Thursday, October 25, 2012

Everyday is an Atheist Holiday - Penn Jillette

Everyday is an Atheist Holiday (More Magical Tales)
By: Penn Jillette

I've seen Penn & Teller: Bullsh!t on Showtime, and that was by accident. I had never heard of P&T, and a couple of years ago I was sitting down channel surfing and was intrigued by the title. Who puts an obscenity in the title of their television show? So I had to check it out. I was captivated by the show from the get-go. Go on subscription based TV and complain about how things are done and silly things people get away with. By the end of the episode I agreed with about every word spoken.

Beyond that, I’d never heard of Penn Jillette. I've never been to Vegas. I’ve never viewed any of the movies the duo created, and I didn't even know up until recently that he had even written God No!. I found Everyday is an Atheist Holiday also by accident and decided that I would read it and see what it was all about. Immediately, I thought it would spew his religious thoughts and beliefs all over me, and I wondered if I would get through the first chapter. Penn comes across to me as a deeply thoughtful individual. His beliefs are very genuine, that’s not an illusion.

Instead of pushing his beliefs on you throughout his writings, he spends no time trying to convince anyone to be anything that they aren't. I liked that. Instead of being a Bible bashing, Christian hater, he tells us true stories from his life. I've been to church a total of five times in my life. I assume there is a God. I don’t have any proof of that but the threat of hell for the non-believers is pretty overpowering. Penn occasionally questions the entire ideology of the process and I find that to be quite interesting. If you believe in God, and he asks you to kill your child, would you do it? Think about that one. I sure as hell wouldn't. I don’t have children but I love them very much. Completely besides the fact that it is just a morally wrong thing to do (killing anyone is wrong!), children are completely innocent and precious.

I particularly enjoyed the Happy Birthday chapter of his book. We have all experienced those people we encounter in our day-to-day lives that have a difficult time processing information in the ole noggin. They’ll fight to the death to defend something that is completely meaningless to them and harmless to anyone else, irrational or not. He comically takes us through a magical journey of using common words as obscenities to make his point. I was amazed by his gentle way of showing his feelings to the closed-minded Disney employee that was denying his families request for a Leave a Legacy brick. Casually humiliating him and making a beautiful statement all at the same time didn't seem to earn him the right to his brick, dog on it, but I’m willing to suppose in the end he got a good laugh out of the deal.

For the entire duration of the works, I had the wonderful feeling that I was sitting in a room listening to Penn speak to me. Telling stories to me so I could understand him as a human. It was as if he had invited me into his world for a short time, like old buddies and was having a good time telling me stories of his past over a cup of coffee. I had a great time reading it, and in the end I think it opened a lot of doors for me. I had a presumptive way of thinking. I still do I’m sure. Reading one book isn’t going to instantly change many people. I've been trying to think more delicately though. It just seems that there are a whole lot more questions than answers surrounding certain parts of an Americans existence that may have a valid answer when you get right down to the bottom of it.

The guy doesn't like the Grateful Dead. At first, I was pretty shocked to read that he doesn't like the Grateful Dead. Who the hell doesn't like the Grateful Dead?! That to me is equal with the statement: “I do not like George Jones or Martin Scorsese movies.” Well to each his own. I like all of the above. Maybe he’s right. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he’s never done drugs and doesn't drink alcohol. It’s also entirely possible that he’s bugnutty crazy and we should all run as far in the opposite direction as possible. I don’t think so though. I think he simply is who he is. A modern day Michelangelo painting his masterpiece for himself and his family on the foundation of love and doing it in his own words.

Magicbookwerm Reviews

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fobbit by David Abrams

Fobbit by David Abrams

A comedic spin on a war so far away.  Fobbit really puts into perspective some of the aspects of the war that we never really get to hear about at home.  Reviewing the book is a bit difficult. I don't want to give anything away, yet I want to tell you enough to make you jump up and drive straight to the bookstore (or open it up immediately in your e-reader!) and purchase it.

You become very familiar with each character you meet, and it's hard not to fall in love with them. Whether you "like" them or not. The author paints the characters so well that you almost feel like you know them. They could have come from the same small hometown that you are from.

From throwing grenades into a fuel cargo truck, to illegally spending some quality time getting drunk with the Australians over by Lake Z (and the topless Australian women to boot), this book has a lot of the great qualities of M*A*S*H, without trying or even coming close to being a copycat. 

