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Prelude to a Super Airplane by Brian Spaeth

22 Mar

 

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Almost everyone has flown on an airplane at least once in their lives. They are huge and intimidating, able to conquer the skies and the power of flight. Everyone has fantasized about being able to fly, about being able to fly through the clouds.

But none of us have flown on a super airplane: 47 floors high and able to fly at incredible speeds. But it is the people concerned with the airplane that are our focus here, the ones that think about airplanes constantly that draw our attention.

The year is 2012 and America is on the verge of Civil War. One side wants flying cars to be the main method of transportation; the other wants the new super airplane to be the only method of transport. At stake in this war? The entire future of transportation.

Our world as we know it will be forever changed…

Prelude to a Super Airplane is unlike anything you have read before. More literary experiment than a novel, Prelude to a Super Airplane is essentially one hundred and seven little stories about airplanes. Some follow the plot that you’ve just read above.

Others, well…did I mention that this was unlike anything you’ve read before?

Spaeth wrote Prelude to a Super Airplane over a period of seven days. And man what a ride! Though the book zooms along and sometimes you’re wondering who you’re reading about, it doesn’t matter.

This is a book with a sense of humour that never takes itself very seriously. It’s a quick, roller coaster of a ride that is anything but boring.

In fact, I laughed out loud several times and enjoyed every word. It really is unlike anything ever before attempted and this is part of the novels strengths.

Though sometimes the stories of the characters get lost amongst the more autobiographical portions of the book, you’re holding on for sheer life as the pages seem to flip themselves.

Even though Prelude to a Super Airplane is more literary experiment than a novel, it’s one hell of a good time. I’ve never had so much fun reading a book. From the first page, I was intrigued and, by the third page, I was hooked.

Prelude to a Super Airplane promises to be the first comedy-political thriller – mystery- drama-romance-action/adventure-science fiction-showbiz insider- horror-family energy drink- industry insider- holiday autobiography, Prelude to a Super Airplane is one hell of a great ride.

At times confusing, intriguing, hilarious, bizarre and all kinds of wonderful, Prelude to a Super Airplane is THE beach book for this summer.

Read it and feel like you’re flying.

Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice

11 Jan

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In 2005, I witnessed one of the greatest changes in literary history.

Anne Rice, the woman known for writing about vampires, witches, mummies and spirits announced she was going to write books about the life of Jesus Christ.

I remember thinking that this was someone’s really great idea of a joke. But the joke was on me. The first book, Christ the Lord – Out of Egypt, was released shortly after the incredible announcement.

At the time, I worked in a bookstore. I had seen the book on the shelf and ignored it, largely because I thought it wouldn’t be any good. How could a woman who wrote such incredible books about legendary figures switch to writing about Christianity?

In the end, out of sheer curiosity, I bought the book. After the first page, I was held spellbound. Indeed, Anne Rice was writing about the most incredible legendary figure of our time: Jesus Christ.

I devoured the next book about Jesus Christ: Christ the Lord – The Road to Cana. I felt that Out of Egypt and The Road to Cana were Rice’s best work. The reserved, elegant prose read like liquid poetry and the passion and spark that had been lacking in some of her later books had returned in full force.

But I was still left wondering: why? Anne Rice did made a living out writing about characters that go about trying to prove God doesn’t exist. Her books had been incredibly angry towards God and Christianity in particular.

Now here she was writing about the life of Jesus Christ. There is a lengthy authors note in the back of Christ the Lord – Out of Egypt, but I was still left with questions. Though Out of Egypt and The Road to Cana were her best books in years, possibly the best books of her entire career, why did she make such a drastic change?

We finally have an answer.

That answer arrives in Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession. It is Rice’s first memoir and first work of non-fiction. It also seeks to explain her spiritual transformation that resulted in an incredible change in her literary career.

 Rice begins the memoir by telling us of her strict Catholic upbringing. How she was surrounded by God and the Church and Catholicism. How she was required to go to church every day and be thankful for God, though he was cruel and vengeful.

