Monthly Archives: June 2012

One Day by David Nicholls

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One Day. I was so excited to read this book. First I saw the movie preview, then my sweet friend recommended the book to me. I had such high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, they were not met.

The book starts in 1988 on St Swithin’s Day. An obscure holiday celebrated on July 15th. Throughout the rest of the book, each chapter is July 15th of the following year. On that first St Swithin’s Day, they meet and begin a friendship that will last them the rest of their lives. Sometimes when July 15th rolls around they are together. Other times, they are not.

The writing was great. So many parts that I loved. I’m looking at my highlights on my Kindle, and I’m laughing. David Nicholls is quite funny. There were times that I felt like I was reading a particularly creative blog. “Sometimes, when it’s going badly, she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word is really just a fetish for stationery. The true writer, the born writer, will scribble words on scraps of litter, the back of a bus ticket, on the wall of a cell. Emma is lost on anything less than 120gsm.” It’s making you laugh, isn’t it? It’s making you want to read the book, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, the book is not all in the highlighting. The main story is one that made me sad. After a few years, Dexter’s life takes a turn for the depraved. I watched him begin a downward spiral that I was not sure he would pull out of. I had high hopes for Em and Dex to get together in the end, but the book had such an overall sad theme that I really didn’t trust the author to end it how I wanted.

Now to a recommendation. Do I recommend it to you? I suppose that would depend on you. If you don’t mind a sad story, if you don’t mind watching a man completely deconstruct and hit rock bottom, if you don’t mind the uncertainty of an unknown ending, then I definitely recommend this book to you. You’ll enjoy it. If, however, you’d like to have the certainty that in books, at least, there is a happily ever after, then I’d recommend that you give this book a pass.

Before I go, I’ll give you one more bit that I loved. If you’re thinking not to read the book, this will make it even harder for you. “Live each day as if it’s your last, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at… something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately, and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.

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Code Triage by Candace Calvert

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I picked up Code Triage for free one day. My next Sackett book was unavailable at the library, so I grabbed it up and sat down to have a read. As soon as I started reading I noticed that this is not my preferred style of writing any more. I decided to put it down and start something else. But after I put it down and walked away, I realized I was already drawn in by the characters and wanted to know what happened with them.

It’s the story of Nick and Leigh who begin the book as a married couple just weeks away from the end of their marriage. The papers are filed and they are waiting for the day that the divorce will be final. Nick is unwilling to give up on them, however and spends the rest of the book trying to convince Leigh to forgive him and begin their life anew. There are many good supporting characters and turns along the way.

I recommend it if you just want a quick story with a happy ending.

Lando by Louis L’Amour

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“There was pride and courage there, and something that told me that when trouble came, this man would stand.

This I respected, for of myself I was not sure. Every man wishes to believe that when trouble appears he will stand up to it, yet no man knows it indeed before it happens.” -Lando Sackett

This book took more effort for me to get into, but by the end, I loved Lando Sackett. Lando’s father left him in the care of an ill-advised man who stole the money left to him and didn’t care for young Lando. As a result, Lando ran away and raised himself in the cabin he and his father had occupied when the former was still around. Since he was not raised by his father, he doesn’t have the same skills and knowledge that most Sacketts possess. What he does have is the ability to think and plan and the courage that seems to be bred into the Sackett line.

Not having tested his abilities, Lando is hesitant to get into a fight, especially a gun fight. At one point, he and his travel companions are set upon by bandits, and he convinces them, through a bit of honest trickery, to leave instead of fight. I love what is said after, “Did you ever see the like? Looks right down a gun barrel and talks them out of it.” There is so much I admire about Lando. This is the decision he makes when he begins to see men who can use a gun quickly, “The first shot must score, and I must shape my mind to accept the fact that I must fire looking into a blazing gun. I must return that fire even though I was hit.” Again, I think that this is a good mentality, because we can’t all be great at everything. Some of us aren’t even going to be good at many things. But, we can fashion our minds to think that we will use what we have to the best of our ability. Also, to be realistic in what we can do. Don’t expect to win if you’re fighting/playing/racing someone with better talent or size than you. But, know how you’ll do, and plan from there.

But, my favorite thought of Lando’s is one that I have had so many times, but have never heard anybody else say. I loved to hear it, especially from a Sackett. If for no other reason than this, I will always have a special place in my heart for one Lando Sackett:

“Trouble with me was, I was a mighty poor hater. There was satisfaction in winning, but winning would have been better if nobody had to lose. That’s the way I’ve always felt, I guess.”

