Clashing Perspectives – The Beach by Alex Garland

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You ever look back at something you read 15 or 20 years ago and have that “A-Ha” moment.

Not the ridiculously good band from the eighties A-Ha (see above), but the mind-altering epiphanic moment when you realize that a plot point that was salient to the whole freaking novel zoomed right the hell over your head. Yup, I had one of those.

I read this book when I was right out of high school and entirely in love with the idea of a wild wonderland. A paradise filled with gorgeous people and no responsibility. I wanted to see, do, and experience that life. I still do now. However, those ideas are now tempered with age, trust, and hopefully, some integrity.  I think in the end, the soundtrack sealed it for me. Does anyone still like the group VAST? They are one of my favorites still to this day because of that movie. From that moment on I set out to read the book “It will change my life,” I thought. Maybe I could eternalize a little of this wild abandon that I so desperately yearned for.

After discovering a seemingly Edenic paradise on an island in a Thai national park, Richard soon finds that since civilized behavior tends to dissolve without external restraints, the utopia is hard to maintain.

Plot summary – goodreads.com

The problem was that when I read the novel, I was left unsettled and feeling dirty. It felt like someone had taken my brain and used it to scour pans for an afternoon. The book was like a beautiful Honey Crisp apple sitting on a shelf, but when you cut into it,

“Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is the generation that travels the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite & never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience— And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.”

― Alex Garland, The Beach

the apple had a rotten core filled with maggots. It had not lived up to my fantasies. I felt cheated and weak.  What was actually weak, was my perspective and understanding of life beyond my hometown at the time.  “The Beach” has nothing to do with paradise, but the outlook on what actually constitutes a paradise, the darkness in people, and the lengths of which one would go to protect it.  It is a smart book, and subtle in its narration.  Its overall gravitas was not something I could appreciate at the time, but it is something that I can look back on now and understand.

One of the key things that garland does it keep the undercurrents flowing within the language of the everyday life of the travelers. He describes the day to day tasks that they need to accomplish; Fishing, farming, and partying. While subtly hinting at the darker parts of the characters psyches. Reminds me of a much less ham-fisted and more eloquent “lord of the Flies,” but for a much older audience.  In the end, the characters are scarred both mentally and physically.

“The first I heard of the beach was in Bangkok, on the Ko Sanh Road.” ― Alex Garland, The Beach

If you are looking for a book that tears you up inside a bit, look no further. It is worth the second read, especially if you have some life experiences behind you.

TAG: THE OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE BOOK TAG

You have to pick ONE GENRE that you frequently read about… and then, you can’t use ANY books from that genre while answering the questions!

Thank you Alliee!

Well, this is going to be hard…


Tag Time

1.A book that is an exception when it comes to genres or elements you don’t typically like.

How a Poem Moves: A Field Guide for Readers Afraid of Poetry by Adam Sol.

I don’t typically read much poetry. I have nothing against it, but for the most part, it baffles me. Adam makes poetry understandable and beautiful. Poetry has so many shapes. The shape of the verse, the shape of the words, the shape of the invoked images. It is amazing.

2. A Book You Enjoyed From A Genre You Previously Held Some Stigma Against

The Witness by Nora Roberts

At one time I was a snob when it came to romance novels. But, my dad is a huge Nora Roberts fan which delights the hell out of me. He introduced me to her and I have loved her books ever since.

3. A Book You Didn’t Know Was Out Of Your Comfort Zone Until You Started Reading It.

It by Stephen King

I love horror, but this is some next level stuff that I was unprepared for. I have never been able to finish this book. Whatever level horror novel this is, I am unprepared for it.

4. Pick A Friend Who Motivates You To Pick Up Books You Might Not Normally Be Interested In – Is There A Book They Convinced You To Give A Try?

I can single out anyone, but I think book twitter, in general, has introduced me to so many new things to try. Cozy mystery here I come!

5. A Book That Is Out of Your Comfort Zone, But You Would Like to Read

Probably a dense history. There is a history of Theodore Roosevelt and his influence on the American Park system that I would love to read.

6.A Book/Genre So Outside Of Your Comfort Zone That You’ll Probably Never Give It A Chance

Gore. I enjoy horror books but straight gore is too much for me. I read the Crossed graphic novel series and I was physically repulsed by it.


There is no pressure! If you do end up doing the tag I’d love to see it.


The Versatile Blogger Award

Wow! I am so honored to be nominated twice for this award. It means a lot because I just started seriously blogging and I have met so many wonderful people. Thank you to both Abbey and Sam. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

As per the rules: seven things about myself, as well as nominations for other bloggers who I adore.

