#77 ~ Down to a Sunless Sea

June 15, 2008 at 8:58 pm | Posted in Books, Reading | 5 Comments
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Cover for Down to a Sunless Sea

Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese

This slim book is a collection of 15 extremely short stories that fall in the category of character sketches. They look, for the most part, inside the psyche of people dealing with disturbing experiences or memories. Each of the vignettes are serious and dark in nature and you just get a little taste for each character before meeting the next. I was almost equally curious to know more about the character I just met or thankful to be moving forward.

Of the 15 stories, three of them have sat with me since I finished the book a week ago:”The Chatham Bear, ” “Alabaster,” and “Little Errands.” “The Chatham Bear” tells the story, through the eyes of a seasonal visitor, of how the residents of Chatham reacted to sightings of a bear in their community. What the narrator ultimately thinks about the bear and the community is thought provoking. Equally interesting is “Alabaster,” the story of a young boy who often sees an elderly woman and her middle aged daughter sitting on a park bench. The story of their single conversation, while dark, reminds me of exactly how it used to feel to find myself in a conversation with an elderly person when I was a child. One never knows the impact that a simple conversation between strangers might have to both parties. My favorite sketch, however, was “Little Errands.” As someone who has experienced deep and lasting anxiety will completely understand this narrator. There wasn’t necessarily any insight provided within “Little Errands,” but anyone reading this should be able to understand the way anxiety feels and prompts those suffering from it to think and act.

It’s hard to say how I would classify Down to a Sunless Sea. As most of the stories were less than 10 pages, this book was good to have in the car to read when 10 to 15 minutes of free time occurred. Still, there wasn’t much to connect to either positively or negatively as a reader. “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Father Was a Nazi,” a heavy-handed look at Schwarzenegger’s ancestry, was so short that it was over before I realized how much it bothered me. I would recommend this to someone studying abnormal psychology. If for no other reason, this book could provide interesting case studies. Otherwise, I would suggest that a casual reader wait until Freese, a gifted writer, publishes a full length novel. Many of his characters are deserving of more time and attention.

To buy this book, click here.

Vegas Update

June 10, 2008 at 7:48 am | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 4 Comments
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Famous Las Vegas sign

I am writing this post from the most gorgeous hotel room I’ve ever seen.  I’m staying at the Palazzo, which is the newest and tallest hotel and casino on the Strip.  I’m on the 41st floor, and from my suite I have the most spectacular view of Las Vegas and the mountains in the distance.  When I walked into my room Sunday night and saw the view, it made me forget about the extremely long day and the cramped flight out.  It is simply that amazing.

Palazzo Las Vegas

I finished reading Down to a Sunless Sea before I left.  I started the review, but I wasn’t terribly inspired.  I’ll try to post that tonight.  On the plane I started Songs of the Missing and I finished that before I went to sleep Sunday night/Monday morning (my body time).  I really enjoyed it and it was a good companion in my  attempt to acclimate to Las Vegas time.  Missing is the current First Look Book Club selection.  After I’m done participating there, I’ll post my review here.

Yesterday was a jet lag day.  I attended a  full day tutorial at the conference I’m attending and once Aleve took care of my headache, I was bored and exhausted.  I’m sorry that I didn’t post anything or read anyone else’s blog like I intended.  After a good night sleep last night, I am experiencing major withdrawals!

Today is going to be an exciting day.  I am meeting Lander Marks, the author of Artist’s Proof, for lunch!  I’ve never met an author before, and I’m really looking forward to it.  My only regret is that I don’t have a camera with me.  I’d really like to have a picture to post.  I’ll have to see if they have a disposable one for sale.  I remember seeing a CVS not too far from here.  I can do 1 hour processing and have the pictures put on a CD.  Hopefully that will work out.

I look forward to catching up with everyone later today!

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