Monday, August 30, 2010

The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes

First sentence:

"On Saturday, October 22, 1977, University Police Chief John Kleberg placed the area of Ohio State University's medical school under heavy police security."


"Billy Milligan came be anyone he wants to be. . .except himself.

Out of control of his own actions, Billy Milligan was a man tormented by twenty-four distinct personalities battling or supremacy over his body.--a battle which culminated in late 1977 when heawoke in jail, arrested for the kidnap and rape of three women. In a landmark trial, Billy was acquitted of his crimes by reason of insanity caused by multiple personality--the first such court decision in history--bringing to public light the most remarkable and harrowing case of multiple personality ever recorded.

Twenty-four people live inside Billy Milligan.

Philip, a petty criminal, Kevin, who dealt drugs and masterminded a drug store robbery; April, whose only ambition was to kill Billy's stepfather; Adalana, the shy, lonely, affection-starved lesbian who 'used' Billy's body in the rapes which led to his arrest; David, the eight-year-old 'keeper of the pain'; and all the others, including men, women, several children, both boys and girls, and the Teacher, the only one who can put them all together. You will meet each in this often shocking true story. And you will be drawn deeply into the mind of this tortured young man and his splintered, terrifying world." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was an interesting book about someone who learned that he was rarely in charge of his actions. One scene that stuck in my mind was when "Phillip" decided to go to New York and "David" came forward and couldn't carry the weight of the duffel bag.

Date read: 8/30/2010
Book #: 46
Challenge: Celebrate the Author 2010
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0553225855
ISBN-13: 9780553225853
Publisher: Bantam Books
Year: 1981
# of pages: 426
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn't Change the World by Paul Collins

First sentence:

"The life of John Banvard is the most perfect crystallization of loss imaginable."


"In Banvard's Folly, Paul Collins celebrates what he calls the 'forgotten ephemera of genius.' Here are thirteen unforgettable portraits of men and women who might have claimed their share of renown but who, whether from ill timing, skullduggery, monomania, the tinge of madness, or plain bad luck--or perhaps some combination of them all--leapt straight from life into thankless obscurity. Among their number are scientists, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and adventurers, from across the centuries and around the world. They hold in common the silenced aftermath of failure, the name that rings no bells--until now." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This is a fascinating book about people and their tenuous claim to fame. I liked learning about the musical language "Solresol," promoted by Jean Francois Sudre and the use of blue glass to heal as promoted by A.J. Pleasanton.

Date read: 8/25/2010
Book #: 45
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0312300336
ISBN-13: 9780312300333
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2001
# of pages: 283
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Take Another Chance Challenge

January 1 - December 31, 2010
Hosted by Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here

This challenge has many participation levels which cover 12 shorter challenges. Rather than list all of them, I will post the level I intend to reach and the challenges I intend to finish. For complete rules, go to the site linked above.

A Small Gamble - complete 3 out of 12 challenges

Challenge 3: 100 Best Book

Philip K. Dick. Ubik (Ranked #44 on Top 100 Sci-Fi Books)

Challenge 4: Prize Winner Book

Marilynne Robinson. Gilead. (Pulitzer Prize, 2005) -- finished 8/9/2010

Challenge 5: Title Word Count

Vernor Vinge. Marooned in Realtime (3-word title) -- finished 2/13/2010

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

First sentence:

"I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I'm old, and you said, I don't think you're old."


"In 1956, near the end of Reverend John Ames life, he begins a letter to his young son, and account of himself and his forbears. Ames is the son of an Iowa preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition. He 'preached men into the Civil War,' then, at age fifty, became a chaplain inthe Union Army, losing his right eye in battle. Reverend Ames writes to his on about the tension between his father--an ardent pacifist--and his grandfather whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and the settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the Union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son.

This is also the tale of another remarkable vision--not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's sold during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.

Gilead is the long-hoped for second novel by one of our finest writers, a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part. ' -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

I found this book emotionally moving and thought-provoking. I liked how John reflected on his relationship with his father and his father's relationship with his father.

Date read: 8/9/2010
Book #: 44
Series: Gilead, #1
Challenge: Take Another Chance Challenge
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 037415382
ISBN-13: 9780374153892
Publisher: Farrar, Strous and Giroux
Year: 2004
# of pages: 247
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

Here be Demons by Esther Friesner

First sentence:

"It's your move," said Atamar."


"The road to hell is paved with bad intentions. . .

But intentions alone are not enough. Hell hates a failure, and the archdemon Atamar has just not been pulling his weight in the competitive world of bad deeds, rotten behavior, and corruption of mortal souls. So he and his team of junior demons have been put on probation--thrown out of the comforts of Hell into the realm of the living. They won't be allowed back until they've collected a fat bonus of innocent souls, fully corrupted and ready to drag down to the Devil himself.

Unfortunately, Atamar has landed in the desert, miles from the nearest known sin--until a team of American archeology students arrives for a summer dig. And when the gleeful demons descend to do their worst, they discover that their idea of bad deeds is sadly out of date--at least when the youth of America is involved!" -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I liked this humorous fantasy about demons and people. I look forward to reading the next book, Demon Blues.

Date read: 8/9/2010
Book #: 43
Challenge: Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge
Series: Demons, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0441327974
ISBN-13: 9780441327943
Publisher: Ace
Year: 1988
# of pages: 233
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page