It's the end of April and I'm headed back to work soon. I was able to get ahead of my reading schedule and put myself on good footing for May in case things get a little heavy with going back to work. It will take a bit to find a smooth routine but I'm hoping to find time to get some reading in. I also thought it would be fun to try sharing some quotes I like from the books I'm reviewing. Hope you enjoy this month's selection.
THE SALMON OF DOUBT by Douglas Adams
Unfortunately, this will probably be my last review of a Douglas Adams book. After his death his editor, wife and friends put together a collection of his writings from his computers. There are an assortment of topics discussed in this book--bits of brief biographical information, articles for computer/technological companies, musings on proper ways to prepare tea and the golden nugget of the entire book: A hefty chunk of his unfinished novel. I had a blast reading this and saying a farewell to Douglas. I know he has a couple other projects that aren't novels and have to do with his zoological work. Perhaps one day I'll dive into those but for now it feels like a farewell. If you are a fan of Adams, then I highly recommend this. The only reason for the four nails is because there were patches I found rather dull but that's only because my interest isn't programming or the technological space. Some of it went over my head. But besides that, I was saddened to know that this novel will never be completed. Even more saddened that he had plenty of story ideas and knowing he died with them untold. There's something beautiful about that, thinking that he kept something for himself but also selfishly, I want to read them! So be it.
When asked "How should a prospective writer go about becoming an author?
First of all, realize that it's very hard, and that writing is a grueling and lonely business and, unless you are extremely lucky, badly paid as well. You had better really, really, really want to do it. (pg. 32)
The fact is that I don't know where ideas come from, or even where to look for them. Nor does any writer. This is not quite true, in fact. If you were writing a book on the mating habits of pigs, you'd probably pick up a few goodish ideas by hanging around a barnyard in a plastic mac, but if fiction is your line, then the only real answer is to drink way too much coffee and buy yourself a desk that doesn't collapse when you beat your head against it. (pg. 39)
But I think you get most of the most interesting work done in fields where people don't think they're doing art, but are merely practicing a craft, and working as a good craftsmen. Being literate as a writer is good craft, is knowing your job, is knowing how to use your tools properly and not to damage the tools as your use them. I find when I read literary novels--you know, the capital "L"--I think an awful lot is nonsense. (pg. 160)
When asked about working in other medias, i.e. films, television and video games.
On the other hand, the appeal of the books to me is that that's just me. The great appeal of a book to any writer is that it is just them. That's it. There's nobody else involved...But, nevertheless, there is a this-is-all-my-own-work feel about a book. (pg.165)
THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick DeWitt
The Wild West in 1851. Two brothers. Killers. Except one is done with the bloody, murderous life. This is a disturbingly fun ride. While there are gruesome events and depressing histories of the two brothers, you grow to love them even though they are quite the mess. The antics they get involved in and the other characters they come across are hilarious. Two brothers are hired for a hit job, and of course, it's supposed to be their last gig. Along the way to California from Oregon the conversations and events that occur between the two brothers will make you laugh, wince and even feel saddened toward their misfortunate that is their past. It's a fantastic read and the movie is also wonderful. I'd recommend both!
When a man is properly drunk it is as though he is in a room by himself--there is a physical, impenetrable separation between him and his fellows. (pg. 127)
She dropped the coin into her pocket. Peering down the hall in the direction Charlie had gone she asked, "I don't suppose your brother'll be leaving me a hundred."
"No, I don't suppose he will."
"You got all the romantic blood, is that it?"
"Our blood is the same, we just use it differently." (pg. 163)
"It seemed you were for it, before. You have never thought about quitting?"
"Every man that has ever held a position has thought about quitting." (pg. 213)
He tapped the top of the skull and the entire visage collapsed to dust. "There is your civilized man's last reward." His words had an embittered edge to them, so that I was moved to ask, "You are not the God-fearing sort, Warm?"
"I am not. And I hope you aren't, either."
"I don't know if I am."
"You are afraid of hell. But that's all religion is, really. Fear of a place we'd rather not be, and where there's no such a thing as suicide to steal us away."
I thought, Why did I bring up God so soon after waking? (pg. 258-59)
THE ELEVENTH DIMENSION by Misael Guerra
DISCLAIMER: This was written by a family member so there is likely bias involved. That being said, I still recommend this book! Misael takes you to another world (or dimension! hehe) in this novel. It's a mixture of warfare/politics, sci-fi and spirituality. The characters are relatable and the world is well-built. After reading Dune not too long ago, this book reminded me of that similar vibe. Power struggles in space, foreign planets and driven characters. If you're into a story that will take you away, then this is for you. There is even a bit of romance! An earth man finds himself pulled into a war that he never realized he was actually already a part of, nor does he realize there might be an entire life he never knew of. Welcome to the eleventh dimension.
The more you sweated in peace, the less you bled in war. (pg. 268)
Regardless, we would all fight to the death since death was certain without a fight. (pg. 347)