  1. I am a very tall person. I am 6′ flat-footed. I am in the 99.83 Percentile, which makes me a damn unicorn.
  2. I have a bachelors in landscape architecture. I designed parks and stuff at once time. I was almost licensed before the big recession hit.
  3. I have played a lot of Borderlands 2. Like.. a lot. We even named our dog Handsome Jack.
  4. My daughter was very large when she was born. I joke with people that she was a butterball turkey. No seriously, she was just shy of 12 pounds and wasn’t even full term. They said if she remained till full term she would have been 14 pounds. I also dealt with and was in and out of the hospital of postpartum depression. Someday I’ll get the courage to write about that struggle. If you went through it, and need someone to talk to, email me. I had the worst kind of postpartum someone can have aside from straight psychosis. So I have seen it all.
  5. I speak pretty rudimentary German. I wanted to learn a language a few years ago so I started duolingo. I did it every day for about a year. I do not know a single person who speaks it. I should have started Spanish. Donde Esta la Biblioteca? See right up my alley.
  6. I love trip hop music and electronica.
  7. I have a bottle of water that has both Atlantic and Pacific water in it. We honeymooned on the east coast and I used to visit So. Cal beaches quite a lot.
  • The glorious and superb Mad Madam Mim
  • Paul from Paul’s Picks whose reviews are so well done.
  • Holly from The Grimdragon The coolest chick ever.
  • Corey from The Grimdark Dad – Fantastic reviews
  • Jason from Off the TBR – Great reviewer, great guy.
  • Angela the resident unicorn
  • Allie – #SWAG
  • Evelina – Come to her site and see all the cool things she does.
  • Corey – Another great blogger
  • Rebecca – Big advocate for disability awareness.
  • Jennifer – Makes me laugh a whole lot.
  • Dave – Has probably had a bunch of these awards. Plus.. coffee
  • The Book Family Rogerson – You should follow this blog
  • Kerry – Someone who is always helpful and supportive to other bloggers.

Plus so many others. Thank you to the community.

The World is on Fire

Synopsis

Early morning on Monday, October 9, 2017, wildfires burned through Northern California, resulting in 44 fatalities. In addition, 6,200 homes and 8,900 structures and were destroyed. Author Brian Fies’s firsthand account of this tragic event is an honest, unflinching depiction of his personal experiences, including losing his house and every possession he and his wife had that didn’t fit into the back of their car. In the days that followed, as the fires continued to burn through the area, Brian hastily pulled together A Fire Story and posted it online—it immediately went viral. He is now expanding his original webcomic to include environmental insight and the fire stories of his neighbors and others in his community. A Fire Story is an honest account of the wildfires that left homes destroyed, families broken, and a community determined to rebuild


Excerpt from “A Fire Story by Brian Fies

Stats

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hardcover
  • 160 pages
  • Expected publication: March 5th, 2019 by Harry N. Abrams
  • ISBN1419735853 (ISBN13: 9781419735851)

My Thoughts

“I inhaled my neighbors’ lives”

Excerpt from “A Fire Story by Brian Fies

I have lived through a few things. I have been robbed, my house has caught fire (twice), and I very nearly floated my car in a flash flood. I had to drive on the wrong side of the road and got swept sideways. I have not yet, thankfully, lived through a firestorm and the aftermath. Brian Fies has, however. A Fire Story is a memoir of the experience, pain, fear, regret, and most importantly…hope. His family lost everything. Everything…from pencil to pillar when the Northern California wildfires of 2017 blew through his home and swept away everything but their lives.

Excerpt from “A Fire Story by Brian Fies

A Fire Story is the real world experience of famous Eisner award-winning comic artist and writer, Brian Fies. It starts with the initial smell of a fire, no alarms rang or phones went off. Just the smell of fire and a burning light out in the distance. Then the escape with his family, his dog and cat, and what few belongings he could remember at the moment. Next, is recovery. Being a nomad, the shock and fear of displacement on his animals and how his family rallied together to help them. He talks of starting over, moving on, and trying to rebuild a home both literally and figuratively.

Excerpt from “A Fire Story by Brian Fies

This is a powerful memoir. It makes you stop for a moment, and think about what is truly important. What would you grab? What would you be ok with losing? How do you move on? Graphically, the panels are simply done. Purposefully, not even fully rendered to give the feeling of incompleteness. Even in his use of simplified panels, never think for a moment that emotion, a sense of place and timing are not conveyed. Fies conveys it all and there is a reason why he has won so many awards in the past.

This is a testament to his work as a writer and worth the read.

