Musing Mondays: Quotable

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Time to start the week off with Musing Monday hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s random questions ask: What is your favorite lesson learned, or quote, from a recent book you’ve read?

It’s not exactly a recent book, but it’s one that’s stuck with me.  It comes from Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and it goes like this:

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

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Comic Book Friday: The Amazing Spider-Man: The Parker Luck

The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1: The Parker Luck

Peter Parker returns from the dead (or at least exile inside his own body that was taken over by a dying Doc Ock) from the latest comic book continuity reboot.

In case you missed it, a couple of years ago Marvel killed off Peter Parker by having Doc Ock take over his body. For a little over thirty issues, Ock was in control of Peter’s life and his powers, helping Peter earn his doctorate, start his own company and begin a romantic relationship with Anna-Maria. He also earned a Peter’s alter-ego Spider-Man a new reputation for ruthlessness and efficiency as he went up against some of Spidey’s old foes.

But Peter wasn’t dead — just lurking inside of Ock’s brain waiting for the right moment to reassert himself and take control back. That moment just happened to tie-in with the release of last year’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 because you wouldn’t want movie audiences coming to the comic books to find Doc Ock in control and not Peter Parker. It also gives you the marketing tie-in opportunity of launching (or in this case re-launching) your flag ship title with a first issue and lots (and lots) of variant covers.

All of this brings us to the first collection of the newly rebooted Amazing Spider-Man with Peter once again firmly in control of his body, but trying to pick up the pieces of his life that Ock left behind. Peter has no idea that Ock and Anna Maria are close (even living together) or how to complete the various projects that Ock has put into play at his new company. He’s also had to publicly distance his company from Spider-Man due to the concluding events of The Superior Spider-Man. And somehow the excuses he uses to run off and go into Spidey mode are wearing thin with colleagues who have tied their future and earning potentials to his company.

Reading this collection of six issues, I couldn’t help but wonder where all the fun of reading Spider-Man comics has gone. Re-reading some of the early days of the character, there was always the real-world angst to Peter Parker, but there was also a sense of fun to balance that out. With this latest reboot, it feels like Dan Slott and company have forgotten that comic books can and should be fun and not feel like they’re pushing some corporate agenda (this isn’t helped by the fact that the main foe for this series is Electro, tying in to last summer’s movie.) Slott did some interesting things early on with Ock taking over as Spider-Man, but that fizzled out quickly, ending with a thud as Marvel hit the reset button (yet again!).

This new series stumbles out of the gate, failing to recapture the magic that made me love Spider-Man so much when I first discovered him years ago. Maybe I’m getting too old and too cynical to enjoy the book these days, but I hope that’s not the case.

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Review: Single, Carefree, Mellow: Stories by Katherine Heiny

Single, Carefree, Mellow: Stories

People in various stages of infidelity populate the short stories collected in Katherine Heiny’s Single, Carefree, Mellow. Heiny’s storytelling doesn’t look at the moment an affair begins or when it ends but instead delves into various characters (both men and women) at different points of being unfaithful.

One woman finds herself contemplating the end of a relationship in relation to the death of a beloved pet. Another finds herself being cheating partner finding someone new and becoming more interesting in pursuing that relationship than in continuing their affair.

It would be tempting to make all of these cheating men and women seem like villains, but Heiny’s strength comes from making us not only understand these people but also relate to them. These aren’t cheating spouses and lovers who are doing so merely out of boredom. There are complex and justified (at least to the cheater) reasons for doing what they’re doing.

Each story is told with a confident voice. From doing a bit of research into Heiny, I’ve discovered that this collection was a long time coming from those who discovered her years ago. I can only hope that her next collection or offering won’t take as long to hit shelves because Single, Carefree, Mellow has made me a fan and I’m curious to see what she’ll offer next.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Booking Through Thursday: Spring

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What new book would make you spring out of your chair and run to the bookstore? (Or library, or nearest computer screen, depending on your book-delivery-method of choice.)

It won’t be out until this summer, but I’m looking forward to Peter David’s next installment in the Star Trek: New Frontier series.

I’ll have to spring out to purchase it for my e-reader since it’s coming out in installments.

It’s been a couple of years since the last installment and that one ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. And I’m always happy to spend more time with the New Frontier crew and a new Peter David book.

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Way Back Wednesday: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

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Halfway to the weekend and that means it’s time again for Way Back Wednesday, hosted by A Well Read Woman.

Each week, this meme invites you to cast your mind back across those books you’ve read that left a lasting impression.

redfernThis week’s book is Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

For those of you haven’t read Red Fern, it’s the story of Billy, a young boy growing up in the Ozarks who only wants one thing — two coon hounds.  Billy spends two years earning money and saving it up to purchase his two hounds, who he christens Old Dan and Little Anne.   The book focuses on Billy’s training and bonding with his animals as well as their treeing and bringing down a legendary wily raccoon.

And then, as all books about dogs must, things take a tragic turn when you reach the final chapters.

If you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about.

While out hunting one night, Billy is threatened by a mountain lion.  Dan and Anne battle the mountain lion, but Dan is mortally wounded and passes away.  Then Little Anne dies of sadness at missing her brother and Billy find her on his grave.   And this is where the red fern of grows.

It’s interesting that the last two weeks for WBW have focused on dogs.    And while they’re very different, they have a lot of similarities.   Both Cujo and Red Fern start off with beloved pets who meet a tragic end.    The difference is that Ol’ Dan and Little Anne never become rabid dogs on a killing rampage as Cujo does.  But they still meet a tragic end.

I’m not sure how many times I read this one growing up.  I think a teacher read this book to us in school first and I sought it out afterward.  I checked it out of the library often growing up and each time I read it, I felt a growing sense of dread as we got toward that monumental chapter with the mountain lion.

I have memories of another book or two by Rawls sitting on the library shelf but I never picked them up.  I wasn’t sure if his other book or books would follow a similar path as Red Fern and I honestly wasn’t really sure I wanted to find out.

I know there was a movie version (and there’s been another one since) and I think I saw it at one point.   Of course, it was no where nearly as poignant or as moving as the book.  And it didn’t make quite the same impression either.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR List

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) looks at the top books I’m looking forward to reading this spring.

Here’s my list (in no particular order):

1.  The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson
2.  Life or Death by Michael Roboham
3.  A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
4.  I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
5.  The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donahue
6.  Scary Close by Donald Miller
7.  Lost and Found by Brooke Davis
8. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
9. Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel
10. The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa

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Musing Mondays: Library

musingmondays51The start of a new week means it’s time for Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random question asks: How often do you use your local library? Are you happy with their availability?

I’m a frequent user of my local library.   Not only to check out physical books but also to get e-books from their web site.

Overall, I’m pleased with my local library system.  The ability to reserve books and other items on-line is great.   My local library is opened six days a week and I generally get by at least once a week to browse the shelves or (most likely) pick up an item I have on reserve.

I’m a big fan of the library.

What about you?

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