1984

This is my all time favorite book. I read it years and years ago and knew it was a book to change the mindset of people. There are certain books that are important because they  bring attention to the plight of people. There are certain books that are important because they highlight issues in our society. But very few books can alter the entire perspective of a person. When I read this book originally, I was blown away. Mostly because George Orwell saw our future perfectly. And when I read this book over a decade ago, it scared the crap out of me, but I never really thought I would see these changes take place in my lifetime.

But here we are.

We are in a world where “fake news” and “alternative facts” are readily believed. We are in a world where people no longer believe in modern science. We are in a world where people lead hypocritical lives on a daily basis and are blissfully unaware. We are in a world where we are asked to spy on others, where our Internet history can be used for profit, where the general thought process is looked down upon. We are in 1984. Not to the extreme in the book, but we are headed that direction. Unless we RISE UP and take a stand.

It’s odd to say this is my favorite book, considering it’s the most depressing book I’ve ever read. It’s also the most horrifying, especially today. However, I still love it because it moved me the first time I read it, the second time, and finally this third time. My heart broke every chapter even though I knew exactly where it was all heading.

This is simply the most important book ever written. It is a must read for each and every person.

December

There are books on my Kindle that I bought at some point and have no idea when or why. I must have read a review or had a book recommended by a friend because I don’t just buy books for no reason. December is this very kind of book. It has been sitting on my Kindle for ages now. When the 2017 book challenge update hit and I needed a book with a month or day of the week in the title, I scrolled through all my unread titles and found this one. And I’m really glad I did.

I read this book in one day. It isn’t terribly long or difficult, and I got completely sucked in by the story. Isabelle hasn’t spoken in 9 months. She is eleven and her parents have no idea why she stopped or what it will take to get her speaking again. And let me just give a warning that there is nothing traumatic in Isabelle’s life to spur this silence, if this is something that is triggery for some. Although the story is third person, we still get Isabelle’s thoughts about her silence. We also get into her parents’ heads and frustrations with their situation. As the story goes on, the more about their lives are revealed. And what you discover is that there is really nothing unusual about them. They are a wealthy family living in NYC and with a country house, and her parents might be a bit obnoxious, they certainly love her and provide for her. Isabelle and her family could be anyone.

I really enjoyed getting to know Isabelle. Her parents, especially her mother, were a bit too much for me, but Belle herself was really interesting. She still communicates by nodding or shaking her head. It isn’t as if she is removed from the world. But her silence is overwhelming. This story was really fascinating from a psychological standpoint.

Lisey’s Story

It’s no lie that I love Stephen King. He is easily one of my favorite authors. I’m slowly working my way through books of his that I have never read, and one day, I will read everything he wrote in order. We are working on getting all his books in hardback, as well. I’m always excited to read one of his books, especially one that I know nothing about, like Lisey’s Story. I needed a book with a character’s name in the title, and I’ve had this book on my Kindle for awhile, so two birds, one stone.

Lisey was widowed two years ago and is still struggling. Her husband was prize-winning novelist with a vast number of secrets. I really don’t want to give too much away, because King masterfully reveals these secrets along the way, but let’s just say that there’s more to her husband that you would think. And although this book isn’t one of King’s true horror books, some unsettling things happen, but this one is pretty mild on the terror list. What it does provide is a wonderful example of woman empowerment. Lisey (real name is Lisa. Lisey rhymes with CeCe) has to solve a lot of problems in her life, from her sister’s destructive behavior to the man stalking her, demanding her late husband’s unpublished manuscripts.

The story is truly about the love between a husband and wife, albeit an usual one, considering the author. But Scott and Lisey love one another no matter what. Their story is very sweet and all-encompassing without losing themselves and their individual place in the world. Lisey is just a women, referred to as Scott’s “gal pal” at times, even, but her place in Scott’s life is solid and endures all trials. This is what I loved best about the book. No matter what craziness (oh and it is so very crazy) happens, they stick together.

Sanctuary

Years ago, Stephen King used to write a column in Entertainment Weekly. I loved his columns. They varied from commentaries on pop culture to top 10 lists and recommendations of books, tv shows, and movies. Here is a link to his articles. I always loved his top 10 lists. One in particular was interesting, given the subject matter and the author. King listed his top 10 book villains of all time. Seeing as though several of his own characters fit into this category, I was curious to see who he selected. Here is his list 10. Max Cady (Cape Fear) 9. Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men) 8. Popeye (Sanctuary) 7. Big Brother (1984) 6. Harry Powell (Night of the Hunter) 5. Rhoda Penmark (The Bad Seed) 4. Voldemort 3. Sauron 2. Pazazu (the Exorcist) 1. Dracula. Rather interesting list. For the record, he puts Annie Wilkes as number one SK villain. At some point this list got stuck in my head and I was curious to see if I agree with how awful these characters are.

My exposure to Faulkner is limited to As I Lay Dying (hated it) and A Rose for Emily (loved it), so I was unsure where Sanctuary would fall. From a preliminary investigation, I realized that Sanctuary fell closer on the spectrum to Emily than to Dying, so I was encouraged. The story is fairly basic.¬† A girl gets taken to an illegal distillery (this was during Prohibition) by her boyfriend, left there by said boyfriend, then horrific things happen to her. Because of Faulkner’s style, the incidents aren’t explicit, which was nice because some of the things that do happen really shouldn’t be described in detail.

Overall, the book was just okay. So somewhere in between the two exposures I have had. I completely agree that Popeye truly is a world class villain, considering all that he does to the girl. But I can’t say I would necessarily recommend this book. It just left me cold. Not because of the subject matter- I’ve read worse. But because of Faulkner’s approach to it all.