This book gives great insight into the real life events that can happen in a far away land Whether you are stuck behind a desk sending home fictional stories, so your mother *thinks* you are in real danger; or taking down the local yokel with a jesters cap, you're still a hero. Your a soldier. 

All in all, the book was well written, and out of 10, I'd give it no less than 8 stars. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Inner Circle - a novel by Brad Meltzer (Quick Review)

Meet Beecher White. He's a good fellow, and he's an archivist at The National Archives. He hasn't lead a real exciting life, unless you count keeping your head buried in old history exciting. He's a man of his priorities. When his girl decided to leave him, because of his boring personality; he seemingly just became.... more boring.

Enter Clementine: Beecher's first flame. The girl whose memory would stick with him over all of these years as the 'take no crap' type of chick, and beauty of Beecher's dreams. After years of being apart, out of the blue she contacts him.

With his heart fluttering, he can barely keep himself focused with the task at hand; helping Clementine search through the Archives for records that may help in her search for her long lost father.

While waiting for a call about some records that may help them, Beecher decides it might be nice to show off a little. He decides to show Clementine the door of a private room, the SCIF, where the President of the United States sits in locked seclusion while he reads documents from the Archives.

Reluctantly, and upon a bit of friendly coaxing from a heckling security guard, Beecher decides to show Clementine what the inside of the President's secure reading vault looks like.

That sounds like the perfect way for a history buff to woo that special girl that's been in the back of his mind all of these years... Right? Wrong. One false move and a cup of spilled coffee later, the President's chair is up-ended. With the discovery of a hidden book that might have come from George Washington himself, their lives have taken a twist that will surely change them both forever.

This novel is full of twists, turns, murder and intrigue. It will have you constantly looking over your shoulder to see if the secret Inner Circle is watching, as you uncover clues and more mysteries that will take you deeper and deeper into the conspiracies and excitement that is Washington D.C.

When the book comes to a close, it's hard to believe you've already read over 700 pages. Author Brad Meltzer covers an enormous amount of ground in a very short period of time. In my opinion, he did it quite well.

I really enjoy fictional stories set in real environments, if they are done properly. So if you're in the mood for a good fast-paced book, give Inner Circle a go.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Half Past Dawn - a novel by Richard Doetsch (Quick Review)

New York City District Attorney Jack Keeler is Dead

     That's the headline of the newspaper on Friday morning when Jack himself picks it up. According to the article, he and his wife have been killed in a vehicle accident the previous evening. The bodies have yet to be discovered, but authorities suspect it will only be a matter of time.

     Obviously, Jack realizes that he is alive and contrary to the newspaper headline, he has hope that his wife Mia may also still be alive. The only trouble is, this loving husband and father has absolutely no recollection of anything that has happened in the week prior to the accident.

     Author Richard Doetsch invites us on a journey quite unlike anything that I have previously been a part of. This novel has a lot of elements to it. Part thriller, part cop/crime drama, with a strong touch of supernatural swirled together in just the right dose creates of a surreal experience. Your imagination has plenty of opportunity to run wild, and without conscious thought you find yourself constantly drawing your own conclusions as to what is up around the next corner.

     There are many suprises tucked in just the right nooks and crannies. By the time the book comes to a conclusion at around 370 pages, your mind will be twisted and tangled into just the perfect knot.

Just remember, Dear Reader: "Reality is all a matter of perspective."

Monday, January 30, 2012

11-22-63 - Stephen King Quick Review

Hop in your time machine for a ride back to 1958, and don't forget to buckle up. The minute you open this book, you're thrown into a fantastic adventure through time.

It was very interesting to me, being born in the 80's, to imagine the settings that this story takes place in. A lot of things have changed in the last 54 years and it's nice to have everything described in such vivid detail.

We follow Jake Epping through the rabbit hole into 1958, and Stephen King kindly includes us as a passenger for the trip. You can nearly taste the handmade root beer floats that are available for a dime in 1958 Lisbon Falls.

What started as a 'simple' trip through time, quickly tangles into an exciting classic that will keep readers happy for a very long time. Through trial and error, love and hate, Jakes journey proves to be anything but simple. Many of the historical facts in the book are completely accurate; however there are some instances where King fabricated some of the past. I'll let you find them for yourself.

The book has a wonderful flow to it. It's hard to just sit down and read it for just a few minutes. Each page draws you in deeper and deeper, and before you know it you have followed Lee Harvey Oswald and kept tabs on him for much of the night.

At about 850 pages, this book is definitely worthy of losing a few hours of sleep over.

In closing, I think this book is worth 10/10 review.