Taking on a new read this month…Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz. I haven’t read all his works, just can’t do it, but have been staggered by a few stories, like the Odd Thomas books, of which the first two are the best by far for a good chill.
As for his latest work, it has me thinking of the strangest things as I read…about life, the possibility of death, about being positive no matter what happens, about parenting, about divination in its weirdest of forms and if we are designed to listen when we are given those subtle universal cues…
The main character, Bibi, is a sweet young woman, with such an inspiring attitude on life she almost shames me into thinking, What the fuck’s wrong with me? but, then she is fictional, so…
Not sure if this story will be as scary as Koontz’s others, but expect a haunting adventure just the same.
In the first 100 pages or so I jotted down a few deep and creepy lines that I liked:
As all the light vanished and the glistening blackness flooded over her, she tried to cry out for help, but like all drowned girls before her, she had no voice.
The morning grew mild, but Bibi remained cold to her bones.
She realized then that madness and sanity were two worlds separated from each other by no more than a single step.
…by the time I’m done the new Anna Karenina movie, starring Keira Knightley, will be out, thus saving me from the torment of getting though all the pages on my Kindle…okay, it’s not torment. I actually love reading it. It was the first tomb of a book I downloaded back in January. No, I’m not that slow of a reader, but with any disastrously long novel, I kind of lose it mid-way, and find myself veering off to other literary terrains. I feel a wit-bit guilty, since this is so thought of as one of the ultimates in classic literature. So my goal is to finish this book in the next week if possible. My Kindle says I’m at 64% into the story since it doesn’t display page numbers. Can I finish it? Do I have a chance?
So here’s the beautiful preview of Anna Karenina. It looks breath-taking, though the Vronsky actor choice has me confused. Keira looks like perfection however.
By Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions. First they brought the magnet. A heavy gypsy with an untamed beard and sparrow hands, who introduced himself as Melquiades, put on a bold public demonstration of what he himself called the eighth wonder of the learned alchemists of Macedonia. He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs, and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquiades’ magical irons. “Things have a life of their own,” the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. “It’s simply a matter of waking up their souls.”
How could you not want to read more? This has always been one of my favorite books of literature. It’s timeless, classic, with just the right amount of strangeness, called magic realism, which lends to its tone and rapturous nature. It’s loaded with beautiful Spanish names, which can be daunting to the faint reading heart, but there’s a nice chart in the beginning pages giving the family history of Aureliano Buendia with all the names in order of birth. It’s a profound story, leading up to the firing squad, and years after, I guess 100 in total, the rise and fall of a town called Macondo, somewhere in the world, somewhere in time, in some history that is the writer’s and readers imagination. Truly one of the best reads of all time.
Originally published in Argentina in 1967. First English copyright translation 1970.
Great review of an interesting book…
Finished reading 13 Reasons Why last week. It was an awesome teen read, but left me a bit confused. I guess I didn’t quite “feel” the anxiety of this suicidal girl, but could certainly understand the circumstances of her situation…how she felt lost, with no one to turn to…but then, she could have made a lot of other choices, for instance a scene in a hot tub (need I say more), a place she clearly did not want to be, yet goes there willingly and …I won’t give away the story, but bad choices lead to bad feelings and emotional scars. All in all, the story was well written. Loved the unique format of Hannah’s voice on tapes, and the thoughts of the main character mingled together. It was different and hard to put down. Good work by Jay Asher.
A movie is already in the works I’ve heard, with Selena Gomez starring. I can’t see her as the Hannah character, so if this is the case, I think I’ll skip the movie version. Some books are best left alone…