e-books on the Ipad. So most of my “reads” are audiobooks or e-books, but I’ll just use read interchangeably.

So as someone that spends a pretty hefty amount of time and money in a year on books in various forms, I thought I might talk about and recommend a few that recently have stood out to me or are worth checking out in my opinion. I’m obviously not a book reviewer so we’ll see how this goes, and obviously opinions vary greatly and these are just one man’s.

I’ll start out with one of the books I most recently finished: “The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller: this one dovetails into my postapocalyptic fetish. Basic story is a guy and his dog live at a small airport outside of Denver along with a gun nut survivalist after a superflu has wiped out most of the population. He flys his Cessna around and keeps an eye out for danger in the form of roving bandits and for supplies, one day he hears a radio tower broadcast that’s past his fuel range, and years later he sets out to see if there’s really anyone else out there.

This book was pretty well written for a postapoc, I normally prefer a larger cast of characters in my postapoc books and this one had few, but it was still an entertaining read and I’d recommend it even for a non genre fan…it’s a bit more literary and mainstream than a lot of them are…like “The Road” was.

Another recent book I’ve liked was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, an author I hadn’t read anything by previously but have since gone back and read another of her books. I would guess this one would be termed a Psychological Thriller or something along those lines. As far as the plot goes, can’t give too much away since it’s a thriller but it’s told from the two alternating perspectives, both in some kind of diary form, of a husband and wife.

The catch is that the wife is missing in mysterious circumstances and the husband doesn’t seem to be acting right by everyone’s, including the police’s, accounts..a la Scott Peterson. The chapters alternate between the two perspectives and go backward and forward in the life of the relationship, and there’s some nice twists and turns and this is probably one of the better page turner, stay up all night kinda thrillers I’ve read in awhile.

Alright, since this is taking longer than I thought it would and I’ve already written 500 words, I’m going to mention one more recommendation. I came across this one kinda randomly, I check out the new books on Amazon every week and I believe it was on one of their lists and so I decided to give it a shot: The Prophet by Michael Kortya.

It’s about a pair of brothers in a High School football mad town in the Midwest whose sister was murdered when they were all in high school, and how their paths have diverged since: One is a shady bail bondsman, the other the town’s beloved God fearing football coach.

The killer was eventually caught and died in prison but now, years later, another high school girl is found murdered in similar circumstances, and both the brothers are dragged into it in different ways. It has some nice twists, and actually some pretty well written characters and depictions of life in a football mad small town. It even has some pretty good scenes of football action..apparently the author spent a season hanging out with a high school team while writing it.

Anyhow, I feel like I’ve just written a book report that noone will ever read but hey..maybe someone will and will find a book that wouldn’t otherwise have come across and like it…and maybe I’ll try this again sometime with a bit more structure and brevity.

And of course if anyone would like to leave a rec or two of their own in the comments…feel free.

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The National: Mr. November

Video

In the mood for this song so here goes. As you might have noticed..my music taste tends toward indie shit that was hip like 3 years ago..lol. I love music and I still try to find new stuff now and then but Pandora and other interests seem to have shrunk my musical palate a lot. Guess I need to get back into that before I’m too old to..lol. Good band though.

My weekend has already started…and not really in a good way..

So I’m having a fun day of housecleaning because my mom is coming to visit this weekend on Saturday. I actually for the first time in eons have plans tomorrow night: going to a gettogether at a college friend’s house…he lives on the outskirts of Atlanta so I’ll be getting home fairly late tomorrow night and since my dear mom is coming Saturday afternoon, I pretty much have to have the house spotless by tomorrow.

Another disclosure here: I think I mentioned that my idea of first moving up to the mountains was influenced by the fact that my mom had an empty house up here and lived on the left coast at the time. So no, I don’t live with my mom…but she does technically own the house…so when she wants to come visit and get out of Atlanta..it’s kinda hard to say no without feeling like an ass.

It also makes me feel compelled to get the house white glove freaking clean too when she’s coming so she assumes that it’s always like that. I’m not a huge slob or anything but my mom is a clean freak so if everything wasn’t totally clean she’d probably start cleaning and make me feel guilty. So yeah, I’m scrubbing toilets, cleaning the kitchen, need to cut the grass tomorrow if it doesn’t rain..just trying to make everything presentable.

