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  • gilwilson 3:19 PM on July 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Dark Matter by Blake Crouch 

    darkmatterDark Matter
    by Blake Crouch
    Hardcover, 342 pages
    Published July 26th 2016 by Crown

    Wow, just wow.  I could stop there and let you read the book and  find out why it’s hard to talk about.  But, I will not leave you hanging.  First I will tell you about why the book is unique.
    1.) It’s kind of hard to describe without giving spoilers or rather without the temptation to just tell you how it ends.
    2.) Physics

    Jason Dessen is a physics teacher in a small college in the Chicago suburbs.  His friend wins an award in biochemistry for the work Jason helped with.  He’s a little bitter but not much, It is his friend after all.  After leaving the celebration Jason is abduction by a stranger in a mask.   The last thing Jason hears before he goes unconscious is the stranger asking, “Are you happy with your life?”

    Next thing Jason knows he is strapped to a gurney in a room full of strangers wearing hazmat suits.  The next thing he hears is a stranger  saying, “Welcome back.”  Jason soon learns that he is the genius behind this facility and is highly regarded by all the staff.  Jason thinks he’s going crazy. He doesn’t remember any of this and only remembers his life with his wife and son.

    What soon begins is a run through the multiverse.  Every decision you make changes your life, but what happens if you made the other decision is something this book approaches.   Jason in one life has invented a box that allows him to travel through the multiverse and visit the different versions of his life.   All Jason wants is to go back home to his reality, but with infinite multiverse versions of his life it becomes like finding one particular grain of sand on a beach.

    This book kept me enthralled throughout the many jumps between the multiverses and even more so when times became desperate for Jason.  The end of the book will keep you wondering, what if?

    Blake Crouch, the author, is the reason I read this book.  I had seen the Wayward Pines TV series and wanted to read those books but found this one first.   This book will soon be a major motion picture, but I suggest reading it before you see the movie.

  • gilwilson 1:50 PM on July 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    The Devil’s Highway (A True Story) Written and Narrated By: Luis Alberto Urrea 

    devils highwayThe Devil’s Highway (A True Story)
    Written and Narrated By: Luis Alberto Urrea
    Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
    Release date: 06-02-11
    Publisher: Hachette Audio

    May, 2001,  a group of 26 men attempted to cross the Mexican border in to the desert of Southern Arizona in order to find a better life for themselves.   Only 12 made it out of that desert, the mummified remains of the others were discovered and the story began to unfold about this mystery.

    Luis Alberto Urrea, puts the pieces together through some in depth investigative journalism and tells the story of those that sought a better way by sneaking into the U.S.

    Urrea follows the story beginning with the Coyotes, those in charge of smuggling people to their new life and ending with the discovery and attempts to identify the remains of the humans seeking a better life by having to sneak across a vast desert.

    During the descriptions of the the states the bodies were in and how they got to be that way on top of how the body reacts to extreme heat were a bit uneasy for me to hear, but not so bad that it kept me from the story.  This is a very important section of the story and even if you are squeamish, you need to read/hear all of it.

    Urrea not only did a great job of digging out and writing this story, but his narration really gives a depth to the story.    Check it out.

    Publisher’s Summary
    The author of Across the Wire offers brilliant investigative reporting of what went wrong when, in May 2001, a group of 26 men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of Southern Arizona. Only 12 men came back out.

    ©2004 Luis Alberto Urrea (P)2011 Hachette Audio

  • gilwilson 3:35 PM on July 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    “A Tale of Two Cities” By Charles Dickens 

    tale“A Tale of Two Cities”
    By Charles Dickens
    Narrated by: Simon Prebble
    Length: 14 hrs and 42 mins
    Release date: 03-23-11
    Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

    Sometimes I have to go back and revisit a classic.  Sometimes it’s just to see if what I took from the book the first time still holds or to see if in my growing age and wisdom I can gain new insights.  I’m really not sure why I revisited this classic.  I hated it in high school.  (pretty sure i only read part and lied on the book report)  I re-read the book back in the late 90s and had a hard time keeping focused on it and put it down many times.   This time around I thought, “Well, let’s try the audiobook.”    If I’m being perfectly honest, it is still boring, and hard to complete this arduous task.

    I do have to say that the audiobook was the best version I had experienced, but the subject matter just wasn’t my cup of meat.  Simon Prebble presented the book perfectly, I can’t blame him for the lack of interest I have in the French Revolution.

    I did give it that good ol’ college try.  (Actually a lot better than my slacker college tries ever turned out to be.)  I know how Dickens uses the cities of London and Paris as settings to show the reasons for the Revolution, but it felt like I was in that prison with Dr. Manette.  I guess really, I’m not a fan of Dickens.

    I’m not going to bore you with a summary of the book.  You should have read it by now, and if you didn’t maybe you just aren’t interested.  I think what made this most interesting was the fact that just after listening to this book, Disney+ streaming service released the recording of the Broadway production of “Hamilton,” and when they made references to the French Revolution, I fully understood what they were talking about, having had that bit of history fresh in my overcrowded brain.

    I think I’ll tackle an audio version of “Moby Dick” next.  I really love that book.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities is a sprawling tale of London and revolutionary Paris with a complex plot portraying the results of terror and treason, love and supreme sacrifice.
    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”—opening line of A Tale of Two Cities
    It was the time of the French Revolution, a time of great change and great danger. It was a time when injustice was met by a lust for vengeance, and rarely was a distinction made between the innocent and the guilty. Against this tumultuous historical backdrop, Dickens’ dramatic story of adventure and courage unfolds.
    Unjustly imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille, Dr. Alexandre Manette is reunited with his daughter, the gentle Lucie Manette, and safely transported from France to England. It would seem that they could now take up the threads of their lives in peace. As fate would have it, however, the two are summoned to the Old Bailey to testify against a young Frenchman, Charles Darnay, falsely accused of treason. Strangely enough, Darnay bears an uncanny resemblance to another man in the courtroom: Sydney Carton, a dissolute barrister. It is a coincidence that saves Darnay from certain doom more than once, as the two men’s fates become intertwined with that of the Revolution.
    And there is Madame Defarge, a female revolutionary who has an implacable grudge against the aristocratic Evrémonde dynasty and who knits as she watches the beheadings.
    The storming of the Bastille, the death carts with their doomed human cargo, the swift drop of the blade of La Guillotine—this is the French Revolution that Charles Dickens vividly captures. Brilliantly plotted, the novel is rich in drama, romance, and heroics that culminate in a daring prison escape in the shadow of the guillotine.
    Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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