We Bought a Zoo (Movie)

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I know this is a book blog, but I can’t help myself. I loved this movie, and I think you will too. It is a sweet story of a man and his two kids who are foundering after the loss of wife and mother. When the movie begins, it’s been six months since she died. Long enough for her face to begin to fade in the mind of the little girl, but not long enough for any of the pain of loss to fade yet. They are stuck. They feel like a change will do them good. So they decide to buy a new house. When they pull up the drive of a complicated house, they fall in love with it. Before they hear all the details, they know that this is the house for them. Then they learn that on the 18 acres of land is a zoo.

This movie is so refreshing. It is a fun story about restoration. It is a reminder to find and live your adventure. To not lose those close to you, but to tell them what you need them to hear. To hear them. As Kelly says, “The secret to talking is listening.”

The music is always uplifting and hopeful. Even when something sad is happening, you feel like there are still good things to come.  If only Jonsi could play the soundtrack of our lives, so that when we are in the middle of something difficult, we could hear the promises of hope and a future that have been given to us.

I love the end that reminds us that life is in the stories. That remembering the good times brings the people we love back into sight. That sharing our memories helps us all to remember together…

Why not?

The Daybreakers by Louis L’Amour

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“It was good shooting,’ he said, ‘but I can shoot better.’

Now I’m not a man to brag, but how much better can you get?

‘Maybe,’ I said.

‘Someday we might shoot together,’ he said, looking at me through the smoke of his cigarette.

‘Someday’ I said quietly, ‘we might.’

‘I shall look forward to it, senor’

‘And I,’ I smiled at him, ‘I shall look back upon it.’

excerpt from “The Daybreakers.”

The Daybreakers is the story of Tyrell Sackett. He and his brother Orrin travel around and adventure together. They leave home looking for a new place for their family to settle. Along with a couple friends found along the trail, they gather a herd of wild cattle and make enough money to start up ranching in New Mexico. They befriend a Mexican don who, along with his pretty granddaughter, is in the middle of a fight to defend the land that was granted to his family decades before.

In comparing himself to his brother Orrin, Tye often feels that he comes up short. Orrin is the good looking, well loved brother. While he, Tye,  is the brooding, fighting, quiet brother. But he has so much loyalty and honor in him that good people can’t help but love him. Criminals, however recognize that it will be his strong sense of justice and fast gun aimed in their direction.

It’s interesting that even while he thinks higher of brother Orrin, he still is very confident in himself. There never was a Sackett who didn’t know who he was. I credit the parents of these men who told them exactly who they were and what they could achieve.

I love how L’Amour teaches us by the example of these men. They do what’s necessary. They love their friends and family. They uphold the truth. They become lawmen and honest politicians. And through it all, they stop and revel in the beauty of God’s creation. ” It got to be the hour of dawn with the sun some time away but crimson streaking the sky, and those New Mexico sunrises… well, there’s nothing like the way they build a glory in the sky.”

Ride the River by Louis L’Amour

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“How many are there? Of the Sacketts, I mean?”

“Nobody rightly knows, but even one Sackett is quite a few.”

-Echo Sackett

Ride the River is the first Sackett book about a girl. Echo Sackett, named after the girl from Greek mythology, is a mountain girl who can take care of herself. She leaves her home to go to the big city to get some inheritance money that is owed to her. When she gets to the city, she finds herself in the association of men who would like to keep the money for themselves. Lucky for her, the Sacketts who went before her made the kind of friends that last generation to generation and she meets up with 86 year old Finian Chantry. Chantry is a well known and liked lawyer who helps her to get what she is owed. I love this. When three men decide to rob Finian, he replies with this, “You’re a pack of bilge-swilling swine’ Chantry said. ‘I’ve money enough in my pockets to keep you drunk for a month of Sundays, but if you come for it, you’ll be wearing your guts for neckties.” Only Louis L’Amour would have an older gentlemen making threats like this. And then have the ability to back it up.

When Echo heads home with her money, she is followed by a group of men who wish to reclaim it. She leaves the stage behind and heads into the hills to have a bit of advantage. Finian, in fear of just such an arrangement, sends his grandson Dorian Chantry and another man named Archie out to escort her home. Before they are able to catch up, she proves that she is able to take care of herself, as all Sacketts can. When the boys join up with her, she feels the responsibility of them joining her group, and does her part in keeping everybody safe. I liked L’Amour’s representation of a girl. She was brave and strong, but she knew her limits and made up for them with the element of surprise, and a couple of well hidden weapons. But, she was also able to rely on Dorian and Archie when the need arose. At the end of the Sackett books, the hero always gets the girl. This book was no exception, except that this time the hero gets her man.