Saturday, October 10, 2009

Free Shit on Amazon

So the real trap of the Kindle is the free content.Oh, sure, you can get the classics for free, but what about new stuff? Well, you get what you pay for. "My Soul to Lose" was my first mistake. I didn't find out it was a Teen Harlequin, and just the first forty or so pages until after I downloaded it. But I read it. It was about a girl who could sense when people were just about to die. And when she would see this person, who was about to croak, she would scream uncontrollably and freak out. This happens at the mall and our main character is taken to the mental hospital. Some basic mental hospital things happen (i.e. cool roommate, bad doctor, weird food, hot guy) and then the thing ENDED. And I could not look myself in the face if I bought this piece of tripe. So I spend nights thinking about how it could have middled and ended. Found out last week there are two more in the series. Oh. My. God.

My second mistake was "Snowbound." I'm not putting in author names to protect the guilty. And I can't be bothered to reload the books and find out who they are. Imagine, if you will, being the young inspired teacher who is driving her Mathletes back to Portland Oregon from a long division competition, and hitting a blizzard in the mountains. Her nerves are frayed when they find a lodge in the forest whose owner is willing to put everyone up until someone can come and dig them out. The Lodge Owner Dude is a veteran suffering from PTSD. I mean, who isn't these days. Iraq and his love of children (GAG) fucked him up so badly that he must now be alone in the mountains with his thoughts instead of the famous engineer he was in his previous life. Teacher and LOD fall in love while taking care of naughty high schoolers for the weekend. Duh. And then there is some sort of misunderstanding when she gets back to the city that makes them not talk for a while. Then he gets therapy and she moves in. The End. Horrid. Read it in like 5 hours.

I'll leave my third mistake for my next entry....Paranoia, by Joseph Finder. Awful.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival

Just as a reminder to how personally lazy I am, I like to read about people who, like my sister, insist on going outside and being sporty. Norman Ollestad is one of those people.

My friend, LW is a high powered executive assistant at Warner Brothers and this book is being made into a movie. She suggested I read it the day before my Kindle got here, so it won the prize of first reading. Written simply and directly, Ollestad relives his eleventh year as if were yesterday instead of 1979. On Februaly 19th of that year, he was in a plane crash with his father and his father's girlfriend on his way to a ski competition in Big Bear. He had competed the day before, but drove back down to Santa Monica for a hockey game he was in that night. See? Really insanely sporty. The kid also surfs.

So the plane crashes and the kid has to walk down a mountain by himself to safety. It makes for a very interesting story. But the true art of this book is in the structure. The crash is woven through all kinds of other memories about his father and growing up on Topanga Beach, a little pocket of leftover hippies during the 70's. His father's insistence on physical activity of all sorts, the pressure of being a talented but pushed kid, and the struggle of figuring out the difference between what you want and what you parents want are all pretty standard themes, but when placed in juxtaposition to the incredible act of willpower that was Ollestad's survival of the crash, I was pretty glad his dad had been so tough on him. It saved his life.

I think I should probably point out at this point that I probably won't be putting out many bad reviews. If I finished it, it was good. Just wait, I have read some reeeeaallly shitty books and still loved them. So this is no exception. The writing didn't roll my socks up and down but the story was riveting. And true, which is also awesome. Now, I will go to my windowless gym and get on the elliptical for 37 minutes, because that's how sporty I am.