Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review: Buried Alive

Buried Alive: Kidnapped and Entombed in the Deserts of Iraq
by Roy Hallums

Thomas Nelson Publisher, Nashville, Tennessee (2009)

Roy Hallums, a Man, was kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents and this book tells the story of his ten months of captivity. The journey of Roy from one 'safe' house to another until the last and worst place, a house with an underground where he has been buried alive. Roy tells his story from distance and bravery: survive day by day with the help of his memories (about friends, relatives and an imaginary road trip coast to coast).

This book reminds me another one by Oriana Fallaci (A Man) where she tells the story of Alexandros Panagoulis, arrested and tortured because they thought he was against the dictatorship in Greece.
Both books teach us the value of small things when our life is full of everything (e.i. a cockroach becomes an important event during the imprisonement of Alexandros) and Roy "Because (he) could not see or do anything, (he) listened to every little sound ..." p. 92 and survive.

Roy doesn't grab a 'sound strategy' to survive, apart from Hope.

Sometimes the book is even funny: when the kidnappers, after stuffing toilet paper in Roy's ears (to prevent him from hearing), they said "No talking" and Roy responded "Yes, yes" and the guard: "Good" p. 100

I recommend this book to everybody who wants to learn more about the middle-east history, and I expecially recommend to read this story about a Man.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publisher as part of their book review blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, part 255.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Ociee on Her Own by Milam McGraw Propst

Ociee on Her Own
by Milam McGraw Propst

Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia (2003)

I received this free ebook from Milam McGraw Propst on Librarything's Member Giveaway.

The Adventures of Ociee Nash's second book (Ociee on Her Own) tells of the Ociee's return in the new father's home. A journey back, sometimes boring, with the same images of the first book, this time 'à rebours'. Kind of decadent literature.

Something new happens: Ociee finds a treasure ...

Very impressive and sad the last pages with Ociee and Ben, her brother, before the gravestone of their mother.

In Ociee on Her Own we find out Ociee's reflexive side, now she is grown up and, as a journey backwards, Ociee and Elizabeth (her best friend) "hope .. never get older and complicated" p. X (10). And this hope is sealed by an oath: "to stay uncomplicated forever and ever and ever!" p. X (10)

A final quote: "The time's passing like old honey on a cold biscuit" p. XLVII (47)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review: Into the Path of Gods by Kathleen Cunningham Guler

Into the Path of Gods
by Kathleen Cunningham Guler

Bardsong Press, Steamboat Springs, Colorado (1998)

I received this book from Kathleen Cunningham Guler on Librarything's Member Giveaway.

The Roman Empire collapses and Arthur will become King of Britain. Meanwhile, the main character of this book (Marcus ap Iorwerth) as a spy and warrior pursues the rightful of the Britains to follow their own paths. Claerwen, Marcus' lover, holds the secret because they are always in trouble.

In this book we find a different viewpoint, the viewpoint of a woman, not of warriors or chiefs. A woman (Claerwen) whose gift of visions leads Marcus into the path of gods.

I don't like the first half of the book: too much romance, I was thinking about a new title: Into the Path of Romeo and Juliet in the 5th century; we are lost in lengthy descriptions of rendezvous, sometimes too detailed. "You remind me of fragile crystal, but you are though as iron and dragons, my Claerwen." p. 150

I like the second half: magic, wild nature, history (and less romance). "Her shriek emerged from the thunder, carried far and away above the storm, disturbing the night creatures." p. 293

Excellent description of the differences between the rational world built by the Romans (roads, villages, etc.) and the Celtic world (bravery, adaptation to the surroundings, magic).

A question: Is Claerwen the ancestor of Aliena (a character of the Pillars of the Earth by Follett)?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Review: Drinkwater: A Sobering Tale About A Medieval Knight

Drinkwater: A Sobering Tale About a Medieval Knight
by Otto Scamfer

Custom Books Publishing, 2008

I received this ebook from Otto Scamfer on Librarything's Member Giveaway.

Drinkwater is a fairy tale about a medieval young man, Winston Tabor, fighting for his honor, lady and possession (almost drinking water).
"Of loves and ladies, knights and arms, I sing, of courtesies." wrote Ariosto. And now Scamfer adds and sings of water. Instead of the Lady of the Lake there is the Lady of the Stream (Meranda). And a strange sword that comes with Marco Polo from the far east.

Essentially a readable tale, also for children.

This book remembers me those of Emilio Salgari: a page-turner author, without deep historical details.

A joke and final advise: if you meet Winston, somewhere out there, cover your nose: he checks your nose first.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Review: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

The Year of the Flood
by Margaret Atwood (2009)

McClelland & Stewart, Ontario

A natural disaster alters Earth obliterating most human life. Within the survivors: Ren, a trapeze dancer and Toby, a God’s Gardener (a religious/vegan group).
Others survivors: Adam One, leader of the God’s Gardener; Amanda, Ren’s friend; Zeb, eco-fighter and Ren’s stepfather; CorpSeCorps, the policing force in this new world.
Another ‘character’: “the asphalt-eating microbe” (they were melting highways).

In this post-apocalyptic future they search the perfect human being and the immortality, somebody with human clonation and others following the command of the natural world (after God Is Dead, Atwood says “God Is Green”).

Atwood is spying through an ajar door leading to the future. Usually the science fiction describes a very far future: Orwell with 1984 (wrote in 1949), Kubrick with 2001: A Space Odyssey (shot in 1968), but in this book we read the future of the next door.

I read and ate The Year of the Flood as a dressed salad: the lettuce as the God's Gardeners, the oil as Toby and Ren, the salt as the CorpeSeCorps, and the bread crisps as the Oral Hymns. Eat the salad on a rooftop, please.
A question: Why Blanco doesn't think Toby’s poisoning him?

Some quotes:
"Glenn used to say the reason you can't really imagine yourself being dead was that as soon as you say, "I'll be dead," you've said the word I, and so you're still alive inside the sentence. And that's how people got the idea of the immortality of the soul - it was a consequence of grammar." p. 316

"Why so soon? It's the cry of a child being called home at dusk, it's the universal protest against time." p. 326

"What is our Cosmos but a snowflake?" p. 424