Procurement

I received an ebook of this from Eidelweiss+ and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


About the Author

Brian Fies is a science writer, illustrator, and cartoonist whose widely acclaimed first graphic novel, Mom’s Cancer, won the 2005 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic (the first webcomic to win the award and inaugurate this new category), the Lulu Blooker Prize for Best Comic, the Harvey Award for Best New Talent, and the German Youth Literature Prize, among other awards and recognition. He lives in northern California.

What is the Fusion World Project?

“No, I don’t care about the rug!” Vai roared, and then immediately retracted his statement. “No, I take it back. The rug is what I care about most in the world. This is something else, though. I’m not insane. Something is wrong. I can feel it.”

Fusion World by Joesph Tamone

Stats

  • Review 4 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Edition 
  • 327 pages
  • Published October 15th 2018 by Chandra Press
  • ASINB07JH3LN4X

Synopsis

From the publisher, “A small band of young people must find a way to come together as a team to stop a maniac bent on the destruction of the known universe. Through the course of the story the team grows tightly knit and is ultimately successful. Raven, an assassin for the enemy, has a change of heart and joins forces with the team. Her transformation from cold and ruthless killer to caring teammate is a focal point of the story. The metamorphic theme is one of the core components of the work. Vai, the snarky sarcastic kid, becomes a compassionate leader. Sajaler, finds that he can turn the tide in a battle without killing. Marissa learns she has what it takes to do what needs to be done. All the characters come away more mature and surer of themselves. When the dust settles after the crescendo, Cain has been stopped, but Vai and Adam are missing.”


The First Chapter, First Paragraph

“People tend to be resilient by nature. They fight for what they believe in, and it takes a lot to make them give up that fight, but take away their home, clean air, food, water, and all other essential needs to sustain a normal life, quality of life is diminished, and that resilience is weakened to a considerable extent. When people get desperate enough, they will obey just about anyone or anything.”


My Thoughts

“You will stop acting like a bunch of immature pricks, and you will behave, or I will shoot you all. Trust me, I have plenty of bullets.”


Fusion World by Joesph Tamone

When reading this story the question you have to ask your self repeatedly is:

“What is the Fusion World Project?” 

Because while reading the first hundred pages or so, the reader doesn’t know. Fusion World is written as if you are coming into a TV show in the middle of a show season. This might seem a bit discombobulating for some readers, but for me, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about the characters and why they were reacting the way they did. The author keeps you in the dark a bit, doling out pieces of information as the story progresses until you can put everything together like a jigsaw puzzle in the end. Often when authors write multiple books in a series, each book is a mini story in of itself. I don’t get that impression with this story. I felt like I was reading one part of a single long story. Yes, there was a story arc to this book but it seemed small potatoes compared to the larger story.

One thing that completely floored me was the ending. As I said, I spent a lot of this book grasping at the pieces of the story and slowly filling in the backstories. Right around the 75% mark, BAM. Everything began to fall into place and I audibly said “Oh Holy Shit” a few times. Tamone brought everything together and I was cheering for the characters.

A fun parallel I drew while reading this story was the Philanthropy Team was a ragtag group of members. All had different strengths and weaknesses as they tried to overcome huge odds. It made me think of the 80’s movie Red Dawn. The writing is much better in this story, but I could just imagine Sajaler shouting “PHILANTHROPY” while spray painting it on an enemy tank.

I had a lot of fun reading this story. Even when it felt disjointed in the beginning, it still had amazing dialog and character creation. I am looking forward to the next book where Tamone feels even more comfortable in the characters and they stretch out a bit. Give this story a try, you will dig it. It is a great example of science fiction.


Procurement

I received this as a review copy from the publisher, Chandra Press. In exchange for my honest review.


About the Author

Joseph Lewis Tamone lives in Wilmington, Delaware. Despite getting a degree in Environmental Engineering, Joseph has always found an escape in his quirky imagination that lent its way to his passion for writing. Joseph is an avid animal lover and history buff. When he is not writing, he enjoys escaping into the world of video games, nature, and most importantly, reading and researching. He lives in Delaware with his lovely wife, Erica, and their house full of animals.

#bookcook Harry Potter’s Pumpkin Juice

Harry Potter is such a wonderful tale and full of recipes that are fun to make. Especially in regards to pumpkin stuff.

This weeks fun recipe is for pumpkin juice. Which kinda sounds gross. But, cmon. It is Harry Potter though, so it must be magical.

This weeks recipe is from favfamilyrecipes


Pumpkin Juice

Juice recipe serves 16

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well.
  2. Pour over ice in individual glasses.
  3. Stir again before each serving.