Now I love my mom, she’s done a lot for me and hell..I’m living here rent free and just paying utilities, but we tend to get along a lot better in small doses of personal contact and phone calls. I don’t know if I’m just a weird dude..but my mom coming to visit stresses me the fuck out. So yeah, instead of a nice relaxing labor day weekend I’ll being spending quality time with mom.

And yes, that makes me sound like an asshole but is there anyone else that can relate to loving your parents yet enjoying a relaxing weekend of sitting by the river drinking a beverage and relaxing over spending time with them? I do enjoy spending time with my mom…just not on labor day weekend and I prefer to be at her house where I don’t have to stress out about it being clean enough and that kinda shit.

I don’t know. I’m an only child so maybe I’m just a selfish asshole..any thoughts?

Do I really like dogs more than humans?

So I was thinking about this this morning after my amazement last night that they were using Old Yeller as a mascot to sell dog food: when it comes to movies, books, tv shows, etc..I seem to get much more broken up and sad when an animal, particularly a dog, dies than I do when it’s a person.

I don’t know what kind of a pathological person that makes me, but anytime I’m reading a book or watching a movie and the protagonist or group has a faithful dog, and there’s a bit of foreshadowing that something bad is about to happen…I start crossing my fingers and hoping that the dog makes it out ok, even more so than I do about most of the human characters.

With my admitted love of postapocalyptic fiction and movies, there’s plenty of times where it’s just a lone man and his dog…and a lot of time the dog dies and damn if it doesn’t make me sad every time…might even get a little dusty in the room sometimes. I recently finished a newer book in the genre where the protagonist spent several chapters mourning the loss of his trusty dog, and it made me want to go hug mine.

In real life terms, I’ve personally never had to be involved in putting an animal to sleep. My last dog died in her sleep and I ended up burying her, which was tough to say the least, but I can’t imagine how much tougher it is to do it the sterile vet office way, saying goodbye and all that stuff. I’m sure I’ll have to someday but I don’t look forward to it.

It’s not that I don’t like people, though I’m one of those folks that likes individuals more than the group as a whole for sure, and I’ve been very broken up by the deaths of many people both in my real life and in fiction, and a dog is just a dog…but I still can’t help help having a soft spot for the pups.

Another reason to hate Microsoft

So I’m a PC guy, always have been. I own plenty of apple products and like them: ipad2, ipodtouch, and I’m hoping the new iphone is out by september when my upgrade is up b/c I’m sick of my samsung.

But I’ve never owned a Mac. I like the kinda do-it-yourselfishness of a PC. I’ve never built one from the ground up but I’ve replaced 90 percent of the parts in most of my computers at some time or another. I love opening up the case and swapping things out…that sort of thing.

What I don’t love, and the reason that I’ve yet to post anything today and it’s past 3, is Microsoft’s f-ing moronic update system. I’ve been having trouble on this site and a few others lately because I was still using IE8. In fact this site kept strongly suggesting I upgrade to IE9, so I figure, alright..that shouldn’t take too long.

But noooooo, I can’t upgrade to IE9 until I download and install several gigs worth of service packs, updates, and other crap that I’ve been letting slide because I’m too lazy to be bothered with that shit on a regular basis. And I hate the autoupdate because it will slow your download speed and then harass you to restart your computer at inopportune times.

And yes, I’m aware there are other browsers out there. I used to use Firefox but I don’t really care for the look of it and don’t really use a lot of addons. Liked Chrome at first but then it started crashing a lot on me so I went back to the old lover of Internet Explorer. And probably part of my problem is also that I’m still running a PC with Vista…from what I understand Windows 7 is less of a pain in the ass.

But seriously Microsoft, you’ve been doing this how long and you can’t find a more seamless and less of a pain in the ass way to update your flagship product? My favorite is when you spend a half hour downloading 40 updates and then half of them fail to install…and of course the obligatory restarting your computer 5 times just to finally get everything working.

So yes, I’m on IE9 now so at least WordPress isn’t constantly warning me that my browser will soon be out of date and unsupported, and it only took me like six hours to do so…so hooray.

/end rant

Night

Ugh, been a long day. Believe it or not I actually read everything I post over and over throughout the day and try to fix and correct and just improve things, but I kinda think I’ve been in a funk today because everything I’ve written has been kinda shit. Trying to write off the cuff on a blog and reading poetry and English lit anthology boilerplate in the same day apparently don’t mix well. So as always, I appreciate anyone that took the time to read my thoughts, and I’ll try to write some more interesting and simply better written stuff tomorrow. Hope everyone has a great night.