What is most interesting, however, is when Rice begins to talk of her years at college and how her strict Catholic upbringing does not fit into her new life away from home. The struggle that Rice goes through to hold on to her relationship with God while being confronted with the normalcy of life outside the Catholic church is truly harrowing.

You feel for her as she struggles internally with what she feels inside and what she sees and experiences all around her. I actually found myself moved emotionally when Rice decides there is no God, that there is no Christ, and becomes an atheist.

And yet, though she claimed not to believe in God, each of Rice’s novels prior to her new relationship with God as a Catholic, has to do with God and those who seek him. Each of her novels featured those who are constantly searching for a bliss they do not feel in their souls.

Through out all those years, she was really a closet Christian, a woman obsessed with God but unwilling to admit it to herself. It takes something miraculous to bring her back to the Catholic Church.

And back to God.

Now, I am not a Christian. I don’t normally read what I would call Christian books. They don’t appeal to me, they don’t interest me and I normally pass them by in the bookstore. In fact, they usually make me slightly uncomfortable.

There are a few reasons for this. Like Rice, I grew up in an incredibly religious home. I was subjected to rules and regulations that were all dictated by the Church. God seemed to be filled with more hate than love, more vengeance then forgiveness. My church at the time and my family were not able to show me a God capable of love.

I moved away from the Catholic Church as soon as I could.

After much searching, found a spirituality that suited me, that sated the need for spirituality I had. But I still get a sour taste in my mouth when I think of Christianity. Regretfully, it is my families’ skewed version of Christianity that always comes to the light first. 

All that to say: I don’t normally read what I would call Christian books. However, Called out of Darkness is beyond wonderful. The same beautiful writing that shines on the pages of Christ the Lord – Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord – The Road to Cana graces the pages of Called Out of Darkness in abundance.

But the most beautiful thing about Called Out of Darkness is that Rice makes the distinction between God and the Church. One of the most beautiful parts of Called Out of Darkness is when Rice laments her lost relationship with God and realizes that it has nothing to do with the Church. It all has to do with God and with God’s love.

Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession is an intimate account of Anne Rice’s journey back to Christianity, back to Catholicism. Back to God. It is a story of one woman’s search to find herself in a world that is often confusing.

Called Out of Darkness is an incredible, moving story of one woman’s search for who she is and what she believes. It is the story of one woman who searched for, and found, her spirit.

More than that, Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Journey is a beautiful, haunting book. Regardless of whether or not you are a Christian, or have even read any of Anne Rice’s books about Jesus Christ, read this book.

Your spirit will thank you for it.

From Zaftig to Aspie by DJ Kirkby

26 Dec

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How many of us take the life we live for granted? How many of us never stop to consider where we came from, what made us who we are? How many people never stop to think of what defines us, what shapes us into the people we grow to be?

Growing up in Canada in the 1960’s, DJ Kirkby experienced a life that many of us would have taken for granted. Living in and around Canada, Kirkby lived with her hippie mother and followed her mother wherever her whims took her.

Living with hippies, Kirkby was exposed to a world that was all around us but only few seemed able to see it. She lived with people who “recreated the rules”, who lived their own lives and shaped their own existence.

And what an existence it is.

From a young age, Kirkby knew she was different. She had a different way of looking at the world that had nothing to do with her hippie lifestyle and upbringing. She knew inside of herself that she was different than everyone else around her.

But there were no words to describe her condition, no words to explain what she felt inside of her.

Those words, those powerful words that would put her entire life into perspective, would not come until she was forty years old when she was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.

From Zaftig to Aspie, Kirkby’s moving, incredible memoir of her life, is an incredible, emotional read. There is no way a mere review can recount the richness of Kirkby’s life, the emotion that crackles off the page or the experiences that shaped who she is today. There is no way I could sum up the life that Kirkby has lived in only a few words.

It is a moving, beautiful account of one woman’s fight to understand herself and come to grips with the world around her. It is part memoir, part life puzzle that, once put together, creates a stunning picture of a life in words.

