A Kinda Sorta (Most Definitely) Review of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep

Spoilers ahead (but who cares, it was published 80 years ago.)

It happened again. I may need to lay off books published before 1970 because clearly I have issues with just about every one I read.

I decided to read this after playing around online and looking up detectives I’d never read before. It didn’t hurt that Raymond Chandler is something of an icon in mystery circles. But, oh boy.

Philip Marlowe is a PI in LA. The book was published in the 1930s, so I guess the assumption is that it takes place during the same period. There are a number of mentions of prohibition. He’s hired by a rich guy who’s getting blackmailed.

I’m going to start with some of the positives:

NONE.

I’m not exaggerating or trying to be silly. There is nothing I can point to in this book that I really enjoyed. But don’t get me started on the negatives.

The writing style made me want to claw my eyes out. How many times can one person say “you’re cute” in a single work? My goodness. No creativity whatsoever.

There are two women who have prominent roles in the story and both of them (they’re sisters) separately are throwing themselves at Marlowe. Ugh. But he’s got the moral compass of Jesus and takes neither of them up on their offer.

Multiple times during the story he slaps women across the face.

There is absolutely no action throughout the story. I kept thinking at some point something would have to happen. Nope.

Twice he went into bad situations without a weapon of any kind against fully armed guys. And twice he got out just fine. Okay, fucking Zeus.

His wit and humor are awful. He’s not funny. Clearly he influenced later detectives, but they’re much better written.

Everyone was smoking the whole book. I have cancer now.

I rated it a 2 star read, and it was just above 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. Honestly, it was shaping up to be a 1 star rating from me until the last 5 pages or so.

Definitely do not recommend to any reader, ever. I can come up with several modern detectives much more intriguing than this bozo.

New Video! Book vs Movie: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Look who’s back with another video for a second week in a row EXACTLY like I said I’d be! This guy!

And I already have next week’s video edited and ready for release. Look at me go!

Now watch and tell me if we have any of the same thoughts!

Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read: Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Oh, look at me finishing two books in quick succession.

I’m just going to dive right into the post. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The story follows Sophie. A Haitian girl being raised by her aunt at the age of 12 when her mother sends for her from New York. You follow her to New York to marrying to returning home to the tragedy of her mother’s suicide.

I’ve owned this book a couple of years now and knew absolutely nothing about it. I didn’t know the author. I didn’t know the premise. I didn’t know the themes. The story blew me away from page one. Haiti is arguably the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and you know it immediately. But as soon as you wrap your head around Sophie’s surroundings they completely change as she heads to New York to be reunited with her mother she doesn’t know. She soon realizes how difficult her mother’s life really is. This is important because of the conversations people are having TODAY. So many people in America want to paint immigrants as criminals, worthless, and illegal. But so much more often than not, they’re just like Sophie’s mother. Working multiple jobs and supporting family back home.

But the book isn’t only about being an immigrant and trying to find where we belong. Sophie suffers from bulimia and sex phobia, as it’s described in the book, and her mother suffers from severe mental illness, ultimately leading to her suicide. Sophie seeks help in multiple ways. I’m not going to say I suffer from anything, but I know how it feels to be entirely unhappy with every aspect of life, and to feel like no one is coming through that door to help.

Those are the two things I’ve taken from this book. That we should look at immigrants just as we would anyone else, and that we all have the ability to free ourselves from things we can and cannot control. Sophie begins the story as a struggling girl and ends it as a struggling woman. It’s okay to struggle. And it’s okay to seek help when you need it.

An absolute gem of a book.

A Look Into an American Nightmare: Dave Cullen’s “Columbine”

I’ve been absent from here, but I’m finally ready to get back to what makes this blog what it is: BOOKS.

I’ve owned this book for a couple of years. I first started it a few months back, and finally got around to finishing it last night. What follows is my review.

So often after mass shootings we hear about “politicizing” the issue. There’s nothing political anout this book, just as there’s really nothing political about combatting gun violence. It would have been easy for this book to delve into the common topics that persist after every shooting, but it did no such thing.

Dave Cullen takes you into the minds and private lives of these two muderers. He chronicles in minute detail the days, weeks, and months leading up to April 20, 1999. He details how these two kids went from fantasizing about murder to committing a massacre. He takes you into the lives of several parties after the killing had finally stopped. Parents, students, educators, law enforcement. No life is the same after such an event, and he makes it crystal clear.

There’s a part near the end of the book in which he describes how “Columbine” had become the name of a mass shooting rather than a high school, but over the years seems to have reverted back to just the name of a high school in Colorado. I’m not sure if a community can ever really love on from something like this, but based on the book this one seems to constantly try.

An phenomenal story about an unspeakable act.

2017 Reading Challenge: The Lightning Thief

I’m probably the last person in America to have started this series. I mean, at this point Rick Riordan is writing a dozen other series he started after concluding this one. Oh well. Better late than never, right? Anyway, I have only good things to say about this one! Watch and see!

This book was the 7th book from my 2017 Reading Challenge and satisfied the requirement to read a book everyone else seems to have read already. This is also 1 of Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read. Two birds with one…book? Ha!

What did you think of this book?

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2017 Reading Challenge: Game of Shadows

I know what you’re thinking. You have never heard of this book. Not surprising. It’s about a company that provided elite athletes with steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs right around the turn of the century. If there is any sports fan deep inside you, then perhaps you might find this book worth reading.

If you’re curious at all to learn more about one of the other things I’m immensely passionate about, then give this video a watch! Baseball is way more important to me than most people realize, and that’s exactly how I want it.

This was the fifth book I read for my 2017 Reading Challenge. It fulfilled the requirement to read a book about baseball.

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2017 Reading Challenge: A Wrinkle in Time

It’s Wednesday, which means today is video day!

My second read of 2017 is both a book for my 2017 Reading Challenge and also one of Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read.

This was the second time I tried reading this after it was a DNF in 2014? It was a DNF at some point. Anyway, it was the first book I’ve read that had time traveling elements. Though I do watch the TV show, Timeless. And anyone who doesn’t like Back to the Future is crazy. So I’m not exactly a time traveling virgin. Wait, what?

Moving on.

As always, tell me if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it! I bet we have differing opinions.

This book fulfilled the requirement to read a book about time travel. Two down, 23 to go!