From the first page, I was drawn into Kirkby’s story and just had to keep reading. I have never read something so honest, so moving and so incredibly captivating. More than a study of human nature, what Kirkby has given us is really a life map.

Using select memories to mark her progression from her younger years to the time she was diagnosed with Aspergers, Kirkby is really marking the path she has travelled with memories. She has given us a true gift of a life and has invited us to turn the page and look inside of her.

I could not read From Zaftig to Aspie fast enough. In fact, I’ve read it twice so far and am awed by it’s incredible beauty and it’s story of living life to the fullest and overcoming even the most difficult obstacles. More importantly, it is a portrait of a very misunderstood condition. More people need to read From Zaftig to Aspie so that more people can know about Aspergers Syndrome.

From Zaftig to Aspie is a moving, incredible story of one woman’s will to understand herself. It is an important book and everyone should read it so that they, too, can understand more about Aspergers Syndrome.

More importantly it is the best memoir I have read in years. I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more. And was awed by the power of Kirkby’s words.

Read From Zaftig to Aspie and be enchanted.

Once a Brat by Marilyn Celeste Morris

20 May

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Life is not easy for an Army Brat.

 

 

After losing her father, Marilyn Morris is shocked to learn that he won’t be buried in his military uniform. Have spent more years retired than in the US Military, he would be buried as a civilian. For her entire life, her father lived and breathed the US Military; and, consequently, so did she.

 

 

From 1938 up until she finished college in 1958, Morris lived the life of a military brat, whether she wanted to or not. Always on the move, never able to make close friendships, never staying in one place for a long time. Such was the life of a military brat and Morris had no choice but to live in it.

 

 

Her father had called them gypsies; able to move at a moments notice to parts unknown, able to adapt to any given situation; able to survive. That is what life is for a military brat: survival. Morris was taught lessons in life that others never learn and she knew that these events shaped her, molded her into what she is today.

 

 

After her father’s death, these lessons, these memories, started to come to her, to come out from behind the locked doors of her mind. And so Morris had no choice but to write them down, to put pen to paper and let the memories come out.

 

 

Having never been a military brat, the scope of this book is incredible. It shows just how much will humans have to survive in any given situation. Not so much a memoir but instead a patchwork quilt of memories, Morris’ Once A Brat is a testament to the power of the human heart.

 

 

I found as I was reading this incredible piece of work that I would be pulled into the story, pulled into the life that Morris had to live because of her father. Then I would sit back and have to remind myself: all of this happened. All of this is real.

 

 

The concept was frightening to me, shocking. That a family could stick together and indeed become stronger for living a military life was incredible. Morris was taught values and morals that most don’t learn until well into their adult years.

 

 

When Morris talks of living in Korea, of having to learn to adapt to a whole new culture, a whole new way of life, you can feel her anguish pouring out onto the page. But you can also feel her wonder, her sheer delight at discovery of all things different.

 

 

Morris shines brightest, of course, when she talks of life then and compares it to life now. It’s as if she’s talking right to you, right into your heart, and you can do nothing but read her words and absorb them. They are not merely words, but true pieces of wisdom, pieces of knowledge that speak to your heart and spark your soul into being.

 

 

I am not normally so drawn in by non-fiction. I find that most memoirs are dry as day old toast and boring. I’ve tried to read several memoirs and failed mostly because there is no story, there is no life. With Once a Brat, Morris doesn’t just tell me a story; she helps me live her life while I read it. I felt, saw, experienced everything she did as I read one gorgeous page after another.

 

 

Once a Brat is no mere book. It is a case study of human strength, of the willingness to survive and the ability to love beyond all reason. It is a testament to the fact that, though the present seems bleak, there is hope in the future. I can’t stress how wonderful this memoir his; how, in its simplicity, it accomplished what so many memoirs fail to do. It helped me feel.

 

 

And it helped me believe that anything is possible. If you haven’t read Once a Brat yet, you have no idea what you’re missing.